The Far-reaching Impacts of the Arab Spring

Embedded in its very title, Marc Lynch’s The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished  Revolutions of the New Middle East delves into a question that has been left unanswered by commentators and critics alike: Was the Arab uprising one underlying movement organized under a grandiose ideal to give birth to a new Middle East, or was it a multitude of popular and unfinished revolutions that unfolded in different locations in sequential timing? Lynch’s answer is that it was both: The Arab uprising was a continuous oscillation between the transnational and the local. Such a reading is not, in itself, new. Pan-Africanism, an example of a postcolonial vision that emerged in the wake of the independences of the 1960s, acted as a double bind between a return to local identities (yet against tribalism) and a hope for political collectivity (a new regionalism with root differences). Incidentally, the sixties were another cornerstone era for the Middle East—if only for Egypt, strategically situated at the crossroads of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula—and Lynch’s book offers the possibility to observe a move, both historical and geographical, from Pan-Africanism to Pan-Arabism.

Yohann Rippert
October 01, 2014

A Review of The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East By Marc Lynch (New York: Public Affairs, 2013), 288 pages.

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