The meaning of the history of the Arab Uprisings remains contested, for some the hopes inspired by the riots vanished long ago. But across North Africa and the Middle East renewed unrest is taking place. Shaking autocratic governments and posing new questions about the future. With journalist Kim Ghattas and others we reflect on the revolutionary fever sweeping the region. Where do things stand a decade after a struggle of grassroots activism spread over the Middle East?
After the Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest against government corruption and widespread unemployment in December 2010, uprisings started and spread across much of the Arab world. In Egypt, Morocco, Iraq and Syria people took to the streets to demand socio-political rights. This evening we will listen to stories of people who experienced the widespread protests, discuss the role of the Dutch government in supporting certain actors in the Middle East and give meaning to current uprisings. With Kim Ghattas (videocall), Laila al-Zwaini, Zeineb Romdhane and Mounir Samuel we discuss how we should look at the younger generations who are, a decade later, out on the streets again to demand social, political rights.
Kim Ghattas: ‘What I do know for sure is that the region’s younger generation wants a different future, one that is not hostage to the mistakes their parents made, that is not hostage to the ghosts of 1979.’
Kim Ghattas is a Dutch-Lebanese journalist. In her new book Black Wave, published this year, Ghattas unravels the modern Middle East. During her journalism career she covered the Middle East, reporting from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon. She worked at BBC for twenty years and her work has been published a.o. in the Financial Times, De Volkskrant, BBC, The Washington Post, the Atlantic. In 2006, she covered the war between Israel and Hezbollah and won an Emmy for international news coverage. She currently is a non-resident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, shuttling between Beirut and Washington D.C.