A revolution is brewing

Marc Lynch, author of “Voices of the New Arab Public: Iraq, Al-Jazeera, and Middle East Politics Today“, on the new Arab public voice:

“I think the biggest difference between what I’m calling the new Arab public and a lot of the old publics is that it’s more diverse and open to disagreement today. If you go back to the Middle East in the 1950s there was international broadcasting, and there was a press that was full of angry and politically mobilizing arguments, but what you didn’t have was the notion that everyone should have their own opinion. What you had were powerful Arab leaders or political movements who were trying to mobilize or rally people to a cause, and anyone who didn’t agree with them was not only wrong, but considered ‘not an Arab.’

“That’s the key difference – in this new Arab public, it’s okay to disagree about important issues; in fact you almost have to disagree to be an ‘Arab’. And that’s an important difference, especially for people who are interested in seeing the emergence of a democratic politics in the region. It’s really revolutionary.”

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