Though divided by borders, the Arab nations are linked by ancient bonds of language, ethnicity, and faith, all of them tightened by the modern technology of Twitter, Facebook, and Al Jazeera. The pro-democracy protests started in Tunisia and raced east like rows of falling dominos.
A pervading sense of awe seems to be engulfing Arab societies. What is under way in the Arab world is greater than simply revolution in a political or economic sense. It is, in fact, shifting the very self-definition of what it means to be Arab, both individually and collectively.
As revolution has spread from the Maghreb to the Gulf region and back again, President Barack Obama has stuttered and fumbled and sometimes fallen strangely silent. What can explain this from a man whose manner has always been smooth and whose oratorical gifts propelled him from utter obscurity to the White House in just four short years?
It is not an isolated case. Algeria's usually unbending officialdom is handing out business loans, letting off rule-breaking motorists, easing up on tax dodgers and turning a blind eye to people trading without a license. What changed was the revolts in Egypt, Tunisia and other parts of the Arab World.
As a democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world, Wadah Khanfar, the head of Al Jazeera, shares a profoundly optimistic view of what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond — at this powerful moment when people realized they could step out of their houses and ask for change.
A new poll shows that 81 percent of the French think France’s importance on the international stage is declining. After a widely criticised reaction to uprisings in the Arab world, the survey is the latest bit of bad news for French diplomacy.
In his annual State of the Union address, delivered in Washington DC last month, US President Barack Obama spoke strongly about the need to promote science-based technologies to "protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people". His words have significance not only for the United States, but also for the Arab world.