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The Arab Spring - a new chapter in an old struggle

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 21 Nov 2012 16:09 GMT
Author: Rebekah Curtis
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By Rebekah Curtis

The Arab Spring uprisings marked a fresh start in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East, turning the political tide towards democratic government.

But the struggle for democracy is not new to the region, as highlighted in an upcoming book, Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East.

“The Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 were often portrayed in the media as a dawn of democracy in the region,” the book’s publisher, Harvard University Press (HUP), says on its website.

“But the revolutionaries were – and saw themselves as – heirs to a centuries-long struggle for just government and the rule of law, a struggle obstructed by local elites as well as the interventions of foreign powers.”

Looking into the stories of people who fought against tyranny, poverty and foreign rule, author Elizabeth F. Thompson examines the roots of liberal constitutionalism in the Middle East, the publisher adds.

“Motivated by a memory of betrayal at the hands of the Great Powers after World War One and in the Cold War, today’s progressives assert a local tradition of liberal constitutionalism that has often been stifled but never extinguished,” HUP says.

Thompson, whose book is due for publication next April, is associate professor of history at the University of Virginia in the United States.


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