At this year’s Cairo International Book Fair, the most sought-after books were those about Arab revolutions. Titles about revolution, in Arabic and in English, have also dominated prime bookstore shelf space. And yet few revolutionary titles have appeared for children.
Little over a year ago, no political analyst I know would have argued that the leaders of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen would be deposed in the immediate future. This set of leaders, cumulatively, had been in office for more than 100 years. Nor would anyone have projected that there would be uprisings in Bahrain and Syria. Clearly, 2011 was the Year of Revolution in the Arab World.
I believe that Arab revolutions have started, that they are widespread, and that they will succeed. The price of success will vary from one country to the other and will, in almost all cases, be more costly than need be. Nevertheless, these revolutions will redefine the relationship between the governed and governing in the Arab world. That is a momentous achievement in and of itself.
Their husbands have run some of the most brutal regimes of the Arab world. But who are the women who stand by the dictators?