Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Wave of Popular Uprisings Has Washed Beyond the Middle East

by Michelle Chen,, Feb 3, 2011
The tide of revolutions that rocked Tunisia and Egypt has stirred uprisings from Morocco to Libya, but it hasn’t been limited to the Middle East. In places as far south as Cameroon, as far east as China, and even westward to the budget demonstrations in Wisconsin and Europe, people are demanding reform.

Members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, WOZA, march through the streets of Harare. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

There’s more to these uprisings than the now-familiar images of fresh-faced youth tweeting away despots, too. Revolutionary sparks have emerged in regions often viewed as too fractious, too apathetic, or too uncivilized to rise up.

So has there been a convergence of pro-democracy ideals around the world, particularly in the Global South? Or have localized grievances been swept into a romantic zeitgeist of reform? What’s clear is that the movements are both unique and related. Though the protesters are remarkably diverse in their backgrounds and goals, they’re tied to the project of broadening the very definition of democratic change.

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