Best of 2011: Global Perspectives

The year 2011 was the year a wave of popular unrest spilled out across the globe. It all began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, toppling the sclerotic Mubarak regime, although doubts remain about how profound the change will actually be. Soon popular dissent was spreading like a wildfire across the Arab world in a phenomenon that came to be known as the Arab Spring, which claimed some big scalps.

Thomas Friedman talked about the end of the American century - and his plan for how the US can re-establish its global hegemony. Naomi Chazan reflected on this ‘extraordinary period in the Middle East’, she analyses the Palestinian experience of change in the region and the effect economic growth has had on its internal politics. She confesses to being ‘increasingly convinced that this is the most momentous period in Israel’s history since 1948’. Amos Oz urged Israel to become the first state to recognise Palestinian nationhood, while Izzeldin Abuelaish discussed the importance of dreaming and optimism in dealing with Middle Eastern conflict.

The Arab Spring was like a fire that jumps over fences and rivers. It spread to Spain’s Indignidad movement and also, arguably, to the streets of London, before it finally jumped the Atlantic and morphed into the Occupy movement. The Occupiers put poverty and community empowerment back on the political radar for the first time in a generation.

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