Social Movements in the Middle East and North Africa

The people in Middle East and North Africa have been misidentified for many years due to their culture that is defined by Islam. In the articles by Joel Beinin and Joe Stark we see a different perspective, one that doesn’t view these areas as corrupt countries swarming with terrorists. The Middle East and North Africa are in fact full of hard-working citizens who demand democracy and mobilization. These two articles focus on how these areas are much more like our western-civilization than we think. Before reading this article, I was unaware of the activists who are working hard to enrich the lives of people in their country. It is unfortunate that the governments have been unhelpful towards creating human rights organizations. “Most governments in the region have been actively hostile to human rights organizations, particularly when their activities go beyond training and they attempt to monitor violations and hold local authorities accountable” (Storke 106). I also find it extremely frustrating that the citizens in these countries have a very hard time making progress towards a just public and economic society. How do citizens in these areas get punished for running vigorous social movements and who decides to do the punishing? I was intrigued by the constant strive towards the growth of mobilization in the Middle East and North Africa. I was unaware that there were people with such strong desires for upward mobility that they put themselves in high risk situations. I wish that the media would publish more articles on the people who want to make these changes towards a better society in places such as the Middle East and North Africa. It is my understanding that it is our duty as American citizens (who have access to information around the world) to educate ourselves on others social conditions so that we can give positive feedback and possibly come up with helpful solutions. We may eventually be able to (if we haven’t already) help large networks in these areas come up with plans and tactics to enhance their social movements. Although this is my hope Beinin states, “In these situations repression is not the only fuel for contention”. The amount of corruption in these areas fuels people to mobilize, and therefore the motives of these social group leaders may not be exactly what we hope.

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