Torture and Despair: The Psychic Roots of the Revolution in Tunisia,
Egypt and Across the Middle East
BY Andy Worthington
January 28, 2011http://uruknet.info/?p=m74397&hd=&size=1&l=e
The roots of the popular uprising in Tunisia that toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, after 23 years of dictatorship, which has now spread to Egypt like wildfire (click to enlarge photo), and has begun manifesting itself in other countries as well, are, of course, many and varied. Statistically, the cause is a generation of young people — huge in number and largely unemployed — who have known nothing other than dictatorship and whose discontent, in Tunisia, escalated so suddenly, and reached a tipping point so swiftly that it created a mass movement too large for Ben Ali to suppress.
That, clearly, has provided inspiration across the Arab world, on the understandable basis that, if it could happen in Tunisia, it can happen elsewhere as well, but as I have watched this story unfold, and as I watch, with admiration and trepidation, the uprising in Egypt, where the dictator Hosni Mubarak initially appeared unprepared to take the route chosen by Ben Ali, and intended to counter the revolution with violence (but now appears to be on the back foot, promising to form a new government tomorrow, even though that will not placate protestors at all), I have been thinking not about the statistical cause of the uprisings, but about other triggers — actions that are resonant with symbolism, and that are the foundational impulses for revolution.