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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchSecular Liberals Destroyed the Arab Uprisings. Don't Let it Happen Again

Secular Liberals Destroyed the Arab Uprisings. Don’t Let it Happen Again

Author: Joseph Massad

Affiliation: Columbia University New York

Organization/Publisher: Middle East Eye

Date/Place: 14 January 2021/UK

Type of Literature: Opinion Article

Word Count: 1672


Keywords: Secular liberals, Arab Uprisings, Democracy


The author argues that in the last three decades, the dictators in the Arab world, their Western supporters, and the secular liberals ruined the Arab uprisings and democracy. For instance, in Egypt, secular liberals asserted that if they failed in a democratic competition with Islamists, that they would prefer to help restore the dictatorship rather than let Islamists rule the country. Furthermore, Joseph Massad criticizes both the Saudis and Emiratis for their support and protection to the local dictatorships since they fear a domino effect in their countries. The author reminds us that economic conditions precipitated the uprisings in Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, and Lebanon; however, the self-appointed liberals in these countries did not learn from the past decades’ failures, and there was no improvement in the economic realities. The author concludes that blame and criticism is brought against everyone except the secular Arab liberals, who are “the most reactionary anti-democratic force in Arab politics in the last three decades.” Therefore, the lesson is that to accomplish political and economic democracy, it is necessary to dispense with the secular liberals who take over the people’s struggles and uprisings. 

By: Fadi Zatari, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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