Arab Spring Revisited

For nine months, the Middle East and North Africa have been gripped by a wave of unprecedented protests. Hopes have been raised, dictators have been toppled, the course of history has been altered. And yet the riots and revolutions in each of the countries involved are all still very much works in progress. We catch up with some of the people who spoke with us in the earliest days of the uprisings in their countries to find out what happens when autumn falls on the Arab spring.



Part Two of The Current

Arab Spring Revisited - Issam El Houni & Maram Wafa

When the protests against Moammar Gadhafi's rule began last February, the Libyan leader responded by unleashing the full force of the Libyan Army. Today, opposition forces have prevailed and Moammar Gadhafi is in hiding, his regime all but obliterated. But in the early days of the uprising, that was hardly a foregone conclusion. In March, The Current spoke to a Libyan-Canadian in Benghazi about his hopes for the future.

At the time, we withheld his name in order to protect his safety. Now, we can tell you that his name is Issam El Houni. He's a Libyan-Canadian who was involved in electronic warfare -- trying to shut down Moammar Gadhafi's television signals. Issam El Houni is still in Benghazi, safe with his family and planning to return to Canada soon. Maram Wafa is working with anti-Gadhafi fighters in Libya's capital, Tripoli.

Arab Spring Revisited - Hisham Ben Khamsa

The wave of protests that have overtaken the Middle East and North Africa began last December in Tunisia. The protests there were sparked by the actions of a young man named Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old vegetable vendor in the small central town of Sidi Bouzid. In the face of daily police harassment and what he believed were bleak prospects for the future, Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire as a protest against the government.

At Mohammed Bouazizi's funeral 18 days later, thousands of people took to the streets singing patriotic songs. President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali -- who had hung on to power for 23 years -- fled the country. And a revolution was under way. Hisham Ben Khamsa is a film producer and activist in Tunisia. He was in the capital, Tunis.

Arab Spring Revisited - Mohamed Eldahshan

In the days following the Tunisian uprising, protests broke out in Algeria, Jordan and Sudan, among other places. In each country, there was a flurry of resignations among high-level officials. Algeria lifted its 19-year-old State of Emergency law. And Saudi Arabia tried to quell disturbances in his country by offering economic concessions and promising municipal elections ... for Saudi men only. But in Egypt's Tahrir Square, events took on a life of their own.

Mohamed Eldahshan -- an Egyptian writer and activist -- spoke to The Current last January. At the time he was tweeting about what was happening in Tahrir Square under the handle TravellerW. We reached Mohamed Eldahshan again. He was in Cairo, Egypt.


Other segments from today's show:

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