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The Arab Spring Two Years On, and the Destruction of Gaza: Results, Prospects, Consequences

Dec 24

3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

SDPI, Islamabad

Note: You may also watch live streaming of the event at http://www.sdpi.tv/live.php

Entry is open to all

(Concept Note)

The lecture elaborates upon the historical and political context of successful peoples’ uprisings in Tunis, Cairo and Sana’a and its reverberations throughout the region, including Israel, Palestine, Iran, Lebanon as well as the greater Middle East (Syria and Bahrain) & North Africa (Libya). It would discuss that how this situation may affect Pakistan and Turkey, though that can also be addressed in the Question & Answer session following the lecture. The historical context will take the story from the heydays of Arab nationalism in the 1950s and 1960s under the charismatic Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and his confronting actions with both US and French imperialism, as well as Israeli expansionism.

The speaker will be talking about history of uprisings in Egypt and the region (specifically Yemen), which belie Orientalist conceptions of Arab world as some kind of wonderland where people have no agency, therefore the need to be ’emancipated’ by the West. The talk will also challenge stereotypes of the region which paint it as being dominated solely by Islamist sensibilities, in the context of the West’s funding and encouragement of Islamic fundamentalist organizations against Nasserist and communist parties throughout the 1950s and 1960s, thus giving rise to the growth of Islamism.

Speaker will also present some revolutionary Arab poetry on resistance, especially now in the light of events in Cairo, Tunis, Sana’a and Tripoli. Finally, he will be giving a prognosis for the region in the wake of elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, including the fate of American, Israeli and Saudi foreign policy there, including brief discussions of the situation in Bahrain, Libya, Syria, Kuwait and Palestine/Gaza. Special focus will be given to the resistance of Arab women and youth in these uprisings. The talk is not only based on speaker’s own reading and scholarly engagement with the region over the years, but based on living and travelling in the region, especially Egypt, Yemen and Turkey, interviewing activists, writers and poets from the region.

Bio note of Speaker:

Raza Naeem is an Arabic-speaking social scientist presently teaching Sociology at FAST-NU and Punjab University, both in Lahore. He is a long-time activist of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP). He has been trained in Political Economy from the University of Leeds in UK, and in Middle Eastern History and Anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, US. He has travelled widely in Egypt, Yemen and Turkey over the years, interviewing a large number of activists in these countries. He is presently working on a book on a political and cultural history of Yemen post-Arab spring. He is a regular book critic and commentator for Frontline India, The Guardian UK, Monthly News line Karachi and Daily Times Lahore, and has been published in the United States, UK, Pakistan, India, Yemen and South Africa.

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Sadia Sharif Policy Advocacy and Outreach Sustainable Development Policy Institute 38, Old Embassy Road (Atta Turk Avenue), G-6/3, Ph: 051-2278134-6, Ext: 111 Fax: 051-2278135 Email:main@sdpi.org

Chair: Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Secretary General, PML-Q

Mr Raza Naeem, Literary Critic and teaching Sociology at FAST-NU and at Grace College of Business Studies , Lahore