By Brian M Downing
Demonstrations and uprisings against authoritarian rulers are moving across the Middle East. Tunisia and Egypt have driven longtime strong men from office, Libya and Bahrain are in tumult, and Iran is experiencing a return of the demonstrations that took place after the elections of 2009. As much as one might wish to see regime change in Tehran, it might not come nearly as easily and relatively bloodlessly as it did in the Maghreb.
Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was an artless figure who over his many years of power managed to alienate a large majority of his subjects. Urban middle classes, rural dwellers, secular intellectuals, and religious scholars could agree on few things in public life, but on the matter of Mubarak’s corruption and brutality they could find a great deal of common ground. Further, all could agree that the future did not bode well for young people.