The echoes of
Fahad Al Salem and
Lech Walesa (DEBATE)
19 May 2011, 7
It is the beginning of a new decade. Several countries, large and small, in a vital region, having suffered under repressive one-party regimes for years, witness the stirrings of a nascent, people-powered movement.
The goals of the movement are clear
: freedom, dignity, justice, reform, respect for human rights and representative government. Facing repression, coercion and intimidation, the movement still spreads and gradually prevails in securing the liberty of millions.
This scenario is not current day Middle East and
Today, in the Middle East, another wave of people power is surging, compelled by the same basic needs that ignited the workers of
It is the emergence of People Power 2.0
These new technologies also allowed Tunisian activists to advise their Egyptian counterparts. Through posts on Facebook, they counselled them on how to use Coke to counter the effects of tear gas, and spray paint windows of armoured police vehicles to hinder their visibility.
In the process, they were changing the way people power works and reinforcing the idea that sunlight, a euphemism for openness and transparency, is indeed the best disinfectant.
The wave has not yet crested. The movement continues to manifest itself in different forms throughout the region, but faces significant challenges. For one, People Power 2.0 is a new, still-crystallising concept in the
So a key question today is how can we sustain to trajectory of People Power 2.0, and how can we contribute to its evolution from a platform of dissent, into a platform for sustained positive change, stability, dialogue, tolerance and coexistence in a region sorely in need of all of these elements.
We hope to explore these issues on May 22-23 in
The ultimate goal of the conference echoes the ultimate goal of the Al Salem Center
As the workers of
Shaikh Fahad Al Salem is the Head of the Centre for Dialogue among Civilisations and Leach Walesa is the former President of Poland
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs