What’s Going On In The Middle East?

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Show Notes

The Middle East is an incredibly diverse and complex region, but it’s oftentimes disregarded by Western media as too confusing or too complicated to be “solved”. In order to gain a better understanding of today’s world, Nat covers the Arab Spring, an unprecedented series of pro-democracy uprisings that swept across North Africa and the Middle East in the spring of 2011.

Sources:

The Modern Middle East: A History by William L. Cleveland (5th Edition)

Transcript

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today nat is going to present on

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what are you presenting i’m presenting

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on the arab spring today

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uh have you heard of the arab spring

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before never

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okay so yeah so the reason i chose this

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topic

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uh for the first like episode i wanted

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to cover

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for season two world history i wanted to

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focus on the middle east

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because i really don’t know anything

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about the middle east i have so many

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questions and so many things to learn

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so i knew i wanted to focus on the

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middle east and the

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topic i’m covering today is actually

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super recent like it happened in 2011

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so it’s like i don’t know it’s not like

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super far back in history

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but i think for people who are not

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really sure

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about like they don’t understand korean

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events going on in the middle east today

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this event kind of explains

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what why the middle east looks like it

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does today

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so yeah so okay so do you also like

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what do you what do you know about

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what’s going on what’s happening in the

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middle east today

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like do you know yeah i know a little

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bit because one of my good friends is

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syrian and so he explained to me the

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situation in syria

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yeah um so i think they’re just like a

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bunch of

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like they don’t they didn’t like the

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government in syria and so a bunch of

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different rebel groups or

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did like a coup d’etat but there’s a lot

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of different rebel groups so then

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everyone’s kind of just fighting for

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position of power and control and so

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that has wreaked havoc in syria and

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that’s why it’s like war-torn

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mm-hmm that’s what i know no yeah

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actually like i’ll be talking about

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yeah there’s like a civil war going on

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there and it’s connected to the arab

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spring so i’ll

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like be going into like more detail

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about that but yeah yeah so syria that’s

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like it’s like the biggest refugee

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crisis

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currently so yeah okay so i’m just gonna

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go right in so a brief description of

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what the arab spring is

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basically it was a series of

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pro-democracy revolutions

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that began in the spring of 2011 in

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largely muslim and arabic speaking

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countries

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in north africa and the middle east so

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to list the countries that were affected

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by the arab spring

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there’s a lot so tunisia morocco

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syria libya egypt bahrain

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algeria jordan oman iraq

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sudan and lebanon so it’s like

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a huge amount of countries were

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uh like swept up in this movement there

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were

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widespread protests and revolutions uh

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and it was all like within a very short

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time period

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question is this um so when people talk

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about the middle east conflict

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is this all stemming from that the arab

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spring

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or are they separate things happening

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well the thing is like they’re

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so the middle east there’s a lot of

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conflict

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and war and violence going on um the

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arab spring

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is like one of the events that have

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has stemmed from this conflict so

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the first like uprising revolt

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it was caused by uh

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people who are like unhappy with

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authoritarian governments

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um and like violence that was happening

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in their own country

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but yeah it’s like part and then you’ll

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see that like

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it fuels even more violence in the end

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so it’s kind of just like a

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cycle of like people are really unhappy

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with their government

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they revolt a new government is put in

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power but then

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it falls apart and then they revolt

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again so there’s just been a lot of like

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turmoil in the area

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um yeah does that make sense yeah it

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does

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okay so this the arab spring it all

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began in december

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of 2010 in tunisia when a

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26 year old street vendor named muhammad

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blazizi

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was harassed and publicly humiliated by

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police because he didn’t have a permit

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to sell

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like his fruits and vegetables and

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yeah they like harass him violently and

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he was like obviously really upset

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so he tried to complain about his

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mistreatment

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to local authorities but they like

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wouldn’t listen to him

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they’re like whatever like leave us

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alone and so

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in an act of protest was easy set

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himself

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on fire outside of the local governor’s

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office

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yeah and obviously like he passed away

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um

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and so this yeah so this his death

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sparked outrage amongst the rest of

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people in tunisia because there were

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there was a huge i guess gap between the

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government and the working-class people

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and the working-class people

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were suffering through a lot of economic

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hardships uh and they were so upset

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that this man was treated so poorly just

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because he didn’t have a permit so

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they were like enraged and so protests

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broke out in the streets of the capital

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tunis

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and on january 14th so like

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a few weeks later the authoritarian

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president

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okay um i’m probably going to

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mispronounce all these names so i

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apologize

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okay there’s a lot of difficult names

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but

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[Music]

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he abdicated his position and he fled

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the country

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after 23 years of rule so like this is a

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huge deal

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because they had this awful like

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dictator who had been ruling for decades

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and because of these protests like

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in a matter of like a couple weeks he

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was removed from power

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also okay before i continue just a fair

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warning

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i’m gonna be covering a lot of different

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countries and

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a lot of different names of leaders

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so if you get confused now like just

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interrupt me

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and i could clarify but yeah i’m gonna

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be like bouncing around so

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okay it makes sense so far it’s good

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okay yeah so he’s removed from office

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right and so it was like

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a successful protest right they wanted

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him gone

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and then he left so social media

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because this is 2011 right so social

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media has a huge influence on the

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movement because

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people from tunisia were posting photos

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and videos of their

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successful uprising and these images

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inspired activists in other countries

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nearby

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to fight for more social freedoms and

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more participation

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in the political process so all of a

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sudden

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we see similar movements all across the

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region

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in like a really short period of time so

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again i’m gonna list the countries just

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really quick

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um so we obviously tunisia there’s also

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morocco

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syria libya egypt bahrain algeria

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jordan oman iraq sudan sudan and lebanon

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so a huge amount of countries and

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obviously i don’t have enough time to

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cover

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the protests in every single one of

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these movements

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um so instead i’ll just be focusing on

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a few of these countries especially

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those that had

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regime changes because of the protests

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but i encourage everyone again to do

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further research

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so first i’m going to talk about egypt

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so on january

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2nd mass protests began in

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cairo which is the capital and they

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lasted for 18 days

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and they brought together tens of

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thousands of people so it’s huge crowds

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and then a month later on february 11th

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president

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hosni mubarak is removed from office

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and he had been ruling the country for

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30 years

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so he was a really violent dictator so

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people had been

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having a lot of issues with him they

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obviously do not like his regime

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when the when you say removed is it

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peacefully removed or

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coup d’etat or did they step like did

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they step down

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um yeah he was forcefully removed

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okay yeah yeah by the military

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i believe yeah oh okay hopefully moved

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it’s not

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he doesn’t want to leave but he loses

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public support and then he loses the

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support of the military which is like

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a really big deal and so the military

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takes over

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temporarily because there’s like no

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leader right they had removed mubarak

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from office and now

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they need to step up and in 2012 they

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had

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elections and they voted mohammed morsi

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they voted him into office as president

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however a year after he was sworn into

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office

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he is also removed through a military

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coup

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um so he only was serving for a year and

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then the military

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overthrows him and the

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defense minister at the time his name is

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abdel fattah el-sisi

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and he becomes president and he’s still

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in power today

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so this was in 2012 and he still

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is the president of egypt today and he

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has a very

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he’s a very violent authoritarian leader

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uh the government of egypt is like

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not so great it’s not really great over

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there right now

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and so tens of thousands of peaceful

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activists and critics

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of lcc’s government remain in jail today

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and hundreds of them have been sentenced

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to death so there’s

0:09:45.600,0:09:51.839
virtually like no freedom of speech um

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and yeah so i’m i’m gonna get back into

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the aftermath of egypt later we’ll

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set that aside for now i’m gonna

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continue on to

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some countries that um they

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broke out into civil war because of the

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arab spring so first i’m going to talk

0:10:04.880,0:10:09.920
about libya

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so in the summer of 2011 a civil war

0:10:09.920,0:10:13.200
outbreaks and this is like because of

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all the protests

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that had been inspired by the arab

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spring

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and in october of 2011

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the authoritarian dictator muammar

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gaddafi

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i don’t know if you’ve ever heard of

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qaddafi he’s like talked about a lot

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here but he is overthrown during an

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extremely violent

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civil war he’s tortured and he’s

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literally dragged through the streets um

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and he’s executed by opposition fighters

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and there is because of social media

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like people were recording these

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incidents so video footage of his death

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was shared on social media and was seen

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by millions of people online

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yeah so he’s qaddafi is overthrown

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obviously and then uh even though he was

0:11:03.519,0:11:06.959
overthrown

0:11:04.480,0:11:07.920
libya still remains in a state of civil

0:11:06.959,0:11:11.680
war

0:11:07.920,0:11:13.519
um basically yeah there are two opposing

0:11:11.680,0:11:16.959
there are two rival governments that are

0:11:13.519,0:11:20.160
both claiming authority over the country

0:11:16.959,0:11:23.279
all sides have committed war crimes and

0:11:20.160,0:11:25.600
serious human rights abuses

0:11:23.279,0:11:26.320
and the people of libya have suffered

0:11:25.600,0:11:28.560
terribly

0:11:26.320,0:11:29.360
through political upheaval and they have

0:11:28.560,0:11:31.920
to survive

0:11:29.360,0:11:34.320
like violence on the streets as well as

0:11:31.920,0:11:36.240
limited access to food and resources and

0:11:34.320,0:11:38.000
health care services

0:11:36.240,0:11:39.760
and because of this thousands of people

0:11:38.000,0:11:42.399
have fled the country

0:11:39.760,0:11:42.959
mostly by boat and they are going to

0:11:42.399,0:11:45.519
europe

0:11:42.959,0:11:46.399
to other parts of europe and so it’s

0:11:45.519,0:11:49.760
like an ongoing

0:11:46.399,0:11:51.920
refugee crisis and again i’ll go into

0:11:49.760,0:11:55.120
more detail in a bit

0:11:51.920,0:11:56.079
um yemen is also still currently in a

0:11:55.120,0:11:59.200
civil war

0:11:56.079,0:12:00.720
that has its roots in the area

0:11:59.200,0:12:02.560
isn’t that yemen’s a pretty young

0:12:00.720,0:12:06.320
country aren’t they they’re only like

0:12:02.560,0:12:08.560
50 or 60 years old too i think so yeah

0:12:06.320,0:12:09.440
i just know this because i had a teacher

0:12:08.560,0:12:11.120
whose daughter

0:12:09.440,0:12:14.160
went to yemen and came back and brought

0:12:11.120,0:12:18.240
us hummus and like pita bread and then

0:12:14.160,0:12:21.680
told us about yemen yeah

0:12:18.240,0:12:23.600
but it’s a young country so yeah

0:12:21.680,0:12:25.040
okay i honestly don’t know much about

0:12:23.600,0:12:27.760
the history before

0:12:25.040,0:12:29.120
the year of spring but that’s good yeah

0:12:27.760,0:12:32.560
i didn’t realize it was

0:12:29.120,0:12:35.360
such a young country but yeah so they

0:12:32.560,0:12:37.519
they’re still in a civil war and so

0:12:35.360,0:12:40.240
basically also in 2011

0:12:37.519,0:12:41.360
another long-time authorian president

0:12:40.240,0:12:44.800
his name was ali

0:12:41.360,0:12:47.440
abdullah saleh he’s overthrown

0:12:44.800,0:12:47.440
and then

0:12:48.079,0:12:55.120
oh gosh okay abdullah mansoor

0:12:51.360,0:12:57.839
he assumes power uh and so

0:12:55.120,0:12:58.720
political tensions are they continue to

0:12:57.839,0:13:00.079
grow

0:12:58.720,0:13:02.079
different groups are fighting for

0:13:00.079,0:13:04.399
control over the country

0:13:02.079,0:13:05.519
and one of these groups is known as the

0:13:04.399,0:13:09.360
houthis

0:13:05.519,0:13:11.519
which represent the shia muslim minority

0:13:09.360,0:13:13.920
so just as a refresher there are

0:13:11.519,0:13:14.720
basically two major denominations of

0:13:13.920,0:13:18.079
islam

0:13:14.720,0:13:20.240
it’s shia and sunni and so in a lot of

0:13:18.079,0:13:24.160
these countries in the middle east

0:13:20.240,0:13:27.600
like one there’s one major

0:13:24.160,0:13:29.440
or like one dominant denomination

0:13:27.600,0:13:30.639
does that make sense so yeah

0:13:29.440,0:13:33.279
denomination

0:13:30.639,0:13:36.560
yeah like largely sunni muslim or like

0:13:33.279,0:13:39.839
largely shia muslim um

0:13:36.560,0:13:42.800
the minority shia muslims

0:13:39.839,0:13:44.000
and they started taking control over

0:13:42.800,0:13:47.839
territories

0:13:44.000,0:13:50.079
in yemen and in early 2015 they actually

0:13:47.839,0:13:54.560
overtook the capital of sana

0:13:50.079,0:13:57.760
and so they’re oh gosh

0:13:54.560,0:14:00.560
the houthis the rebel group

0:13:57.760,0:14:02.480
and then security forces like military

0:14:00.560,0:14:04.880
forces who were loyal

0:14:02.480,0:14:05.680
to the original dictator that had been

0:14:04.880,0:14:08.079
overthrown

0:14:05.680,0:14:09.680
saleh so they joined forces forces

0:14:08.079,0:14:12.959
together and they

0:14:09.680,0:14:14.880
forced the current president hadi

0:14:12.959,0:14:17.519
his name was hadi they forced him to

0:14:14.880,0:14:19.279
flee the country in march 2015.

0:14:17.519,0:14:21.760
and so he still is like ruling over the

0:14:19.279,0:14:24.720
country pretty sure he’s returned

0:14:21.760,0:14:26.160
to yemen but they like forced him to

0:14:24.720,0:14:28.959
flee the country

0:14:26.160,0:14:30.079
um and so the civil war obviously is

0:14:28.959,0:14:32.320
still going on today

0:14:30.079,0:14:34.320
and so foreign powers there’s a lot of

0:14:32.320,0:14:35.600
foreign interference in the civil war

0:14:34.320,0:14:37.760
and basically it’s like different

0:14:35.600,0:14:41.360
countries are either supporting the

0:14:37.760,0:14:41.839
houthi rebels or they’re supporting the

0:14:41.360,0:14:45.519
hadi

0:14:41.839,0:14:46.320
government and throughout all of this

0:14:45.519,0:14:48.320
obviously

0:14:46.320,0:14:49.600
civilians are suffering from not only

0:14:48.320,0:14:52.800
the violence of war

0:14:49.600,0:14:56.480
but also a huge famine in the country

0:14:52.800,0:14:57.440
so it’s really upsetting wow wait so all

0:14:56.480,0:14:59.279
of those

0:14:57.440,0:15:02.480
overthrowing of the leaders that’s

0:14:59.279,0:15:04.480
happening in every country in 2011

0:15:02.480,0:15:05.839
yeah like basically the countries i’m

0:15:04.480,0:15:07.680
highlighting so

0:15:05.839,0:15:09.360
all the countries that i listed earlier

0:15:07.680,0:15:12.399
not all of them had regime

0:15:09.360,0:15:13.600
regime changes uh some of them just like

0:15:12.399,0:15:15.279
weren’t as

0:15:13.600,0:15:17.199
successful they didn’t have as much

0:15:15.279,0:15:19.040
momentum and so there were a lot of

0:15:17.199,0:15:20.720
protests in these countries but not a

0:15:19.040,0:15:22.639
lot of change happened

0:15:20.720,0:15:23.920
but then like the countries i’m talking

0:15:22.639,0:15:25.279
about now

0:15:23.920,0:15:27.680
basically like the whole country was

0:15:25.279,0:15:31.440
flipped upside down the governments were

0:15:27.680,0:15:34.639
overthrown and leaders were changed

0:15:31.440,0:15:36.639
and and like it’s just crazy

0:15:34.639,0:15:39.279
like i think i said this earlier but i

0:15:36.639,0:15:41.360
was 12 at the time this happened so

0:15:39.279,0:15:42.399
i was not paying attention to what was

0:15:41.360,0:15:45.759
going on

0:15:42.399,0:15:48.800
but i just i can’t imagine

0:15:45.759,0:15:50.480
i don’t know like the whole region

0:15:48.800,0:15:52.639
all these governments are changing like

0:15:50.480,0:15:55.680
one after another and

0:15:52.639,0:15:58.079
man like i’m sure the people living

0:15:55.680,0:15:59.279
in the region were just so like scared

0:15:58.079,0:16:00.399
and like paranoid

0:15:59.279,0:16:02.639
you don’t know what’s gonna happen

0:16:00.399,0:16:05.360
tomorrow like everything could change

0:16:02.639,0:16:06.560
in a day yeah can you imagine if we

0:16:05.360,0:16:10.079
found news that

0:16:06.560,0:16:12.639
some violent rebel group overtook like

0:16:10.079,0:16:14.160
our president regardless of how you feel

0:16:12.639,0:16:15.360
about the president i’d still be

0:16:14.160,0:16:18.639
concerned

0:16:15.360,0:16:20.720
about that happening so right

0:16:18.639,0:16:22.800
and like these countries are smaller and

0:16:20.720,0:16:24.240
they’re all clustered so close together

0:16:22.800,0:16:26.000
so it’s almost like

0:16:24.240,0:16:27.440
like i’m in illinois now so it’s like if

0:16:26.000,0:16:29.600
wisconsin and then like

0:16:27.440,0:16:30.959
indiana and iowa like all of a sudden

0:16:29.600,0:16:32.639
like there were

0:16:30.959,0:16:34.320
revolutions in all these states and like

0:16:32.639,0:16:36.240
you just see it one after another it’s

0:16:34.320,0:16:39.279
like spreading like wildfire

0:16:36.240,0:16:42.720
so it like it’s just such a chaotic

0:16:39.279,0:16:45.440
time um and yeah

0:16:42.720,0:16:46.160
so okay so last i’m going to talk about

0:16:45.440,0:16:49.600
syria

0:16:46.160,0:16:50.160
so you kind of gave an overview earlier

0:16:49.600,0:16:52.399
but

0:16:50.160,0:16:53.680
just a little more like details so

0:16:52.399,0:16:56.720
basically in march

0:16:53.680,0:16:59.360
15 of 2011

0:16:56.720,0:17:00.320
their peaceful pro-democracy protests

0:16:59.360,0:17:02.240
began

0:17:00.320,0:17:04.480
but they’re met with government

0:17:02.240,0:17:06.559
opposition so the syrian government

0:17:04.480,0:17:08.400
killed and impr imprisoned these

0:17:06.559,0:17:10.319
peaceful protesters

0:17:08.400,0:17:11.679
yeah it was like an extremely violent

0:17:10.319,0:17:14.000
response and it

0:17:11.679,0:17:15.199
was obviously like horrifying and so

0:17:14.000,0:17:17.520
syria

0:17:15.199,0:17:18.400
quickly split into factions like

0:17:17.520,0:17:21.839
different groups

0:17:18.400,0:17:23.600
and violence broke out and this was like

0:17:21.839,0:17:24.880
the beginning of a civil war that

0:17:23.600,0:17:27.360
continues to this day

0:17:24.880,0:17:28.000
the civil war is still going on um and

0:17:27.360,0:17:30.240
so

0:17:28.000,0:17:32.080
basically with the civil war you have

0:17:30.240,0:17:36.160
the oppressive regime

0:17:32.080,0:17:39.200
of long-time dictator bashar al-assad

0:17:36.160,0:17:40.960
so he’s he was the president or dictator

0:17:39.200,0:17:44.720
i guess um

0:17:40.960,0:17:47.520
leader and he’s still in power today

0:17:44.720,0:17:49.120
and he’s fighting against rebel forces

0:17:47.520,0:17:52.559
who are trying to gain control

0:17:49.120,0:17:54.799
over the country so you have yeah

0:17:52.559,0:17:57.440
bashar al-assad’s government and then

0:17:54.799,0:18:00.400
rebel forces who want to overthrow him

0:17:57.440,0:18:02.080
um and then you also have a lot of

0:18:00.400,0:18:05.360
extremist groups that have come

0:18:02.080,0:18:08.480
into syria and infiltrated the country

0:18:05.360,0:18:09.520
um one of these groups is isis and at

0:18:08.480,0:18:13.280
one point

0:18:09.520,0:18:15.919
isis had gained so much territory in

0:18:13.280,0:18:16.960
northeastern syria that they declared a

0:18:15.919,0:18:19.760
caliphate

0:18:16.960,0:18:20.880
and a caliphate is basically a nation

0:18:19.760,0:18:24.000
that’s governed by

0:18:20.880,0:18:25.280
islamic law so they had had all this

0:18:24.000,0:18:27.039
territory in syria and they were like

0:18:25.280,0:18:31.360
okay this is our

0:18:27.039,0:18:33.679
islamic nation like syria

0:18:31.360,0:18:35.280
is in the news a lot today as it should

0:18:33.679,0:18:36.000
be we should be talking about it more

0:18:35.280,0:18:38.160
because

0:18:36.000,0:18:40.799
it has displaced the civil war has

0:18:38.160,0:18:43.919
displaced more than half of all syrians

0:18:40.799,0:18:45.919
so that’s wow about 11 million people

0:18:43.919,0:18:47.120
and it’s killed up to half a million

0:18:45.919,0:18:49.760
people it’s

0:18:47.120,0:18:50.640
the largest refugee crisis of the 21st

0:18:49.760,0:18:53.600
century

0:18:50.640,0:18:54.160
and syrians have been fleeing to seek

0:18:53.600,0:18:56.559
refuge

0:18:54.160,0:18:57.760
in turkey greece and other parts of

0:18:56.559,0:19:01.039
western europe

0:18:57.760,0:19:04.640
they’re not always met with like

0:19:01.039,0:19:08.320
warm welcoming arms um and so

0:19:04.640,0:19:09.440
yeah even like either if they stay in

0:19:08.320,0:19:11.840
syria

0:19:09.440,0:19:12.960
like they could be killed if they leave

0:19:11.840,0:19:15.919
syria

0:19:12.960,0:19:16.480
they’re like leading a very difficult

0:19:15.919,0:19:20.080
life

0:19:16.480,0:19:21.760
um so yeah and

0:19:20.080,0:19:23.120
again like all these civil wars that i

0:19:21.760,0:19:24.080
just mentioned like they’re still going

0:19:23.120,0:19:25.919
on today

0:19:24.080,0:19:27.919
um i think like with covid we’re all

0:19:25.919,0:19:30.960
kind of preoccupied

0:19:27.919,0:19:31.280
with that like that’s pretty distracting

0:19:30.960,0:19:33.840
but

0:19:31.280,0:19:34.559
it’s also like something to remember too

0:19:33.840,0:19:36.160
uh

0:19:34.559,0:19:38.320
that like this stuff is still going on

0:19:36.160,0:19:40.480
it’s not like it gets put on pause

0:19:38.320,0:19:44.160
because of a pandemic but

0:19:40.480,0:19:47.039
yeah so the aftermath of the arab spring

0:19:44.160,0:19:48.640
um so all these like civil wars broke

0:19:47.039,0:19:51.679
out there were regime changes

0:19:48.640,0:19:52.640
there were successful protests

0:19:51.679,0:19:56.240
unsuccessful

0:19:52.640,0:19:59.440
like revolutions and basically tunisia

0:19:56.240,0:20:01.120
where it started with a street vendor uh

0:19:59.440,0:20:02.080
to use is pretty much seen as one of the

0:20:01.120,0:20:04.000
only

0:20:02.080,0:20:05.840
successful revolutions of the arab

0:20:04.000,0:20:09.039
spring

0:20:05.840,0:20:12.000
because in october of 2011

0:20:09.039,0:20:13.600
they had their first democratic

0:20:12.000,0:20:17.200
parliament elections

0:20:13.600,0:20:20.080
and then um

0:20:17.200,0:20:22.080
they had they drafted a new constitution

0:20:20.080,0:20:23.200
and this new constitution protects

0:20:22.080,0:20:25.600
freedom of speech

0:20:23.200,0:20:28.320
freedom of assembly and it also bans

0:20:25.600,0:20:30.559
torture so it was like a lot of progress

0:20:28.320,0:20:32.000
uh and there are a lot of like major

0:20:30.559,0:20:35.760
human rights improvements

0:20:32.000,0:20:38.960
however it’s not perfect yet um

0:20:35.760,0:20:42.240
like there have still been instances of

0:20:38.960,0:20:45.360
like oh my gosh suppression of

0:20:42.240,0:20:48.400
suppression of speech by like

0:20:45.360,0:20:49.760
political opponents um and there have

0:20:48.400,0:20:52.799
been like journalists

0:20:49.760,0:20:55.120
who have been like arrested so

0:20:52.799,0:20:57.120
it’s not perfect yet but they had a like

0:20:55.120,0:21:00.159
a huge amount of improvement

0:20:57.120,0:21:01.200
um however like the overall movements of

0:21:00.159,0:21:03.600
2011

0:21:01.200,0:21:04.480
and the arab spring in general has been

0:21:03.600,0:21:06.960
seen

0:21:04.480,0:21:09.200
as like kind of a failure because the

0:21:06.960,0:21:09.919
original goals of these uprisings were

0:21:09.200,0:21:12.080
to

0:21:09.919,0:21:14.400
increase social freedom freedoms and

0:21:12.080,0:21:18.159
increase democratic participation

0:21:14.400,0:21:21.679
in their government and sadly protesters

0:21:18.159,0:21:23.840
instead saw more war and violence

0:21:21.679,0:21:25.039
and there are now like stronger

0:21:23.840,0:21:28.320
repercussions for

0:21:25.039,0:21:28.880
people who speak out for a fairer a more

0:21:28.320,0:21:31.919
fair

0:21:28.880,0:21:33.919
and more open society so if you

0:21:31.919,0:21:35.600
like if we ask ourselves like why why

0:21:33.919,0:21:38.400
did these movements fail

0:21:35.600,0:21:39.840
like some people will argue that oh it’s

0:21:38.400,0:21:42.799
like the incompetence

0:21:39.840,0:21:44.240
of the revolutionaries or like the

0:21:42.799,0:21:47.280
transitional leaders so

0:21:44.240,0:21:48.720
the leaders that took over after

0:21:47.280,0:21:51.280
the governments were overthrown they

0:21:48.720,0:21:52.640
were like oh they just like

0:21:51.280,0:21:53.760
they failed like they didn’t do a good

0:21:52.640,0:21:54.480
job they didn’t know what they were

0:21:53.760,0:21:58.320
doing

0:21:54.480,0:21:58.960
um however like myself and a lot of

0:21:58.320,0:22:02.640
other people

0:21:58.960,0:22:04.159
argue that the blame can be placed on

0:22:02.640,0:22:07.360
like the failure of

0:22:04.159,0:22:10.320
institutions and so vox

0:22:07.360,0:22:10.799
uh boxes it’s one of my sources um and

0:22:10.320,0:22:13.440
they

0:22:10.799,0:22:15.760
read they wrote a huge article about

0:22:13.440,0:22:18.400
like how the failure of institutions

0:22:15.760,0:22:20.240
was why the revolutions like weren’t

0:22:18.400,0:22:21.039
successful and so they have a really

0:22:20.240,0:22:23.280
good quote

0:22:21.039,0:22:24.559
so i’m just going to read it so

0:22:23.280,0:22:26.799
democratic transition

0:22:24.559,0:22:29.120
it turns out isn’t about whom you can

0:22:26.799,0:22:31.280
overthrow or whom you replace them with

0:22:29.120,0:22:33.679
it’s about whether or how you change the

0:22:31.280,0:22:34.720
vast network of institutions underneath

0:22:33.679,0:22:36.640
that person

0:22:34.720,0:22:39.360
so no matter how many times you topple

0:22:36.640,0:22:40.640
the dictator no matter how pure and good

0:22:39.360,0:22:43.039
your protesters are

0:22:40.640,0:22:45.039
it won’t be enough um so i really like

0:22:43.039,0:22:46.960
that quote and

0:22:45.039,0:22:48.320
so now yeah like i guess i’m gonna go

0:22:46.960,0:22:48.960
into more detail about like what does

0:22:48.320,0:22:51.039
that mean like

0:22:48.960,0:22:52.000
institutions failed like that’s kind of

0:22:51.039,0:22:54.480
confusing so

0:22:52.000,0:22:55.840
if we look at first let’s look at egypt

0:22:54.480,0:22:57.600
so

0:22:55.840,0:22:59.200
uh this like as a refresher because i

0:22:57.600,0:23:00.080
talked about so many different names and

0:22:59.200,0:23:02.960
countries

0:23:00.080,0:23:04.240
so they protesters had originally

0:23:02.960,0:23:07.360
overthrown

0:23:04.240,0:23:08.320
uh the dictator mubarak right and so he

0:23:07.360,0:23:10.799
had been ruling

0:23:08.320,0:23:12.960
for three decades and over these three

0:23:10.799,0:23:16.320
decades he basically ensured

0:23:12.960,0:23:18.080
that no opposition party or civil

0:23:16.320,0:23:21.120
society institution

0:23:18.080,0:23:24.240
grew strong enough to challenge him

0:23:21.120,0:23:26.000
so for example he staffed the interior

0:23:24.240,0:23:28.480
ministry with his supporters

0:23:26.000,0:23:30.559
rather than like effective leaders so

0:23:28.480,0:23:31.440
like the patronage spoil system like we

0:23:30.559,0:23:34.400
talked about

0:23:31.440,0:23:34.720
um and then this made it easier like

0:23:34.400,0:23:37.600
this

0:23:34.720,0:23:39.840
gave way to corruption right and then he

0:23:37.600,0:23:40.720
stripped the judiciary system of its

0:23:39.840,0:23:42.960
power

0:23:40.720,0:23:45.360
and this weakened the rule of law and

0:23:42.960,0:23:48.000
gave him the power to persecute his

0:23:45.360,0:23:49.440
political opponents and so basically he

0:23:48.000,0:23:52.000
made sure that all these

0:23:49.440,0:23:53.039
institutions in the government were like

0:23:52.000,0:23:55.919
very weak

0:23:53.039,0:23:57.200
and they couldn’t support a transition

0:23:55.919,0:24:00.320
if his like

0:23:57.200,0:24:04.080
if his regime fell the only institution

0:24:00.320,0:24:07.440
that grew stronger was the military he

0:24:04.080,0:24:10.000
um he made the military a lot stronger

0:24:07.440,0:24:12.240
and this kind of backfired because he

0:24:10.000,0:24:13.279
lost public support and then he lost the

0:24:12.240,0:24:15.200
loyalty

0:24:13.279,0:24:16.840
of his military so then the military

0:24:15.200,0:24:21.600
like overthrew him

0:24:16.840,0:24:24.640
um and so yeah so he’s overthrown right

0:24:21.600,0:24:26.480
and then the next guy is elected morsi

0:24:24.640,0:24:29.279
is elected into power

0:24:26.480,0:24:30.840
um but he like he was pretty much set up

0:24:29.279,0:24:34.480
for failure because all of these

0:24:30.840,0:24:35.440
institutions were like he was starting

0:24:34.480,0:24:37.440
from

0:24:35.440,0:24:38.799
below ground zero you know because he

0:24:37.440,0:24:40.559
had to like rebuild all these

0:24:38.799,0:24:42.240
institutions

0:24:40.559,0:24:44.240
like there’s corruption throughout the

0:24:42.240,0:24:46.000
government and so you kind of have to

0:24:44.240,0:24:48.640
rebuild everything

0:24:46.000,0:24:49.120
um and that’s a really difficult task so

0:24:48.640,0:24:52.480
he

0:24:49.120,0:24:54.640
failed and instead of

0:24:52.480,0:24:55.840
like democratically electing a new

0:24:54.640,0:24:58.480
president

0:24:55.840,0:24:59.120
um like there were these institutions

0:24:58.480,0:25:02.400
were too

0:24:59.120,0:25:05.520
weak to prevent further

0:25:02.400,0:25:06.640
revolution so he was overthrown by the

0:25:05.520,0:25:09.840
military in a

0:25:06.640,0:25:11.600
coup so like does that make sense yeah

0:25:09.840,0:25:15.840
we which country is this again

0:25:11.600,0:25:19.600
this is egypt okay wow

0:25:15.840,0:25:21.200
and so like yeah basically

0:25:19.600,0:25:22.720
all these institutions were weak and

0:25:21.200,0:25:26.320
then now we still have there’s still a

0:25:22.720,0:25:28.080
dictator in egypt and it’s because

0:25:26.320,0:25:30.799
there’s no like checks and balances you

0:25:28.080,0:25:32.640
know because the original dictator had

0:25:30.799,0:25:34.960
erased all these checks and balances so

0:25:32.640,0:25:36.480
it’s hard to

0:25:34.960,0:25:38.000
it doesn’t matter about the people who

0:25:36.480,0:25:39.679
are in power it’s about

0:25:38.000,0:25:41.600
like the setup of the government you

0:25:39.679,0:25:44.240
know yeah yeah

0:25:41.600,0:25:45.840
yeah and so basically the same thing

0:25:44.240,0:25:48.159
happened in libya

0:25:45.840,0:25:49.600
qaddafi had like been weakening

0:25:48.159,0:25:52.880
institutions over his

0:25:49.600,0:25:54.960
20 years of rule 30 years of rule and so

0:25:52.880,0:25:58.080
no one was able to challenge him

0:25:54.960,0:25:58.559
and so that so now libya is in a civil

0:25:58.080,0:26:00.159
war

0:25:58.559,0:26:02.159
like fighting for control because there

0:26:00.159,0:26:03.279
had been no like strong opposition

0:26:02.159,0:26:06.640
parties

0:26:03.279,0:26:08.000
um yeah like you might be asking like oh

0:26:06.640,0:26:09.039
my god like why are there so many

0:26:08.000,0:26:11.360
dictators

0:26:09.039,0:26:12.640
um it’s because there’s like a lot of

0:26:11.360,0:26:14.799
instability

0:26:12.640,0:26:16.799
after these after britain and france

0:26:14.799,0:26:18.000
like pulled out of the middle east

0:26:16.799,0:26:20.159
and then there’s like a strong sense of

0:26:18.000,0:26:23.600
nationalism and like it was easy

0:26:20.159,0:26:27.120
for people to kind of like take power

0:26:23.600,0:26:29.760
by using nationalism as like a uniting

0:26:27.120,0:26:31.200
identity factor and then also like

0:26:29.760,0:26:32.799
because of oil

0:26:31.200,0:26:34.880
oil reserves in the middle east like

0:26:32.799,0:26:36.400
these leaders were able to make

0:26:34.880,0:26:39.039
a lot of money really quick and then

0:26:36.400,0:26:41.760
they were able to like fund

0:26:39.039,0:26:43.440
their like with the money they’re making

0:26:41.760,0:26:46.159
from oil they’re able to like

0:26:43.440,0:26:47.120
pay off different institutions so like

0:26:46.159,0:26:48.640
the military

0:26:47.120,0:26:50.320
and like they will like bribe people and

0:26:48.640,0:26:52.559
basically like fund

0:26:50.320,0:26:53.760
their dictatorship so that’s that’s

0:26:52.559,0:26:56.960
another reason why we see

0:26:53.760,0:27:00.480
a lot of like authoritarian regimes

0:26:56.960,0:27:04.159
in the region some sense yeah

0:27:00.480,0:27:08.080
so yeah and then also like just

0:27:04.159,0:27:10.240
so for syria so the military

0:27:08.080,0:27:11.600
is really really strong and they have

0:27:10.240,0:27:15.279
remained loyal to

0:27:11.600,0:27:17.919
bashar al-assad because he basically

0:27:15.279,0:27:19.520
engineered the military as an instrument

0:27:17.919,0:27:21.279
to rule the country

0:27:19.520,0:27:23.120
so he weakened all the other

0:27:21.279,0:27:25.200
institutions made

0:27:23.120,0:27:26.240
the military stronger but he made sure

0:27:25.200,0:27:28.640
that they would

0:27:26.240,0:27:30.399
like always remain loyal to him and do

0:27:28.640,0:27:33.200
whatever he said

0:27:30.399,0:27:35.840
and because of this syria is pretty much

0:27:33.200,0:27:39.039
the worst case scenario because

0:27:35.840,0:27:40.000
like there’s a brutal evil dictator that

0:27:39.039,0:27:43.279
has

0:27:40.000,0:27:46.080
like a really a good amount of territory

0:27:43.279,0:27:47.360
and he’s attacking civilians and he

0:27:46.080,0:27:50.080
remains in power

0:27:47.360,0:27:52.159
but there’s also a power vacuum in the

0:27:50.080,0:27:55.039
territory that he lost

0:27:52.159,0:27:57.279
and that has opened the door for isis

0:27:55.039,0:27:57.840
and other extremist groups to infiltrate

0:27:57.279,0:28:01.919
the country

0:27:57.840,0:28:03.440
so it’s like that’s why it’s such a

0:28:01.919,0:28:06.720
violent situation and that’s why

0:28:03.440,0:28:07.360
it hasn’t been resolved yet uh it’s just

0:28:06.720,0:28:09.279
like

0:28:07.360,0:28:10.799
literally the worst case scenario and

0:28:09.279,0:28:13.600
then so if you’re asking yourself

0:28:10.799,0:28:15.360
so why did tunisia succeed why were they

0:28:13.600,0:28:17.240
like the only country to succeed

0:28:15.360,0:28:18.880
um basically their first

0:28:17.240,0:28:21.440
post-revolutionary government

0:28:18.880,0:28:21.919
had remained stable and when the people

0:28:21.440,0:28:24.559
started

0:28:21.919,0:28:26.080
disagreeing with their leader they he

0:28:24.559,0:28:28.640
was defeated in the polls

0:28:26.080,0:28:29.520
rather than through a coup like they

0:28:28.640,0:28:32.080
just voted him

0:28:29.520,0:28:32.960
out of office after his term was up and

0:28:32.080,0:28:35.679
yeah did

0:28:32.960,0:28:38.240
sorry did any of the other countries uh

0:28:35.679,0:28:43.360
write constitutions

0:28:38.240,0:28:46.000
um i think bahrain

0:28:43.360,0:28:47.760
they have a constitutional monarchy and

0:28:46.000,0:28:49.600
i think they tried to draft a new

0:28:47.760,0:28:52.000
constitution

0:28:49.600,0:28:54.080
yeah i feel like writing it down helps

0:28:52.000,0:28:56.640
i’m just like studying

0:28:54.080,0:28:58.799
other countries when you have a

0:28:56.640,0:29:00.080
constitution and you write like

0:28:58.799,0:29:02.159
this is how the government should be

0:29:00.080,0:29:03.760
formed um

0:29:02.159,0:29:05.679
but i don’t know that’s not to like

0:29:03.760,0:29:08.399
diminish what happened in

0:29:05.679,0:29:09.120
egypt but i just tunisia had the or

0:29:08.399,0:29:13.200
tunisia

0:29:09.120,0:29:14.880
tunisia yeah i thought it was tunisia

0:29:13.200,0:29:16.720
i’ve been saying it wrong my whole life

0:29:14.880,0:29:18.880
tunisia um

0:29:16.720,0:29:20.320
yeah i feel like the one differing thing

0:29:18.880,0:29:23.520
you told me is that tunisia

0:29:20.320,0:29:26.240
had a constitution that outlawed certain

0:29:23.520,0:29:28.000
elements yeah yeah like they were able

0:29:26.240,0:29:30.000
to draft the constitution but that’s

0:29:28.000,0:29:32.559
because they had

0:29:30.000,0:29:33.919
stronger civil institutions before the

0:29:32.559,0:29:36.640
protest began

0:29:33.919,0:29:38.480
so like they did have a dictator but

0:29:36.640,0:29:41.600
they still had

0:29:38.480,0:29:45.200
um strong like opposition

0:29:41.600,0:29:46.320
and they had like human rights groups

0:29:45.200,0:29:48.480
and like lawyers

0:29:46.320,0:29:50.000
and like clerks like were still strong

0:29:48.480,0:29:50.799
and present and like that’s a really big

0:29:50.000,0:29:53.520
deal

0:29:50.799,0:29:54.640
um because like those people were able

0:29:53.520,0:29:56.960
to

0:29:54.640,0:29:57.679
like come together and diffuse political

0:29:56.960,0:29:58.960
tensions

0:29:57.679,0:30:01.120
they were able to write a new

0:29:58.960,0:30:02.880
constitution and then

0:30:01.120,0:30:04.480
they were able to continue with like

0:30:02.880,0:30:07.120
fair elections because

0:30:04.480,0:30:08.640
they had like these strong institutions

0:30:07.120,0:30:10.640
i know i’m like repeating myself but

0:30:08.640,0:30:13.039
no that makes sense how does one

0:30:10.640,0:30:13.840
diminish the power of an institution do

0:30:13.039,0:30:16.320
you just remove

0:30:13.840,0:30:18.640
funding yeah well like kind of like what

0:30:16.320,0:30:19.600
i i guess like using egypt as an example

0:30:18.640,0:30:22.799
again

0:30:19.600,0:30:24.880
like he just replaced all the government

0:30:22.799,0:30:26.559
officials with his supporters so it was

0:30:24.880,0:30:27.440
like super corrupt so there’s no one

0:30:26.559,0:30:28.799
who’s like

0:30:27.440,0:30:30.720
knows what they’re doing like no one who

0:30:28.799,0:30:32.240
is like an expert at their job it’s not

0:30:30.720,0:30:35.200
like

0:30:32.240,0:30:36.720
like the people who are like leading the

0:30:35.200,0:30:39.200
country

0:30:36.720,0:30:40.880
are not necessarily like the best people

0:30:39.200,0:30:43.679
they’re just like people who

0:30:40.880,0:30:45.279
gave him money right yeah it’s like so

0:30:43.679,0:30:46.240
much corruption and so now it’s like

0:30:45.279,0:30:47.600
okay

0:30:46.240,0:30:49.440
we have to like fill all these

0:30:47.600,0:30:50.159
government roles but like how do we do

0:30:49.440,0:30:54.240
that

0:30:50.159,0:30:57.039
and then he um

0:30:54.240,0:30:58.960
i like i guess if you yeah if you

0:30:57.039,0:31:01.039
replace like all your country’s judges

0:30:58.960,0:31:03.039
with again like supporters or like

0:31:01.039,0:31:05.679
people that you could pay off

0:31:03.039,0:31:07.440
then there’s a judicial system and so

0:31:05.679,0:31:09.279
basically it’s like you’re

0:31:07.440,0:31:10.640
you’re replacing the entire government

0:31:09.279,0:31:13.120
with people

0:31:10.640,0:31:13.679
for you yeah it’s like the patronage

0:31:13.120,0:31:16.880
system

0:31:13.679,0:31:19.360
but like extreme i guess how would you

0:31:16.880,0:31:21.279
even rise up against that

0:31:19.360,0:31:23.840
like as the people there’s not really

0:31:21.279,0:31:27.440
other way than by force

0:31:23.840,0:31:28.640
if and that’s why like a lot

0:31:27.440,0:31:30.320
like if you look at these countries who

0:31:28.640,0:31:32.320
are in civil wars the reason they go

0:31:30.320,0:31:35.600
into civil war wars because they

0:31:32.320,0:31:36.080
like rebel forces gain they join forces

0:31:35.600,0:31:38.480
with

0:31:36.080,0:31:39.840
at least part of the military you know

0:31:38.480,0:31:43.039
because you need that

0:31:39.840,0:31:44.559
physical force like you can’t just like

0:31:43.039,0:31:47.120
protest forever

0:31:44.559,0:31:48.960
yeah peaceful protest is not gonna work

0:31:47.120,0:31:50.640
in that situation

0:31:48.960,0:31:53.039
cause if it did then you wouldn’t be in

0:31:50.640,0:31:55.120
that situation like obviously that’s not

0:31:53.039,0:31:57.120
what the people would want

0:31:55.120,0:31:59.600
exactly so a lot of times it’s like okay

0:31:57.120,0:32:01.919
well when the military

0:31:59.600,0:32:04.320
starts questioning who they’re like

0:32:01.919,0:32:06.399
supporting then that’s when

0:32:04.320,0:32:08.399
like yeah that’s when it goes south you

0:32:06.399,0:32:12.080
know um

0:32:08.399,0:32:13.519
yeah so it’s like super complicated

0:32:12.080,0:32:15.200
and obviously there are a lot of

0:32:13.519,0:32:18.240
different reasons why

0:32:15.200,0:32:20.480
certain countries succeeded and certain

0:32:18.240,0:32:22.159
like most countries didn’t but that’s

0:32:20.480,0:32:22.720
kind of just like my oversimplification

0:32:22.159,0:32:24.480
of like

0:32:22.720,0:32:26.799
oh blame it on the institutions but

0:32:24.480,0:32:29.200
obviously there’s a lot of other factors

0:32:26.799,0:32:30.559
um but basically like what we learned

0:32:29.200,0:32:34.480
and what we saw from the

0:32:30.559,0:32:36.799
uprisings in the spring of 2011 is that

0:32:34.480,0:32:38.000
like there’s mass demonstrations and

0:32:36.799,0:32:40.480
peaceful protests

0:32:38.000,0:32:42.080
are actually really powerful and can

0:32:40.480,0:32:44.240
result in change

0:32:42.080,0:32:45.200
and it really showcased the ability of

0:32:44.240,0:32:48.000
social media

0:32:45.200,0:32:49.600
to fuel protests and like also

0:32:48.000,0:32:52.799
communicate the goals of

0:32:49.600,0:32:55.440
the protesters to the outside world um

0:32:52.799,0:32:56.559
i think that’s kind of why it spread so

0:32:55.440,0:32:58.640
quickly

0:32:56.559,0:33:00.399
and it was so far-reaching was because

0:32:58.640,0:33:02.000
like social media you could reach the

0:33:00.399,0:33:05.919
whole world you know

0:33:02.000,0:33:09.600
and yeah it’s just that’s basically it

0:33:05.919,0:33:11.919
um oh wait no yeah also finally

0:33:09.600,0:33:13.440
it showed autocratic governments and the

0:33:11.919,0:33:14.399
rest of the world that millions of

0:33:13.440,0:33:16.240
people living in

0:33:14.399,0:33:17.679
islamic nations believe in free

0:33:16.240,0:33:20.480
expression and

0:33:17.679,0:33:21.039
democratic governance and yeah basically

0:33:20.480,0:33:24.480
like what

0:33:21.039,0:33:28.159
started as a single active protest from

0:33:24.480,0:33:29.440
like one individual resulted in a huge

0:33:28.159,0:33:33.120
movement that

0:33:29.440,0:33:36.559
like spread across an entire region and

0:33:33.120,0:33:38.880
yeah that’s basically the arab spring

0:33:36.559,0:33:40.240
uh it’s really complicated there’s a lot

0:33:38.880,0:33:42.960
more yeah

0:33:40.240,0:33:44.320
but hopefully that kind of gives people

0:33:42.960,0:33:46.399
like

0:33:44.320,0:33:48.640
some background on what’s going on today

0:33:46.399,0:33:51.600
and a little bit more understanding of

0:33:48.640,0:33:52.080
like why there’s so much unrest yeah no

0:33:51.600,0:33:54.880
definitely

0:33:52.080,0:33:56.399
that’s like the tip of the iceberg into

0:33:54.880,0:34:00.159
what’s happening in the middle

0:33:56.399,0:34:02.080
in the middle east and yeah yeah

0:34:00.159,0:34:03.679
also like i just want to like before we

0:34:02.080,0:34:05.760
end i just want to say like

0:34:03.679,0:34:08.000
i don’t know i feel like the region is

0:34:05.760,0:34:11.040
extremely diverse and they’re

0:34:08.000,0:34:13.440
like the situation varies

0:34:11.040,0:34:15.760
extremely like between each country and

0:34:13.440,0:34:17.679
i i kind of chose to focus on

0:34:15.760,0:34:19.760
countries that like were in similar

0:34:17.679,0:34:22.399
situations with like civil war

0:34:19.760,0:34:23.919
and regime changes but like that’s not

0:34:22.399,0:34:26.639
what all of the middle east looks like

0:34:23.919,0:34:29.679
and it’s not just all like war-torn

0:34:26.639,0:34:32.960
uh yeah it’s not yeah it’s not all

0:34:29.679,0:34:34.079
not everyone is suffering and like in a

0:34:32.960,0:34:36.960
similar way

0:34:34.079,0:34:38.240
um yeah each country is very different

0:34:36.960,0:34:40.480
so

0:34:38.240,0:34:42.000
yeah i didn’t need to oversimplify with

0:34:40.480,0:34:45.200
this but

0:34:42.000,0:34:47.440
yeah yeah no i think you did good

0:34:45.200,0:34:49.440
thank you nat for presenting on the arab

0:34:47.440,0:34:51.440
spring and

0:34:49.440,0:34:52.480
yeah we learned a lot and i hope that we

0:34:51.440,0:34:54.399
can continue

0:34:52.480,0:34:55.679
talking about different events in the

0:34:54.399,0:34:57.680
middle east so we get a

0:34:55.679,0:34:59.520
more diverse perspective on what’s

0:34:57.680,0:35:01.280
happening because i for one

0:34:59.520,0:35:02.640
have a very i think of it as a

0:35:01.280,0:35:05.119
monolithic

0:35:02.640,0:35:05.920
area and it’s definitely not in any

0:35:05.119,0:35:09.520
sense

0:35:05.920,0:35:11.040
so this will be a good opening topic for

0:35:09.520,0:35:13.040
us

0:35:11.040,0:35:14.839
for sure all right thanks for listening

0:35:13.040,0:35:16.550
everyone

0:35:14.839,0:35:36.800
bye

0:35:16.550,0:35:38.880
[Music]

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