AshrafAS | March 17th, 2011

“Look East Young Man” was the title of my last year’s blog post on the 2nd ASDA’A B-M Arab Youth Survey. At that time I was impressed to learn that the findings of the Survey indicated that young Arab people are admiring of and inspired by the progressive societies in the eastern part of this planet, such as India and China.

Well, nowadays, I can safely say, East and West are looking closely at the inspirational movements of Arab Youth who have bravely and efficiently produced the 2.0 Revolution as Wael Ghonim stated in his recent TED speech.

In last year’s press conference launch in Dubai, only a few influential journalists challenged one of the Survey’s key findings; “democracy was one of the Arab Youth priorities”. Tunisia’s #Sidibouzid and Egypt’s #Jan25 were a solid response to everyone who had doubts about the ability of Arabs to rise again and have changed the fundamental realities of our region, which has, for so long, especially following 9/11, been associated with radicalism and terrorism — an association empowered by the systematic Islamophobia propaganda machine.

In January 2006, I was enjoying a live blues band performance at B.B. King Blues Club in Manhattan. The lead vocalist spoke for a while about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, critiquing (in what was soft criticism in my opinion) the authorities in the way they handled the disaster, and suddenly he closed his short speech by saying “I don’t wanna get too political”. For the last two decades, this statement brought my blood pressure up to alarming levels. Everything surrounding us is “too political”, from global warming, the battle against HIV in Africa, the rights of widows in India, all the way to artists refusing to perform in Israel.

The guys in Tahrir have taught us that being “too political” is cool, and that you can also have a wonderful career, have concerns about social welfare, environment, technology, and economy, all the while remaining “too political” in your thinking. The age of “Grey Suits” Arab politicians has come to an end.

The 3rd ASDA’A B-M Arab Youth Survey unveils that democracy is the number one priority for Arab Youth. It is important to note that we are talking about a pure version of Arab democracy, unlike the unpopular neoconservatives’ democracy that was brought to Iraq through military invasion, which was followed by sectarian violence and division.

Another interesting and obvious finding of the survey is that the “internet makes more inroads with social media growing in influence”. Internet and social media did NOT create the Arab revolutions and movements; they simply facilitated them, as leaflets did in classical revolutions, and as the audiotape did during Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

Arab youth holds a historical commitment and mission, primarily to their local community and to the entire world: the building of the new, progressive and tolerant Arab World; a world empowered by knowledge and technology, that strives from its unique cultural values and embraces its remarkable ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. A secular and liberal Arab World must become the reality of this region and it is definitely good news to every citizen of this world.


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