Rami G. Khouri, a visiting scholar this month at Tufts’ Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, is the director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. Khouri, an authority on Middle East politics, spoke to TuftsNow about the current state of affairs in Egypt. He explains:
These things happen on schedules that are difficult to predict, but in retrospect, they always follow a clear pattern. If you look at Tiananmen Square or South Africa or the Soviet Union, you see that the indignities and the humiliations that ordinary people suffer mount up and reach a point where people just simply snap and they fight back, knowing there’s a risk of death and imprisonment. They can’t take the humiliation anymore.
Think about Rosa Parks: why did she not move to the back of the bus that day? She had enough. In Tunisia, it was a young man named Mohamed Bouazizi. He was hit by a cop when he was trying to sell vegetables and fruits on his cart, and he had enough. He burned himself in protest, and that sparked the protests in Tunisia. The Egyptians, in turn, were inspired by the Tunisians.
Here is a recent clip of Khouri’s appearance on PBS NewsHour: