Become a Supporter

Curtis: If 9/11 defined the last decade, will the Arab Spring define the next?

By: /
11 September, 2011

Yes, if we take a myopic “western” view. We in the West, especially since the 1890s, have defined each decade (“the gay ’90s for example); while 9/11 had world-wide significance as signalling that the world’s only superpower was itself vulnerable and no longer (if ever) exceptional, the Arab Spring could be regional or perhaps more….we don’t know yet.

If the Arab Spring evolves into an Islamic Renaissance or Enlightenment, including the Turkish-speaking peoples as well those speaking Urdu, Bengali, or Baha Indonesian, that would define the decade. Or China by 2020 attaining-near military parity with the United States, backed by rising economic/political power could define our decade. Or the collapse of the European experiment if that were to happen…or the rise of Orthodoxy in Russia and the near-abroad, which would restore Christianity to where it was (East and West) before 1453 (the capture by the Turks of Constantinople).

All this to say that the Arab Spring, while important regionally, is not complete and could resemble more the socio-political-theological uprisings in the West from the thirteenth century onward, or the convulsions in the Islamic world since the late seventh century, than anything more.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 

Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter