Mirage and reality in the Arab Spring

If rebels start using violence, as has happened in Libya, then decades of turmoil could follow, professor argues.

Reading the chronicle of the violence and death that have blanketed the western Libyan port city of Misurata during the last week, I couldn’t help thinking of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967

classic, Where Do We Go from Here:

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

King understood the continued urgency of the struggle for equality. Similar to the situation today across the Arab world, promised reforms had yet to produce significant social change in 1967 – indeed, they were being undermined by the country’s rapid descent into the darkness of the Vietnam War.

But the expectations they raised did inflame the passions of those whose lives they’d failed to improve. “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now,” King declared. “This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos or community.”

Victory through violence?

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Categories: Syria

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