#PITAPAL Reflections by Dr. Bessma Momani

Dear Pita-consumers,

It’s always funtabulous to meet another woman who focuses on political economy issues.  I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Bessma Momani, who is on faculty at the University of Waterloo, at the annual National US Policymakers Conference.  Aside from serving as a Non-Resident Fellow at Brookings, Dr. Momani also organized a March 2008 conference of former finance ministers from the Middle East to discuss potential reforms for the IMF.

We discussed how Syria is drawing more attention, but operates more as a commercial for “human rights abuses” where the 30 second message finishes with no follow-up.  We started to reflect on an how many starts and stops regarding economic reforms in the pita-consuming region.  Momani gets into more depth on the corruption aspect and its impact.  She has been kind enough to reshare it with me. 

Old Definitions Fail to Capture Arab Spring Complexities

Source: The National

Structural arguments have been convenient frameworks for understanding many aspects of Middle East politics and history, but they don’t work as interpretations for the Arab Spring. Neo-Ottomanism, neoliberalism, Zionism, neo-imperialism, neo-colonialism, Americanism, globalisation and Islamism – all of these words have been put forward as explanations and paradigms to explain the Arab Spring.

Considering all of the opinions, debates and rebuttals, I must admit that, for the first time, I feel frustrated with academic analysis of this watershed moment. The Arab people have been denied agency. It is high time armchair academics stop trying to fit political history into familiar and convenient theoretical frameworks.

As a political analyst of the never-ending Arab Spring, I [click here to continue…]


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Filed under Analysis, PIDE (Policy, International Development & Economics), Politics

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