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Longing for Freedom - The Middle East Changes

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First it was Tunesia and Egypt. Now disgruntled citizens are taking to the streets of Algeria, Bahrain and even Iran. A wave of popular uprising is sweeping the Mideast, fueled by economic malaise, the frustrations of the unemployed and most of all, a thirst for freedom. Citizens are demanding representative government and the rule of law.

The departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was viewed with grave concern by autocratic rulers across the region. Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika ordered security forces to crack down on massive protests against repression and corruption. In Yemen, thousands expressed their resentment of president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Demonstrators in Bahrain have called for a "Day of Rage." And citizens of Morocco, Syria and Saudi Arabia are demanding fundamental human rights. The call for freedom is closely linked to the search for a better life.

The Iranian opposition movement is again making its presence known. Violent clashes with security forces, a grim reminder of the nationwide unrest that exploded following the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmidinijad in 2009. Now, the protestors chant, "the people demand that the regime step aside."... similar to the cries heard on the streets of Tunis and Cairo.

For the rest of the world, the events shaking the middle east are a cause of both joy and concern. After decades of despotism, the people are exercising their rights. But there is little indication yet as to which groups will fill the political void. Western countries have adopted a wait and see attitude... preferring not to get mixed up in a revolutionary upheaval.

What's your view: Longing for Freedom - The Middle East Changes?

Write us at: quadriga@dw-world.de

Our guests:

Samuli Schielke - After his studies in Islamic science, philosophy and political science at the University of Bonn, Leiden, and Amsterdam he is a postdoc researcher at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies and the collaborative research centre (SFB 295) "Cultural and Linguistic Contacts", sub-project "Saintly Places and Saint Veneration in Egypt and Ethiopia" at the University of Mainz, Germany. In 2008 he is post-doctoral researcher at the University of Joensuu in Finland and ISIM in the project ""What makes a good Muslims: Contested notions of religious subjectivity in the age of Global Islam"" funded by the Academy of Finland. Since 2009 he is working as a research fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin. He is leading the junior research group "In search for Europe: Considering the Possible in Africa and the Middle East" at the ZMO, funded by the German Ministry of Research and Education.

Nadia Nader - She is currently a postdoctoral fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin research program “Europe in the Middle East, the Middle East in Europe” at the Free University in Berlin. She has a Ph.D. in Islamic and Middle Eastern history and law from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and two Master's degrees in Religious Studies and History from the same university. Dr. Nader was born in Alexandria, Egypt and has received her BA in English Literature from Alexandria University. She is primarily interested in questions of historical memory, and how they fundamentally affect our modern understanding of people’s communal past, the formation of the law, as well as issues of identity, faith and assimilation.

Alexander Görlach - A journalist with Ph.D’s in theology and German studies. After university, Görlach headed the online desk of the “Cicero” weekly and worked as editor-in-chief for BMW’s “Club of Pioneers” initiative. He work as a journalist has taken him from New York to London and Rome. Görlich also spent 7 years woring for Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF. He freelances for the “FAZ” and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” dailies. Today he is both editor-in-chief and publisher of “The European.”