Counterrevolution and Revolutionary discontent: Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain

A Discussion hosted by Miriyam Aouragh and Hamza Hamouchene, published by Transnational Institute

The things you always wanted to ask about Syria but were afraid to. Four key things you aren’t being told about Yemen. What you wanted to discuss about Libya but were too depressed to even begin. What were the popular demands in Bahrain that were crushed before one could pronounce the word revol—

Indeed, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain have all been key parts of the Arab revolutions. But a decade on, these events have almost completely faded from that framework. The Arab uprisings were celebrated as world-changing events, but these incredible efforts against authoritarianism also morphed into divisive violence. Many attempts to resist socio-economic exploitation were met with resistance from the state, often in conjunction with global capital and foreign interference. The brutal descent into civil wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen and a succession of crackdowns in Gulf countries like Bahrain, shows the cynical proxy-logic so reminiscent of the colonial schemes this region is all too familiar with.

We discuss all these issues with four brilliant guests where we re-visit these key examples to help us understand how revolutionary processes are imbued with ups and downs, with gains and setbacks.

Hosted by Miriyam Aouragh and Hamza Hamouchene

Guests: Yasser Munif is a Syrian Sociology Associate Professor in the institute for Liberal Arts at Emerson College. Author of the ‘The Syrian Revolution: Between the Politics of Life and the Geopolitics of Death’

Ala’a Shehabi is a Bahraini activist scholar. Deputy Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London (UCL). Co-editor of ‘Bahrain’s Uprising: Resistance and Repression in The Gulf’.

Lucia Pradella is a Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College London. Works on capitalism, border imperialism in Libya and the disciplining of labour across the Mediterranean.

Helen Lackner has worked in all parts of Yemen since the 1970s and lived there for close to 15 years. Author of ‘Yemen in Crisis, the road to war’

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Miriyam Aouragh


Dr. Miriyam Aouragh is a Reader at CAMRI. She has studied the implications of the internet as it was first introduced (“Web 1.0”) in Palestine (PhD, University of Amsterdam, 2000-2008) to understand in particular the significance of techno-­social evolutions by analysing how a new technology coincided with the outbreak of a mass uprising (Second Intifada 2000-2005). She then focused on the political role of new internet developments, such as blogging and social networking (“Web 2.0”) for grassroots activism in Lebanon and Palestine (Postdoc, Oxford Internet Institute, 2009-2011). After earning a Leverhulme Early Career (UoW, 2013-2016) funding Miriyam set-up a critical research project in which she relates theory with online analysis through a focus on the complex revolutionary dynamics in the Arab world. In these new techno-social relations, marked by revolution and counter-revolution, she researched and wrote about the paradoxical context of online-revolution and cyber-imperialism. During fieldwork in Palestine, Jordan Lebanon and Morocco, she combined participant observation and interviews with media analyses and throughout her academic projects and collaborations in general, she relates online studies and observations with ethnographic (offline) methodologies, and theoretical focus on critical race, political-economy and infrastructures. Miriyam theorizes how the contradictions of capitalism shape the modes and meanings of resistance in the era of revolution and digital transformations. Her work is published in several books and journals (see Publications) including her own monograph Palestine Online (IB Tauris 2011), forthcoming book on Cyber Imperialism (2021) and monograph about the (r)evolutionary dynamics of protest in Morocco (2022). Miriyam teaching about internet, (global) media, (Middle East/race) politics and anthropology. She welcomes and supervises PhD students.


21 April 2021
Published By
Transnational Institute
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