Do a Turn or Light a Match

by

“Las manos arriba,

Sintura sola,

Da media vuerta,

A saco duro”

This is one verse from a song that my professor would sing (or try to make us sing) when she was missing her young daughter, who she left home in the states during our trip. It’s a Spanish song about a girl who is sad, so she does a little turn in this dance and makes herself feel better. She does something about her bad feelings. While this is just a song, it resonated deeply with what I learned about the Arab Spring.

People like Fadwa Laroui and Mohamed Bouazizi had lost everything, hope included. They had to do something about their problems. Yes, they lit themselves on fire and sparked the Arab Spring. While it is sad that they had to do something so extreme, their protest is exactly what the world needed to see in order to recognize the issues of unemployment and housing in countries like Morocco and Tunisia.

We read two books by Laila Lalami that seem to have predicted the Arab Spring, since they were written years before Bouazizi even got his food cart taken away. Of course she predicted this – it seemed so imminent, looking back. Just as the writer of the song predicted this girl would do something to fix her problem, so too did Lalami with the Arab Spring. She knew the issues in her home country and she knew it wouldn’t be long until the desperate would begin standing up for themselves and their rights.

A few of us at an Imam’s home in Meknes. We learned so much about Islam during our meeting with him, & it helped us gauge our learning of the Arab Spring as well.

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