The Silent Arab Spring

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We had the amazing opportunity to talk to college students at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes. At some point when we were talking about the Arab Spring, we asked the students their opinions. Gigi, who was the only Moroccan girl in our group, answered for them. She said that she personally didn’t think that protests were effective. With protests the government can say that they are going to fix things just to hush everyone up, but then not actually do anything. She said that she would rather educate and focus on herself in order to get an influential position, ideally as a diplomat. Then she can reach out to the people around her so the change can be real and permanent, from within.

Gigi reminded me of Halima, a character from Lalami’s novel, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. Halima didn’t like how things were but she didn’t complain or protest. Instead, she got herself to a better position. I feel like the actions of individuals progressing themselves to higher positions in order to improve their lives and the lives of people around them is a silent Arab Spring. These people see that there are things wrong and should be fixed but have decided to be the change themselves rather than protesting and asking the government to change.

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