Arab Spring

   President Barack Obama gave an address this morning about the drone strike in Pakistan that killed hostages from U.S. and Italy.

To discuss that and other topics we welcome James Ketterer – the director of international academic initiatives at Bard College. He previously served as AMIDEAST country director in Egypt and has worked in government, academia and international development.

  In January 2011, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a group of strangers sparked a revolution. Basem, an apolitical middle-class architect, jeopardized the lives of his family when he seized the chance to improve his country. Moaz, a contrarian Muslim Brother, defied his own organization to join the opposition.

These revolutionaries had little more than their idealism with which to battle the secret police, the old oligarchs, and a power-hungry military determined to keep control.

In Once Upon A Revolution: An Egyptian Story, Thanassis Cambanis tells the story of the dreamers who brought Egypt to the brink of freedom, and the dark powerful forces that—for the time being—stopped them short.

Yesterday’s violent protests in Egypt and Libya that led to the deaths of four U.S. State Department diplomats, including U-S Ambassador Chris Stevens, in the Libyan city of Benghazi were spurred in-part by a film that portrayed the Islamic Prophet Muhammad as a fraud and a womanizer.

This isn’t the first time those in Middle East have taken up arms against those who ridicule their pre-dominant religion, but it is one of only a few times in modern history that American diplomats have been killed as a result of protests.