Magazine February 22, 2021, Issue

The Arab Winter’s Slow Thaw

Anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo, January 25, 2011 (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)
The Arab Winter: A Tragedy, by Noah Feldman (Princeton University Press, 216 pp., $22.95)

‘Tragedy” generally connotes fateful disaster: predestined failure, star-crossed lovers, young lives cut short, unexpected natural catastrophes. Greek tragedy, in particular, involves themes of destiny and fortune, where no matter how hard the hero strives to overcome his nature, he’s doomed to fall victim to his fate.

But in Noah Feldman’s tragedy The Arab Winter, a concise, convincing recapitulation of the causes and consequences of the Arab Spring, “the protagonists make choices based on their individual characters and by their actions participate in the construction of their fates.” The series of uprisings across the Arab world in the early 2010s resulted in

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This article appears as “The Long Thaw” in the February 22, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


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A San Francisco school board has voted to rename 44 schools the names of which are associated with ‘dishonorable legacies.’


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