Syria and Yemen Crack: From Politics to Soul

Date: June 2011
The Syria I visited with my husband five years ago was a politically complicated place, where the streets were tamped down. As tourists, we were a bit suspect, subjected to a two hour baggage search at 2 am as we drove across the immigration border.

(Photo taken from NYT)

Today Syria- with escalating repression – has cracked. Just as Yemen has cracked. And there seem to be distinct differences between the revolutions of Syria and Yemen vs. the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt. Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s departure was fairly swift and relatively painless in comparison with what ensued in Bahrain, Libya and other countries.

The Egyptian revolution was the first to make headline news daily with Former President Mubarak staying the course as best he could with the help of his foreign allies. While the Mubarak exit was considerably more complicated and took a little longer to negotiate with the super powers, Egypt and Tunisia were well served by their revolutions. Both countries have transitioned rapidly into the next steps of nation building with a clear focus on democracy, creating a constitution and fair parliamentary elections – even though final outcomes are unpredictable at this point.