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To some extent, the intellectual silence of the current uprising is a deliberate response to the hollow revolutionary rhetoric of previous generations. The Arab nationalist movement began in the 1930s and ’40s with idealistic young men who hoped to lead the region out of its colonial past, backwardness and tribalism. The Syrian political philosopher Michel Aflaq and other young writers and activists found inspiration in 19th-century German theories of nationalism, and envisioned their Baath Party as an instrument for modernization and economic justice.

Irtiqa: Is there a role for intellectuals in the Arab Spring? | by Salman Hameed -  - 2011-11-01
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