When they’re not busy talking about boobs and mavericks, your profs are offering their wisdom outside the lecture hall. Geniuses walk among us common folk! Below, we’ve compiled their thoughts, heard and read across the media, on the recent developments in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria.
Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature – How will history judge Obama’s response to the Egyptian uprising? Not well: “In the events of the past month in Tunisia and Cairo, he [Obama] has had a gift from history to justify the [Nobel] prize after the fact — but alas he did very little to show he deserved it.” (CNN)
Richard Bulliet, Professor of History, Middle East Inistitute – Bulliet discusses the ties between Egypt’s military officials and its national industries: “ties that have been an almost continual feature of Egyptian society, and Arab society more generally, since the year 1250.” He compares this system to other military-industrial complexes in the Arab world (Yemen, Turkey, Iran) and concludes “…it may take 50 years for Egypt to overcome centuries of subservience to its army officers. But with Mubarak gone, it is the time to take the first step on that long and difficult road.” (NYT)
Mona El Ghobashy, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Barnard – El Ghobashy’s interview on the Rachel Maddow Show was filmed before Mubarak’s resignation. Maddow introduced El Ghobashy as someone who had been “paying attention to Egyptian politics a heck of a lot longer than the rest of us,” and later calls herself a “noob.” They examine a key split between the anti-Mubarak protesters who wanted to continue to demonstrate and those who felt that a great deal had been accomplished and hoped to return to normal life. El Ghobashy emphasizes the extraordinary stamina of unarmed protesters in face of “very, very high odds.” She argues that the military was standing firmly behind Mubarak, and that Egypt would not reach a “Tunisia scenario.” (MSNBC)
For “noobs” to Egyptian affairs, El Ghobashy also wrote this highly comprehensive reading list on Egyptian politics in 2009. (Foreign Affairs)
Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor – In a slightly older article from the beginning of February, Stiglitz reflects on the lessons learned from Tunisia, and the ways in which democratic reforms must be balanced with policies aimed at civil and economic equality. He concludes, “Tunisia is off to an amazingly good start.” (Slate)
Alexander Cooley, Associate Professor of Political Science, Barnard, Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy/Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities and Mona El Ghobashy were included among 14 writers and scholars asked to give their reactions to the initial wave of protests. At that early point, they all agreed the situation defied any definitive analysis but each offers insights into the American media’s reaction and the protesters’ demands. (3 Quarks Daily)