Omar Shweiki

In the midst of a wave of commentators, analysts and politicians trying to keep up with, control, and define the movement of revolution now unfolding termed the ‘Arab Spring’, one popular demand has risen above them all, in a single voice. Breathtaking in its clarity, the sentiment is captured by the single refrain heard from Yemen to Libya, from Egypt to Bahrain: ‘The people want!’ The determination of citizens to come together in order to take control of their own destinies has been reaching its full expression at every level of society across the Arab world, from the ousting of dictatorial leaderships, to the formation of popular committees in order to meet basic local needs such as cleaning the streets and managing local security. In all these achievements, the people have been driven by the will to take back ownership of everything from their local neighbourhoods to the national institutions of the state itself.