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Tag: Middle East

Arab Spring: after a decade of conflict, the same old problems remain
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Arab Spring: after a decade of conflict, the same old problems remain

Arab Spring: after a decade of conflict, the same old problems remain Simon Mabon, Lancaster University As the popular refrain of “ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam” rang out across the Middle East in the early months of 2011, the nature of political life and relations between rulers and ruled began to fragment. The chant – which roughly translates as “the people want the fall of the regime” – became the slogan of the Arab uprisings, a wave of protests in states across the region. The uprisings highlighted the fractious nature of political life and relations between the people and their governments, resulting in the toppling of authoritarian rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. But these were limited victories – and protesters elsewhere were not as successful. Over the course...
Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line
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Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line Shutterstock Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand and Charne Lavery, University of Pretoria On many beaches around the Indian Ocean, keen observers may spot bits of broken pottery. Washed smooth by the ocean, these shards are in all likelihood hundreds of years old, from centres of ceramic production like the Middle Eastern Abbasid caliphate and the Chinese Ming dynasty. Originally destined for Indian Ocean port cities, this pottery would have been purchased by merchant elites accustomed to eating off fine plates. These traders formed part of vast commercial networks that crisscrossed the Indian Ocean arena and beyond, from East Africa to Indon...