Studies of Syrian politics have traditionally focused on the sectarian, military and economic foundations of the current regime or its opponents. There are early attempts to frame the uprising with generic economic arguments about poverty, and destitution with regional compares to the case of Syria. Arguments about an oppressive authoritarian doesn’t explain why the uprising happened now, why not before? Few studies, however, have paid attention to the cultural basis of this regime and to cultural forms of resistance against it.
There is little doubt that the series of uprisings that erupted the Arab World in 2011 (collectively referred to as the “Arab Spring” constitutes a landmark in the modern history. Like any other major event in history, many dimensions that should be taken into consideration such as political repression, economic difficulties and the “youth bulge” (Lin, 2012)—just to name a few—are all important factors. However, cultural dimensions was particularly important in the political unrest in the Middle East, especially in Syria.
Political , economic and social pre-conditions for popular uprising in the Arab world have already been in place for many years; pre-Arab Spring, these nations were considered unwilling to protest against their regime, which raises the questions if Middle Eastern countries want to be democratized? (Heydemann, 2013) Therefore the question isn’t “why these uprisings have occurred” but “why now?” The fact that the Arab Spring was primarily an “Arab phenomenon” is telling. Although it had repercussions outside the Arab world (such as the Occupy movement in a few Western countries) and although not all Arab countries have experienced the large-scale protests that threatened the stability of existing regimes; the most significant uprising followed the Tunisian revolution which occurred within this cultural zone that we may call the “Arab World” (Hammond, 2005)
Internet usage is growing rapidly among many Arab states; in some countries (e.g. Syria, Sudan), it has approached 400 per cent per year. Between 2000 and 2006, this growth brought 20.8 million new Arab users on-line (Warf and Vincent, 2007). Slogans, symbols and images were inspired by each other and traveled easily from country to country just by the ability of the youth throughout the Arab world whom were able to understand, communicate and report what the protestors in Tunisia and Egypt did. Graphic pictures and videos were shared for the whole world to watch, but most importantly, videos of Tunisia and Egypt expressing emotionally their joy now that their rulers stepped down and that it was viral on social networking websites, reaching to other Arab nations. This depicted the very possibility that the Arab world enjoyed a common culture and a common...