Yet history certainly isn’t on their side. The protest movement started five months ago now, with only a few hundred people in Daraa. Violent crackdowns brought a few hundred to a few thousand, and more crackdowns eventually swelled their numbers to upwards of a million demonstrators. Violence clearly isn’t placating the crowds, but it seems to be all the regime has to rely on. (more…)

The most famous of Tunisian poets, Abolkacim Ashabi, once wrote a famous poem that we all learned in school across the Arab world. Its best-known verse reads: “If the people one day decide to live, fate must answer and the chains must break.” Bouazizi’s martyrdom may have triggered a popular revival, many now believe, which will ensure that it is only a matter of time before Ashabi’s prophecy is fulfilled. (more…)