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The Arab Spring’s Balance Sheet

CAIRO – Last year’s events in Egypt and Tunisia drew the curtain on a tottering old order and delivered much of the Arab world into a long-awaited new era. But what that new era will look like remains very much an open question, given the many challenges that the region’s countries still face.

The old order that has begun to vanish extends beyond the former regimes. The region’s entire value system – a political culture forged by autocracy – is being transformed. Arab men and women have shed the sense of humiliation and inferiority that despotism imposed on them – and that fostered desperation, anger, violence, and insularity.