La psychologie des foules du Printemps arabe

ABOU DABI – En 1896, le psychologue social Gustave Le Bon mettait en garde ses contemporains sur les dangers des foules : « Il faut savoir résoudre les problèmes que la psychologie [des foules] nous pose, ou se résigner à être dévoré par elles. » Lorsqu'une manifestation spontanée a pu dépasser les mouvements politiques organisés à travers le monde arabe, les dirigeants des démocraties naissantes de Tunisie, d'Égypte et de Libye feraient bien de tenir compte de la mise en garde de Le Bon.

Depuis que les foules ont envahi les rues de Tunis, du Caire, de Benghazi et d'autres villes arabes, en renversant des régimes vieux de plusieurs décennies, certains témoins et analystes se sont demandé quelle direction prenait le monde arabe. Mais ils se sont concentrés presque exclusivement sur la dimension politique des événements : qui sont les meneurs, et quelles sont leurs revendications ?

En fait, la persistance, l'intensité et la fréquence des protestations – notamment en septembre, quand la milice locale à Benghazi a tué Christopher J. Stevens, l'Ambassadeur des Etats-Unis en Libye – démontre le rôle que la culture et la psychologie des foules jouent dans la détermination de la trajectoire du monde arabe. Après des décennies de régime autoritaire, les citoyens frustrés par des institutions discréditées et par des partis politiques paralysés, ont commencé à utiliser les médias sociaux pour organiser la résistance civile.

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