The Categorical Revolution: Democratic Uprising in the Middle East

Ahmad, Irfan. 2011a. “The Categorical Revolution: Democratic Uprising in the Middle East.” Economic and Political Weekly. 46(45): 30 – 35.

Abstract: The democratic uprisings are perhaps the strongest voice crying out that the “Middle East” is first of all its people and that the categories of “oil-rich”, “oilless” and “main route” are at best exciting materials for a historian’s archive. As such they contest the dominant western masculine thinking about the “Middle East”. While unfolding this “categorical revolution”, this article explodes two key myths: (1) that of the terminology of the Middle East, and (2) Islam’s incompatibility with democracy. This article further argues that though anchored in the nation state spaces, voices like Bouazizi’s and scores of those who followed him in other modes of resistance across the Middle East were not fired by the credo of nationalist gusto. They are probably vital infrastructure to inaugurate a global order of justice and dignity. They exemplify a promise and its renewability which is basic to “democracy to come.”