Discussion: Bahrain & Syria – Lynchpins for the 'Arab Spring'? With Hamid Dabashi and Bassam Haddad

Wed, June 8, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Since the beginning of what has been coined as the “Arab Spring”, we have witnessedtwo peoples' revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.These uprisings have transcended across the region inspiring revolts in several other countries.Unfortunately, we have witnessed brutal military crackdowns on peaceful protesters, such as in Bahrain and Syria, with over 1,000 killed and over 10,000 arrested.Yet there has beeninconsistentmedia coverage andlimitedsupport from the international community.

In February, members of Bahrain's Shiite Muslim-majority led protests against the regime’s longstanding corruption and discrimination. One month later, a wave of protests began in Syria calling for reform.Despite several economic and political differences between the two countries, there are parallels between Bahrain and Syria: entrenched autocratic regimes, sectarian-based rule, and how the stability of both regimes serves the interests and greatly impactsboth regional and globalplayers.

How can these popular uprisings not run the risk of turning into civil wars? In the event of a regime change in either country, how would that influence the dynamics of other regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey? Moreover, how would these changes impact US interests and policies in the region?

Join us for a discussion on Bahrain and Syria with our two distinguished guests: Professor Hamid Dabashi from Columbia University and Professor Bassam Haddad from Georgetown University

Professor Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, the oldest and most prestigious Chair in his field. He has taught and delivered lectures in many North and Latin American, European, Arab, and Iranian universities. He is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, as well as a founding member of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University. He has written 20 books, edited 4, and contributed chapters to many more. He is also the author of over 100 essays, articles and book reviews in major scholarly and peer reviewed journals on subjects ranging from Iranian Studies, medieval and modern Islam, comparative literature, world cinema, and the philosophy of art (trans-aesthetics).

Professor Bassam Haddad is the Director of the Middle East Studies Program at George Mason University and Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. He serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal, and is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad (, and director of a film series on “Arabs and Terrorism” ( He just completed his book on Syria’s political economy, titled “The Political Economy of Regime Security: State-Business Networks in Syria”

Last updated: 2011-06-02 11:13:04

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