The despair now is real, but so was the hope.
Wonderful write-up. The 21st Century (or maybe post 1989) seems littered with movements that find themselves marching in the streets and positive change seems right around the corner, only for nothing to happen, or worse, a terrible backlash. Not sure any of these is quite as crushing as the Arab Spring as it seemed like a massive positive change was not only possible but becoming probable.
A great analysis - and I think you are on to the right territory for sure when you link the disintegration and demolition of the arab spring movements through to the roots of trumpism etc. One quibble I have with this though is the way that modern 'tribalism' is never unpacked any further than just innate human groupism + social media. I've very sceptical we are doing justice to the social psychology and related cultural shifts of the last couple of decades when we dont go any further into it than just saying humans like belonging and in groups and thats a sufficiently explained 'tendency' that is heightened by current tech. There much more nuance and detail to the specific ways that identity has been threatened and undermined by the specific characteristics of modern media, and how this expresses itself in different cultural environments - and only be digging more into this are we going to get a full understanding of the problem we are facing. Imho :)
This was so beautiful to read. It took me back to paging through all the passages I have marked in Twitter and Tear Gas, which was an incredible resource when researching my own book, but was also an example of wonderful, clear-headed writing about subjects that clearly matter to the author personally while being approached analytically. And it feels hopeful. It reminds me of when you wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, work, and how much deep community organizing and time they put in before starting other actions.
This is excellent! Thank you.