chapter  10
Liberation Square, almost unnoticed, returns with a vengeance: Perceptions of Tahrir and the Arab revolutions in Turkey
Pages 25

Introduction In December 2010, the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, Muhammad Bouazizi, set in motion the Tunisian revolution and a wave of uprisings in the larger Arab world that resounded with demands for ‘freedom, dignity and social justice’. A new revolutionary vocabulary and syntax made its way through the Arab world, and so did images and slogans that declared ‘the people demand the fall of the regime’ (al-sha‘ab yurid isqat al-nizam). There is little doubt that at the height of the revolutionary upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, Arabic became the language of unlimited possibilities and for imagining the future of a region whose fate has all too often been decided by others. Where Arabic was not understood, insider blogs such as the Arabist, or tweets from Sandmonkey and Angry Arab, and soon many other outlets such as the now discontinued Egypt Independent carried the new syntax into English-speaking contexts, enthused onlookers, sparked solidarity movements and laid the ground for mutual activism as in the case with the Occupy campaigns in the United States. Considering that Turkey is inter alia part of the Middle East, sharing borders with both Syria and Iraq, and that it is increasingly involved in the region, one would have expected that Asmaa Mahfouz’s rallying Youtube call to Egyptians to defend the honour of their country would have been noticed.