2014 Oslo Freedom Forum
October 22, 2014
Palestinian writer and activist Iyad el-Baghdadi delivers an eloquent rallying cry for the “Arab Spring Generation.” El-Baghdadi explains how a generation struggling for freedom found its voice in the Arab Spring, only to fail to produce tangible results. The Arab Spring, el-Baghdadi argues, had no manifesto, no ideology, no plan—and was defeated when it came up against highly organized tyrants. El-Baghdadi emphasizes the need for a new generation of organized intellectuals and thinkers—not just protestors—if the Arab Spring is to succeed. This generation, he warns, must be as organized as the wealthy dictators they are up against. El-Baghdadi shares his fear that massacres and genocide could be the future of the Middle East, underlining his appeal: there must be an Arab Spring, or there will be no Arabs. He closes with a moving message to his infant son: never trust or legitimize the tyrants of the Arab world, and never relent in challenging their power.