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Essay preview

In an explosive exposé, Barrie Collins reveals the fictions of those claiming to know who killed the Rwandan president in 1994.

Hero and zero

In this month’s ‘heroes and zeroes’, Tim Black disses Mustapha Abdel Jalil and defends David Moyes.

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Exclusive feature

Taking the temperature of the Arab Spring

Whatever happened to the Arab Spring, to that positive demand for democracy, which gripped first Tunisia and then Egypt before extending as far as Bahrain and Syria? Looking at the Arab world now, more than 12 months later, can be a sobering, even depressing experience. The glorious sight of angry youths in jeans mocking their dictators has been replaced by the less-than-glorious sight of a war against protesters (in Syria), or political stalemate (in Egypt and Tunisia), or the successful, if little-discussed repression of dissent (in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia).

Disappointment with how the Arab Spring has turned out is widespread. It can be seen in the new clichés that have replaced the old ones about ‘the Arab World’s Berlin Wall moment’. Now all the talk is of an Arab Winter. The Arab Spring has turned into ‘a winter of Islamic jihad’, says one writer disturbed by the gains made by Islamist parties in some of the post-spring nations. ‘After spring, winter’, said one stark headline recently, over an article claiming that we might have to face up to the fact that the ‘genuine democrats’ we so heartily cheered have been elbowed aside by the real and sinister victors of the Arab Spring: assorted authoritarians, ‘civilisation’s enemies’.

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