As I’ve tried to argue, this uprising, at root, is not political. It’s existential. It is much more Albert Camus than Che Guevara. All these Arab regimes to one degree or another stripped their people of their basic dignity. They deprived them of freedom and never allowed them to develop anywhere near their full potential. And as the world has become hyper-connected, it became obvious to every Arab citizen just how far behind they were — not only to the West, but to China, India and parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
This combination of being treated as children by their autocrats and as backward by the rest of the world fueled a deep humiliation, which shows up in signs like that one in Libya, announcing to no one in particular: “I am a man” — I have value, I have aspirations, I want the rights everyone else in the world has. And because so many Arabs share these feelings, this Arab Spring is not going to end — no matter how many people these regimes kill.Personally, I thought this uprising was more Sayyid Qutb than either Camus or Che, but that's only because, unlike Friedman, I haven't factored out the Islam (whose ethos is inimical to Western-style freedom).