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Middle East Protests Hit Home

By Daniel Cherry | Published 02 Mar 2011 07:43am | comments

Political unrest in the Middle East continues to escalate as people in the area seek their own freedoms and democracy, but for some here in Mississippi it's a topic of conversation and concern. MPB's Daniel Cherry tells us more about what the revolutions overseas could mean for us at home.

The Middle East is a political hotbed as the people show their desire for democracy and protest against the long-embedded powers which have controlled the area for decades. Hannan Abboud is a PhD student at Jackson State University. She is from Tunisia in North Africa where the first revolution took place before it spread elsewhere.

"The elements that existed in Tunisia, those countries share it and they kind of identify with our revolution. And they feel like: if they did it, we can make it too."

After the Tunisian revolution the protests spread to Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Jordan, and others across the Middle East. Abboud says she has taken notice of how much coverage Egypt and Libya have gotten, but very little went to Tunisia during their revolution...

"Personally I really think that the United States does not care much about having democracy in that region as much as it cares about it's allies and having presidents who will care for the United States' and Israel's interests."

The weeks of unrest have caused oil prices to rise to around 100 dollars per barrel and gas in in the U.S. is well over three dollars a gallon. Dr. Emmanual Nwagboso teaches African politics and international relations at Jackson State. He says the concern for Americans is two sided.

"In the short term we want this conflict to stop, but in the long term we want democracy to flow enough for the economy to be stable and the oil prices not to go up."

Nwagboso says over time the spread of democracy could lead to stability in the region as well as less hindered trade and a calmer oil market. Until the conflicts are resolved gas prices are likely to continue to rise and some economists have warned it could lead to a double dip recession. 

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