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Diversity, An Ally of Tyranny

Article by Kevin DeAnna.

Hisham Melham writes in Foreign Policy that the Arab Revolutions are meeting more resistance. Autocratic rulers are using the heterogenous nature of the societies they lead to divide the opposition and frustrate any plans for reform.

In homogeneous societies it is relatively easier for an opposition or a reform movement to articulate and agree on a set of grievances and political demands. It is more difficult to do so in heterogeneous societies, where the various groups have different pressing priorities and different visions about their society and the future. Also, it is easier for the rulers in heterogeneous countries to dilute and undermine demands for political change and reform by exploiting the various cleavages that exist in their societies.

It should be noted that Melham believes that Egypt is an example of a country with a strong national identity that can unite both Muslims and Coptic Christians. Recent events suggest that the religious divide is beginning to become more apparent in that country as well.

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