Students examine oil and geopolitics, issues between the Palestinians and Israel, the Egyptian revolution, Syrian refugees, and other issues that have shaped U.S. relations in the region.
- Explore the possible effects of Mubarak leaving office.
- Identify the connection between the demonstrations in Egypt and other protests in the region.
- Consider the potential effects of the protests on democracy and stability in the Middle East.
Optional Resource: Analyzing Political Cartoons
Note to Teachers
- This lesson is the second in a series on the recent events in Egypt. The first, Egypt’s Uprising, provides students with fundamental information about the causes of the uprising, the role of new media, and the U.S response. The third, Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change, helps students consider the potential effects of the protests on democracy and stability in the Middle East and North Africa.
- You may choose to watch the videos as a class, or have students work in small groups. Your decision will probably depend on the availability of technology.
- This lesson is intended as an introduction and may be used as a steppingstone to further inquiry.
1. Mubarak’s Resignation
Ask students what they know about what is happening in Egypt. How has Mubarak’s resignation affected the protests? Show students the following video of Professor Melani Cammett.
Melani Cammett: What are the potential effects if Mubarak leaves?
What does she believe the effects of Mubarak’s departure might be? What else are protesters demanding? Now that Mubarak is gone, how might Egyptians channel the energy from the protests to seek further political change? What are the biggest challenges facing the Egyptian people in the months ahead?
2. Short Term and Long Term Stability
Tell students that one of the concerns frequently expressed about change in Egypt is that it will lead to instability in the region. Watch the following video. Tell students to write down the issues Professor Cammett identifies as short term and those she identifies as long term.
Melani Cammett: As the United States develops its response to events in Egypt, is there a conflict between democracy and stability?
What does she mean by “productive instability”? What would a period of productive instability look like for Egypt? How much short-term instability is acceptable to achieve long-term stability? Is the answer different for people of different countries? Ultimately, who do students think should make decisions about Egypt’s future?
3. Democracy Movements in the Middle East
Have students watch the following video.
Melani Cammett: Are events in Egypt related to similar events in the region, specifically in Tunisia?
Show students the cartoon of Mubarak as a falling domino. What is shown on the first domino? (You may find Analyzing Political Cartoons to be a helpful resource for students). What do the dominoes represent? What does the cartoonist think the results of Egypt’s revolution may be? Have students heard of other protests for democracy in the region? Where and when? How could the protests in Egypt affect other democracy movements throughout the Middle East?
Extra Challenge: This could be done as homework or in class. Break students into groups of three or four. Assign each group a country in the region (e.g., Iran, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Syria. etc.) Ask students to use the internet to research their country. Is their assigned country a democracy? Have government officials in their country made any statements about the protests in Egypt? Have there been protests for democracy there? If so, have they been influenced by the protests in Egypt?
Note: Another lesson produced by Choices, Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change covers the concepts and issues in this extra challenge in greater detail.
Note: The situation in Egypt changes every hour. Stay up to date with information from the following sources:
Al Jazeera English: Revolt on the Nile—Egypt Special Coverage
This site includes photos, news articles, and a live stream of video reporting from Egypt.
The New York Times: Egypt News—The Protests
This site includes recent news articles, interactive timelines, maps, and photos.
Alive in Egypt: Transcribing the Voices of Egypt
In response to internet restrictions, this site translates and transcribes phone messages from Egypt into Twitter posts that can be read worldwide.
An English language edition of an independent Egyptian newspaper and media outlet. Includes videos.
This blog is a collection of comments, contributions, and visual media from the Egyptian uprising.
You may also be interested in:
The Middle East
Shifting Sands: Balancing U.S. Interests in the Middle East
The U.S. Role in a Changing World
Dilemmas of Foreign Aid: Debating U.S. Policies