Fareed Zakaria puts the Middle Eastern protests in context:

The central, underlying feature of the Middle East's crisis is a massive youth bulge. About 60% of the region's population is under 30. These millions of young people have aspirations that need to be fulfilled, and the regimes in place right now show little ability to do so. The protesters' demands have been dismissed by the regimes as being for Islamic fundamentalism or a product of Western interference. But plainly these are homegrown protests that have often made the West uneasy as they have shaken up old alliances. And what the protesters want in the first place is to be treated as citizens, not subjects. In a recent survey of Middle Eastern youth, the No. 1 wish of the young in nine countries was to live in a free country, although, to be sure, jobs and the desire to live in well-run, modern societies ranked very high as well.

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