The British journalist Johnny West provides a readable addition to the small library of Arab Spring-lit that has sprung up following Mohammed Bouazizi's first act of the uprisings.
Karama: a journalist's account of the Arab Spring
The British journalist Johnny West first set foot in the Middle East in 1985, driven by a sense of adventure and a college scholarship, when Hosni Mubarak was already in power in Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was preparing for government in Tunisia.
West's career path - after several years service as a Middle East correspondent for Reuters, he was once an internet entrepreneur and is now a UN adviser on oil - would make him a regular visitor to the region in the years after that first trip. The recent unravelling revolutions in both countries would provide a reason to return.
Karama! (dignity, honour or self-respect) is West's readable and hurriedly released addition to the small library of Arab Spring-lit that has sprung up following Mohammed Bouazizi's first act of the uprisings.
Appropriately, West begins with Bouazizi's self-immolation and divides his pages into three broadly equal parts (Libya is the other country here). He is an engaging if somewhat populist and always partial host. This a "Berlin Wall moment" in the Arab world, he declares. What happened after those walls tumbled is, however, not his concern.