Jon Stewart Speaks To Arab Women About The 2010 Middle East Revolution

Fatimah Mazhar
The Daily Show host Jon Stewart was invited to take to the main stage at the “Women in the World Summit” in New York City on Friday.

The event sponsored by the news reporting and opinion website The Daily Beast focuses on the brave and empowered women who are working to make a difference and improving the status of their gender in the world.

The summit – now in its fifth year – brought together more than 100 female leaders on one stage, including prominent names such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka along with former Pussy Riot band members – the females who continue their struggles against Russian President Putin’s tyranny.

Stewart had a discussion with women hailing from countries like Iraq, Libya and Yemen on how their nations were affected by the wave of anti-dictatorship demonstrations and protests that began in December 2010.

“People think of the Arab Spring as a singular event, but instead it played out differently each country,” Stewart began.

“When groups that don’t normally have a voice suddenly raise up, that excitement and that potential is often met with a pretty serious backlash from people who had controlled those voices.”

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Women About Revolution

Also present among the panelists was Nadia Al-Sakkaf, editor-in-chief of The Yemen Times who spoke about how the Arab Spring was a surprise even for the revolutionaries in the Middle-Eastern tribal country.

“We didn’t expect the Yemeni women who were covered behind closed doors to be out there in the streets. It was a major surprise. And the thing is that the political parties – even in the opposition – created a monster that they couldn’t control anymore.”

“So even now that they want the Yemeni women to go back to their houses, that’s not possible anymore.”

Al-Sakkaf stated that if there is one thing the Arab World managed to get from the revolution is that it empowered public opinion and civil societies and groups who didn’t think or get the chance to stand up against tyrants.

Also, Jon Stewart weighed in on the Arab Spring and said despite the grim situation in the Middle East countries such as Syria, he thinks progress can be made.

"I still naively believe that we can all make a difference," Stewart told the Daily Beast. "We can all make a difference even just by learning more."

READ MORE: Arab Spring To Take Years To Improve Women's Rights