I have done political training sessions for both Egyptian political parties and for Tunisian women activists in the last several years. To watch what is going on in these two countries now is fascinating. It makes me wonder if any of the people in those training sessions are involved in the monumental changes occurring.
I conducted two training sessions in Amman Jordan in 2008 for Egyptian political parties. Many of the participants shared stories of their difficulties as members of opposition parties and the fear they had of attempting to participate. It took great courage for many of the participants to come.
A couple of years before that, I was part of a training team that went to Tunis Tunisia to train women activitsts from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Unlike their counterparts in the Middle East, many of these North African women wore business clothes and had professional careers. They were eager to learn how to become more involved and to make a difference.
It is amazing to watch how people throughout the world are attempting to assert their rights against governments that are not responding to their desires for more open, less repressive government.