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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Protesters In Middle East Find Common Identity Through Arab Poet

A crowd gathers in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. More than a quarter-million people flooded into the heart of Cairo Tuesday, filling the city's main square in by far the largest demonstration in a week of unceasing demands for President Hosni Mubarak to leave after nearly 30 years in power. (AP)

More than a quarter-million people flooded into the heart of Cairo Tuesday, filling the city's main square in by far the largest demonstration in a week of unceasing demands for President Hosni Mubarak to leave after nearly 30 years in power. (AP)

Young people throughout the Arab world are invoking the words of a long-dead, North African poet as they protest against their authoritarian governments.

According to Anthony Shadid of the New York Times, the writings of the poet Abul-Qasim al-Shabi have become an anthem for the protesters, encapsulating the nostalgic notion that people in countries from Tunisia to Egypt and Yemen share a common Arab identity.  We spoke with him from Cairo.


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