New rebel cadets stand at attention in Benghazi. www.mcbphotos.com
New rebel cadets stand at attention in Benghazi. www.mcbphotos.com

Young, Angry, and Wired

Armed with cell phones, social media, and sometimes just sheer determination, youth from North Africa to the Middle East are struggling to take ownership of their future.

It was a generation in waiting. They waited for a good education, and that rarely came. Then they waited for jobs, which paid very little when they did come. Without proper jobs, they waited to get married, often staying with their parents into their 30s—or living with their parents even after they got married. Most important, they waited for liberty: the right to vote freely, to participate in politics, to change the world.

Until they could wait no longer.

Some 60 percent of the people in the Middle East are under 30 years old, and many of them are angry. Like young people everywhere, they have ambitions. They want, they need, they crave. They feel constrained—especially, perhaps, when they watch satellite television or surf the Internet. There they can see how the rest of the world lives. Social media (including personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more) allow young men and women to share their frustrations in ways they couldn't in the past. They're not alone anymore. Now they have allies. They have power.

Read This Next

Why kids need their own COVID-19 vaccine trials

A black-footed ferret has been cloned, a first for a U.S. endangered species

3-ton parts of Stonehenge may have been carried from earlier monuments

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet