Film Clips, Chapter 4

The Role of Government

2011: Arab Spring

This video, compiled by The New York Times Middle East bureau chief Anthony Shadid revisits the origins of the 2011 “Arab Spring.” Shadid expertly digests the wide-ranging political and economic changes that led to revolution and change in countries that previously were considered rigid. Much has occurred since Shadid’s video (2012), but this short history of a movement puts the context to the revolution.

Somalia: Living in a Failed State

Somalia has been described as a lawless “state of nature,” due to a lack of legitimate leadership or government. Not surprisingly, this has earned Somalia comparisons to Hobbes’s notions of systems without government, described in his Leviathan. This video provides a hands-on view of a helpless country without direction, but one with a resilient and proud people. Posted to the site, this video was produced by Al-Jazeera.

Ping-Pong Democracy

Improbably, it was a game of table tennis that led to renewed relations between the United States and China in 1971. The “normalization” of relations between the two countries changed diplomatic relations in a dramatic way, with the US—and later other countries including Canada, which had been hard at work at creating new connections with the communist government—now identifying Beijing, and not Taipei in Taiwan, as the legitimate Chinese leadership. Games of Ping-Pong between and America and China provided a lighter environment for building relations.

1980: “Non” to Sovereignty in Quebec Referendum

Twice Quebecers went to the polls to vote on separation from the rest of Canada. In 1980, a narrow result led the “non” side to win over those in the province that sought sovereignty. Premier René Lévesque reacted with disappointment, stating “til the next time.” This video (in French, and partially translated) captures Levesque’s immediate remarks after the failure of the sovereigntist movement.