While elusive British artist Banksy has kept a rather low profile since his controversial New York City residency in 2013, his “Middle Eastern counterpart” has been causing quite a stir. Murad Subay, a 27-year-old painter and former literature major from Yemen, has been making waves online and on the streets of Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, with his politically-charged, crowd-generated murals. The city, which in recent years has seen numerous sectarian clashes, is a landscape of telltale bullet holes and battle-weathered buildings. As part of Subay’s creative call-to-action, he has spearheaded 2,000 murals across Sana’a and beyond in just over two years, inviting others to join and help in their creation.
Back in early February, we wondered about the role that oil played in Mubarak's downfall. Of course, the citizens themselves who took to the streets deserve all the credit they've been given. But what of the underlying economic conditions that set the stage for revolution? The fingerprints of peak oil are all over the Arab Spring.
Here's the simple math: Egypt and many other growing, arid Arab states depend on persistent and significant food imports. Historically, these countries have covered for those imports by producing and exporting a surplus of oil. When oil production peaks, and eventually sinks below domestic consumption, suddenly these countries become an oil importers. And that's a bad place for a nation to be, particularly if it also needs to import food.