16 Apr 2016

Iyad el-Baghdadi: after the Arab Spring

From Saturday Morning, 8:12 am on 16 April 2016

Five years ago, the pro-democracy uprisings that came to be called the Arab Spring erupted in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

Iyad El-Baghdadi

Iyad El-Baghdadi. Photo: supplied

A young man in the United Arab Emirates, Iyad El-Baghdadi, started writing about, and sharing the unfolding events on social media – and he became an unexpected star in the process. His collection of satirical tweets The Arab Tyrant’s Manual, has been translated into 13 languages.

But this came at a cost. Iyad now lives in Scandinavia, and not by choice.

Before the Arab Spring started, in Tunisia in December 2010, he was following a very different path.

Toby Manhire interviews the stateless Palestinian writer, human rights activist and entrepreneur, and finds out what he was doing before he emerged as a prominent online activist.