Ten years after the 9/11 attacks on America, the Arab Spring signifies an unexpected legacy of the decade of war that pit the West against al-Qaeda. The secular, democratic uprisings were a repudiation of jihadist ideology. But the revolutionaries do not want to refashion the region in America's image, rather, they are seeking to forge a new identity – a modern pan-Arab one.
The revolutions themselves have complex roots, nourished by decades long grievances ranging from economic stagnation to political repression. But the protests themselves were mobilized by a savvy group of young activists who used Twitter as a tool to both inspire and reflect the Arab street. While none consider themselves to be revolutionary leaders – many balk at the suggestion – their young voices have emerged as prominent fixtures of the uprisings.