What these protests illustrate is that religious and sect-based symbols need not necessarily feed into alienating sectarianism, Alshamary concludes. Rather, they can be deployed peaceably and effectively by everyday Iraqis to protest bad governance.
This year has seen protests across the globe, as citizens bridle under what they consider the tyranny of their governments, note USIP analysts and From Iraq to Zimbabwe, Hong Kong to Chile, demonstrators even in places with ample surveillance and retributive regimes have worked to make their voices heard.
But alongside these movements, misconceptions about how they work persist – and plague our understanding of their goals, their methods and their outcomes, they write for The Washington Post, including:
Myth No. 1: Social media has made popular movements more effective.