Jiyar Gol was a young boy in Iran when he watched the promise of the Iranian Revolution turn sour. As an adult and a BBC reporter covering the Middle East, he traveled to South Africa and found a model for compromise and reconciliation that he believes could help Middle Eastern countries now stuck in their transitions to democracy.
Two recent bombings in Egypt raise fears that the country could be entering a new phase of violent insurgency. The military backed government is stepping up its campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. But that has been tried before by an Egyptian government, and it didn't work.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Egyptians are voting on a new constitution. H.A. Hellyer of the Brookings Institution says the vote is really a referendum on the military, opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and other issues. And those who turn out will almost certainly vote "yes."
Turkey has democratic institutions, but they aren't working well at the moment. There is a corruption scandal, popular protests and concerns about an increasingly authoritarian government. Turkish author Elif Shafak says the problem is that Turks are conditioned to seek a strong father figure who can save them.
After four decades in power, Spanish King Juan Carlos has announced he is stepping down and handing the throne to his son, Prince Felipe. The king bucked expectations that he would be a follow-on dictator to Franco and became the father of Spain's democracy.
When Facebook went out in Hong Kong, residents quickly blamed Beijing. Hong Kongers believe the mainland is behind a recent series of attacks targeting both pro-democracy websites and a hugely popular referendum that's demanding more political freedom for the city.
University students in Hong Kong don't have a reputation for being zealous when it comes to politics. But on Monday, an estimated 13,000 young people turned out for a pro-democracy rally to send a message to the central government in Beijing and pave the way for a broader movement.
Organizers of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have battled police throughout the weekend, saying officers used excessive force — including tear gas, pepper spray and batons — against peaceful demonstrations. But they also say demonstrations will continue.
Days after demonstrations began in the center of Hong Kong, tens of thousands of demonstrators are still in the streets despite the use of tear gas and pepper spray by the police. And, by all appearances, the pro-democracy protesters are settling in for the long haul.