The Wellington and Middle Eastern Societies: Sir Harold Walker

Wednesday, 26th September 2012

Sir Harold Walker’s talk on “Has the Arab Spring turned to winter?” provided a revealing insight into the political climate across the Arab World as he drew on his wealth of diplomatic experience in the region. Having assessed some of the many difficulties of staging campaigns for political change in the Middle East, Sir Harold’s focus inevitably shifted towards Syria as he indicated that the prospects of rebel success against the force of the Assad regime are slimmer than many suspect. He concluded that the Arab Spring had in fact not turned to winter.

Sir Harold then turned to face about 50 minutes of questioning. The questions were well articulated and demonstrated an impressive display of in-depth knowledge of the issue from a wide range of boys. One of the better questions effectively queried who had been most affected by the Spring uprisings, to which Sir Harold concluded that it was surprisingly the Arab republics who had fared worse than the monarchies and sheikdoms. Another response by Sir Harold asserted that the Assad regime was so tyrannical and volatile that it was even prepared to use chemical weapons against the native people.

All in all it was an extremely fascinating and topical talk, which was particularly well received by all of the boys who attended (it is worth noting the encouraging spread of boys between all blocks). Sir Harold was exceptionally well informed, and his words allowed for a fascinating revelation of the current crises in the Middle East, and their potential future.

Sanders, C. (MJP)