To most people, when someone mentions the word Tuareg, they probably start thinking about the Volkswagen SUV, but what most people don’t realize is that the Tuareg are an ethnic group that has called the Sahara Desert home for centuries, although considering their nomadic background, home might not be the most appropriate descriptor. The Tuareg have recently been making some headlines, although you might have to dig a little to find those headlines.
Muammar Gaddafi waves goodbye (photo from PressTV)
2011 was a year of unprecedented change around the world. Grassroots protests topped longstanding dictatorships while others succumbed to natural causes. Time magazine selected The Protester as its person of the year for 2011 and with all the change protesters helped bring about in the world in 2011, 2012 is shaping up to be a year for travelers. In 2008, The World by Road was stopped dead in its tracks; barred entry to Libya because we were Americans. Three years later, the Arab Spring saw the forced resignations of long serving authoritarians in Tunisia and Egypt. Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi didn’t go as willingly and was later captured and killed by rebel forces ending a bloody six month civil war. Protests have also gained momentum in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and most recently Russia, and if the events of North Africa are any indication, change is on the horizon in those countries as well.