The annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca, known as the Hajj, begins today. This major gathering of people - the largest such event in the world - has the potential to accelerate the Arab Spring as travelers from nations that successfully ousted their rulers converge on Saudi Arabia, a country long governed by un-elected royalty.
A more perfect opportunity for the pivotal ideas of free political speech and democratic representation to spread throughout the Middle East could scarcely be imagined. These values, the impetus for revolution against traditional authoritarian regimes, will now circulate between masses of dissidents face to face instead of through social networking technology. CNN notes pilgrims have an unprecedented chance here to, "share notes on uprisings and overthrows before returning home to countries ruled by despots." Read the full article.