Sunday, February 13, 2011


I have so much hope for the people of the Middle East, and at the same time I'm very worried about the bazillion ways this could go horribly wrong...

Peggy Noonan, apparently fully recovered from her Obama spell, has some interesting thoughts.  One paragraph:
And youth trumps age. Egypt is a young nation, median age 24, with high youth unemployment. All revolutions, in the end, are about the young versus the old, because the young are driven by hope and the old by experience. The men who massed in Tahrir Square the first week looked to be aged roughly 16 to 35. A few days into the revolution, I received an email from a friend just back from Cairo. He told me, he'd seen a young man run out of his suburban Cairo house. He was off to the demonstrations, to take part in history. Running after him was his grandmother, who literally grabbed him by the ear and tried to drag him back inside.
Heh. I can easily visualize that grandmother!

The always-interesting Fouad Ajami has a great column, also at WSJ, which concludes:
Umm al-Dunya, the mother of the world, Egyptians and other Arabs call the fabled city of Cairo. It had been there, in that city founded a millennium ago, that Islam fashioned a civilization, made its peace with the world, outwitted and outwaited conquerors.

Egyptians know that this Arab revolution of 2011—and the upheaval has earned that name—had not begun in their metropolis, that it had travelled eastward from Tunisia. When that revolt arrived in Cairo, it found a stage worthy of its ambitions. For decades now, Egypt has been the lens through which Arabs see their history. This is the case today. A new Arab politics has spawned in Liberation Square, a movement of a piece with the modern ways of protest and reform.

It will be said that the great, enduring dilemmas of Egypt—a huge country that has lost out in the game of nations—will still be there. There will be accounts to settle, a struggle between those who were sullied by the dictatorship and those who weren't. The Egyptians will be tested again as to their fidelity to democratic ways. But if this standoff that ended in the demise of the dictator is any guide, the Egyptians may give us a consoling tale of an Islamic people who rose to proclaim their fidelity to liberty, and who provided us with a reminder that tyranny is not fated for the Arabs.
Our fingers are crossed and our thumbs are pressed (as my German friends would say), reflecting our fervent hope for a good outcome from all this turmoil.  We're also hoping that this revolutionary wind keeps right on traveling, across all the thugocracies in the region...

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