Permit the observation of a drunken Irishman. There he was in Sligo, wound up over the Ryder Cup, asking: “You know why we drink to taking the cup?”. Awaiting an answer, he went off on an imitation - at first unclear - but then unmistakably that of astronauts talking to Houston. “Don’t you see”, he went on, “you Americans are the richest, most powerful people in the world - you can do anything… and you don’t”.
Please imagine the tone, a sneer tinged with disappointment, yet somehow suffused with a hope that we’d become ourselves again.
Watching Apollo 11, the whole world vicariously breathed the American Dream. You remember. Now with the world watching Egypt, they want to remember. Even the kids who can’t, they strain to conjure that America. Suddenly the buzzing welter of the facebook generation vibrates to Tunisia and Egypt. They care. And recoiling at the smell of facts undergirding the Egyptian regime, they aspire to recollect an America they can believe in. They want to pick up the flag and plant it on the frontier of global evolution.
No Secretary Clinton… No Mr. President, there’s not enough room in here any more. Like it or not the space has changed; and a heretofore “non-ideological generation”, caring more than before and stewing in progressive realizations, will ask the same questions Egypt asked in the wake of Tunisia. Please don’t wait to feel its expression. Time to tear down the wall, widen the stage and clean up the act."
As Tunisia Counts its Votes, Can the West Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Islamists? | Tony Karon
There’s no inherent contradiction between Islam and democracy — the range of political parties in the Muslim world claiming to be guided by Islamic values ranges from Turkey’s moderate, modernizing AK Party to the radical fundamentalist Salafis. Post-Saddam Iraq has been ruled by coalitions led by Shi’ite Islamist parties since its first election in 2005.
Democratically elected governments in the Arab world — most of which are likely to include a strong Islamist component, particularly when emerging from years of secular dictatorship — are highly unlikely to follow U.S. policy on Israel or Iran, but that doesn’t preclude them establishing pragmatic, cooperative relationships with the West. And if Washington’s yardstick for judging Arab political outcomes was the extent of support they yield for its own positions on Israel and Iraq, the U.S. would have to rely exclusively on dictators and monarchs. [*wink*]
The twitterati who featured most prominent in the media coverage of the Arab rebellion are unlikely to beat the Islamists at the polls. That’s not simply because Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gaddafi and Saddam gave secularism a bad name. Secular liberal parties, based largely in a relatively well-off segment of the urban middle class, have simply been unable to connect with the language and priority concerns of the impoverished majorities, which have for decades been the Islamists’ social base. more
Here is some advice on how to avoid the mistakes of my generation of Americans, who have perhaps fatally undermined our constitution and turned ourselves into a corporation-dominated national security state….
It is probably too late for us. The aggregate of changes in US law and practice in favor of corporatocracy and the national security state is so extensive and powerful that our constitution has been overwhelmed. We have 2 million people in jail, in a vast gulag, some of them for minor offenses and others for being the wrong color…
… We used to have something much more like a democracy. Maybe we can learn from you how to safeguard something so precious. >juancole.com<
April 25, 2011 - 3:18 PM, posted By Josh RoginOver 200,000 people have fled east into Egypt since the outbreak of war in Libya and another 240,000 have poured over the western Libyan border into Tunisia, but the two governments are treating their new visitors quite differently. In Tunisia, the new government has worked aggressively to house the temporary refugees and speed their path to their next destination. In Egypt, the military-led government has left thousands of people to suffer in horrid conditions.
Manifestations of Force
Citizen Zed - 2/28/11
The NY Times and Souad Mekhennet point out the odd situation faced by Al Qaeda in Middle East: As Regimes Fall in Arab World, Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By
"For nearly two decades, the leaders of Al Qaeda have denounced the Arab world’s dictators as heretics and puppets of the West and called for their downfall. Now, people in country after country have risen to topple their leaders — and Al Qaeda has played absolutely no role.
In fact, the motley opposition movements that have appeared so suddenly and proved so powerful have shunned the two central tenets of the Qaeda credo: murderous violence and religious fanaticism. The demonstrators have used force defensively, treated Islam as an afterthought and embraced democracy, which is anathema to Osama bin Laden and his followers.”
Though events are fresh enough to feed possible naiveté, it very much looks like we are witnessing the manifestation a new concept of force. An historical surprise, almost ex nihilo, interrupts the conflict dynamics of both Al Qaeda and the United States. Suddenly, breathtakingly, both are revealed caught up in what should have been obvious - as geared into inadequate concepts of force.
Both will, however, naturally aim to prey upon the Jasmine flower, projecting spectres of the other as a means to influence and access.
But the quasi-imperial power has the most to lose, and perhaps the most to gain. For if the new force is greeted above all with the simplicity and the substance of recognition (rather than predatory opportunism), Al Qaeda may lose all vital traction. And yet, since the mystery of recognition moves in two directions, America and the West may be surprised to find they are seen neither as democratic nor as expressions of modern community.
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Evidence collected by the FBI about Anonymous, which attacked websites of four companies to punish them for blocking contributions to WikiLeaks, will be considered this week by a U.S. grand jury, according to court papers and an informal spokesman…
Related: Anonymous counterattacks US security firm | Operation Gaza Announced | Message to the U.S. from Anonymous | Message from inside Egypt | Open Letter to UK | Egypt Targeted by Anonymous | Anonymous attacks Tunisian Govt
Bouazizi is Traveling
Charley Bravo - 1/28/11
Courtesy of cyrenaica, I posted a haunting final message from Mohamed Bouazizi’s facebook page. Watching Egypt I can’t shake it. Humiliated and bullied repeatedly, the young man started a revolution. It came from Sidi Bouzid, a place with echoes of WWII history. Now history’s tipping point has come unhinged with one man’s tragic example, filling the air with new echoes. They are traveling. Bouazizi is traveling:
I’m travelling, mother. Forgive me. Reproach and blame is not going to be helpful. I’m lost and it’s out of my hands. Forgive me if I didn’t do as you told me and disobeyed you. Blame the era in which we live, Don’t blame me. I am now going and I will not be coming back. Notice I haven’t cried and no tears have fallen from my eyes. There is no more room for reproach or blame in the age of treachery in the People’s land. I’m not feeling normal and not in my right state. I’m travelling…
Translated message written by Mohamed Bouazizi on his facebook before his self-immolation on the 17th of December, 2010