Saturday, March 05, 2005

Democratic revolution in the middle east?

Perhaps too much to hope, but things seem to be stirring. History is full of sudden, unanticipated transitions!

I'm not a neocon sympathizer, and neither is the Times, but this article comes amazingly close to supporting their model of how elections in Iraq (and other factors, like technology) might lead to transformation of politics in the middle east.

[A combination of outside pressure and internal shifts have merged to create this unique moment. Arabs of a younger, more savvy generation appear more willing to take their dissatisfaction directly to the front stoop of repressive leaders.

They have been spurred by the rise of new technology, especially uncensored satellite television, which prevents Arab governments from hiding what is happening on their own streets. The Internet and mobile phones have also been deployed to erode government censorship and help activists mobilize in ways previous generations never could.

Another important factor, pressure from the Bush administration, emboldens demonstrators, who believe that their governments will be more hesitant to act against them with Washington linking its security to greater freedom after the Sept. 11 attacks. Washington says it will not longer support repressive governments and young Arabs, while hardly enamored of American policy in the region, want to test that promise.

...New technology has driven the steps toward greater freedoms. Satellite stations like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya brought news of demonstrations to a widening audience. Indeed, the crowds in Beirut swelled in part because potential demonstrators could see that government troops had not opened fire. Months earlier, Arabs watched similar events unfold in Ukraine and some wondered why the Arab world should stand apart.

But undoubtedly the most important new element is the spontaneous involvement of people themselves.

"You need democrats to produce democracy, you can't produce it through institutions," Mr. Salame said. "You need people to fight for it to make it real. Neither American tanks or domestic institutions can do it, you need democrats. In Beirut, you have a hard core of 10,000 to 15,000 youngsters who are democrats and who are imposing the tempo."]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done. We can be cautiously hopeful; there is no apology necessary.


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