Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tom Friedman and the "Arab Spring"

Ever since a Tunesian man self-immolated in December 2010, a wave of protests has shaken the Arab world. Romantically referred to as the "Arab Spring", these events have inspired optimism for many in the western world, who were quick to joyously proclaim an Arab embracing of democracy. "The Arabs are ready for freedom", we were told. Tom Friedman of the New York Times was quick to adopt this theme, hailing the "Facebook generation" of youth who will bring enlightenment and democracy to Egypt and other countries. Well, it hasn't taken long for us to sober up and receive a bucket of cold water in our faces. Those of us in Israel and elsewhere who were skeptical and warned of the threat of extremism, were ridiculed as naysayers and hypocrites. If we enjoyed democracy, we were asked, how could we deny others the same rights?

Well, the answer has come more quickly than I anticipated. Egypt has decended into chaos, with the very real possibility of Muslim extremists being voted "democractically" into power. The Sinai desert has become a haven for a wide assortment of gangs and terrorists. Yesterday, a crazed mob attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo, while security services stood by. Only frantic calls from the White House induced the Egyptians to intervene and rescue the trapped embassy staff, avoiding a bloodbath. Protesters, foaming at the mouth with hatred and pumped up on testosterone, hailed the "victory", having restored Egypt's national "dignity". Am I living on another planet? Lynching an embassy restores dignity?

Elsewhere, Libya and Yemen have decended into civil war. Syria is on its way, with blood flowing in the streets. Although there was no revolution in Turkey, which used to be a loyal pro western ally, it has "democratically" moved into the same orbit as the Islamic extremists in Iran. It is no longer a reliable NATO nation.

So, Tom, where is your Facebook revolution? How'd that work out for ya? I know you'd love to blame Israel's Palestinian problem for everything, but that would be too much even for your rhetoric.

1 comment:

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