This is history we’re seeing


First Tunisia; then Egypt; then Yemen and Bahrain and Iran, and now Libya, where the country’s ambassador to the UN  has broken with the government, and Qaddafi has ordered the military to attack the people but two fighter pilots flew to Malta and asked for political asylum rather than attack the protesters in Tripoli.

This is just stunning to see: across a part of the world that we Americans just assume has given in to the rule of kings and despots, people are standing up for themselves.  They’re not demanding an Islamic theocracy—they’ve taken to the streets to claim their right to self determination.  Outstanding!

I don’t know if any or all of these popular uprisings will succeed; I don’t know how far the rulers will go to keep their grip on power and privilege.  (I don’t know what the literati of 18th century Europe thought of the first reports of rebellion by the British colonists in the Americas, either.)

But I have a feeling…I think that by this time next year, we’ll see more than a couple of new democratic governments in northern Africa and the Middle East.  We’re witnessing a new birth of liberty, right where we’d have never bet we see it.

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4 Responses to This is history we’re seeing

  1. Andy D says:

    I hope you’re right. I am afraid we may see a few more “democracies” but less freedom. I hope some of the dictators in the Middle East are removed, and I hope the Obama Administration can find the testicular fortitude to stand up to the dictators in the Middle East.

  2. westwood says:

    I hope so. But I think that ideals of democracy look different through different cultural lenses. What worries me is that Islamic extremists will step into the power vacuums. I hope for democracy as we know it, but the cynic in me fears we may get something very different.

    • Pat Ryan says:

      We had a nice exchange on that possibility in the comments to the post “Yea, Egypt!” I’m kinda thrilled about the popular uprising in and of itself: if self-determination is a good thing (and I think it is), it’s good even for people who decide that what they want is something we Americans wouldn’t.

      Thanks for the comment.

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