March 13, 2005

Arab Spring?

Of the millions of pixels expended in the last week or so on the sea change going on in the Middle East, this WaPo piece by Youssef M. Ibrahim captures the way the people of the region have latched on to the hope and spirit triggered by the Iraqi elections. Like all sensible commentators he counsels against giddiness and self-congratulation, because "these regimes still possess the same coercive instruments that have proven effective means of control in the past". But he senses the overriding sentiment..."Kifaya"...

Nowadays, intellectuals, businessmen and working-class people alike can be caught lauding Bush's hard-edged posture on democracy and cheering his handling of Arab rulers who are U.S. allies. Many also admire Bush's unvarnished threats against Syria should it fail to pull its soldiers and spies out of Lebanon before the elections there next month -- a warning the United Nations reinforced last week with immediate effects. For Bush, it is not quite a lovefest but a celebration nonetheless...

...The slogan for this nascent people's revolt has become "Kifaya," which means "enough." It's a word that is both emphatic and vague enough to be all-encompassing yet effective: enough of autocrats, enough corruption, enough occupation, enough repression. It has acquired magical and perhaps lasting power.

UPDATE 3/14: WSJ editorial on "the stakes" in Lebanon.

Posted by dan at March 13, 2005 12:59 PM
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