Tunisia + Egypt. And all of the Middle East.

I love protests led by public masses. Peaceful protests that do their job of getting the attention of political and cultural figures, AND the media. Not orchestrated by outside influences, not overthrown by the military, not led by one man with promises of a better future, and not led by one single opposition party. By the people. By men and women. By YOUTH. When the public works together and protect their historic buildings and community neighborhoods and the army works to protect its PEOPLE not its government. It’s not a priority of stability over democracy… The people are making their decisions and not backing down. People are calling for internet and media communications to stay open and uncensored.

Lots of other thoughts and opinions but I’ll keep those to myself for the time being until I can articulate them better. One thing I can say though is that we can’t pretend like any country or ruler or situation is the same as another. Comparisons to Iran and Iraq have emerged, but these are still other countries, and other times. There’s talk of past foreign relations rather than what the current relations are and future relations will be. Learn from the past, but don’t assume there only options are to repeat or avoid the same results. There are no guaranteed changes one way or another in terms of people, economies, policies or priorities, but at least we can count on public protests being the most influential call for change.

Let’s NOT talk about George Bush, but let’s see what Mubarak does.

Let’s NOT talk about American produced weapons, but about how the Egyptian army should be rightfully on the side of its people.

In EGYPT, they are making their voices heard, and I hope they can get the changes they want.

From Egyptian Youth and New Dawn Hopes,

They have made it clear to me that these opposition parties, long defunct and impotent, have been replaced by grassroots social action. Their fears of detention and torture have been supplanted by the need for better living conditions and better wages.

The protests have drawn Egyptians from all walks of life, many of whom have never participated in demonstrations and feel that the time has come for them to voice their resentment.

From Mubarak and Friends in Denial,

In the Arab world, 60% of people are under the age of 25, with around 100 million just between the ages of 15-29. That means that in many societies, like in Egypt, the majority of the population had only known one ruler — and all the corruption, antipathy, and suffocation that could be associated with that. With the right amount of unemployment, which hovers officially around 15% in most Arab countries, but is more likely to be near 20-30%, not to mention underemployment, this was a fire ready to burn.

What Tunisia did was break the zero-sum culture of impossibility. It showed that it was possible — to change the country, to protest the ruler, to force a regime change from the street. …. In 2011, the Arab world’s people have woken up. To believe that they will be lulled back to sleep is a fruitless endeavor. It does not mean that every regime will be toppled and that there will be protests in every country until that happens. It does mean, however, that the old social contract between rulers and their subjects has been torn to shreds. Economically, socially, and politically, leaders will have to provide new — substantively changed — direction. Or else. More of the same will not placate this new desire for effective and open governance.

Mostly following via Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post with some glances at some blogs I like, NY Times, CNN and the BBC, and of course Twitter and Facebook sharing! If you’re super behind like I was, you can catch up on Egypt through Mother Jones.

Also check out –

Limited Options in the Face of Turmoil

The Big Picture – Protests Spread in the Middle East

Ok and last in this link filled post, since I’m posting links anyways. Here’s a really interesting poll I stumbled upon via NY Times – A BBC survey on world opinions country by country, as of April 2010.

P.S. I miss university.

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