Monday, March 28, 2011

Mandela's in Middle East?...doubtful

By Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, March 26, 2011
This is what the new leaders of these Arab rebellions will have to do — surprise themselves and each other with a sustained will for unity, mutual respect and democracy. The more Arab Mandelas who emerge, the more they will be able to manage their own transitions, without army generals or outsiders. Will they emerge? Let’s watch and hope. We have no other choice. The lids are coming off.

The early signs are not that hopeful. With yesterday's reports that Al Qaeda emerging in Yemen as one of the opportunists seeking to seize power in the vaccuum created by the rebels, and with the Muslim Brotherhood already ensconsed in harmony and unity with the Egyptian military which actually controls the country in the wake of the departure of Mubarek, there is reason in the west for a little circumspection.
With the forces of Sunni and Shia continuing their inevitable and seemingly unending struggle for control of the Islamic state(s) and the forces for violence still attempting to "show the way" for Islam to rule the world, these Middle East countries are already spawning terror as one of the most useful, and economically accessible weapons for radical Muslims.
Hopeing for many Mandela's to emerge from this cauldron is like hoping for the fight-wing political operatives in the U.S. to start to debate the issues with facts and logic and vision and some discipline, rather than seeking to destroy their enemies, as in the case of the Wisconsin history professor who, after he weighed in to the political debate in his state, on the side of the people, against the governor and his Koch brothers funding machine, faced a public demand for all of his e-mails from the right, in their hope of finding something to smear his reputation.
We see a similar approach in the Canadian election, with Harper and his cronies attempting to smear the Liberal leader ( a Harvard PhD in History) with the word "coalition" as another attempt to scare the voters, when, in fact, in Great Britain, the current coalition is working very effectively.
Ad hominum attacks are far preferable to the right than open honest debates on the issues, because attacking your opponents in the hope of destroying their reputation actually seeks to eliminate them from the scene.
In the cold war, at one Ontario university, where a defected Russian taught Comparative Education, Tony Ramunus used to tell his students, that the Russian method of dealing with a difference of opinion, was to "eliminate the problem" by eliminating the opponent.
Seems the playbook has found its way into the rightwing primary readers, because they do not and will not read anything beyond a primer.

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