Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Thursday, March 03, 2005

History on the Move

After reading Francis Fukuyama's The End of History, I couldn't help but notice this quote: (via InstaPundit)

Syrian opposition figures Tuesday hailed the fall of the Damascus-backed government in Beirut under the weight of mass street protests as a possible catalyst for democratic change in their own country. . . .

"A Syrian withdrawal is inevitable. History is on the move and nobody can halt its progress," said Syrian filmmaker Omar Amiralay. He said Lebanon was now playing the role of "engine for change" in the region.

"I welcome this promising democratic change which will have a contagious effect on the Syrian hinterland and be of benefit for the Syrian and Lebanese peoples," said Amiralay
Hmmmm..... Seems everyone wants to jump on the engine for change Iraqi bandwagon.

And then there is all of this from that I'm pasting directly from NormBlog:

Voices from yesterday's demonstration in Beirut:

Mario Saad, 18, said: "Today we are calling for the government's resignation. Even, if the parliamentary procedures fail, the people have made their choice; they want a government free of foreign influence."

"We are all together here to say that we have had it," said Myriam Khoury and Danielle Kattar, both 24. Kattar added: "We came here to express our opinion, and no one can intimidate us anymore."

Khoury said: "We have had enough of being governed by incompetent people. We deserve to be represented by a new political class that stands for us."

"Al-Hamdulillah (Thank God) we are re-writing history," said Hassan Abu-Ali, 79, who came all the way from Aramoun, in Mount Lebanon. "I will finally see my country free before I die."

And it ain't over till it's over:

Beirut (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters waving Lebanese flags returned to central Beirut Tuesday to demand Syria leave Lebanon as the United States and France offered to help the country hold free elections.

Thousands of demonstrators turned a square in Beirut into a sea of Lebanese flags Monday night and exploded into riotous celebration when the government unexpectedly quit after a parliament debate on Hariri's killing.

The jubilant protesters left in the early hours of Tuesday only for a few hundred to return hours later, vowing to keep up their street protests until Syrian troops left the country.

"Our hopes are growing regarding Syria's exit after the resignation of the government," Patrick Risha, a 22-year-old political science student told Reuters at Martyrs' Square. "This encourages us to stay here and continue our protest."

Then there's this:

Newspapers in Lebanon have greeted the fall of the government on Monday as a historic moment and proof of people power on the streets of Lebanon.

The opposition movement in Lebanon has been inescapable on Arab TV stations, which have brought the dramatic events of the past two weeks since the assassination of the country's former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, live into millions of Arab homes.

[W]ith Arab satellite stations focusing so intensely on Lebanon, there is little chance that the symbolism of the opposition's victory has been lost on the wider Arab world, including Syria.

Arab newspapers are weighing up the possible knock-on effect of events in Lebanon on other Arab states, asking whether it is the precursor of the spread of genuine democracy across the region.
History is on the move, and this movement is only happening because we said the status quo of containing dictators in the Middle East is an absolute failure. Too many times in the past we appeased dictators and only emboldened the dictators. Now, we've taken a stand for democracy and, for the first time in the Middle East have emboldened the democrats.

Hence, the reason for optimism about the Lebanese situation is, rather than the retaliatory suicide bombing, they engaged in peaceful protest.... and it was effective.

The Belmont Club offers some insight on the new challenges ahead.
'Militant' groups have often attempted to stabilize the front whenever events threatened to take a direction which they could not control. This usually took the form of a spoiling terrorist attack to re-mire things in blood, chaos and hatred as often happened during negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. It would not be surprising if the terror masters fell back on this old repertoire by staging attacks directed not only at Middle Eastern targets but at the United States to throw back the threatening psychological wave. The problem is that there is no longer any widespread confidence, even in the places like Lebanon, that terror tactics will prevail. To that extent even the most heinous attacks, like the carbomb which recently killed more than 100 in Iraq, have lost their bite. Psychologically speaking, the greatest contribution of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns is that they have shattered terrorism's myth of invincibility. The terrorists embarked on a maximum effort to dislodge the US from Iraq, employing every weapon of violence, political maneuver and propaganda they could muster and came up much the worse for wear. This lesson has not been lost to public perception and has emboldened dissidents all across the region.

The real challenge will be to find ways to respond to the campaign of spoiling terror which may be forthcoming. Unlike Iraq, where US forces can respond directly to challenge, the problem will be the ability of the US to affect events over the wider region in clandestine or indirect ways. Tempo is America's friend, but the enemy is even now looking for a place to stem the rot.

It was a terrorist attack, the suicide murder of Rafik Hariri, that pushed Lebanon beyond the tipping point, and it was actually the terror attacks of 9/11 that set this whole big democracy wave across the Middle East in motion. In the ultimate irony, Osama and his henchmen may yet go down in history as martyrs.... for democracy.


                                                                                                                                                                             Meter Weblog Commenting and Trackback by This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?