Beirut's Berlin Wall
David Ignatius pens a stirring column in Wednesday's Washington Post about the blowing winds of freedom following the assassination of Hariri in Lebanon. This trend towards a new Ukrainan-style Orange Revolution in the Middle East was first flagged, as far as I know, by Kirk Sowell back on February 14th, in a post entitled -- "Lebanon in Revolution: The Ukraine of the Middle East?" Kudos to Kirk for picking up on this trend by watching Al Jazeera in the days following the assassination.
Just a thought -- is John Kerry still advising that no one should be tempted to hype the Iraqi election too much? Is anyone listening to the great "nuanced one"???
From the article:
"Enough!" That's one of the simple slogans you see scrawled on the walls around Rafiq Hariri's grave site here. And it sums up the movement for political change that has suddenly coalesced in Lebanon and is slowly gathering force elsewhere in the Arab world.
"It is the beginning of a new Arab revolution," argues Samir Franjieh, one of the organizers of the opposition. "It's the first time a whole Arab society is seeking change -- Christians and Muslims, men and women, rich and poor."
The leader of this Lebanese intifada is Walid Jumblatt, the patriarch of the Druze Muslim community and, until recently, a man who accommodated Syria's occupation. But something snapped for Jumblatt last year
. . ."It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world."
Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
And a final addendum -- this prediction from Mr. P. Pundit himself, Rob Mayer -- when Publius Pundit comments -- we listen:
Make sure to be paying very close attention over the next couple of days -- especially Monday. That's when the vote of confidence in the government takes place. The striking similarity here is that the entire business, banking, and industrial power of Lebanon will be shutting down for this day. Support of the millionaire middle class against the current regime was a prime variable in the success of the Orange Revolution, and that looks to be the same thing happening here.
I'm putting my money on a Monday revolution : )