I went to Benghazi to assess the intentions and credibility of the Transitional National Council and Libyan opposition. We brought medical supplies for the Benghazi Medical Center, where injured people from Misurata and elsewhere are being treated.
Around the table sat improbable allies: some had been prominent officials in Qaddafi’s regime; others had spent many years in prison under sentence of death. They were united in recognizing that their country deserved a new start. I was reminded of Poland’s “roundtable” in 1989, when Solidarity sat with the ruling communists to negotiate the end of the regime.
The Front Line of Democracy by Radek Sikorski – Project Syndicate.
cared of instability and waves of immigration, European governments have wrongly privileged their own national interests over democracy in the Middle East
putemEurope: on the wrong side of history? « Prospect Magazine.
I have never been a fan of “liberal interventionism,” but a month in Tripoli made me think again. What is needed now are UN boots on the ground
putem Why Libya changed my mind « Prospect Magazine.
They make an unlikely trio of “founding fathers” for the new Egypt: One is a wily old-school politician, the second is a reticent scientist who won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the third is a hard-nosed business tycoon. But they are emerging as the country’s senior political voices and, interestingly, they share similar views about Egypt’s transition to democracy.
putemRealClearPolitics – Egypt’s Three Wise Men.
Zanimljiva perspektiva o revolucijama u arapskome svijetu. Koliko je malo potrebno za ustanak…
Despite wide variations in the nominal forms of government in all these countries, as well as contrasting levels of wealth and education and urbanization, the pattern and shape of the unrest, and the grievances that provoked it, looked everywhere much the same. Arab rulers had grown too isolated, too inflated with pretense and hypocrisy, and too complacently confident in the power of their police. Their overwhelmingly youthful populations suffered perpetual humiliation at the hands of government officials, faced dim work prospects, and had little means of influencing politics. They felt, in the famous words of the Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous, that they were “sentenced to hope.” More sophisticated and exposed to the world than the generation that ruled them, they had lost faith in the whole patriarchal construct that seemed to hem in their lives.
putem‘Volcano of Rage’ by Max Rodenbeck | The New York Review of Books.
Three BBC reporters were allowed to leave Libya after being held for almost 24 hours by pro-Moammar-Gadhafi security forces who beat them and subjected them to mock executions.
putemBBC Reporters Beaten in Libya: ‘Can’t Describe How Bad It Was’.
Niall Ferguson u novoj velikoj polemici – oko uloge revolucija u povijesti. Reakciju na članak čitaj ovdje.
Most rebellions end in carnage and tyranny. So why, Niall Ferguson asks in this week’s Newsweek, are Americans cheering on the Arab revolutionary wave?
Americans love a revolution. Their own great nation having been founded by a revolutionary declaration and forged by a revolutionary war, they instinctively side with revolutionaries in other lands, no matter how different their circumstances, no matter how disastrous the outcomes. This chronic reluctance to learn from history could carry a very heavy price tag if the revolutionary wave sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East breaks with the same shattering impact as most revolutionary waves.
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson hailed the French Revolution. “The French have served an apprenticeship to Liberty in this country,” wrote the former, “and now… they have set up for themselves.” Jefferson even defended the Jacobins, architects of the bloody Reign of Terror. “The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest,” he wrote in 1793, “and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood?… Rather than [the revolution] should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.”
In Ten Days That Shook the World, the journalist John Reed was equally enthusiastic about the Russian Revolution of 1917, a book for which Lenin himself (“great Lenin” to Reed) wrote an enthusiastic preface. Reed’s counterpart in China’s communist revolution was Edgar Snow, whose characterization of Mao—“He had the simplicity and naturalness of the Chinese peasant, with a lively sense of humor and a love of rustic laughter”—today freezes the blood.
Time and again, Americans have hailed revolutions, only to fall strangely silent as those same revolutions proceeded to devour not only their own children but many other people’s, too. In each case the body count was in the millions.
So as you watch revolution sweeping through the Arab world (and potentially beyond), remember these three things about non-American revolutions:
Only the hopelessly naive imagine that thirtysomething Google executives will emerge as the new leaders of the Arab world, aided by their social network of Facebook friends.
čitaj dalje: Why Americans Should Fear the Middle East and North Africa Revolutions – The Daily Beast.
With every new Arab uprising, some European country has placed itself on the wrong side of history. So it is no surprise that the European Union has been slow to tell regimes to listen to demands for democracy and to condemn violent suppression.
When it comes to action the EU has fared even worse… Charlemagne: No time for doubters | The Economist.
Not all countries collect and report data on their creative class and other workforce categories. These figures are lacking for Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, and Kuwait in the Middle East, as well as several dozen other countries in the rest of the world. So I also use another closely related measure that is more systematically available for a larger group of nations — the level of human capital — the percentage of the young adults engaged in post-secondary or “tertiary” education. This measure is closely related to creative class workforce #with a substantial statistical correlation of .75#.
The map above shows the human capital levels for the Middle East and the world. The top ranked nations on this measure — Korea, Finland, the US, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, and, perhaps surprisingly, Greece — have more than 75 percent of their young adults enrolled in tertiary education. For advanced nations like the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Japan the figure is 55 to 60 percent. Israel is the highest ranked Middle Eastern nation on this measure #57%#. But several other Middle Eastern nations are also quite high, notably Libya #53%# and Lebanon #49%#. Tertiary enrollment levels are higher in the West Bank #38%# and Jordan #35%# than they are in Hong Kong #34%#. And tertiary enrollment levels are above 25% in Bahrain #31%#, Egypt #29%#, Tunisia #28%#, and Saudi Arabia #27%#. Tertiary enrollment in Iran #24%# and the UAE #23%# are roughly the same as Brazil #23%#.
Typically, creative class and human capital levels are very closely associated with economic development. Nations with substantial creative class shares and levels of high human capital tend to be among the richest in the world. But for many Middle East nations, the standard of living is lower than their creative class and human capital levels would seem to warrant. This gap is a signal of unrealized economic potential…
putemThe Revolt of the Creative Class – Richard Florida – International – The Atlantic.