The Lebanese seem to be keeping mum after Bashar al-Assad’s speech this afternoon. Sure, there are no doubt plenty of opinions to go around, but why bring unnecessary attention to Lebanon’s own problems?
Protesters calling for freedom gathered in Damascus and other areas around Syria as security forces ordered journalists to leave a southern city where a brutal weeklong siege on demonstrations killed dozens of people.
Where the political shockwave inspired by Tunisia's democratic rebellion will lead we don't yet know. We do know what set Tunisia's revolt in motion: the end of Arab fear. When an oppressed people snap fear's psychological bonds, they shatter the tyrant's most potent weapon.
Here's a YouTube video of protests outside the Syrian embassy in Cairo today, presumably conducted in sympathy with Syrian demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Damascus and other cities throughout Syria:
If the Saudis and other Gulf Cooperation Council members thought that sending more than a 1,000 additional troops to quell the uprising in Bahrain would prevent it from influencing the rest of the region, they miscalculated. The repercussions are already being felt here in Lebanon.
After two months of Arabs spontaneously taking to the streets to protest against their regimes, there's another kind of uprising going on here in Lebanon. The setting isn’t even an Arab street, but rather Beirut's Rafiq Hariri International Airport; and the occasion isn’t a protest, but rather a “flash mob” executing a traditional Lebanese song and dance routine, “Dabke.”
It's hard to tell how many protesters are in the streets of the Syrian capital, but it's hardly surprising that, after Egypt and Libya, the regime in Damascus might be next in line. Bashar al-Assad and his security chiefs guessed as much, which is why the last few weeks they warned the foreign and Arab press corps not to cover the protests scheduled for today and the only record we have so far is from YouTube.
Sometimes the New York Times is hard to believe--on March 12, for instance.
That day, the newspaper published extraordinary stories from Japan and Libya – gripping, detailed accounts of tragedy, brutality and, occasionally, triumph. Unfortunately, the paper also covered Wisconsin.