For the last several days, Syrian workers have gathered in front of their embassy here to demonstrate on behalf of the embattled regime in Damascus. Pity those poor wage laborers who have no choice but to wave the flag, lest they lose the privilege that entitles them to piece together a measly living in a country where they’re largely condemned.Read more
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?
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.Read more
This YouTube video shows a protester in Bahrain being shot multiple times at point-blank range by security forces. Warning: this video is extremely graphic.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
President Obama’s apparent frustration that he and his senior policymakers were taken by surprise with recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, reminds us of Yogi Berra’s famous line, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Some momentous event occurs on the world scene—whether it’s the Soviets putting nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba, the shah of Iran’s ouster, Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, or the fall of the Berlin Wall—and the American president wants to know why his intelligence community did not give him a timely heads up.Read more
On Sunday, Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Educational Association Council, instructed the teachers in her union to return to the classroom after many of them skipped school for three days last week. The unexpected move energized Republicans in Wisconsin, who took it as a sign that negative public reaction to the “sick-out” is making a difference.
Or perhaps they don’t need the numbers because the unions are bringing in additional reinforcements. Madison, one of the most liberal cities in the United States, is a town always in search of a cause.Read more
Among other unconfirmed reports out of Libya right now, one is that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has left the country for exile in Venezuela. Another is that Qaddafi's sons, Muatassem and Saif al-Islam, fought each other, with the former shooting the latter. It's hard to know much right now, since media coverage out of Libya has gone virtually black.Read more
Madison, Wisconsin has become quite the mob scene with protests by union members opposed to Republican governor Scott Walker's legislation that would require most public sector union employees, including teachers, to pay 12 percent of their health care premiums--up from the current average of 6 percent--and 6 percent of their pension, for which state employees pay almost nothing.Read more
One frequent criticism of the war in Iraq has been that it is impossible to impose democracy from above. The revolution in Egypt represents an attempt to achieve democracy from below, as it were. The jury is out on both nations--and on both paths.Read more
Who rules Egypt, and who will rule it tomorrow? After 30 years the Hosni Mubarak period is coming to a close, but how the period ends—in violence and turmoil, or on a stable path to democracy—remains unclear.Read more
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