The Rainy Arab Spring
Remember the Arab Spring? It was supposed to be like a Time-Life infomercial on 1967's Summer of Love music. You know, "If you're going to Cairo or Damascus or Tripoli, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair (and a flak jacket and Kevlar helmet)."
We learn from the Washington Times (and just about every other source on the planet) that Egypt is in the throes of protests - often bloody - aimed squarely at Morsi and his Islamist government. The Egyptian military has given Morsi a deadline to vacate his office. Failure to do so will result in his ouster - violently, if need be.
Morsi vows that the only way he'll be dislodged from Hosni Mubarak's old digs is feet first. Advice to Morsi: I'd listen to the guys with the big guns. Supplications to Allah and prayer rugs are no match for tanks and AK-47s.
About the turn of events in the Land of the Pharaohs, the crestfallen boys and girls at the Washington Post (DC's other newspaper) had this to say:
The broad sense of impending doom marked a dramatic turnaround for this country of 85 million, where one year ago the first democratic presidential election in the country's history brought Morsi to power and was deemed a step toward modernity and free politics after six decades of military dictatorship.
Of course, Morsi's steps toward Islamic dictatorship (with those wonderful Mullah-supervised "elections") are somehow preferable to military dictatorship. Oppression of Coptic Christians and women, Jew hatred, and the general heavy hand of Islamic dictates aren't anti-freedom, just different expressions thereof. Don't mullahs allow people to wear flowers in their hair? Huh?
Meanwhile, a few days back, 21-year-old American Andrew Pochter was killed in Alexandria watching street protests. Pochter was stabbed to death by a protester. Pochter had been in Alexandria teaching English and polishing his Arabic.
Though we have heartfelt sympathy for Pochter's family and friends as they grieve this young man's tragic death, we wonder: What on earth was Pochter thinking? Had he bought into the Arab Spring love and peace propaganda generated stateside? Did he think that the protests he was watching curbside were something he downloaded on his handheld?
This from the Post's article:
By Saturday, clashes that erupted between the rival sides in the coastal city of Alexandria had left three dead and more than 200 wounded, and attackers in Nile Delta cities had set fire to offices belonging to the president's supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Why would anyone have been out on the streets of Alexandria observing these clashes and violence? Perhaps Pochter had that sense of immortality that is a feature of youth? Most unfortunate, indeed.
Too many among our liberal amigos here and abroad wanted to believe in the magic of the Arab Spring rather than the hard, grim realities of the Middle East. Miscalculations can be more than disillusioning; they can be downright dangerous and deadly.