For the past several years we’ve been hearing a lot about the “Arab Street.” Old media reported as if the terrorists’ and thugs’ views were representative of all Arabs. But a funny thing happened on the way to democracy. The Arab Street started to be redefined to actually include, well, the whole street rather than just that bad house at the end occupied by the radical minority.
The Afganistan and Iraq votes were the first eye openers, but it continues with Lebanon. Below I questioned whether there’s any doubt Bush’s policies have spurred on the freedom movement in Lebanon as well. Read for yourself, from the Washington Post:
Jumblatt dresses like an ex-hippie, in jeans and loafers, but he maintains the exquisite manners of a Lebanese aristocrat. Over the years, I’ve often heard him denouncing the United States and Israel, but these days, in the aftermath of Hariri’s death, he’s sounding almost like a neoconservative. He says he’s determined to defy the Syrians until their troops leave Lebanon and the Lahoud government is replaced.
“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.”
UPDATE: The Belmont Club has a good roundup of the world community starting to jump on board Bush’s policies. Having courage and faith in your convictions and being right about it seems to yield a fair bit of international political capital.
UPDATE 2: The Anchoress has a related story out of the Middle East from The Daily Star. In this opinion piece Rami G. Khouri talks about the effects of democracy in Iraq on the rest of the region. Go read her, then go read the rest. (kimsch)
UPDATE 3: Welcome Daou Report readers.