Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. - George Santayana
So, what is really going on over there? You know, over there in the Middle East?
We may well be witnessing some truly remarkable events in and around the Middle East of late. First Tunisia, then Egypt, maybe Iran, maybe Libya, maybe Bahrain, maybe Yemen, and who knows? The more pressing question, however, is what is behind this apparently sudden uprising of the people in these various countries? If, indeed, a large part of these uprisings are due the use of social networking web sites and tools, how long will people in these kinds of countries be able to continue to make free use of these tools? And, more importantly, who or what will take the place of the former leaders of these various places after the dust settles?
Will we see that this entire domino effect was actually and clandestinely started by something or someone sinister, with ulterior motives (Iran)? Maybe it was all intended to cause the downfall of various governments just to supplant whoever was in power with more religious fanatics like the Ayatollahs? In other words, is this all just a prelude to a larger portion of the world's population coming under the sway of religious zealots? Not a good thing, from most vantage points, unless of course one is a religious zealot.
Or, will we see some democratic governments emerge? That possibility is pretty hard to visualize, at least for me, given the history of that part of the world. The traditions, the cultures, and, unfortunately, the religious beliefs as I understand them to be in those places just do not lend themselves to any movement that can lead to a democratic form of government. They sure can lead to a populist movement (Iran), but the end result is seldom much good for the average Mahmoud on the street. So, I am very skeptical of a good long term outcome over there.
I am also troubled by the little information that is coming out of Tunisia, where this began not so long ago. On the one hand, there was the report of rather significant numbers of Tunisians fleeing that place, and seeking refuge in Italy. That, together with a denial of any problems on the part of whoever is in charge in that unfortunate nation, and a refusal of any outside assistance, is very troubling.
I know it is too soon to have any answers to my questions, but I - for one - am hopeful that some folks who've never had it might finally begin to see what it is like to live in freedom. Time will tell. Oh, yeah, I saw something clever the other day about what is happening in Egypt. Somebody asked the question, "Do you suppose this whole thing in Egypt is just a pyramid scheme?"