Monday, March 07, 2005

Unexpected Whiff of Freedom

In Yesterday's New York Times there was an article headlined "Unexpected Whiff of Freedom Proves Bracing for the Mideast." I hope this is true. As readers ponder why this might be true at this time, I would mention that I have always thought that the VCR (combined with internal rot and corruption) brought down the Soviet Union rather than Ronald Reagan's massive arms' buildup. Access to accurate information is one key to people taking power and here technology plays a pivotal role. Consequently, I was drawn to the following passage from yesterday's Times:

"Young protesters have been spurred by the rise of new technology, especially uncensored satellite television, which prevents Arab governments from hiding what is happening on their own streets. The Internet and cellphones have also been deployed to erode censorship and help activists mobilize in ways previous generations never could."

Of course if you really want to know what is going on in the Middle East you should read Juan Cole's Informed Content. This column explains what really causes terrorism in the Middle East: foreign military occupations.

"You want to end terrorism? End unjust military occupations. By all means have Syria conduct an orderly withdrawal from Lebanon if that is what the Lebanese public wants. But Israel needs to withdraw from the Golan Heights, which belong to Syria, as well. The Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank must be ended. The Russian scorched earth policy in Chechnya needs to stop. Some just disposition of the Kashmir issue must be attained, and Indian enormities against Kashmiri Muslims must stop. The US needs to conduct an orderly and complete withdrawal from Iraq. And when all these military occupations end, there is some hope for a vast decrease in terrorism. People need a sense of autonomy and dignity, and occupation produces helplessness and humiliation. Humiliation is what causes terrorism."


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