February 22, 2005

ANTI-MUBARAK PROTESTS seem to be growing:

About 500 protesters gathered outside Cairo University Monday to urge Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to abstain from seeking a fifth term.

The protest was organized by the Egyptian Movement for Change, which warned Mubarak against grooming his son, Jamal, “to inherit him.”

The protesters shouted anti-Mubarak slogans and called for amending the constitution to allow the election of the president by universal suffrage instead of a referendum on a single candidate approved by Parliament.

Interesting development. Omar thinks it represents a trend in the Middle East.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here’s more on Lebanon, from Amir Taheri:

UNTIL a week ago, the courtyard of the Muhammad Ali-Amin Mosque in central Beirut was a quiet place where elderly citizens took time off to feed the pigeons. Yesterday, however, it held the largest gathering Lebanon has ever seen.

This was the culmination of a week in which an endless flow of people from all walks of life and different faiths had continued in and out of the mosque united by a single purpose: to call for a restoration of Lebanon’s freedom and independence as a nation. . . .

Did Damascus see Hariri as the only politician capable of uniting the Lebanese opposition against Syria’s continued domination of virtually all aspects of Lebanon’s life?

If so, it was correct — but only in the context of Lebanon’s elite-dominated politics. Yet Hariri’s murder has ended elite politics by bringing into the picture a new element.

That element is people power, the same force that swept away the totalitarian regimes of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s and, more recently, led Ukraine into a second liberation.

Let’s hope that this phenomenon is repeated.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Javier Solana says that Arab despots are panicked at the spread of democratization. He says that like it’s a bad thing.

Meanwhile, it’s democracy-promotion for Togo, too to the surprise of some. I believe it was Cavour who said that the preferred method for deceiving diplomats was to tell them the truth, since they would never believe what you said . . . .

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