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Willisms

« ADSCAM: Oh, Canada! | WILLisms.com | The Social Security Debt Filing Cabinet (a.k.a. "The Trust Fund"). »

Lebanese Can Handle The Truth.

Claudia Rosett (who, incidentally, was robbed by The Pulitzer Prize committee) has a great piece on the power of truth:

A friend was wondering the other day what frontiers are left to explore, now that scientists have pretty much mapped the planet. The answer, I'd suggest, lies less in the stars than along the frontiers of human freedom--which over the past few decades have been edging out dictatorships from Asia to Latin America to Eastern Europe. Today, sped along by President's Bush's bold move two years ago to break the despotic gridlock of the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein, that same push for freedom has arrived at the region's palace gates....

It bears noting under despotic regimes anywhere, the most common reason for which democratic dissidents are jailed is simply that they have dared to tell the truth. Tyrants depend on fictions, on the lies that all their subjects support them, that they have a legitimate monopoly on power and that what they do is for the best. When that facade cracks, there is an opportunity for genuine liberation.

In Lebanon's case--as widely reported over the past few weeks-- the Lebanese want most immediately the truth about who was behind the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, killed by a huge bomb in Beirut on Feb. 14. But that murder-mystery is linked to a much broader picture. Most Lebanese believe the culprit was the totalitarian regime of neighboring Syria, which for more than a generation, under the false banner of "stability," has gotten away with occupying and brutalizing Lebanon. With Hariri's murder, the Lebanese decided they had had enough of threats and cover-ups and lies. Their demand for the truth about Hariri's killers swelled last month into the biggest democratic uprising in the history of the modern Middle East, in which some one million Lebanese staged a protest last month in downtown Beirut to demand that Syrian forces leave their country, and make room for freedom--and truth.

If you are a regular WILLisms.com reader, you may have noticed a new button on the left-hand sidebar:

democracyinlebanon.jpg

Blogger Michael J. Totten and Spirit of America founder Jim Hake are on the ground in Lebanon, supporting the pro-freedom demonstrators in the "tent city" in Beirut.

Read more at Spirit of America's blog:

Jim Hake and I met for the first time one of the key student leaders, Nabil Abou-Charaf, for coffee in Mejnah Square across the street from Lebanon's parliament. He showed up at our pre-arranged meeting place, a table at an outdoor cafe under the shade of a ficus tree, wearing a suit, a blue independence ribbon, and a prominently displayed red and white scarf - an open and public declaration that he belongs to Lebanon's democratic opposition.

"We have a few key demands," he said. "First, all Syrian soldiers and intelligence agents must leave Lebanon now and forever. We need an international inquiry into the assasination of Rafik Hariri. And we demand free and fair elections - on time, without delay - in May."

....

"The movement is totally led by young people," Nabil said. "Both Christians and Muslims. We are living together in the same tents. We stay up all night strategizing and getting to know each other. It's amazing, but it's also sad. We Christians and Muslims never really knew each other until now. Hariri's assasination broke down that wall. We are talking together - really talking and getting to know each other - for the first time....

"We are not free, but we are no longer afraid to express ourselves," he said. "The climate of fear still exists, but it is breaking. Next time you visit Lebanon will be a free country."

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 April 2005 12:06 PM

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