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Has Spring Sprung? Revisiting the Arab Spring

549px-Info_box_collage_for_mena_Arabic_protestsWhile the President has been talking tough against domestic gun owners, and using drones to bomb 16 year old Americans without a trial, Iran has announced that they have joined the Nuclear Club! This same Iran is now backing Syria, and wooing Egypt.

Although Hillary Clinton apparently couldn’t distinguish between terrorist attacks and peaceful protests, she might have at least raised an eyebrow during her July visit to Egypt. After all, it isn’t every day that Christians and the Secular Left join together to protest a common threat. They protested Clinton herself, namely, her indifference to Islamist agendas hijacking the new Constitution. The Coptic Pope is on record warning that the under the new Constitution, Sharia will be further entrenched, and non-Muslims further marginalized.

Just ask Nadia Mohamad Ali. When widowed by her Muslim husband of 23 years, she returned to her family’s traditional Christianity. The authorities found out and imprisoned her. They also imprisoned her children — all seven of them. Not finished yet, they also imprisoned the clerks who processed her legal name change to a traditional Christian one. Where’s the hope in your exciting new change, Mr. President?

Surely Egypt is an exception, wasn’t the Arab Spring great everywhere else? Tyrants ousted with freedom-loving representative governments in their place, and all that? Not exactly.

Libya’s civil war destroyed most of the government apparatus. The transfer of power began smoothly, but with its military badly depleted, problems in neighboring Algeria, large border and problems in Benghazi itself, Libya is not yet out of the woods. In fact, a Washington Times piece describes the region as rife with assassinations and kidnappings. A local made passing reference to the fact that he recently escaped an explosion while waiting in his car at a traffic light. Just peachy. Viva la revolution!

Let’s look at Tunisia, where all this began. Tunisia was considered the “most European” of North African nations, had a relatively large middle class, and “broad gender equality.” But with rampant corruption, police states, and a tyrant, they were ripe for a revolution. How are things working out there?

To begin with, the only person arrested in connection to the Benghazi attacks — Ali Harzi — was released by Tunisian authorities early in January. Did that make the news where you are? I didn’t think so.

Tunisia had an ineffective three-party coalition government in place. I say “had” because one of the Opposition leaders was assassinated on February 6th. He was “a fierce opponent” of the ruling Islamist government, a Communist, warning of the dangers of a new dictatorship. Damami — a member of parliament — said, “Today, we see that this dialogue with Islamists and extremists is leading to political killings.” (Side question: since Communists usually favor dictatorships, what sort of dictatorship would concern him? Was it the kind that shot him dead on his doorstep?)

The assassination caused the government to fall, and Tunisia will return to the polls. So much for their peaceful revolution. But there is still the unresolved matter of a Tunisian Constitution. The coalition government had not yet drafted one — this was supposed to happen later this year. With elections coming, it is anybody’s guess which party will be holding the pen when the time comes.

When the Arab Spring took off, President Obama gladly endorsed it. His teleprompter gave us noble terms like “independence” and “historic opportunity’. Obama spoke of values, and dignity, and especially, of “self-determination.”

In that speech, Tunisia and Egypt were held up as shining examples — of people rising up to their destinies, and the President dripped optimism: “the world as it should be.”

Based on that speech, the President apparently sees the Collective Will of The People as objectively a good thing, regardless of context. Because the Arab Spring was a popular uprising, it was certainly (to him) a good thing. So committed is Obama to his Community Organizing paradigm, that the Peace-Prize-winning constitutional expert from Harvard Law failed to realize the relevance of his own culture.

He failed to recognize the importance of American core values so critical in making its self-government work. The conviction of inherent worth of all people, regardless of culture, politics, or beliefs, is but one of many.

Sadly, not all cultures praise these values, and we cannot say all Cultures are equal, or equally qualified for self-government. This isn’t because people are inferior, but because their core beliefs are incompatible with self-government. Certain beliefs need changing before self-government can be embraced.

For example, we could never tolerate any law assuming the guilt of a woman who had been raped. But some do. We could never tolerate classifying groups of people as subhuman because of race, or undeserving of equality under the law because of religion. But Egypt’s President Morsi called Jews “the descendants of apes and pigs.” What commitment to equality can he be trusted to uphold? Nadia Ali’s story would be intolerable in the West, but it fits neatly into Egypt’s current paradigm.

You cannot fashion a country to resemble American equality and freedoms without first embracing what America’s values were built upon.

President John Adams said, “Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” It is no coincidence that the people he spoke of weren’t Islamic. They were Christian.

Image: Collage for MENA protests. Clockwise from top left: 2011 Egyptian revolution, Tunisian revolution, 2011 Yemeni uprising, 2011 Bahraini uprising, 2011 Libyan civil war, 2011 Syrian uprising; 5 August 2011 (UTC)Source: File:Infobox collage for MENA protests.PNG; Permission: CC-BY-SA-3.0. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck