Middle East Musings

Deprived of my normal Wednesday morning Preston & Steve “Lost” theories, I listened to BBC’s “The World” broadcast on NPR as I made my way in to work today. Today’s broadcast lead with coverage of the ongoing protests in Lebanon and as the BBC reporters interviewed the brave Lebanese that have taken to the streets in the name of freedom, I was struck by what one woman told the reporter.

She had brought her daughter to the public square in Beirut and had enthusiastically joined the crowds chanting “Syria out!” The reporter asked her whether she was frightened of any repercussions for her actions, in particular from Syrian soldiers. She responded (and I’m paraphrasing here) “I lived through the [Lebanese civil] war and saw all its horrors. What else can the Syrians do? I came out to show my daughter what protest and freedom truly look like.”

I found myself a bit choked up at the woman’s comments and felt blessed to be able to hear her courageous words, but I’m also struck by the near-fatalism expressed by her sentiment. It is easy to see why when so much of the population of the greater Middle East has indeed “seen all the horrors” possible at the hands of their respective dictatorships.

I’m glad I have lived in times where such oppressed people have said “Enough is enough!” and thrown off their chains once (in the case of the former U.S.S.R.). I hope that the brave protestors in Beirut are followed shortly by their intellectual brothers-in-arms in Damascus, Riyadh, Tehran and beyond.

Truly we are living in historic times.