Thursday, January 17, 2008

Middle East Has Opinions, And Running Water Too

(Well, if you live in Iraq, this might not be the case.)

Ask yourself this question, if you live in America: When was the last time you read an editorial from the Lebanese press in your local newspaper, or heard about it on national television news? How many Americans know what the Lebanese are thinking, from day to day? (You know, that country that has been without a president since November. If you go to the official Lebanon Presidency website, the "The President" link is dead. That's a little, well, disconcerting.) You'll be scratching your head for quite a while. I doubt you'll come up with any answers. (Unless of course, you live in New York with all those other supporters of terrorism, um, I mean liberals)

Even though the Bush administration would prefer that Americans remain ignorant (while they plunder Iraq to satisfy their limitless greed and quest for dominance and power under the guise of "promoting Democracy"), if you are even remotely concerned about the impact the Middle East has on your life, it behooves you to learn as much as you can about the people of the Middle East, and how they think.

That's why I read Juan Cole. Today Juan published commentary from the Lebanese press on George Bush's recent visit. You'll be fascinated that the Lebanese press, as Joe Biden said about Barack Obama, are quite possibly "articulate and bright and clean and ... nice-looking." And maybe their opinions count, let's say, more than all those pundits in America who have never set foot in Lebanon.

Here's one quote from a January 11th 700-word commentary in Beirut Al-Nahar in Arabic (Independent, moderate, centrist, and Christian) by Mustafa al-Labbad titled "The Lame Duck Before Departure":

"Hence, the visit of the president of the greatest nation in the world to the region will not result in anything new except for the dull commemorative photo shots and words void of any substance or luster. Most likely, it will be Bush's final visit to the graveyard of his illusions, where his biggest project of the 'New Middle East' has been laid to rest."

Oh, and Juan Cole also just published an amazing book about Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.

Here's his blog about the book.

You can buy the book here.