Monday, October 24, 2011

Living Long Enough

Sitting in my high school study hall, in 1967, Akron, Ohio, I can remember thinking I will never live long enough to see my 26th birthday, let alone birthday 50. Given the war in Viet Nam, the draft, I really didn't expect to live to my parent's age – they were in their 40s then. Now 62, I hope to live long enough to see and participate in what some are calling the 99ers “U.S. Spring”.

What has just occurred in Tunisia gives me great hope that I just might make it.

In his latest blog posting, Surprises of the Tunisian Election, Dr. Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, said this:

"Tunisia kicked off the Arab Spring, with its urban crowds effectively protesting the decades-long dictatorship of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his nepotistic in-laws, the Trabelsi clan. The Tunisians were the first to demonstrate that flashmobs could, if sufficiently determined, outmaneuver the secret police and send a dictator into exile."

"Even more remarkable than the revolution of last January, to my mind, is the widespread conviction on the part of Tunisians that the way forward is liberal, parliamentary democracy. Thus, Sunday’s election of a constituent assembly that will fashion a new constitution and form an interim government is in some ways the real revolution. For decades, most Arab states implicitly accepted the Leninist critique of parliaments as mere instruments of plutocracy and wholly unrepresentative. But it turns out that the main alternative to parliamentary democracy is not direct democracy but rather oppressive dictatorship masquerading as the latter."

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