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Revolutionaries in the Middle East
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Two separate stories I've heard recently on NPR...

The first interviewed a group of Egyptian 20-somethings who were meeting in a creative writing group in a cafe. The NPR correspondent asked them questions like:

Would you like to see someone other than Hosni Mubarak as President of Egypt?

The answer was essentially: Why not? But he has been President my whole life and I can't imagine who would take his place.

And one's like this:

Would you like to see democracy come to Egypt?

Paraphrasing: Sure, why not? We don't want it forced on us by Bush, but sure, we would like it. But how that would happen? Who would do it and when? Who knows?

Spoken like a true revolutionary.

On the opposite side of the coin, there was a story about The Committee to Protect Bloggers, who are trying to raise awareness of the jailing of Iranian bloggers Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad, for nothing other than posting their opinions on blogs and being critical of their government.

People in Iran have been jailed arbitrarily and tortured for basically doing what I do here every day. That's courage, and apparently something the middle-class Egyptians interviewed don't understand.

If you want change, really want change, you've got to take some kind of a stand and actually put your own ass on the line. The casual indifference of the Egyptians in the story is disheartening, but probably typical of most people, not willing to stick their necks out for their ideals. But the story of the Iranian bloggers gives some hope that there are real reformers who want real change, and who are willing to risk their lives to see it happen.

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