You have to read this...
One of the best bloggers anywhere commenting on the Arab world is Baheyya. The focus is usually on Egypt, but comments on the rest of the region as well. This is the sort of person who gets what it is about: both genuine national independence, and genuine democracy. Bush and the Israelis are only offering cheap facades of both, what they really want is subservient states with pliant dictators who pretend to be democrats. Arabs aren't idiots and they see right through it. Baheyya is one of the most adept bloggers out there at dissecting these realities, not from an American, but from an Egyptian and Arab point of view. She believes in people power, genuine democracy, genuine judicial independence and separation of powers, and genuine national independence. She is no friend of American or Israeli scheming and bombing, but if either country were ever to come to its senses, these are the people who could teach them a thing or two about real democracy.
Check out her latest post, an absolutely fabulous piece making the point that contrary to US and Israeli labels as terrorists, Hamas and Hizbullah represent far more than just Arab-Israeli violence to extend to genuine democratic evolution in the region. And that they have staying power beyond anything Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt could have dreamed of because they are genuinely an extension *of* the people and not merely populists doing something *for* the people. A quote and then the link:
"These movements don’t just offer monetary loans, cleaned streets, affordable schools, and functioning hospitals. They offer the dignity and honour that comes from resistance, the same dignity and honour that motivated the anti-fascist resistance, the same dignity and honour that bolstered the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto. I want to know, does the Israeli government and its American enabler think they can extinguish this quest for human dignity with cluster-bombing, the destruction of infrastructure, and the killing of infants and toddlers?"
Her whole blog is worth reading through, even old posts take you on lessons through history and culture gained by a serious student of her own country and regions past and present. Even the best of western scholars simply never grew up reading and feeling the place the way someone for whom it is home did. Viva Baheyya!