No one wants to take any risks with the future of one’s country or security, but the Arab Revolutions of 2011 are our own Bastille Day. There is no Khomeini to be concerned about who will sweep the masses into a frenzied religious zealotry. These are economic revolutions, not religious.
Our youths are angry because of corruption, unemployment, lack of opportunities, accountability and transparency. Be afraid of the Islamists for their ideology but do not be afraid of the Islamists taking over with slogans that have little to do with addressing the miseries of the people. Their standard messages of hate and exclusion will not resonate with a new generation of skeptical Arab masses more interested in reality than fantasy, more interested in brunettes than Minarets.
Syrians may not be free on the street, but behind walls, they are practicing freedom through access to the Internet. Witness the number of Bloggers who have been unjustly imprisoned by Assad and the severity of their prison terms. Whether you are one of some 150,000 unemployed Syrian college student class of 2010 or the daughter of a bureaucrat,Â the Internet has opened the eyes and minds of a new generation of Syrians to western justice and the rule of law. Today, they differentiate between a State turning upside down to save one Shalit vs. their State turning upside down to oppress millions of Ahmads.
The Internet has shown the Syrian youth a visible ladder to economic prosperity and the gray-haired, bearded men is showing but an invisible carnal promise to perpetuate violence. Becoming so skeptical, they are reasoning that a virgin in hand is better than 72 in heaven.