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For a free night at the local Hilton, an exclusive interview, and a chilled bottle of wine, the New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman will come to your country and portray you as a beacon of reason or freedom in a dark world. He’s done this for Saudi Arabia, for China, for Iran. Now he’s doing it for the Arab Spring.
The Arab Spring, says Friedman, “leaves me with a smile on my face and a pit in my stomach.” The smile comes from “witnessing a whole swath of humanity losing its fear and regaining its dignity.” The pit comes from “a rising worry that the Arab Spring may have been both inevitable and too late.” Friedman believes that the Arab Spring is a flourishing of freedom throughout the Middle East, an “existential” awakening. How does he know that? Because one of his Libyan friends told him so: “A Libyan friend remarked to me the other day that he was watching Arab satellite TV out of Benghazi, Libya, and a sign held aloft at one demonstration caught his eye. It said in Arabic: ‘Ana Rajul’ — which translates to ‘I am a man.’ If there is one sign that sums up the whole Arab uprising, it’s that one.”
Well, no. If there’s one sign that sums up the entire Arab uprising, it’s this one: a picture of Mubarak with a Jewish star across his forehead. This is an anti-tyrant movement, yes – it’s driven by anger over poor living standards and lack of economic opportunity. But it’s much more than that – it’s a pan-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian movement based on a Nasser-esque Pan-Arabism.