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TCS: Surprised? [great tribute to our brilliant President Reagan]

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  • ~mary~
    http://www.techcentralstation.com/031005D.html Surprised? By Pejman Yousefzadeh Published 03/10/2005 The night the Berlin Wall came down, I was glued to the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 13, 2005
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      By Pejman Yousefzadeh
      Published 03/10/2005

      The night the Berlin Wall came down, I was glued to the television coverage
      and watched ABC's Prime Time Live engage in real-time reporting of the
      breach of the wall and the spread of democracy to Eastern Europe. Sam
      Donaldson -- who had served as the White House correspondent during the
      Reagan Administration -- was one of the co-hosts of the broadcast, and at
      one point during the coverage, he had a chance to interview his old
      rhetorical sparring partner -- former President Ronald Reagan.

      Donaldson was warm and gracious to the former President as they both watched
      history be made. Several times during the interview, Donaldson credited
      President Reagan for having worked to set up the conditions for the fall of
      the Wall and the commensurate collapse of communism. Donaldson also spoke to
      the amazement that many people felt at seeing the Berlin Wall finally
      breached. Surely, he seemed to indicate, no one expected to see the eventual
      destruction of the Cold War order and the victory of the forces of freedom
      and democracy in this twilight struggle. Judging from Donaldson's questions
      and the tone and premise implicit in those questions, the decision by
      Eastern Europeans to agitate for their freedom and take their destinies into
      their own hands sprang out of the blue and was an entirely unanticipated

      President Reagan entertained all of this commentary and questioning, and
      then, at the end of the interview, he asked for a little extra time to say
      something. The former President freely admitted that the events going on in
      Eastern Europe were momentous. But he asked why it was that anyone should be surprised that a people enslaved for over four decades should want to
      agitate for their freedom. The surprising thing was not that people wanted
      to be free. Rather, it was that they were enslaved in the first place.

      As always, the great liberator cut right to the heart of matters. With the
      fall of the Berlin Wall still blessedly fresh in our hearts and minds, and
      with Reagan's bracing perspective to aid and assist us, we should now turn
      our attention to the Middle East and ask why anyone is surprised that the
      people of Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq should opt and fight
      for their freedom.

      Sectarian dictators in the Middle East try to get their people to buy into
      the belief that existence is merely the gateway to all kinds of burdens and
      oppression, and that such oppression can be avoided if only the populace
      will sacrifice its inherent interest in freedom and liberty for safety and
      security from the forces of oppression -- forces that respond to the
      commands of those very sectarian dictators. Meanwhile, the region's
      religious totalitarians try to convince their people that life on earth is
      not worth living at all. Rather, people should focus on making their lives
      as short as possible, and using those lives to commit terrorist acts that
      supposedly will earn them God's favor.

      But the agitation for democracy that is currently going on in the Middle
      East is upsetting these authoritarian and totalitarian attempts to brainwash
      and intimidate their people. These Middle Eastern democrats belief that the
      quality of their present lives matter, that they -- and not a gang of
      ruthless dictators -- should be the ones who determine the shape and
      direction of their lives. Whether they are seeking the institution of
      liberty and freedom in the first instance, or demonstrating against the
      terrorists determined to combat any efforts to bring freedom to the Middle
      East, the quality of present day existence matters to these Middle Eastern
      democrats and their emboldening is shaking the very foundations of the
      dictatorships that for decades have worked to crush their hopes.

      Of course, the people of the Middle East have been emboldened to fight back
      against the dictators of the region by American efforts to oust both the
      Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Lebanese militant leader Walid Jumblatt -- who
      in the past was known for his vehemently anti-American statements --
      directly credits the removal of Saddam Hussein and the successful Iraqi
      elections for a transitional government with having inspired the movement
      for democracy across the Middle East. In Lebanon, pro-democracy
      demonstrators greeted the attempts of Syrian President Bashar Assad to offer
      half-measures designed to placate demands for a Syrian withdrawal from
      Lebanon by taunting him with slogans like "Bush sends his greetings!" -- a
      clear reference to the possibility that the United States may undertake to
      free the Lebanese people via military power if Syria does not withdraw.
      While there is almost no chance of such a thing happening, it is more than a
      little noteworthy that the Lebanese demonstrators seem gleeful at the
      prospect of American liberation -- or at the very least willing and clever
      enough to use the threat of American military might to force Syria to fully
      withdraw from Lebanon. And Assad seems terrified -- in a recent comment to
      the Turkish press, Assad asked his interviewer to "Please send this message:
      I am not Saddam Hussein. I want to cooperate." He should want to cooperate;
      the international coalition against Assad includes states like Saudi Arabia
      -- which historically has been more than willing to cooperate with the
      region's thugs and murderers so long as its own survival was ensured. And
      now, with both international forces and domestic upheaval threatening to
      transform Middle Eastern political and social institutions, the United
      States has decided to augment its support of Iranian democratic reformers as
      well; thereby increasing the creative tension in the region that may lead to
      genuine liberalization in the Middle East as a whole.

      But in the end, we should remember that the fight to help Middle Eastern
      democrats is aided most all by the deeply-rooted desire of a long-captive
      people to break the bonds that have shackled them for generations, and to
      achieve the freedom that so many of us take for granted. And as President
      Reagan advised us, we should stop being surprised and astonished that people all over the world want to be free.
      Denials of liberty are social and
      political anomalies that should be eradicated to the greatest degree
      possible. To the extent that the international system is capable of it, it
      should suffer tyrannies with the same degree of patience and forbearance human beings employ to suffer diseases.

      And if you are not astonished by the refusal of an individual to suffer a
      personal disease, then you shouldn't be astonished by the refusal of an
      entire region to suffer the disease of tyranny. Call the events in the
      Middle East "thrilling," if you wish. Call them "wonderful," "splendid,"
      "encouraging," "hopeful" and "promising." Just don't call them "surprising."
      There is no surprise to be had at all.

      "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are:
      "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
      Ronald Reagan.
      Hey Libs!  "Delta is Ready When You Are!  ~mary~
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