TomPaine: the "Arab Spring"

Ethan Heitner -- formerly deputy editor of Cairo magazine charged with disciplining this disorganized managing editor over getting things done on time -- reminisces over the "Arab Spring" at post over at TomPaine.com. The recent decision to reopen the US embassy in Libya is discussed there as the "nail in the coffin" of the US' credibility about democracy promotion in the Middle East. I haven't commented on that, but it's obvious Libya is no democracy. Perhaps the most shameful thing is not the reopening of the democracy, but the way Western countries made Libya -- still a Third World country -- bleed through the nose by paying compensation for the Lockerbie bombings after a sham trial. (Read Paul Foot's reporting in Private Eye and elsewhere about that.) That pretty much ended my sympathy with all the relatives of the victims of Lockerbie who decided to take blood money from a dictator to shut up. It really is the kind of thing that makes me fundamentally pessimistic about human nature.

Anyway, thanks for the link, Ethan.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.