The Ferment of Freedom

The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.

President George W. Bush, Second Inaugural Address

The progression of freedom is not inevitable, but given a modicum of support and protection, freedom possesses an inexorable contagion. How quickly we are seeing that 2005 will be known as the Year of Freedom. The keynote for change was sounded in President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address, seen as historically inspirational by some and wildly unrealistic by others. What is evident is that the clarion call of the President, and a foreign policy based on strength and initiative against terror on the blood-soaked soil of the terrorists, has struck a match in international kindling soaked with the combustible sweat of human oppression.

Around the world, the churning and tonic of freedom’s ferment are making daily headlines:

Afghanistan: The striking image of woman in Afghanistan, formerly shrouded and humiliating, striding confidently to a voting booth.

Iraq: Despite toxic threats, the people of Iraq flipping the purple finger of democracy and turning the tide of Middle Easterni history.

Libya: The formerly brazen Quaddafi of Libya standing down on nuclear weapons when being a member of the world community looked better than being on the serious end of a cruise missile.

Ukraine: The Orange Revolution refusing to succumb to the bullies of Ukraine and their Russian sponsors and making their voices heard in new elections.

Palestinians: After electing a leader who recognized the value of peace, the Palestinans see more hope beyond the shadow of Arafat, and the Palestinian Authority shows increasing confidence in working against their own terrorists.

Egypt: The possibility that Egypt will see the first truly contested national election in its 5,000 year history.

Former Soviet Republics: Opposition parties in Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan cloaking themselves in orange, hoping to “do a Ukraine” and remove unpopular governments in parliamentary elections.

Russia: Putin looking chastened after a meeting in which Bush clearly confronted him on the slipping of democratic freedoms in Russia.

Saudi Arabia: Women are granted suffrage in local elections for the first time. A small step, but in the right direction.

Lebanon: Lebanese citizen-protest leads to downfall of pro-Syria government, breaking 29 years of Syrian domination, Lebanon’s pro-Damascus.

Recognizing that the road to freedom is never a straight line and it will continue to be strewn with the bodies of heroes, many are celebrating freedom’s ferment:

From FrontPageMag (h/t: The American Mind):

From Hosni Mubarak’s opening up Egyptian elections for the first time, to Syria’s strong efforts to accommodate American demands for withdrawal from Lebanon and for cooperation in Iraq, the Middle East is changing in ways unforeseen even last fall.

Lebanon’s Druze Patriarch Walid Jumblatt pinpointed the genesis of this metamorphosis in the pages of The Washington Post: It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.

In other words, a sea-change is taking place in the Arab world: democracy is becoming reality for the first time in history – and all this progress came about because of the determination of President George W. Bush and over the most vicious objections of the American Left.

Roger L. Simon weighs in:

In the last three years, Afghanistan and Iraq have gone more or less democratic, Libya has stood down on nuclear weapons, Ukraine has gone democratic, the Palestinian Authority and even Egypt are making democratic noises and now a near-fascist pro-Syrian regime has resigned in Lebanon. Will all of this work out perfectly? Of course not. Nothing in history moves in a straight line. But this is a rather remarkable achievement of epoch proportions and is clearly the result of a strong US foreign policy.

Mark Steyn writes in The Telegraph:

Consider just the past couple of days’ news: not the ever more desperate depravity of the floundering “insurgency”, but the real popular Arab resistance the car-bombers and the head-hackers are flailing against: the Saudi foreign minister, who by remarkable coincidence goes by the name of Prince Saud, told Newsweek that women would be voting in the next Saudi election.

“That is going to be good for the election,” he said, “because I think women are more sensible voters than men.”

Meanwhile in Damascus, Boy Assad, having badly overplayed his hand in Lebanon and after months of denying that he was harbouring any refugee Saddamites, suddenly discovered that – wouldja believe it? – Saddam’s brother and 29 other bigshot Baghdad Baathists were holed up in north-eastern Syria, and promptly handed them over to the Iraqi government.

And, for perhaps the most remarkable development, consider this report from Mohammed Ballas of Associated Press: “Palestinians expressed anger on Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes.”

No disrespect to Associated Press, but I was disinclined to take their word for it. However, Charles Johnson, whose Little Green Footballs website has done an invaluable job these past three years presenting the ugly truth about Palestinian death-cultism, reported that he went hunting around the internet for the usual photographs of deliriously happy Gazans dancing in the street and handing out sweets to celebrate the latest addition to the pile of Jew corpses – and, to his surprise, couldn’t find any.

Why is all this happening? Answer: January 30

NickieGoomba puts tongue firmly in cheek and suggests a Michael Moore reaction:

Michael Moore insisted that a “Plague of Democracy” was upon us and could spell the end of progressive politics. Waving a breadstick to emphasize his points, he said:

“Look at Ukraine, look at Iraq, look at Afghanistan, look at Egypt, look at the Palestinians, look at Lebanon. That idiot, George Bush Jr., is establishing countless non-union democracies. I’m talking low wages, non-OSHA workplaces, elected govenment officials without Liberal Arts degrees…it is madness. And have you noticed a lack of diversity in the new so-called democracies? All I see are Arabs and Muslims. It looks like Martin Luther King died for nothing. Stop being sheep. Bush is ruining the whole world. This Democracy crap is a disease and we have to nip it in the bud…”

Remarkably, amazingly, even the Gray Lady is struck by the advancement of freedom:

This has so far been a year of heartening surprises – each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance. And for all the negative consequences that flowed from the American invasion of Iraq, there could have been no democratic elections there this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in power. Washington’s challenge now lies in finding ways to nurture and encourage these still fragile trends without smothering them in a triumphalist embrace.

Also, in my posting of this at Stones Cry Out, see a related cartoon by Chris Muir)

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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