Last night I spent some time skyping with the Egyptian Moose delegation. The current situation post-Mubarak remains in flux, concerns about abuse of power by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) are rising while the country seeks a democratic solution to governance.
Libya similarly is beginning a path that – at least in theory – would see democracy take hold in the country.
While there is understandable concern among all who care about the region – most importantly those who live in it – I remain optimistic that the series of fits-and-starts that should be expected will lead eventually to a positive outcome.
What do you think, Mooses?
There are reasons to be concerned. It is hard to see beyond the current chaos, the popularity of Wahabism, the economic blight and articles like this:
Egypt ruling’s military council, facing its worst crisis since the fall of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, was on Wednesday forced into an extraordinary denial of claims it was responsible for violence in which at least 25 people, mostly Coptic Christians, died at the weekend.
But the long sweep of time seems, to me, to push towards a positive future. It may be further out than anyone might hope, but it just seems unlikely that the Middle East will slide backwards into the 13th Century while the rest of the world moves forward.
As part of our conversation we looked at longer periods of time. Forward to 2100, backwards the same distance to 1920. In 1920 European leaders referred to Europe as “Christendom” – who would have thought that by 2011 it would be a largely non-secular continent? In the world of 2100 – largely unseeable from here, but either a dystopian wasteland or a barely-recognizable world where what is magic today is technology then (I think the latter, by far) – is it easy to imagine that large parts of the world will seek the life of the Dark Ages? I don’t think so. Somewhere between now and then the line of history bends towards the future. The Arab Spring was one (large) bend in that curve, there will be more – hopefully more subtle – bends between now and then.
We will see.