The New York Times reports on the Cedar Revolution from Beirut in uncharacteristically pleasant tones, rather than the traditional pessimism (or silence) normally reserved for events that prove George Bush’s policies correct. Of course, the Times neglects to mention — even once — the Iraqi elections that provided the confidence needed to get people out onto the street, but Hassan Fattah does draw comparisons to the Bush-supported Ukrainian demonstrations that collapsed the Russian puppet government there:
Lebanon’s prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned Monday, dissolving the country’s pro-Syrian government and setting the stage for an intense struggle over the relationship between Syria and Lebanon.
The surprise resignation came as the streets of Beirut were filled with tens of thousands of flag-waving protesters and hours after a grueling no-confidence debate in the Lebanese Parliament. Pressure on both the government and Syria has risen steadily since the car-bomb assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri two weeks ago, for which government opponents blame Syria.
The Lebanese opposition has demanded a full investigation of Mr. Hariri’s assassination, the resignation of the government, and an immediate pullout of Syria’s 14,000 troops from Lebanon. Opposition leaders say they have consciously imitated the popular uprising in Ukraine, where demonstrators forced the government to call a new election after accusations of corruption.
Marches over the past two weeks here culminated in a huge demonstration at Martyr’s Square on Monday in open defiance of an Interior Ministry order against the gathering, as the parliamentary session began.
Lebanese soldiers circled much of the city center with barbed wire and barricades on Sunday evening to block the Monday demonstration, but to little avail.
Instead of explaining how the Iraqi elections set the stage for the wave of demands for democratization in the Arab world, the Times instead compares the Cedar Revolution favorably to other protests — American anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s. No, really:
In scenes reminiscent of protests in the United States in the 1960’s, protestors rushed to get to the site of the demonstration, just yards away from Mr. Hariri’s grave, and camped through the night, waving Lebanese flags as anthems played on. Many handed flowers to the soldiers and beseeched them to cooperate with them. Despite orders to prevent demonstrators from entering the area, soldiers eventually relented to the flood of largely young protestors on Monday, and the demonstration carried on peacefully.
Yes, that connection appears so obvious to me now! Just as in Lebanon, Americans in the 1960s suffered under an occupation by a foreign government and risked their lives by demonstrating against the fascist occupation of their country. Most readers will discern my sarcasm, but apparently the irony-free denizens of the Paper of Record would truly believe that tripe. Yikes.
However, maybe I shouldn’t quibble. At least they’re covering it, and at least they’re showing some enthusiasm for the movement. Anyway, self-delusion so profound that it accidentally leads to some form of truth happens so rarely that it must be seen to be appreciated.