americans love a good revolution. hell, we love it when we feel that others are “spreading democracy” (which sounds so wrong, like on the level of “spreading santorum.” and if you don’t know that that is, google it. it’s hilarious.)
i get most of my news these days from two sources: npr, which i swear makes me smarter just by listening to it, and my local paper the seattle times. occasionally i might skim through the new york times website, or watch my local news, but mostly, i avoid watching the news. you get more in-depth coverage by reading about it. anyway, that’s just what i was doing this morning. i’ve been following the revolts and protests going on in north africa with a great deal of interest. why? because it really is quite interesting. it also puzzled me that there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot of coverage, at least on the national nightly news.
it took me a little while to figure out why, but then i read this article in the
new york times this morning. we don’t care. we care slightly more about any protests going on in egypt, but other than that, we don’t care. they have nothing to offer us, nothing that we can exploit, so we’re not really going to alert the rest of the world to what’s going on so they can join in.
in case your local paper hasn’t been covering the story, or you avoid the times because it’s slightly dry and often snooty, tunisia managed to knock its leader out of office after a series of protests sparked by the death of a man who set himself on fire, making a martyr of himself. this is remarkable in a number of ways, the most important being that the now deposed leader had been in power for god knows how long. this set off protests in other parts of northern africa with similarly entrenched leadership, and now egypt is nervous and yemen’s president is furiously trying to keep his head above water by making all sorts of promises to appease the vast majority of his poverty-ridden country (i think he’ll fail). and yes, i know that yemen is nowhere near north africa. but they’ve been paying close attention to what happened in tunisia, i thought i’d lump them in here.
the article brushes tunisia off like it’s a pesky fly. they shouldn’t. from our US-centric perspective, what the masses managed to accomplish means little, except that it’s stirred unrest in other countries, and while there are probably quite a few bureaucrats who are rejoicing in the name of freedom and democracy, they’re doing so quietly, because if egypt falls, so does any hope of some sort of hold the US might have over stemming a muslim extremist tide within the middle east.
why oh why do we need to keep sticking our noses into other people’s business? better question, how the fuck did we become the world police?
now if you’ll excuse me, i’m going to stoke my anger by listening to some rage against the machine.