They are Us

Since 9/11 Arabs have too often been categorized by those outside their region as incomprehensible and, of course, dangerous. Yet the eruption of the Arab street, from Tunis to Cairo, and from Amman to Sana’a, reveals another narrative. The antigovernment protesters are not expressing extremist rage but righteous anger. The enemy is not the West but authoritarianism at home.  The call is not for global jihad but for freedom, justice and dignity – the very ‘universal values’  Barack Obama cites. Even if we know that democracy will not emerge anytime soon in Egypt or in other Arab countries, the violence should not bury the core message of the millions who yearn for change. They aspire to what all humanity wants. They are not the Other. They are us.

(with a big thank you to Zoher Abdoolcarim)

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