By far the most consequential event in the world this week is the unrest in Egypt. It, of course, is a follow-up to the unrest in Tunisia, which led to that nation’s longtime ruler to flee. There is every possibility that other Arab countries will also see unrest.
This may, of course, all end up badly. It is not uncommon for terrible dictators to be replaced by worse dictators, as happened in Iran when the Shah was replaced by Ayatollah Khomeini.
At its base, though, the unrest is a positive thing. It indicates that Arabs and Muslims yearn for freedom just as we do.
It is not often noted but is worth noting that the whole thing took off because a produce vendor in Tunisia kept getting his cart confiscated as his freedom to do business was deprived by a mesh of corruption, laws and regulations. When options of complaint proved unavailing, when he was insulted and slapped by a female police officer, the vendor set himself aflame.
I don’t know the words in Arabic, but in burning himself, what was he saying but the words of Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty or give me death.”
And to think, it all started with a produce cart.