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middle east

Smithsonian Mag - Bunker Hill and Women in the Middle East

Both Michelle and I have been loving the Smithsonian magazine, which we became acquainted with after Uncle Seanly gifted a subscription to us. We've been renewing every since - one of the few magazines we both read regularly.

Of the many article that have captured my attention, the true story of Bunker Hill and the issues women face in a changing Middle East.

I've heard several interviews with Nathaniel Philbrick and already planned to get the book but the article only increased my interest. I thought the piece on women in the Middle East was thoughtful and a reminder that the radical Islamists are afraid of women, not unlike the conservative "Christians" in this country that want to shackle women as well. Of course, our radical "Christians" are not blowing themselves up to make their point, but then the radical Islamists don't have Fox News working for them, giving them an outlet for their insanity.

End of digression. I recommend those articles...

Democratization and Democracy

Leon Wieseltier, a writer that I frequently criticize, penned a prescient piece for The New Republic: "Eyeless in Cairo."

I have long argued that while not everyone in the world wants to vote in a republic or even necessarily be engaged in their own governance, I don't believe there is a person that believes power should be totally unaccountable to citizens. Similarly, I doubt there is a person who yearns to live in a society where there is no redress for injustice. This article covers similar ground - the prospects for democratization in Egypt and whether current US policy will reproduce Iran circa 1979.

This is an incredible passage:

Can one be for democracy in some states and against democracy in other states? As a matter of principle, of course not: democracy is universalism as a political order. It is premised on a certain conception of the individual and society, on an understanding of dignity and freedom that would be meaningless if it did not apply to all people. By bringing all people under a single philosophical description, it ignores, without regret, the social and economic and cultural distinctions among them. It equalizes. But policy, even when it is based in philosophy, is not philosophy; it cannot be indifferent to consequences. And the democratization of undemocratic societies is emphatically a policy of destabilization. In the anarchy of the attempt, all kinds of evils may be loosed. Unfree people dream of more than just freedom; they dream also of power, and vengeance, and exclusiveness, and heaven.

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