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While it is much too soon to celebrate the victory of freedom over oppression in the Middle East, much is happening that resounds with hope and is exciting to observe.
Daily, democracy is marching forward in Iraq. January’s election sent unequivocal messages of an oppressed people’s desire for self-government. Despite the desperate tactics of suicidal terrorists, Iraq is moving toward establishing a popularly elected government and the rule of law. The Palestinians elected a new leader and he is making overtures for peace with Israel. In Saudi Arabia, recent municipal elections signaled a step forward in a kingdom ruled by monarchs. Egypt’s autocratic President Hosni Mubarak is even saying he’s ready to allow direct, multiparty presidential elections next time around. And then there is Lebanon with images reminiscent of what happened 15 years ago when the Iron Curtain came down.
Many analysts suggest the Lebanese rallies will prompt Arabs in other nations to follow suit and the push for democracy throughout the Middle East will accelerate. While we can’t know for sure the ultimate outcome of these stirring events, it is clear humans everywhere have an innate desire for personal liberty. The call of freedom, articulated by President Bush in his Second Inaugural, is a wonderfully positive development.