A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Jim Hake Goes to Lebanon

I got an e-mail this morning from Jim Hake – as did, I’m assuming, all the bloggers who support Spirit of America – asking for help with their mission in Lebanon:

I'm in Beirut, Lebanon to kick off a project to support the
pro-democracy demonstrators at the "tent city" in Martyrs' Square. Their goals are independence (i.e., Syria out of Lebanon) and free and fair elections. The tent city demonstrators are the center of gravity for Lebanon's pro-democracy movement. They are leading the charge. They put together the massive demonstrations 3 weeks ago. As they go, so goes Lebanon's independence. And so goes a great opportunity for democratic transformation of the Middle East and Arab world.

They need our help to sustain their struggle. Our project is raising
support for them (food, shelter, water, etc.) While I'm here we're
looking into other things to help (e.g., Internet access at tent city)
People can go here to help:

SoA Lebanon Project

100% of all donations go directly to the things that will help the pro-democracy demonstrators.

Syria is publicly acting like it is playing nice and withdrawing.
Behind the scenes they are destabilizing the country, delaying the
elections and intimidating the opposition. The good guys in Lebanon need our support.

Please blog and help get the word out. This message is posted on our blog at:

SoA Blog



Like the Iraqis and the Afganis, the Lebanese are going to have to work to build their Democracy. But we can help with advice, and with money and materials when they are needed and deserved. I’m going to give Jim’s new program in Lebanon a few bucks out of my wallet … I urge you to do the same.

All of the recent anti-Syrian activity in Lebanon has me thinking: Is it premature to say that President Bush’s strategy seems to be working? That after free elections in Afganistan and Iraq, the citizens of other Middle Eastern nations are now waking up to the fact that they don’t have to live under the thumb of dictators? Many right-leaning organizations are saying exactly that; the prediction that removing the region's two worst regimes (Saddam and the Taliban) is now leading to popular uprisings in nearby nations against similar tyrannies.

It might be a little early yet to make such a claim, but I certainly like the way things are going. The overall situation is definitely changing for the better, and I doubt that the Lebanease would have had the courage to stand up to Syria if they hadn’t just watched the Afganis and the Iraqis vote (and if they hadn’t seen a thug much tougher than Assad humbled before all the world).

Raise a glass to the people of Lebanon next time you’re at the dinner table or your favorite bar. And if you’ve got a extra $10, $20, or $50 bill in your wallet, send it to Jim Hake.