February 21st, 2011

Wrongfooted

For all that our journalists and politicians are always banging on about muslims, I don't remember anyone predicting the Arab revolution. Western leaders were so completely wrong-footed by it that their first reaction was to make cooing noises at the dictators- with Sarkozy going so far as to offer to help Ben Ali out by sending him some of his surplus riot police.

It was often said that the dictators were a necessary evil because they kept the mullahs down, but the uprisings- all of them- have been led by secular youth- with not a mullah in sight. It was also often said that Arabs are primitive (but noble) tribal folk who don't understand or want democracy...