The West Is Not Having An Arab Spring

At the gym on Monday, the overhead TVs were showing scenes of fierce fighting near Sirte in Libya. I was riveted to the soundless images of the CNN journalists and revolutionary fighters who were caught in a sudden attack.

With neither sound nor subtitles, it wasn’t obvious exactly what was happening, but the images of the men running for cover and the doctors’ grief at the hospital told me everything I needed to know. I later learned that the video was narrated by Phil Black. CNN producer Ian Lee had been injured in the attack, and a Libyan ambulance driver and paramedic had been killed.

Those images have haunted me since. So much more so in striking contrast to the Wall Street Protest, self-described as a protest in the spirit of the Arab Spring.

I dare anyone to watch this video and make that comparison. This is the reality of the Arab Spring, a people who have endured untold hardships and are now making unimaginable sacrifices to rid their countrymen of an oppressive regime.

The same video on CNN International’s YouTube channel seems to be region-locked and won’t play in the US so I’ve embedded another version here.

Those of us in the west would do well to remember that our freedoms were paid for us by the lives of our forefathers, whose sacrifice made possible the relative liberty we enjoy.

To compare the protest against Wall Street to the Arab Spring is an injustice to both. Unless we are obliged to lay down our lives for our fundamental freedoms and until we are prepared to do something serious about the global economic crisis and the fundamental problems related to the staggering income inequality in our society, we should not invoke comparisons to the Arab Spring.

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