Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tom Friedman Ponders Arab Spring

Jill was having some good fun the other day pointing out some awkward writing attempted by a New York Times Pulitzer prize winning journalist (oh yes, that again!). She and her red marker were on the money of course, but for my part it was the content of Thomas Freidman's piece that proved most troubling.
"As I’ve tried to argue, this uprising, at root, is not political. It’s existential. It is much more Albert Camus than Che Guevara. All these Arab regimes to one degree or another stripped their people of their basic dignity. They deprived them of freedom and never allowed them to develop anywhere near their full potential."
The guy is clueless. Albert Camus? Does he have any idea of where this is going? Look, leaving his arrogance aside, the man has remarkably little feel for the Arab Spring. Even the Arabs aren't sure what road they're headed down, and that should be the first thing out of the triple Pulitzer prize winner's mouth. Instead we have this little bit of dribble, best wiped away with a burp towel.

The problem is he has very little sense for what it is he doesn't know. He should have paid better attention when Mr. Rumsfeld was pointing out limitations we all face in life. Now we find Mr. Friedman trapped in his own limited perception of reality, but Friedman's perception of reality is not the reality we have to live in.

As to the Times itself, this is the same news source that reported on the surprising support Saddam Hussein held with his people during the Iraqi elections in 2002:
"One grandmother in a black cloak stormed onto one of the reporter's buses holding aloft a 10 day old baby boy with a Saddam button pinned to his swaddling clothes and shouted "Yes, yes, yes to Saddam!" so forcefully it seemed she might faint."
The Times did grudgingly concede that the 99.9% voting returns in favor of Mr. Hussein could not be taken at face value, but only after dutifully reporting the election results as if it was the first Tuesday in November.

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