Losing street cred

For a long time, one of the big pet phrases of the anti-war movement (also known as the anti-Israel movement, the pro-Islamist movement, the anti-American movement, and a host of other terms) has been “the Arab Street.” This seemingly-mythical creature, they warned, would rise up and strike back against the US with great wrath should we not heed their wise counsel.

But for various and sundry reasons, the beast seemed to slumber, only occasionally rousing itself for a brief, yawning squawk before returning to somnolence.

Until recently.

In the last two months, I can honestly say I have seen the Arab Street actually rise up, make its voice heard, and bring about great changes.

The first was in Iraq. There the Street, in valiant defiance to the threats of the “insurgents,” turned out and voted in the first free, democratic election in the Arab world.

The second was in Lebanon, when the Street finally stood up to Syria’s nearly-30-year occupation and demanded their freedom.

After years of warnings, the Arab Street is finally speaking — nay, shouting. And in contradiction to the predictions of the Left, it isn’t calling for Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to the Infidels, Death to the Invaders, Death to all those who oppose us.

It’s crying out for freedom.

They’ve seen us. They’ve seen what we are, and what we have. And they don’t want to destroy us — they want the same things we have.

The Arab Street is finally speaking, in a voice too loud to ignore. But how will it be answered — with encouragement, or yet more brutal oppression?


(Author’s note: There have been several accusations of “plagiarism” about this piece, comparing it with this one by Christopher Hitchens. The genesis of my piece is this:
I read the first couple of sentences of this piece, which cited and quoted Hitchens. I then stopped reading it and decided to write my own take on the phrase “the Arab Street.” My initial title was “Down in the street there is violence / and a lots of work to be done,” the opening lines of Eddie Grant’s “Electric Avenue.” I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, so I rewrote the title several times, trying to work in variations of “Dancing In The Streets,” “Racing In The Streets,” and “Sesame Street” before settling on “Losing Street Cred,” inadvertently lifting from Deacon.
I’m usually better about citing my sources, and I should have done so this time.

To Deacon and Christopher Hitchens (presuming either of them read this), I apologize for the sloppiness. To kgowan and Brian (more kindly to KGowan, who was more polite), my thanks for reminding me of my obligations.

There are very few original thoughts in the blogosphere, or in the world in general. But integrity demands we at least acknowledge when we build on others’ work to make our own.)

Gannon Interview
Bonfire of the Vanities - Week 87


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