A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Arab Spring" Reaches its Ceausescu Moment

The peaceful overthrow of long-standing Presidents in Egypt and Tunisia made the so-called "Arab spring" look like a genuinely benign, if not quite bloodless, transformation. But just as the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s was largely bloodless, there was the exception of Rumania, where Nicolae Ceausescu met with a bloody end. The long, hard civil war in Libya made it a likely candidate for a Ceausescu-type ending. Qadhafi's defiance, his pledges to burn down his own country rather than depart, may have made such an end inevitable, but as with the ending of a Shakespearian tragedy, there is little satisfaction amid so much carnage, just a hope, if indeed as is being reported, Qadhafi is dead, that the conflict will soon end, rather than mark just one stage in a long civil war.

I suspect I will have more to say on this.

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