In February of 2011, thousands of Egyptian protesters used social media to organize rallies to oppose their government.
In February of 2009, thousands of American protesters used social media to organize rallies to oppose their government.
That is where the similarities end.
When Egyptians used social media to connect with each other and organize rallies, they were called “forward-looking,” and “cutting edge.” They were cast as “the spearhead of a very modern uprising,” “enabled by Facebook and Twitter” as Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times gushed, “to feel the energy and pride of a people taking back the keys to their country and their future.”
When American Tea Partiers used social media two years ago to connect with each other and organize rallies, they were cast as a violent racist mob bent on “march[ing] this nation as far backward as they can get; backward to Jim Crow [and] backward to the bread lines of the 30’s.” Or, they were painted as too stupid to drag their knuckles off the ground long enough to type 140 characters into Twitter.
The modern-day Tea Party movement
will celebrate its second anniversary
on February 27, 2011
The New York Times reported that the Egyptian protesters were “completely non-violent,” even though The Times reported – just days earlier – that when “a police officer cursed protesters standing by a local coffee shop, [the protesters] replied by throwing stones at a police vehicle.” The situation escalated, and the “completely non-violent” Egyptian protesters “replied by throwing Molotov cocktails at the police station [and] protesters set fire to the nearby courthouse, the Traffic Regulation Authority building and the ruling National Democratic Party headquarters.”
When non-violent Tea Party protesters showed their non-violence by not throwing rocks at police officers, not throwing Molotov cocktails at police stations, and not setting fire to courthouses, traffic buildings or the Democratic National Party headquarters, they left the media with no ammunition to cast the Tea Party as violent. So the media took an unrelated act of violence (Jared Lee Loughner’s Tucson shooting spree) and worked overtime to hang it around the necks of non-violent Tea Partiers.
Dexter Van Zile
For the past several weeks, The New York Times has been running interference for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization set to play a significant role in Egyptian politics after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. In addition to publishing commentaries by two apologists for the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan and Essam El-Errian, on its op-ed page, the Times has published a news story that depicts the group’s spiritual leader, Yusuf Qaradawi, as “committed to pluralism and democracy.”
In fact, Qaradawi is a virulent anti-Semite who has called on Allah to wipe out the Jewish people. Moreover, he has worked to undermine the democratic principle of free speech by defending the Iranian fatwa calling for the death of writer Salman Rushdie and by promoting a “day of rage” against cartoons of Muhammed printed in Sweden and Denmark.
The man has also defended the practice of female genital mutilation and affirmed Muslim teachings calling for the death penalty to be applied to those who leave Islam and encourage others to do the same.
The New York Times is not the only news outlet to give Qaradawi a pass on his anti-democratic impulses. CifWatch, a group of activists dedicated to documenting the journalist abuses of The Guardian [London], particularly on its blog, “Comment is Free,” has published blog entries on how that paper has whitewashed Qaradawi’s background.
Comes today the most welcome news that Gov. Palin will be visiting New Delhi, India, capital of the world’s largest democracy, and a famously diverse society. Home today to nearly 50 million Christians and 150 million Muslims – and for two millennia a tolerant host to far smaller Jewish communities – India’s ancient Hindu culture gave rise to philosophy, mathematics, metallurgy, textiles and optics, a commercial culture that reached outward and a spirituality that ventured deeply inward and upward. And, of course, an agrarian society of more than 700,000 villages and a universalist religion – Buddhism – that came to dominate East Asia, even as it was rejected in the land of its birth.
Mrs. Palin will deliver the closing address at the ‘India Today Conclave,’ chaired by the urbane editor of India Today magazine, Aroon Purie. Also featured is Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, (from Pakistan) author/activist Fatima Bhutto (daughter of recently assassinated prime ministerial aspirant Benazir Bhutto) and the British economic historian Niall Ferguson (author of a two-volume history of the House of Rothschild), who is now residing in the United States and who will speak on ‘The Myth of American Decline.’
‘Mother India’ has, of course, fascinated world travelers for centuries, and one would hope that Gov. Palin could see more than the magnificent Himalayas (where she would doubtless feel at home) or the glorious Moghul monuments of Delhi and Agra. An intrepid spirit with fewer responsibilities than hers might have time to visit the Christian-majority (and highly literate) southern state of Kerala, whose ancient Christian community pre-dates the advent of the Roman church, and whose nearly diminished Jewish community may trace its origins to the maritime ventures of King Solomon in ancient Israel.
Namaste, Sarah behenji!
Gov. Palin is correct to wonder at the administration’s reticence. One hopes it is attributable merely to Mr. Obama’s ‘doctrine’ of coddling America’s enemies while alienating our allies, and has nothing to do with the President’s relationship, over many years, to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has long been in the pay of the Khaddafi regime.