I’m with Sadie, that there’s something deeply off-putting about Obama casually applying the ancient Passover story to the uprisings in the Middle East:
Passover recalls the bondage and suffering of Jews in Egypt and the miracle of the Exodus, but U.S. President Barack Obama says its message is reflected in Muslim uprisings.
In his annual message, prior to his third straight participation in the Passover Seder, President Obama stated, “The story of Passover…instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. This year that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.”
Aside from the superficiality of Obama’s message, it has two other problems. First, typically for a Progressive, he fails to understand revolts that are keyed to a people’s freedom versus revolts that simply raise up a new oppressor.
In America, because of the American Revolution, our template is that revolutions bring about greater freedom. However, as France, Russia, China, Cuba, etc., show, our revolution was not typical. As often as not, a “revolution” simply brings about an equal or greater tyranny. It remains to be seen, for example, whether Egypt results in greater freedom for the people (since Mubarak was very oppressive) or lesser freedom (since there is nothing more repressive than an Islamic regime). At least Mubarak was dormant when it came to waging war against Israel and America.
Libya sees exactly the same problem. Gaddafi is a monster but, vis a vis America, he has been a benign monster since 2003. Now, though, we’re cheerfully spending millions of dollars a day (dollars we don’t have) to overthrow Gaddafi so that al Qaeda can take his place. Al Qaeda, which is killing our troops in Afghanistan, will not improve the Libyan people’s lot (because radical Islam is always oppressive government), but it will put America at greater risk.
In Iran, I supported the Green Revolution because it was good for America: anything that rocked the current Islamic government had to improve the status quo as far as Americans were concerned. It was, frankly, questionable whether the Iranian people would simply be trading the frying pan for the fire. While I applauded their courage, I had my doubts about their freedom quota.
Not all uprisings are created equal. That’s problem number one with Obama’s facile little analysis.
Problem number two is that there’s something horrible about quoting one of the greatest stories in Jewish history, a story that has been retold annually in Jewish homes for thousands of years, to justify revolutions that will put into power people who have as their primary goal . . . killing Jews. That’s just wrong. Deeply, deeply, classlessly, tactlessly wrong.