Read Betsy Newmark’s post about an American teacher in Beirut’s look at how her students are reacting to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon.
Many of these young protesters are inspired not only by Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, on which they have modeled their so-called Cedar Revolution, but by the conviction that George W. Bush’s approach to redesigning the Middle East is generally the right one. A 20-year-old man named Awtel reminds me that “Bush is strong against Syria. Besides,” he adds, “he is so clear when he speaks.” I can’t dispute that. Still, I begin to explain to Awtel, I worry about convictions that seem too clear, too black and white. But I slowly realize that this crowd is the wrong audience for my argument.
Wow. What could be better than a story about a group of students that won’t be taught to hate George Bush?
The teacher goes on to talk about the Hezbollah protesters and how they are the realists because they have experienced Israeli occupation, while the Cedar Revolution protesters are “idealists.” Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: A reader sent me this link to another article on the same topic. Here is an excerpt:
While the results of this year’s American election may have liberal Democrats and much of the extended international community shaking their heads in disbelief, a surprising number of Arabs seem to have not only expected President George W. Bush’s return to power but also supported it.
Since I began teaching in Damascus six months ago, I have been continually surprised to find support and even admiration for Bush in that city, mixed in with the usual polemics about American imperialism. The presumed wildfire of anti-American and anti-Bush sentiment that has consumed much of Europe and Asia has apparently skipped over parts of the Arab world, where people often have more in common with Middle America than they do with the Middle East…
… I pressed them further for a few minutes, asking individual students why they liked Bush. The same ideas came up again and again: he is a strong leader, an honest man, and, most of all, a believer. Like the winning margin of American voters this year, these Middle Easterners related to Bush’s sense of religious conviction and his confident steering of a nation and culture they admired…
…And thus I came to realize something that the Democrats could never admit: that there exists a support base for both the Republicans’ domestic and foreign agenda among the very people we thought most opposed current U.S. policy. The cultural background and value systems which inform many of these young Arabs’ outlook on the world mean they will always favor men like Bush over men like Kerry. The tenets of faith, family and, yes, “moral issues” determine the overall political leanings of a considerable number of the Middle East’s future leaders, in rejection of Democratic stump issues like increased liberalism, internationalism and scientific progress.