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Vision: Will the Inspiring Revolutions in the Arab World Help Westerners See the Folly of Their Prejudices?

The new Arab revolution, with its Muslim underpinnings, is an occasion of great hope. At the very least, the West must reckon with the overturning of the premises of our bias.

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The Revolution of Hope

The new Arab revolution, with its Muslim underpinnings, is an occasion of great hope.  At the very least, “we” in the West must reckon with this overturning of the premises of our prejudice.

Yes, dangers remain, as Arab regimes resist and revolutionaries prepare to erect new political structures. Fanatics wait in the wings for the democrats to falter, while violence, even undertaken in self-defense, can open onto vistas of vengeance and cyclic retribution. Old hatreds can reignite, and the never-vanquished forces of white supremacist colonial dominance can reemerge. But that one of the world’s great religions is essential to what is unfolding across North Africa and the Middle East offers the promise that this momentous change can lead, despite the dangers, to humane new structures of justice and mercy, which remain pillars of the Islamic faith. For us, in our world, this means we, too, will have been purged of something malicious -- an ancient hatred of Muslims and Arabs that now lies exposed for what it always was.

James Carroll, bestselling author of Constantine’s Sword, is a columnist for the Boston Globe and a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Suffolk University in Boston. His newest book, Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), has just been published.

 
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