11A017 A Sea Change? by Jim Davies, 1/17/2011    

Tunisia is the African country closest to Europe, being a mere 200 miles from Italy. And last week, angry protests by young people including ladies mostly with hair visible caused the country's President to quit and threw its government into turmoil. I dare say it was the protesting that did that rather than the hair, but the contrast with so many burka-clad girls in neighboring lands made a refreshing change. And they were articulate, as well as bareheaded.

Revolutions do little good - especially if accompanied by violence. They merely replace one government by another. The new one may ease up on repression a bit, then when memories have faded they do much the same as the scoundrels they replaced. So I can't get excited about this one (whoever winds up replacing Ben Ali) or the one in Côte d'Ivoire or that in Sudan - though certainly, the latter holds some hope of improvement for the long-suffering Southerners. The only kind of revolution that will really change the course of history is the one brewing right here, to dispose of government altogether. Nonetheless, the Tunisian case is interesting because it may mark the reversal of an otherwise dreadful trend.

That trend is for large parts of the human race to regress by embracing not just the myth of government but the myth of religion - and especially the kind that works closely with government, like Islam, as we noted here on Friday. According to Mary-Jane Deeb on the News Hour that evening, the younger Tunisian generation is secular; not for those people the mindless, moronic and often short life of the brainwashed Islamic suicide bomber, seeking access to dozens of mythical heavenly virgins (who must surely, by now, be in very short supply.) They want the good life, here and now. And (she said) this is true not just in Tunisia but across North Africa, from Morocco to Iran.

The two myths go together, and if she's right this means they are being split apart, and that is excellent news! The next generation in those parts will be that much more open to consider in due course that government is as mythical as Allah. Not yet, it's true; their demands are conventional - they want money for education, free elections, etc., but they are already using the Internet and discovering what life is like beyond the 14th Century, so this holds good hope for the future.

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