April 05, 2005

Help Support Democracy in the Middle East

Posted by Michael J. Totten

Spirit of America Founder Jim Hake and I landed in Beirut, Lebanon in the middle of the night and spent all day Tuesday talking with leaders of the democratic opposition.

What we're doing here is raising money to help the opposition as they oust the Syrian military and intelligence personnel from the country, demand (and hopefully get) an international inquiry into the death of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and hold truly free and fair elections in May without the interference of a foreign dictatorship.

We're focusing our efforts on the residents of the semi-permanent tent-city that has been built on Martyr's Square, a mere two blocks from Parliament, where the opposition leaders say they will continue to reside until their country is a sovereign liberal democracy. They need food. They need bottled water. They need blankets. And they need the eyes of the world.

You personally can help by donating as little as five dollars. Here is a chance for the American people, rather than the American government or military, to help those who live in a beautiful, diverse, and sophisticated country fight for the freedom and human rights they once had, and that have been taken away by a foreign oppressive power. We can do this ourselves, and we can do it without violence.

Here's the donation page. If you have a blog of your own, please help spread the word. It's for a good cause and it's non-partisan.

On a related note, while I'm here in the country I'm going to be blogging about what's going on. And there's a lot going on. I've already learned - just in one single day - a great deal that I haven't read anything about anywhere in the media. In another day or so the Lebanon blog will be up and running at the Spirit of America site. I'll be sure to give you the link as soon as it's live.

UPDATE: The Lebanon Blog is now live.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 5, 2005 09:36 AM
Comments

Donation accomplished.

You know, you guys are sort of the SWAT team for Democracy!

Posted by: Patricia at April 5, 2005 10:14 AM

This is very cool, and I
hope you guys expand
beyond just the demos
as you build connections w
the opposition.

I'd feel much better about
donating to the kinds of
things that can create
lasting change.

Posted by: praktike at April 5, 2005 10:58 AM

MT,

I'm in. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: spc67 at April 5, 2005 11:18 AM

I applaud your efforts. Donation delivered! I really appreciate them offering PayPal for donations. Makes it much easier for me to donate to such a good cause.

THANKS!!

Posted by: Matt Snyder at April 5, 2005 11:39 AM

Vive la revolution! I'm in too. Can't wait to read the Lebanon blog.

Posted by: mary at April 5, 2005 01:51 PM

What you are doing is
heroic.
You have my total support.

I am adding a button to
my blog, WILLisms.com.

Hopefully it will send at
least a few people your
way.

Posted by: Will Franklin at April 5, 2005 11:41 PM

Michael,
I'd love to be there with you. That's really interesting and you don't even have to be Geraldo /sarcasm to do it.
Please give it to us straight with no 'syrupyness' to it if you know what I mean the good and the not so good on both sides.

And the reason the eyes of the world are not watching is because its not suicide bombers, mujahadeen cutting hostages up, they don't hate America, they don't really care about Israel mainly about Syria, an Arab country, getting the f out of their country....

So where's the juice for a paper trying to sell them, or a Network Cable program?
I mean they're peacefully demonstrating for democracy against an Arab Police State and they don't chant Death to America or rampage violently?

HOW BORRRRRING, especially for "academics" like Juan Cole or Berkeley or Columbia which would have you think that the average Malay or Syrian or Lebanese on the street cares more about the most unjust situation in the world in Israel than anything in the world!! lol :-)
So this is just not the stuff for Academic Liberals, Liberal Media...

Mike

Posted by: Mike at April 6, 2005 03:30 AM

I've never given to something like this before, but I did this time. This is worthy. Keep up the good work Michael.

Posted by: Court at April 6, 2005 09:40 AM

Donated, linked. Post coming tonight.

(Trivial marketing point; having a set of nice link buttons that bloggers could copy and paste to their sites would be nice. I could steal lebanon_red_lg_full.jpg and resize to fit my sidebar, but:

a: I'd rather not have to do the work
b: I might screw up and make it ugly

Told you it was trivial, but sometimes little things matter.)

Posted by: Mark Poling at April 6, 2005 01:05 PM

I'm happy to donate and to plug the fund on my blog.

You're doing good work, Mr. Totten. I'm honored to assist, but at the same time insanely jealous that you're there and I'm here.

Posted by: marchand chronicles at April 6, 2005 01:38 PM

Hey Michael -- You're a revolutionary tourist now-- just like Rachel Corrie.

Posted by: Drydock at April 6, 2005 04:40 PM

"You're a revolutionary tourist now-- just like Rachel Corrie"

That's no BS, Boss. Be Careful, Be Aware.

Posted by: Howard at April 6, 2005 06:49 PM

Donation made with much appreciation for the work you and Jim are doing.

Be well and be safe.

Posted by: Margot at April 6, 2005 08:52 PM

Michael, I think you've found your calling, or it's found you. Just like I thank all our military for their service, I'm sending a big thanks to you too! Keep up the great work you're doing.

Posted by: Maggie at April 6, 2005 09:02 PM

You're a revolutionary tourist now-- just like Rachel Corrie

That’s the most inane and inapt comparison I’ve ever read. Rachel Corrie was supporting Islamist terrorism. Rachel Corrie was supporting the same people who are oppressing the Lebanese.

Posted by: mary at April 7, 2005 07:29 AM

I came across your site from Instapundit.
Quite an interesting campaign you are launching on our behalf.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at April 7, 2005 12:42 PM

Thank you for taking care of the Lebanese people as well as fortifying the true nature of social democracy and freedom. This work that you and Jim do is a very good thing and it will change the world.

Posted by: Jason Newcomb at April 7, 2005 09:02 PM

That’s the most inane and inapt comparison I’ve ever read. Rachel Corrie was supporting Islamist terrorism. Rachel Corrie was supporting the same people who are oppressing the Lebanese.

Mary,

I think the poster was cautioning MJT about the risks of being seen as a political tourist, not a discussion of Ms. Corrie's personal politics.

If Ms. Corrie, who "was supporting Islamist terrorism" got herself killed, don't you think it's possible MJT could be at risk, since he's against "Islamist terrorism"? One would hope that the Islamic Terrorists are more likely to kill a political tourist in cold blood than an Israeli bulldozer driver.

Tosk ;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at April 8, 2005 12:58 PM

Tosk: One would hope that the Islamic Terrorists are more likely to kill a political tourist in cold blood than an Israeli bulldozer driver.

Well, yes. But you'll forgive me for hoping the Hezbollah crowd leaves Americans alone for at least the next week and a half...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 8, 2005 03:45 PM

MJT,

Although you are a jerk for banning me, I know a worthy cause when I see one. I made a small donation to put a little of my money where your mouth - not to mention the rest of your body - is.

Good luck.

Posted by: HA at April 9, 2005 04:48 AM

Tosk – One would hope that the Islamic Terrorists are more likely to kill a political tourist in cold blood than an Israeli bulldozer driver.

?? That’s oddly-phrased. You forgot the scare quotes around Islamic Terrorists that time.

Rachel Corrie was a supporter of Islamism, terror and a proto-Darwin Award winner.(Disclaimer: I like most people was also a proto-Darwin award winner at that age, so I don’t hold that against her)

Unless Michael is planning to play games of chicken by jumping in front of large busses and trucks, the situation is not equivalent.

Besides, if the supporters of Independence for Lebanon aren’t willing to openly walk in the streets, then, as they used to say in NY, the terrorists have won.

Posted by: mary at April 9, 2005 05:50 AM

Michael – Great posts on the Lebanon blog. It’s good to hear from you. Not that we're...worried or anything.

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