The Revolution Generation
Re "Why It's Different This Time" [Feb. 28]: What we have on our hands today is not only a revolution in Egypt but also the beginning of an era when a new medium finally proves to the world its equal and comparable importance to that of the printing press. Social media are no longer just how we stalk ex-girlfriends or update the world about where we bought our morning coffee. It fuels revolutions, just as pamphlets and articles inspired fed-up Americans in the 18th century.
The frustration and fury of the people must have reached a critical threshold to warrant such a drastic change. With two regimes already gone, the ripples could well cause a domino effect in the region. Let us hope that the new era will bring a better and more peaceful life for Arabs and, eventually, for the world at large.
I applaud Fareed Zakaria's article on the youth-led revolutions in the Middle East. The massive youth bulge in the region's population is telling: more dissatisfied youth, more discontent. However, the cultures of the Middle East have so suppressed women's ability to have a say in their own fertility. You reap what you sow, but at least women in these nations, through information technology, may improve their lot.
Frustration and discontent are elements that can topple a government, but they are not enough to make a revolution successful. Without a visionary goal, qualitative change in the national life is unlikely. Change of power to a new set of similar people will be a move back to square one.
Zakaria's thoughtful analysis of the current revolution misses the mark big-time about the unique nature of the current mass movement in the Middle East. He forgets about the massive antisegregation and anti Vietnam War movements in the U.S.; the Paris uprising of 1968; the antidictatorial movements in Spain, Portugal and Latin America; and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China. All of them were carried out by young revolutionaries. Some of them succeeded; some resulted in serious clampdowns or the establishment or strengthening of military regimes or competing militant terrorist groups. Every time, we said, This time (or this place) is different. And it wasn't.
Claudio M. Loser,
Rockville, Md., U.S.
As a child of the 1960s, I fancied it would be my generation that would change the world. If kids nowadays think they can overcome partisan and religious conflict, exploding populations, economic chaos and disappearing resources, then I wish them luck. They should keep in mind, though, that nirvana can be elusive.
El Cerrito, Calif., U.S.
As Bobby Ghosh states ["Rage, Rap and Revolution," Feb. 28], "The revolution of the young generation in the Middle East is theirs and theirs alone." The clear lesson is that they did not need the hubris of outsiders to effect change and certainly not the kind of deception and destruction perpetrated by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush on Iraq. As Americans, we, of all people, should know the efficacy of a revolution grown from within.
Taylorsville, Ky., U.S.
How to Change Chicago
In "Hey, Chicago, Say Hello to Your Next F#@*ing Mayor" [Feb. 28], James Warren refers to Chicago's "fiscal predicament." For too long we have overlooked the cultural issues that have created the fiscal predicament. Until someone takes the lead in reversing the absurd cultural environment that would allow a city to borrow $245 million to provide anticipated pay raises, a lasting and substantive change will remain elusive.
Patrick J. Boova,
Pottstown, Pa., U.S.
The Job Conundrum
"Your Incredible Shrinking Paycheck" [Feb. 28] gives good information on declining wages and loss of jobs abroad. Jobs are outsourced because expenses make it difficult to make a profit in the U.S. Reducing expenses is the solution. The costs of health care and retirement (even the part of the Social Security tax paid by employers) could be removed from corporations and taken care of with general revenues. In addition, costly regulations and fees at all levels of government need to be reduced.
William "Ed" Fox,
Wilmington, N.C., U.S.
Mitch Daniels in 2012?
I haven't lived in Indiana for many years, and I was unfamiliar with Daniels ["Telling It like It Is," Feb. 28]. He comes across as a thinker and a strong communicator. All the other Republicans are incapable of beating Obama. Daniels may have a chance.
Daniels, as budget director for George W. Bush, was the architect of the Bush tax cuts, which turned the Clinton surpluses into deficits and destroyed the economy. What the U.S. needs right now is someone who knows how our economy can create. That is our major economic problem, not the deficit. The deficit will disappear when the economy grows and we are restored to full employment. Cutting spending will only lead to a double-dip recession.
New York City