March 1st, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #771 'Second verse, same as the first …'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is watching the events in the Middle East, and I suspect (in today’s letter) that he better get used to that…

Dear Mr. President,

What did I say? Have you seen what has transpired in Tunisia? Of course, you have! Or at least someone on your staff has told you about it.

Here are the crib notes, just in case: A little more than six weeks ago, the Tunisians arose en masse and gave their president the boot, sending a ripple through the Middle East which has now driven Mubarak out of power in Egypt, is threatening to topple Gadhafi in Libya, and who knows who else before it all ends?

But now the mob is back on the prowl in Tunisia. Protesters who feel as if the replacement government was too hastily assembled and has too many ties to the previous bosses, are demanding…once again…that everyone pack up their cardboard boxes of office supplies and scram.

This is all fine in one sense. I mean, what’s the point of having a revolution if you’re going to throw out the top guy but leave all of his henchmen in place? On the other hand, as I have said many times before, it can be much easier ripping things down than building them up. And right now, the big question hanging over all these places in turmoil is not so much “Can they throw the bums out?” but rather “Who are they going to put in place of the bums?”

This is why when so many have celebrated the uprising there in recent weeks, I have felt a tad more circumspect. Again, it’s not because I am for or against these movements. They may prove in the long run to be productive, meaningful, and utterly necessary steps to securing a better future for the people of these counties; or they may not.

But in the short run I know that what often follows revolutionary movements are revolutionary times - which can be uncertain, dangerous, and unbelievably hard on normal folks, the same folks who only weeks ago believed that salvation was at hand.

I can’t help but wish them the best of luck, and you too as you try to make sense of what is happening there.

Call if you can.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Shawn D.M.

    Why are there no reports on the current situation in the streets of Tehran. I guess charlie sheen is just more interesting to watch. Well here's something that might spark your viewer's interest. The future of the middle east including Iran will indefinitely affect our economy and safety here at home. So listen up and keep a close Watch:

    The opposition leaders, Mousavi and Karroubi along with their wives, were reportedly arrested and taken to an unknown location more than a week ago. No one, not even their close family members know their whereabouts.

    This has feuded the current anti-government protest causing more and more demonstrations both on the streets of Tehran and other cities around Iran.
    The government security forces have increased their efforts in order to silence the protestors by using toxic levels of tear gas and batons.

    However, it seems as though these brutal antics used to extinguish the spark behind this developing revolution has only acted as the fuel it needed to advance.

    Shawn D.M.
    Manhattan, NY

    March 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  2. Jack

    Maybe Ghadafi's Next Career will be as an actor on the West End... Not too far fetched!

    It makes us wonder how a well known and respected PR Firm (Brown Loyd James) in NYC has a Jewish Guy (Mike Holtsman) reresenting the Colonel for the past 18 months, the same firm headed by Peter Brown who managed the Beattles and now represents Andrew Loyd Weber. Wouldn't John Lennon turn over in his grave if he saw what Peter Brown was doing now. The Ghadafi PR machine has been rediculous the past couple weeks and you have to ask how such a respected firm can take money from this monster. I enjoyed Anderson's piece on the truth behind Ghadafi, remember that in most cases this guys crimes are being spun by legitimate PR Firms!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm |