A group of co-workers were sitting at Table 3 during the lunch hour yesterday, and I overheard them talking about what just had happened in Egypt.
A short hispanic woman with a loud strident voice said, "Isn't it great? This is what America does for people. We make people be free!"
Another man, middle-aged, dirty blond hair, said, "How did America help the Egyptians be free?"
The woman said, "Because all the world wants our freedom!"
Another man, white, sharp-nosed and small-eyed, said, "You're fooling yourself - they're just gonna become another one of those Muslim countries that hates America. The Muslim Brotherhood is gonna take over and they're just gonna be another Iran."
"No it's not," said the blond guy, "The Muslim Brotherhood took part in this, yes, but they're only about 15% of the population. Say what you want, this is a populist revolt."
"And don't forget," said the short woman, "it's all the young people who have taken to the streets. See, that's how it's done, those countries send all their young people over here to go to college and then they get the ideas of our freedom, and they take it back to their countries and they have revolutions to bring freedom."
The sharp-nosed man said, "That's just ridiculous!"
And the other man said, "Millie, while I really like your optimisim - I really do! - but actually, only the rich kids get to come over and study, and what they learn really is just how to keep the oligarchy in place. They come from the rich, and all they learn from America is how to stay rich."
"And how to kill us when they follow the Koran!" said the sharp-nosed man.
"Tyler, and what I gotta tell you is this isn't an Islamist revolution. The Egyptians are mainly Muslim, yeah, that's true, but not every Muslim country is the same. Just like you can say America and Ireland can be called Christian countries, but they're totally different."
"Yeah, all the Irish want to come over here too!" said Millie.
"Seriously, though, really, this is not a revolution inspired by America - but they do want the same things that we enjoy here in America - a voice, free press, the right not to be beaten by secret police for no reason at all (which, by the way, is something that President Bush changed - that's a side-note!)"
Tyler said, "Hey, don't go gettin' on Bush, you Obamacare liberal hippie!"
(But he was only half-joking)
And the dirty-blond man said, "All in all - this was a Facebook/Twitter revolution. This was orchestrated on Facebook, updated by Twitter, engineered by a Google exec . . . this is a prime example of how the Internet and communication has aidied a populist revolution. Frankly, that notches up my respect for the Internet. It's finally something that can be used for more than hatespeech and porn."
Tyler said, "Hey, dude, don't knock my hobbies."
(But still, he was only half-joking!)
Millie, with her strident voice, said, "You men! Joke all you want, but it's America that put these values to the world, and we're still the best country to live in! USA ALL THE WAY!"
Tyler said, "Weren't you born in Mexico?'
And Millie replied, "And that's exactly how I know!"
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