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Former DePauw Prof. Saad Eddin Ibrahim Analyzes Iraq Situation for NY Times' Thomas Friedman

June 2, 2006

June 2, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - In an analysis of the situation in Iraq, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman turns "to someone steeped in the history of the Arab world, someone like the Egyptian sociologist and democracy campaigner Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who was visiting Washington with a human rights group from the Carter Center." Ibrahim, who taught sociology at DePauw University from 1967-74, "compares the U.S. invasion of Iraq to Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798, which punched the first big hole through which modernity could seep into the Arab world," writes Friedman.

The column reports, "What you are seeing in Iraq today is the 'hard labor' of nation building in a country that has gone through almost 50 years of tyrannical rule, Ibrahim said. It is a naturally messy process, much messier than Eastern Europe's, with the outcome uncertain. 'Everyone with a grievance for 50 years there is now breathing freely and wanting to act on their newfound freedom,' he added. The reason that the violence in Iraq is so intense -- mass executions, mosques blown up -- is in part because of all these pent-up grievances. But in part it is also because two very entrenched forces in that part of the world -- the theocrats and the autocrats; that is, the Qaidas and the Arab regimes surrounding Iraq, even the 'pro-America' ones -- are deeply worried that we might succeed."

Read the complete text by clicking here.

Professor Ibrahim has made several recent visits to DePauw. An account of his 2003 return to campus, which includes video and audio clips, can be found here. In May 2004, he received an honorary degree from DePauw. Five years ago, Dr. Ibrahim's former students and colleagues staged a "teach-in" to protest his jailing in Egypt. Read more here.

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