By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 14, 2009
"Twenty years ago, I wrote a book about the Middle East, and recently I was thinking of updating it with a new introduction. It was going to be very simple - just one page, indeed just one line: "Nothing has changed."
".....something is going on in the Middle East today that is very new. Pull up a chair; this is going to be interesting."
" What we saw in the Lebanese elections,........., and what we saw in the provincial elections in Iraq, .........is the product of four historical forces that have come together to crack open this ossified region".
**"First is the diffusion of technology. The Internet, blogs, YouTube and text messaging via cellphones, particularly among the young - 70 percent of Iranians are under 30 - is giving Middle Easterners cheap tools to communicate horizontally, to mobilize politically and to criticize their leaders acerbically, outside of state control. It is also enabling them to monitor vote-rigging by posting observers with cellphone cameras. I knew something had changed when I sat down for coffee on Hamra Street in Beirut last week with my 80-year-old friend and mentor, Kemal Salibi, one of Lebanon's greatest historians, and he told me about his Facebook group!"***