Mr. Ignatius met with a Lebanese leader, the Druze Muslim patriarch, Walid Jumblatt. Mr. Jumblatt is not pro-American and had been a supporter of Syrian occupation of Lebanon until about a year ago.
"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
By changing the regime in Iraq, changing an ideology of hate and repression in Afghanistan, supporting a democratically elected leader in Palestine, the internal dialog of religious leaders and opinion makers in the Middle East is loosening the power of the old autocratic regimes and proving Mr. Bush correct, that "freedom is embedded in everybody's soul."
There is good reason to be hopeful for change from the grass roots, from the people living in oppression in the Middle East. "Freedom is on the march," and the more we do to support it, the safer we will be.