I have alternately been heartened, dispirited, and then sometimes excited during the course of the “Arab Spring.” As a devotee of democracy who was bred in the world of hard American legislative politics, I would like to be part of the democraticization of the Middle East. I went to Iraq in the fall of 2008 to build democratic institutions but my time there was short. I am now enrolled as a student in the international conflict management graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. School is great, but I would rather be where people struggle for, rather than study, democracy.
The world is always in transition, but perhaps never more than now in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. We sometimes get a single pass at influencing the world. I want to influence that world. I know my influence can only be small, that we build democracy brick upon brick, but I would rather be the bricklayer than the guy who is watching.
Last week I submitted my job applications for Yemen, Libya and Jordan.