Here is a trick question repeated from earlier this year because it bears on current events in the Middle East. In what Middle East country do Arabs enjoy the greatest civil liberties? That is a question worthy of the investigation of the Middle East correspondents of Time, the Washington Post, the New York Times, et al. It may even be worthy of reflection by President Obama
Freedom House conducts an annual survey that goes a long way in answering the question. The Kuwait Times published a good article on the Freedom House survey in 2008. I’m pretty sure the Kuwait Times did a better job on the story than the New York Times did. The New York Times gave it the silent treatment.
The Freedom House 2011 report was just released. The report’s map of the Middle East and North Africa provides a color coded depiction of the state of freedom in each of the region’s countries. You might have to squint a little hard to find the answer to which country is freest, but it’s the only country depicted in green. Click to enlarge:
The answer to my trick question provides many lessons that we can learn from it. One is that it is difficult to be optimistic about a the likelihood of good outcome in Egypt. Another is that among the range of bad outcomes that are possible, many are worse than the current regime.
UPDATE: John Hinderaker has converted the Freedom House map of the Middle East and North Africa from a PDF to the jpeg image above so that it could be included in this post.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell