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Guy Oseary Headshot

To Those Seeking Freedom in the Middle East

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The Spring of 2011 will forever be remembered as your moment. You have grabbed the wheel of history and are steering a new course. The rest of the world, myself included, are watching.

I am an Israeli-born American citizen. And I can tell you (and I am sure you already know) that in Israel and America and much of the world your revolutions have stirred up mixed emotions.

Some among us tell us to fear what is happening. They tell us that by tearing down the old regimes in your nations you have opened the door to a takeover by militants who would support violence toward us. They point to every incident of violence or expression of anger toward us as evidence of a threat.

I write this letter because I need you to know that I don't share their fear. I don't pretend to know what will happen in your countries. But I do know that when I see what you are doing on the streets of Cairo and Tunis and Tehran and Damascus, fear is not what I feel. Instead, I feel admiration. For your courage, for your dignity, for your audacity.

I am not naïve. I know some among your countrymen may truly hate Israel and America and the West. But I refuse to assume you share that feeling, or that you will be fooled by efforts to distract your revolutions with appeals to old hatreds. The tyrants who have ruled your nations and the would-be dictators seeking to hijack your movements will certainly try to redirect anger toward Israel, America and the West as a path to gain power. But if, as you say and I believe, you truly took to the streets to bring dignity to your own lives, I am confident you won't be swayed from that goal by tired rhetoric and false threats.

I have this confidence because when I watch your revolution, I don't see an enemy. You look like someone I would meet in a café or a conference or a classroom. Like someone I would start a business with or approach as a customer. Someone I could find on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

You are people who have succeeded in upending the power of longstanding dictatorships through the power of new tools. Where once the pyramid of power meant information trickled down from the select few on top, now you have flipped the pyramid so that information -- and the power it brings -- flows down from the broad base of the people. The inverted pyramid is your legacy, and never again will a small handful stand above the many in your lands without being held to account.

And so I want you to know that me, and many more like me, are inspired by what you are doing. We are going to stand beside you. We will continue to support you through what will surely be a long struggle to build a future for yourselves and your countrymen that is based on freedom, democracy, human dignity and peace.

We stand with you because we know the fundamental truth of our moment is that it falls to us to clean up messes left to us by preceding generations. It is a monumental task. But it just may be that we are uniquely suited to it. Your actions have begun to prove that this may be the case.

Let's acknowledge what we have in common and start trying to work together, rather than focusing on ancient grudges, preconceived notions and a history that serves no one but those who want to control our lives.

If we can do so, then we'll accomplish things that will change the world. That is the story of the Spring of 2011. That is the story of our generation. It's a story yet unfinished. I write to you to tell you that you have friends all over the world who are watching you, who are admiring you and who are truly wishing you well.

Yours truly,

Guy Oseary

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