Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The US Embassy pays poor Lebanese to praise America: Thomas Friedman is very impressed

"The American Embassy in Beirut introduced me to four of this year’s Lebanese scholarship students — who attend either the Lebanese Arab University or Haigazian University, which offer modern U.S.-style bachelor’s degrees.  Israa Yassin, 18, from the village of Qab Elias, who is studying computer science, told me: “This whole program is helping to make the youth capable of transforming this country into what it should be and can be. We are good, and we have the capabilities and we can do a lot, but we don’t get the chance...After getting the U.S. scholarship, said Yassin, “my family and my community feel differently about America. Why would they hate someone who is helping them?”   Wissal Chaaban, 18, from Tripoli, also attending the Lebanese Arab University and studying marketing, told me: “We have a lot of talent in the Middle East, and young people do not feel appreciated. They feel their voice is shut down and not heard enough.”  This program is in America’s interest, she said, because it sends young people to colleges that “encourage openness, to accept the other, no matter how different, even if he was from another religion.”"   What do you expect, you brilliant roving columnists?  They are getting money from the US, and the US Embassy which pays for the their education brings them and shows them as props to a visiting US columnist. What do they expect them to say?  Of course, it is possible that those same people are member of some radical anti-US organization, but this idea is way too complicated for Friedman to comprehend.