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Herman Van Rompuy & The Wailers

The European Union was accused of being caught sleeping as the events of the Arab Spring unfolded earlier this year, but its institutions have certainly made up for lost time in trying to explain how the revolutionary shift south of the Mediterranean came about.

In June, EU President Herman Van Rompuy declared, rather pompously, that there would have been an Arab Spring without Europe but that "without us, there will be no Arab summer."

That assertion might still be hard to test, but one wonders what the European Parliament's communications team was thinking as they announced a live chat with Gabriele Albertini, head of the chamber's Foreign Affairs Committee, on the parliament's official Facebook page in the following way:

"Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights..." Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan people heard Bob Marley's call to freedom and toppled their dictators. Now what? What can the EU do to further democracy in the Arab world?"

It is understandable that they want to address a younger audience, but it certainly seems that someone has been puffing on something a little bit too much by suggesting that a Jamaican Rastafarian inspired the recent changes.

The next time they announce an event, I suggest they continue to quote reggae anthems. The next time a member of the Industry, Research, and Energy Committee is scheduled for a live chat, I would recommend that they post a video of Marley's hit "Redemption Song" and quote from the lyrics:

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery/None but ourselves can free our minds/Have no fear for atomic energy/None of them can stop the time."

-- Rikard Jozwiak

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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