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1848, 1968, 1989—or none of the above? While historical analogies can be helpful, they are often misleading. Photo: Jonathan Rashad

As freedom blooms in the Arab world, newspaper comment pages are experiencing a springtime of vague historical analogies. In an attempt to grasp the significance of events in Benghazi, Bahrain and Sidi Bouzid, columnists are falling over themselves in evoking Europe’s inheritance of resistance and revolt. Which enlightened model will the young Arabs choose in their quest for democracy and justice: 1848, 1968 or 1989? But while…

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