Hither, Thither and Yon

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Hither, Thither and Yon, a restless group of young reformers, keep popping up in unexpected places in the Middle East.

Not everyone is glad to see them.

“Troublemakers,” sniffs Dez Pot, long-time dictator of a small, backward country. “They’re not welcome here.”

Hither, Thither and Yon, who run a non-profit organization that matches decaying governments with new politics, have faced such opposition before, most notably in Tunisia.

“These places all look sinister when we first start,” says Come Hither, the group’s spokesperson. “We’ve found there’s always a lot of rot inside.”

Governmental clean-up work is difficult, and requires an ability to correct structural flaws, such as holes in the social fabric, missing morals, puddles of corruption, broken civil services, and eroding foundational support.

But volunteers who help Hither, Thither and Yon topple old regimes say the effort is worthwhile. As proof, they point to a trip the trio made to Egypt recently. Hither, Thither and Yon gathered a crowd in a park and got to work. After less than a month on the job, the country’s seventh-century mentality is smashed. Flowers poke out of rifle barrels. The future, once dark and oppressive, looks bright.

Hither, Thither and Yon plan to finish up work in Egypt over the next few weeks by restoring what’s not broken and reusing parts of what already exists. They intend to establish a democracy, a free press, functioning courts, and a donut shop before they leave.

And what will they do to top their latest success?

According to Mr. Hither, there are plenty of other crumbling governments in the region that need to be fixed. “We’ll be around,” he says. “You never know where we’ll turn up next.”

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