Conflict in Egypt

February 10, 2011

“Every generation needs a new revolution” – Thomas Jefferson

What is happening in Egypt is a wake-up call for all Americans. For the past several decades, Americans have been told by their government that we are spreading democracy throughout the world and we will be a beacon of light upon this world. When Tunisia revolted against its regime most Americans went through their daily routine without blinking an eye. But when Egypt, a longtime ally of America, had its people demonstrate in the millions, Americans soon saw the hypocrisy of their government. Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid and has been a key partner on the U.S. war on terror. Little did Americans know that the leader of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, has held a brutal dictatorship over his people.

Now with political leaders like Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, and even Barack Obama telling that both sides need to show restraint and that there needs to be a gradual transition of power, it is clear to the American people that our government favors stability over democracy. This is also opening the eyes of many Americans to the other dictators that our government supports; Paul Biya of Cameroon, Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov (or Berdymukhamedov) of Turkmenistan, Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Idriss Deby of Chad, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, and King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia. A closer look at these dictators can be found here.–_7_of_the_worst_dictators_the_u.s._is_backing_to_the_hilt/?page=1


In the past few weeks there have been several great examples of investigative journalism of the implications of the riots and demonstrations. Journalism done by those like Thomas Friedman, Frank Rich, David Brooks, and Anderson Cooper have been done in Tahrir Square and in the surrounding Arab countries and have captured the pent up feelings of a populace whose rights have been undermined with the aid of the United States.

On the other hand, there are many in the media, especially fox “news”, that are warning of the perils of Egyptian democracy. They, along with numerous people in our government, are fearful that if Egyptians have a democracy, it won’t be a leadership that would work with America. Many believe that the Muslim Brotherhood will “hijack” the democratic process and make Egypt a fundamental Islamic state. This argument is not only completely unethical, it’s completely false. First, to presume that we Americans have the right to say what is a good democracy and what is a bad one is not only arrogant, but immoral. Second, as Fareed Zakari (columnist for Newsweek) points out, the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood has been vastly exacerbated in the Western Media. While the Muslim Brotherhood at one time supported violence, they have disavowed violence and sought to participate in Egyptian politics legitimately since the 1970s. Now tied with legal Egyptian political groups, Egyptian universities, professional unions, and social welfare programs, the Brotherhood’s threat to America and Israel is extremely minimal. Additionally, the Brotherhood denounced a recent terrorist attack in Egypt as a “cowardly act” and is current not on the U.S. State Department’s terrorist list. Furthermore, he believes that if elections are to be held that they will have a minority position in the legislative body.

It is time for Americans to stop talking about spreading democracy and liberty and to actually help the Egyptians in the struggle for freedom. When the Egyptian people finally overthrow the tyrannical government, they will look back and either hail America for its support during the transition or be cynical towards America’s legitimacy if we do nothing.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable” – JFK

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