Egypt’s Spirit of ’11

February 3, 2011

Over the past week, every official statement from the U.S. government concerning the situation in Egypt has referred to the state of Egypt as an ally.  It’s time the American people recognize that the freedom-seeking people of Egypt are our allies.  So far, we’ve abandoned them in their moment of need.

While discretion and official decorum were appropriate as the crisis unfolded, Mubarak’s latest gambit is the last straw.  The attacks on journalists was a crude attempt to manipulate the story line, and it will backfire.  The insertion of small numbers of mounted, armed thugs into a peaceful march by millions of everyday people is both despicable and desperate.  Moreover, these actions provide clear cause for our government [read: president, if we had one] to publicly call for Mubarak’s immediate resignation.  The best we get is perhaps some back-channel massaging of Soliman by the State Department.

Is There No Hope for Change?

The military holds the key in Egypt, and so far they’ve performed admirably, considering the very fine line they had to tread.  They will sooner or later back the right horse — be it Suleiman or el Baradei — once it’s certain who the right horse is.  The Egyptian military is largely funded by the US, so this should be a slam dunk for us, but the White House appears confused, uninterested, or working off another agenda.

America seems paralyzed by fears of a radical islamic coup in Egypt.  Yet, only were the situation to devolve into a protracted civil war — unlikely, since the vast majority of Egyptians are of one mind in this — would a narrow window open for the Muslim Brotherhood (“MB”).  Among the entire world, only the Israelis — and it seems, our White House — wish to see Mubarak linger.  For the Israelis, it boils down to protecting a single policy: the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip.  That’s petty, it’s narrow-minded, and it actually poses Israel far greater long-term harm by creating an unstable or radical neighbor.

Fear the Bogieman!

A large dose of skepticism is in order when listening to the chicken little alarms in the American media about the MB.  To the psychos on the far right, Tunisia, Egypt — these are but the first tiles to fall in a “domino effect” (a term last heard when referring to Indochina in the 1960’s) of muslim regimes.

Reichspropagandaminister Beck goes beyond that, calling this is a “Sarajevo moment”, the first spark in the “Coming Insurrection” of international jihadism. One must surmise that Beck & Co.’s answer to this crisis is to prop up Mubarak.  That would please the American far right, AIPAC, and Benjamin Netanyahu.  It would, however, majorly piss of 83 million Egyptians.  In truth, continuing to support Mubarak is the best possible way to create the very jihadist regime Beck swears he dreads.

Actually, a MB takeover of Egypt is Beck’s wet dream.  Know why Papa Bush was so dejected when the Berlin Wall came down?  The right-wing had just lost its best bogieman ever, the Soviets.  With 9/11, Baby Bush found a new bogieman to scare the public — Radical Islam.  Like viewers of SAW IV, the American public seems eager to indulge in irrational fears and swallow the right-wing distortion of the news from Egypt.

Egypt’s Berlin Wall Moment

For a more level-headed perspective, look abroad.  For english readers, The Guardian UK and (surprise!) Aljazeera offer the most comprehensive, up-to-the-minute, and balanced coverage.

It’s the German media, however, that seem to have recognized the true meaning, the spirit, if you will, of the coming change in Egypt.  The Germans can relate — it was a peaceful revolution, with people literally using their bare hands to tear down the Berlin Wall, that brought freedom to East Germany after decades.  We Americans, fixated on the bogieman, fail to grasp the importance of this moment for Egyptians, to embrace their passion and determination.  We still talk vaguely of our “Spirit of ’76”; the freedom-seeking Egyptian people today are filled with their own “Spirit of ’11.”  We should be standing by their side, not standing on the sidelines.

In an interview, an Egyptian architect participating in the protests dismissed Western fears of a MB takeover as “inconceivable. We want our freedom, not religious oppression,” he stressed. “People in the West need to finally understand that also in Egypt, the will of the people is inviolable.”

Lip Service

America gives lip service to spreading democracy around the world.  Today, spontaneously, democracy is struggling to arise in Egypt.  One, hard shove is all it that’s required to remove Mubarak and usher in freedom.  America has the ability, but not the inclination, to provide that much-needed shove.
Shame on us hypocrites.
(c) 2011 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.