Saturday, February 5, 2011
Egypt more than just tourists
Prospecting around the internet last night, most often you find trash or at least less useful things, I found an article that sums up nicely the positions of Obama verses Bush.
For all his talk about freedom and democracy, Bush will be seen in the region as the president who set back democracy by mounting two wars of invasion, to impose his will. Obama, despite his limp response to the brutal Iranian crackdown on protesters in 2009, will be remembered as the American leader who went to Cairo University almost two years ago, to tell students: ''Each nation gives life to this [democratic] principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people … but I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. You must maintain your power through consent - not coercion,'' Obama told them.
Comparing the approach of the two presidents, Landis* is emphatic: ''Bush was wrong. He thought because the West was so much stronger, it could muscle the Muslim world into behaving as he wanted it to … The people of the Middle East have to find democracy in themselves - it can't be delivered from the barrel of a tank.''
*( Joshua Landis is the director of middle eastern studies at OU)
(Excerpt from an article by Paul McGeough)
The pro democracy demonstrators used Gandi type tactics and have been able to maintain their struggle. What does this tell me about my own knowledge of the middle east from current events? First that I'm woefully ignorant of modern Egyptian society and culture. To this I plead guilty. But I'm sure there are many who hold a stereotype or two of camel riding nomads still bartering from tents in the desert. I'd be almost certain that those camel riding sword swinging counter protesters were nothing more than props for the tourist trade looking for some money to feed their animals.
No, what we have here are a group of well educated unemployed looking for a future. They are organized and with no options left are determined to change things. And as we all know when any one of us is faced with such a challenge it's either fight or flight. The outcome will hinge on the military and who is running it. We may be seeing a split from Mubarak rule even though he unlike our president is not the commander in chief. Who among their military leaders will benefit from an open society? That would be my question of choice.
We will see how much resolve these people really have but judging from history it could be quit a bit. And considering this is about survival and not some ideology it could go on for a while.