vendredi 4 février 2011

Western reaction to Egypt: We Will Help You If You Let Us Decide

Western governments will not support democracy if this means actually handing over political and economic sovereignty to the Egyptians. (We are still far from this point but) Imagine the new Egyptian government decides to nationalize petroleum and other energy industries so that the money generated from their activities will be spent on social projects (housing and community development, schooling, health care for all, promoting healthy and nutritious ways of life, etc etc). How do you think the Western world, and most particularly the USA would react? Precedents have already been set by the US government on the question of: to whom belongs a Middle-Eastern country rich in oil resources? In 1953,  Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was removed from power by the CIA after he tried to re-negociate profit distribution with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (became BP after the coup in 1954). In 1963 Saddam Hussein was also put into power thanks to grandaddy Sam. The ruling family of Saudi Arabia has such a relationship with Washington that its leaders can hold hands with state officials in the US, and on national television, when their own citizens do not have the basic liberty to hold hands with their lover in public. The US, and indeed almost all of Europe, supported Mubarak, Ben Ali, even Khadaffi most recently. Without mentioning the ridiculous amount of brutal African dictatorships that have been fed generously by our benevolent self-appointed betters, in exchange for full pillage rights. 

These same "public servants" are now trying to appear in the media as independent and impartial third-parties who have no responsibilities or past debts to repay,  when it is now well known and confirmed that they have been supporting Mubarak and virtually all of the other dictators (except Ahmadenidjad notably) in the region for decades (side note: if the US is so concerned about Islamic theocracies replacing their criminal associates, then why does it shut a blind eye to what happens in Saudi Arabia, one of its "BFF"'s?). The game is up. What we are experiencing in the Middle-East right now is the principle of universality at its best. 

Egyptians from all sectors of society are uniting to fight for one common cause, putting aside their particularities to demand the most basic and elementary of human rights: freedom, democracy, the application of the rule of law and other easy ones we can think of naturally. By holding peaceful manifestations while bearing the huge risk of government repression (the most important aspect of the cost-benefit calculation before engaging in civil disobedience) and effectively being subject to organised assaults from "pro"-Mubarak "supporters" (who, in an attempt to convince their compatriots of the legitimacy of their presence, had no other option but to yell hesitantly: "We weren't paid to be here" (as reported on Al-Jazira's live broadcast, 4/2/2011)), the Egyptian people find themselves in grosso modo the same scenario as the French in 1789 (although it should be noted that the Egypt's revolution is more grass-roots), when they demanded for their grievances on the absolute authority of the king (in this scenario, Hosni Mubarak) and a handful of aristocrats to be heard. What did the king of France Louis XVI do when confronted by his own people? He promised change, even accepted to be a constitutional monarch. But how long did the game last before the king was "exposed"  and the revolution really started getting ugly? Less than three years, then it was gone with his head. If history should serve as a guide today as we watch the end of the Day of Departure gathering in Cairo's Tahir Square, it is that a tyrant is never as popular as when he leaves office. And that is the moment when change can start to take place. How can a brutal tyrant be held responsible, less alone trusted, for the democratic transition of a country he has worked so hard to suppress, brutalize and destroy?

The Egyptians are rising as one people, carrying a simple message that all human beings can relate to: we want freedom and auto-determination. Forget about the clash of civilizations and all the nonsense we hear about coming from the major news organizations, what the Egyptian protesters are proving to the world is that it is possible to overthrow the powerful and sophisticated institutionalized crime machine, and in a peaceful manner at that. This type of event is what the "Western powers" are built on: a (more or less in some cases) grass-roots uprising that targets the entire governing class (economic and political) in an effort to overthrow it and replace it with a juster system of governance.

All this to say that the Egyptians are on the verge of a small victory in what is the beginning of a new era not only for Egypt, but for the entire Middle-East and hopefully the world. For those of you still skeptic as to what the outcome of this revolution will be (theocracy or other authoritarian regime), here's a tweet i ran into from The Guardian Live Egypt Blog: 

"5.52pm: Egyptian blogger @suzeeinthecity has tweeted what she says are the seven demands of the protesters:

     1. Resignation of the president

     2. End of the Emergency State

     3. Dissolution of The People's Assembly and Shora Council

     4. Formation of a national transitional government

     5. An elected Parliament that will ammend the Constitution to allow for presidential elections

     6. Immediate prosecution for those responsible of the deaths of the revolution's martyrs

     7. Immediate prosecution of the corrupters and those who robbed the country of its wealth".

Pretty moderate "demands" wouldn't you say? For those who say "What about the average Joe who's fed up and wants things to get back to normal, to put food on the table?" (as actually heard on the Al-Jazira live feed today by one of the presenters), ask yourself this (besides the obvious one: why do you think millions of people are revolting against conditions you eagerly call "normal" under Mubarak?...): had you been in India during the beginning of Ghandi's triumphant and peaceful march, would you have stood up on a podium and told the crowd to stop its efforts on the basis that the average Indian man's feet were sore and that he wanted to go back to "the way things were", c'est-à-dire being outright colonized by the U.K.? Today, under Egyptian martial law, three adults cannot meet without being under the threat of being arrested. Enough is enough, and it is time to blow this corrupt and criminal government to pieces and let Egyptians decide of their own future. Let's stand behind them.

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