UPDATE: The Egyptian army has issued an unusual statement saying it “will not resort to use of force against our great people.”
"Your armed forces," the statement continued, "who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody."
A lot of people are interpreting this as the army signaling that it is with the protesters and against Mubarak. I think that may be premature, but only slightly. Suleiman just appeared on television and said the government would take a look at complaints about last fall’s parliamentary elections — another attempt to buy off more moderate demonstrators (and rather meaningless as most of the problems came in runoff elections between “official” NDP candidates and “unofficial” NDP candidates). Meanwhile, both the EU and the United States are now calling for a “transition” — i.e. goodbye Hosni. But he’s a stubborn old man. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
“Democrats in Maryland fared much differently in the November elections than they did in rest of the nation when nearly two dozen state legislative chambers switched from Democratic to Republican control. Despite losing six seats in the House of Delegates, Maryland Democrats picked up two seats in the Senate and have maintained their supermajority in each chamber. The two-seat pickup in the Senate is viewed as the final hurdle needed for passage of the marriage bill. Given those dynamics, the Republican leader of the Senate is offering an alternative.”—
i love this sentence at the end of the article. this isn’t our fight and instead of thinking of how this will affect the U.S. - we should be thinking about what the people of Egypt are going through right now.
As someone who usually tends to do a lot of the former (read: “thinking of how this will affect the U.S.”) I am glad there are people who are thinking about the latter. The Egyptian people deserve better.
i still dont get it.. so there are protests in the eygpt, right? the people are protesting against the government? can you go deeper in explanation.. cause i don't get it. i see all these pics on my dash but i'm not understanding.
Alright, I’ve been absent from the internet the past few days, but I wanted to wait to answer this question so that I could address it correctly.
The Egyptian government is an autocracy, headed by a dictator (Hosni Mubarak) who has committed countless crimes against Egyptians, including but not limited to police abuse and repression of political opponents. The Egyptian people have lived under his rule since the assassination of Anwar Sadat (Egypt’s former President) over 30 years ago. Why do these riots/the revolution matter to the U.S.? Because Egypt has been one of the United States’s closest allies in the region during the Mubarak regime and it sends over $1bn in annual aid to Egypt, much of which goes to the Egyptian military and police forces. That’s U.S. taxpayer money being used by a dictatorship in the Middle East to repress it’s people and stifle and dissent, all while putting on the image of a democratic regime and ally of the Americans in their goals abroad (including making peace with Israel and its neighbors). The Egyptian people are responding to:
the revelation to them via Wikileaks and other sources that the U.S. State Department is well-aware of the crimes of President Mubarak and does not approve of his human rights record.
economic struggles and rising food prices as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen while most Egyptians get left in poverty.
the successful toppling of a dictator in nearby-Tunisia because of revelations similar to those in #1.
they are tired of repression and abuse by a dictator who clearly cares more about consolidating his own power than working to his people’s benefit.
Again, I stand with them in their struggle. They deserve better; they know it and now they know that we agree.
The Muslim Brotherhood was the foundation of al-Qaeda and collaborated with the Nazis in WWII. It is regularly tied to violence against Coptics in Egypt and supports a single Islamic state in the Middle East ruled by Sharia law, etc.
Shouldn’t worry, yeah right.
Actually, very few Egyptians would go for a single Islamic state because they consider themselves Egyptian first. Having been there and spoken with representatives from the Mubarak regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other dissident groups, I can tell you that the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t as big of a threat as it is painted to be.
“We don’t expect anything from Obama, whom we regard as a great hypocrite. But we hope and expect the American people – trade unions, professors’ associations, student unions, activist groups, to come out in support of us. What we want for the US government is to completely get out of the picture. We don’t want any sort of backing; just cut aid to Mubarak immediately and withdraw backing from him, withdraw from all Middle Eastern bases, and stop supporting the state of Israel. Ultimately, Mubarak will do whatever he has to do to protect himself. He will suddenly adopt the most anti-US rhetoric if he thought that would help him save his skin. At the end of the day he’s committed to his own interests, and if he thinks the US won’t support him, he’ll turn somewhere else. The reality is that any really clean government that comes to power in the region will come into open conflict with the US because it will call for radical redistribution of wealth and ending support for Israel or other dictatorships. So we don’t expect any help from America, just to leave us alone.”—
Egyptian blogger and activist Hossam el-Hamalawy talks to U.C. Irvine history professor Mark LeVine at Al Jazeera.
Call your Congress people and urge them to publicly support the Egyptians’ right to self-determination and free expression.
Egypt is an important U.S. ally—and we do a lot to help Mubarak stay in power. Making it costly for the U.S. to back up the Egyptian…
PLEASE. PLEASE do this. Far too few know what Egyptians and other Arabs/humans have to experience under police-state dictatorships like Mubarak’s. And far too few know that the United States has been complicit and provided money to those same regimes.
Vice President Biden, issuing the Obama administration’s most definitive statement to date on the turmoil in Egypt, said President Hosni Mubarak should not step down and downplayed the protests spreading across the Mideast as generally unconnected.
Mr. Vice President, I love you and all, but what you just said is not only wrong-minded, but advocating continued abuse of the Egyptian people. I wish you’d reconsider.
The breakdown of the American-Arab relationship was about more than the creation of the Jewish homeland in Israel; the United States, by supporting autocratic regimes in exchange for support on other measures of the perceived national interest, alienated the common citizen/subject of the various Arab autocracies. In doing so, it has complicated the process of any movement for democratization, in the near-term, that would yield a constructive relationship with the United States government in its foreign policy goals. The results are becoming increasingly clear with the advent of Wikileaks and the Palestine Papers—America’s loyalties to dictators and abusive states are a direct result of powerful interests within the country and a somewhat misguided desire to maintain positive relationships with self-interested autocrats are, in most cases, the product of circumstance rather than desire—and everyday Arabs are taking their struggle for the ideals of self-determination and freedom into their own hands.
American students need to be made aware that, as with anywhere else, the crises in the Middle East have no simple answers. This is now to say, however, that the possibilities of working constructively to promote American ideals and gain allies among the general populations of Arab states are all that far off. We have many hopeful and idealistic Arabs willing to act if the United States stands for its ideals and sees the struggles that they face with repression, injustice, and abuse from their autocratic ruling classes. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were only two authentically Arab democracies (in Syria and Lebanon). Syria we have alienated with rhetoric (though we are slowly gaining back that relationship) and Lebanon is slowly shifting away from U.S. influence right into the arms of state backers of Hezbollah’s military arm. Today, Iraq can be called a democracy, but only a highly dysfunctional one.
My goal in this project is to develop a 5-part curriculum as a template for high schools to better understand the conflicts in the Middle East, what the United States is currently doing, and how certain changes could improve the dynamics between various actors in each of these crises while also cooling those hotspots altogether.
My high school Global Diplomacy professor has graciously invited me back to his school to teach a 5-part series on the United States’ role in various conflicts in the Middle East. I want to use this opportunity to begin assembling a curriculum to provide younger students with a view of a persistent geopolitical hotspot. The goal of the curriculum is to be the foundation for a course which encompasses various aspects of international conflicts, from politics to religion and everything in between, that allows secondary school students to think critically about not only personal, but societal conflict from the viewpoint of those who we may not exactly fully understand…or at least who we definitely misunderstand. I will use a mixture of foreign and domestic news sources, leaked diplomatic cables, and personal experience in three autocratic Middle Eastern countries to argue that:
Arabs, by and large, want peace and prosperity.
Arabs do not hate Americans, they hate American foreign policy
The United States is aware of human rights abuses by autocratic governments worldwide, including in the Middle East
The United States has both the ability and incentive to change course in its foreign policy in a way that, in the long term, will benefit both the U.S. and the innocent civilians who fall victim to extremism, political repression, poverty, sickness, and war
Historical Sources (as of now):
Faith Misplaced (Ussama Makdisi)
Current Sources (as of now):
WikiLeaks (via The New York Times, The Washington Post, El País, Der Spiegel, La Monde, The Guardian, and others)