Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Freedom and democracy for the Egyptian people

"All of this presents the White House with a conundrum. It’s difficult to abandon a longtime ally like Mr. Mubarak, even if he has been corrupt and oppressive. But our messaging isn’t working, and many Egyptian pro-democracy advocates said they feel betrayed that Americans are obsessing on what might go wrong for the price of oil, for Israel, for the Suez Canal — instead of focusing on the prospect of freedom and democracy for the Egyptian people."


C.H. said...

Many Copts worry that Mr. Mubarak's exit would leave them dangerously exposed—either by chaos, or to a government that may be more tolerant of Islamist extremists.

Pope Shenouda III, head of the Coptic Church, expressed support for Mr. Mubarak in an interview with Egyptian state television Monday. "We have called the president and told him we are all with you and the people are with you," he said, according to a transcript of the interview on the state television's website.

In Alexandria, where the Coptic Orthodox Church was founded in A.D. 42, worshippers slipped through a crack in the gate at St. Mark's and St. Peter's Church on Monday morning, for the first service to be held here since Egypt's anti-Mubarak protests began.

As recently as New Year's Day, this church suffered a horrific terrorist attack. Twenty-three people died and 97 were injured when a large bomb packed with nails and ball bearings detonated outside just after midnight, as the service was ending.

"We need Mubarak. What we need above all is to be safe," said Samy Farag, director of the St. Mark's Hospital, which is attached to the church and where the dead and injured were brought immediately after the bombing.


C.H. said...

It sounds like the Coptic Pope might have been coerced into making those statements by the government. But maybe the Copts are just afraid that a new Egyptian Gov't could draft a "blasphemy" law like Pakistan.

Anonymous said...

What alternative do you suggest? Should Egypt have a democracy or not?

C.H. said...

Egypt should have a democracy, I just hope it can be a democracy for everyone. If copts get wiped out, they will have about as much democracy as Hindus in Pakistan.

Maury said...

Change is hard. Americans remember how Iran fell to the mullahs. That revolution seemed to have wide appeal to everyone too. Sure, there were Islamists, but they were joined in the streets by communists, trade unions, womens activists, and just about everyone else who wasn't part of the Shah's inner circle. Once the Shah was gone, so was anyone who wasn't with Khomeini.

This is like dejavu. Liberal President abandons longtime mideast ally. 40 years of oppression. misery, and chaos, to follow.

Maury said...

In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.

Asked if they supported “modernizers” or “Islamists” only 27 percent said modernizers while 59 percent said Islamists:


Maury said...

If 84% of Egyptians oppose freedom of religion, Egyptians don't deserve freedom of any kind. Secular Egyptians should run like hell, while they still have a chance.

Mister Ghost said...

I see Barack Carter The 2nd has given his blessing to the MB being part of the new Egyptian government.

LOL, this is worse than Carter and Iran.

Well, as I asked over Zeyad's, how many revolutions in the Middle East have produced a secular Democratic government?

It's obvious, in the near future, say within five years, the Muslim brotherhood will control Egypt.

And then we're going to have one awe-inspiring, glorious, high-faluting, fusillade of a war.

K said...

Change is hard. But it is also inevitable.

Maury, you concerns are no doubt valid but this is a different era. We now have powerful Internet tools which connects and organizes people in a way that religious fundamentalism no longer can. We should use those tools to help the Egyptian plan for the transition instead of wallowing in fear and doubt. En masse, we should be make it clear that if there is to be a change we will support a new democratic Egypt and only a democratic Egypt. If it moves toward theocracy or a more repressive dictatorship, particularly one that is hostel, it will not only loose allies, it will gain powerful enemies.

Iraqi Mojo said...

"I say this without any hyperbole, but the US is willing to have millions of Arab oppressed, killed, and tortured to preserve the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. I strongly and firmly believe that." --Angry Arab

C.H. said...

That's a two-way street...anti-Israel sentiment leads to authoritarian regimes and repression too, probably even more so, a la Iran, Sudan, Hamas, Libya, etc.

As'ad Abu Khalil is willing to enslave 70 million Iranians for the Palestinian cause.

C.H. said...

"If Israel continues to support Mubarak, we will start to hate Israel more and more,” he said. “Israel has to give up. Now Israel is a friend of one man, of Mubarak, but tomorrow it needs to be a friend of 80 million.

“I hear [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu is scared. He doesn’t need to be scared, he has nothing to fear,” Mustafa continued. “We’re not Iran and we don’t like Iran.”


Maury said...

"En masse, we should be make it clear that if there is to be a change we will support a new democratic Egypt and only a democratic Egypt."

K, I don't think democracy is possible in a country where 84% of the population thinks a man should be killed for choosing his own religion. Pakistan takes a stab at it from time to time. Then the military takes control again. I'm looking around for a real democracy that has no freedom of religion. Maybe you can think of one?

K said...

A country that had such a law in place could never be called a democracy with a straight face. Freedom of thought and religion is an absolute necessity. However, I have to point out that someone has misread the poll. While still shocking, and some what of a technical point, it was not 84% of the population who favors that barbarity, it was 84% of Muslims polled which means at most it would be something like 75%. Still, not so good.

Still such infringements of personal rights are to be prevented by a constitution. If Egyptians really want a democracy as your poll seems to indicate, they will have to come to terms with the fact that these two ideas are completely incompatible. They can do this the easy way, by letting the secular intelligentsia participate in the restructuring of the country, or they can do this the Persian way. In either scenario they need to try one or the other because it is the decades of dictatorship that has lead them to such baffling ignorance and it has no chance of getting better until they experiment.