arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

The Revolution on Tahrir Square

The world has been watching with much anxiety the events unfolding in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the last few weeks. In that time, a protest movement has grown within the community of young Egyptians fed up with the leadership of President-for-Life (or so he thinks) Hosni Mubarak. The world community is anxious that this could be Egypt’s fall from stability, the global business community is concerned how it will affect the price of oil, and Egyptians living abroad have, understandably, expressed mixed feelings about the recent events in their country.

For America, the situation is a bit complicated. Yes, at heart we want to root for the oppressed because it reminds us so much of when we were that age, standing up to a dictatorial power and declaring our freedom from said power. The events transpiring now could very well be Egypt’s equivalent of our confrontations at Lexington and Concord in 1775.

That’s where our hearts are, but our heads have to consider a few other facts. In recent decades, Egypt has been the most stable of Arab nations in the area and — more importantly — America’s strongest Arab ally in the region. It would be very awkward for us to push Mubarak out after we’ve looked away for decades from his alleged abuses of power. This probably explains why President Obama has been strongly hinting that Mubarak should start reforming his government, while stopping short of committing American resources to force his ouster.

Thus we have been sitting on the sidelines as the protesters grew from a few hundred to a few thousand to a few hundred thousand. There’s no doubt that the protesters marching through the streets, signs and fists held aloft, and chanting for Mubarak to step aside has been highly dramatic. Truly, this is democracy in action.

Of course, democracy cannot be one-sided. The allowance of others with opposing views to air their side of the argument is a necessary evil. Before anyone could ask, “Who the hell invited them,” a number of Mubarak supporters joined in the public demonstrations, riding into the vicinity of protesters on horse and camel back, wielding weapons, and beating up on American correspondent, Anderson Cooper. The death toll on both sides has climbed dramatically. Truly, this is democracy run amok!

Meanwhile, Mubarak has taken bold steps to placate the protesters. The Egyptian president has ordered his government to resign, appointed a vice-president, and announced that he will not seek re-election when his term expires...in September. Unfortunately, this is not the timetable the protesters had in mind. They want Mubarak out as of yesterday.

Allow me to rewrite the lead sentence in the last paragraph. Meanwhile, Mubarak has taken wimpy, little baby steps to soothe the protesters. He has, in effect, implied that the protesters will only get him out of office when they pry his cold, dead fingers off of the presidential podium. Actually, the protesters might not have a problem with this possible outcome if it comes to that, but up until yesterday the only violence going on is what is being inflicted on them by pro-Mubarak forces.

Today, the reports have been more optimistic about a more orderly transition of power in Egypt. Heightened security has decreased the use of violent interactions between warring protesters in the last 24 hours. There are also reports of negotiations underway for Mubarak to step down sooner than September, and have his newly installed vice-president take control of an interim government until free and fair elections occur. These are hopeful signs that one of the oldest civilizations on the planet is moving democracy from the battleground at Tahrir Square to a way of life in Egypt.

(Thank you for reading. Let’s hope that the Egyptian people see a peaceful resolution to their conflict soon.)

2 Comments:

Anonymous janey said...

Your last sentence of the third paragraph: BRILLIANT! :-)

Love, Janey

February 8, 2011 at 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Janey said...

My comment about the "Dallas..." line was intended for your Super Bowl message, which has strangely disappeared from my screen... WTF?

February 8, 2011 at 9:37 PM  

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