Monday, January 31, 2011

EGYPT TODAY AND TOMORROW

NY Times photo
For three days now, I have been following on Twitter--and whatever mainstream news media coverage that has been available--the public protests and calls for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.  This is a breathtaking, gut-wrenching and fascinating development.  Taking cues from the civilian uprising in Tunisia that brought down that corrupt government, Egyptian civilians have engaged in a mostly nonviolent protest in their nation's capital, Cairo.  Their call for a million-citizen march in Cairo on Tuesday may mark a pivotal point in their call for Mubarak's resignation and the beginning of a more free and, possibly, democratic government.

It's worth noting that this effort is, in comparison to citizen or group militias, a nonviolent protest of citizens crying out for change after 30 years of living with police brutality and corruption.  Here is one more example of the power of people who assemble and act nonviolently (though there has been some violence and will be even in nonviolent struggles because not all are highly disciplined and sometimes respond violently to violence inflicted).

It is lamentable, to me, that the USA leadership has long supported Mubarak's regime as it has.  Mubarak is but one of many leaders whose regimes who make no pretense of legitimate democracy and engage in routine abuses.  It is encouraging to me that President Obama has finally called for (too late?) for Mubarak's government to no longer disrupt these protests and to restore communications and to make necessary changes that people are calling for.

This is but one of a number of Middle Eastern nation whose people are ready to take to the streets to call for reforms and regime change.  The next weeks and months will be interesting to observe.  One would hope that it is freedom and dignity for all that protesters are calling for and will achieve.

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