Egypt - one writer’s perspective

By On

When this website was younger and less widely read, I easily wrote what I thought on an almost daily basis. In 2001 and 2003, during 9/11 and the run up to the invasion of Iraq, I wrote my perspective quite fully. In reviewing those perspectives, they seem to have held up with the passage of time. In the past three years, I've tried to write less, focus on managing this site, and encourage others to write more. Most of the 14 writers on this website can post anything they want, anytime they want, with no editorial review by me. In fact, I've held back in an effort to give others the stage, so to speak. But with so little appearing so seldom, I'm starting to write more when I feel a topic tugging at my brain. Then, the very sudden death of my younger brother has also nudged me toward the feeling that there is little reason to hold back what I want to write. Finally, just because we are a locally oriented website is no reason to avoid important national issues. So life is indeed a journey. And here is my take on the recent events in Egypt.

These past few days, as I look around the Internet for news on Egypt, there seems to be no insightful analysis of why and how that crisis is playing out. Our media seem to be surprised at each new day's events and merely reacting to those events. Our government is putting out absurd declarations and instructions to Egyptians and to Mubarak. If any reader has found an educated perspective, feel free to comment and add links.

I predict that by Sunday Mubarak will either be gone or the country will be in a civil war. The people have effectively communicated to Egypt's leaders and the world that peaceful change is desired, now. Mubarak's speech last night could only have been made with U.S. support of his stay in power; we provide him with billions of aid each year. We will probably learn in some Wikileaks process years from now that Obama and Hillary Clinton have been two-faced during this past week, telling Americans one thing, and Mubarak another. The U.S. government fears if Mubarak falls, more Middle Eastern tyrants will fall. And our effort to control the Middle East will falter or experience a setback. Yes, since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have had our sights set on control of the Middle East.

After his speech last night it seemed obvious to me that violence would break out today. No special insight - just the way it always happens. The people show in a peaceful way they want change, and then the powers-that-be find a way to incite violence and blame it on the people.

Bill Clinton and the U.S. government used that tactic in Seattle in 1999 when they allowed a few anarchists camouflaged in black clothing sufficient time to cause bedlam and then sent troops in to violently crack down on peaceful demonstrators. So it will be in Egypt. The pro-Mubarak mob now attacking the peaceful demonstrators are, without any doubt, security forces in civilian clothes. Our news media will be overly cautious to call them out, as our government does not want truthful reporting. Our government does not want the people to have real democratic power.

Al Jazeera has been blocked from broadcasting in the U.S. for years because the U.S. government - Clinton, Bush and Obama - do not want us to learn the facts in the Middle East. Indeed, even the Al Jazeera website has been blocked by our government during times of crisis - especially in 2003. One of the biggest charades in our country is that we have a free press without censorship.

In the Middle East people are rising against tyrants who have been supported, for decades, by our government. To avoid violence, Mubarak could have resigned days ago and international monitors could have supervised an election for a new government. Instead, western democracies, including the U.S., stood by like deer in headlights, no doubt secretly supporting Mubarak's power. Now we will see widespread violence in Egypt and it will spread in the Middle East. In the chaos, most of the democratic leaders will probably be assassinated and new tyrants will be set up with U.S. help.

Yes, gentle reader, the U.S. has not supported democracy in foreign countries at all - neither before nor after World War Two. Read Wikileaks for an interesting look at some of the facts. Obama will condemn the violence, all the while knowing our actions have enabled it. My hope is that Obama and Hillary will actually take this opportunity to change, from policies that support tyrants and have been in place since WWII, to ones that support the rise of genuine democratic movements.

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About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

g.h.kirsch

Feb 02, 2011

In the long tradition of US policies overseas to benefit US interests, multi-national interests with enormous political swat here, we have supported on a long list of dictators: Palavi, Husein, Pinochet, Noriega, Furumori ... (need I go on?)

In our name, blind and dumb, we ignore the oppression of millions fat in the comfort of our little cocoon.  Without ignoring the privilege of being American, on another level we are citizens of the world.

And the responsibility of being an American requires we stand for the same rights we once declared self evident for all the other citizens of the world.

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David Camp

Feb 02, 2011

It’s very heartening to see the people of Egypt rising up against an out-of-touch US-sponsored dictator (yes he is a dictator, despite Joe Biden’s disgraceful denial of this fact).

All it took was those remarkable US inventions - facebook and twitter! Who knew we could have saved ourselves a trillion dollars or so by just giving the Iraqis facebook to overthrow their own dictator! (who was our dictator for quite along time before he became the scariest threat in the world who had to be taken out otherwise we wouldn’t be safe because the sky would fall).

On the subject of government-provoked demonstrations: I would add the (Billion dollar security budget!) G20 meetings in Toronto last summer to the list. I was there visiting family, and I can attest from personal observation that:

1) The G20 meetings were deliberately located, against the advice of the City of Toronto’s Mayor and Council, in the downtown area of the largest city in Canada. This basically shut down the country’s financial center, at vast unaccounted expense, for a week.
2) The federal government spent $1 billion on security - mostly the cost of flying in police from all over the country, and buying them a bunch of new toys (like water cannons, sound cannons, and other crowd control devices) which they were itching to try out.
3) I drove by a civic building that had been converted to a “detention center” on the Friday before all the fun started and all around the place were visiting policemen, away from home and looking for something to do.
4) The flaming police cars which figured so prominently in the news, again and again, were abandoned in the street by their operators. Why? They may as well as put a sign on the car “Burn this cop car”. No police have been disciplined for abandoning their equipment - which is very suspicious - provocation?
5) Police also stood by and took no action while some hard core hoodlums broke windows of businesses on Saturday. They used this to justify rounding up and detaining, for hours in the rain without facilities, over 200 people who were happened to be out walking in the downtown area.

It sure seems to me that the whole thing was a setup. They wanted demonstrations, and when the peaceful and disciplined folk of Toronto didn’t oblige, they provoked demonstrations.
All so Obama and a 3,000-member entourage, and all the other muck-a-mucks could have a photo op and meet to discuss items which had already been pre-decided anyway.

It’s not just Egypt that needs the people to rise up against Dominion without Justice.

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R.E.Stannard Jr. (Ted)

Feb 05, 2011

My 8-year Egypt experience (84-86, 1994-2000) teaching journalism at The American University in Cairo is a decade out of date, so I won’t pontificate.

But I strongly commend to all readers here the superb, feet-on-the-ground reportage of Yasmine El Rashidi in the New York Review of Books at the following URLS:

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/jan/26/hosni-mubarak-plane-waiting/

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/jan/30/tomorrow-tahrir-again/

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/feb/03/mubarak-mubarak-what-have-you-done/

These are dramatic, detailed, vivid, in-depth personal reports by a former student of mine who went on to study at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and returned to immerse herself in covering her hone country. I have the highest respect for her integrity, accuracy and insights. She is also a skilled, exciting, honest writer.

I intend to keep checking the NYRoB website for her future updates, as my many readers.

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Todd Granger

Feb 07, 2011

But John,

And the Republic or the democracy of 9-11-1971?

http://www.egypt.gov.eg/english/laws/constitution/introduction/CAdocument.aspx

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