Friday, February 11, 2011

Revolution in Egypt Succeeds

The people of Egypt are an inspiration to all of us. They aspired to freedom and democracy, and they risked their lives to get it.
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down Friday and handed over power to the military -- three decades of his iron-clad rule ended by an 18-day revolution.

In a somber one-minute announcement on state television, Vice President Omar Suleiman said Mubarak had resigned and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will "run the affairs of the country."

Tens of thousands of emotional Egyptians exploded in deafening cheers on the streets of Cairo, electric with excitement. It was a moment they had anticipated throughout long days of relentless demonstrations -- sometimes violent -- that demanded Mubarak's departure.

It was also a moment that many had thought unimaginable in the Arab world's powerhouse nation.

"Egypt is free!" and "God is Great," they chanted in the honeymoon of the moment. They waved Egyptian flags, honked horns and set off fireworks as they savored a moment that just days ago had seemed unimaginable. Egypt's Mubarak resigns after 30-year rule

Now the test is for us as Americans to learn to respect a free and sovereign country where the people might not especially like us after what we've put them through. The torturing, corrupt dictator Mubarak was a friend to the US and the people are not going to quickly forget what American values mean to them. The Obama administration needs to start right out with an honest, adult show of respect to this young democracy and show support for the right things: freedom, sovereignty, openness.

And of course the citizens of Egyptian need to figure out how to hold an honest election, how to redesign their system so bribery and corruption are not essential to making things work, today was a great breakthrough in world history but getting rid of Mubarak is only the beginning for them. I hope this is a pivotal point in the dynamics of the Middle East and especially in our country's relationship to the Arab countries that have been such a cause of concern for so many years. This is our opportunity to form real alliances, not favors from propped-up dictators but alliances based on our shared humanity.


Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Let freedom ring!

February 11, 2011 3:29 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

The issue is not, as some have couched it, whether those who have supported Egypt's support (or lack of opposition) to Israel's existence and who have supported Egypt's opposition to fundamentalist Islamic terrorism should have continued to support Mubarak in order to maintain those policies. It has been fairly clear to me that, one way or another, Mubarak was going to fall -- and the issue has been how to avoid the downsides of that inevitable fall (i.e., the ascendancy of fundamentalist Islamic extremism). This will not be easy, but at least it is doable.

Revolutions are always scary, and the outcomes are too often (indeed, perhaps usually) not felicitous. George Bernard Shaw wrote that "Anyone under the age of thirty, who, having any any knowledge of the existing order, is not a revolutionist is an inferior. AND YET Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny: they have only shifted it to another shoulder." See

Shaw's answer to this dilemma was not to give up on change, but to try to find ways to ease into it (the whole Fabian Society approach) or to find ways to change the culture so that people behave reasonably.

Not easy. Usually scary. Often, as is now likely the case in Egypt, necessary.

February 11, 2011 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now the test is for us as Americans to learn to respect a free and sovereign country where the people might not especially like us after what we've put them through."

we will have no trouble respecting a free and sovereign nation, we don't need to learn anything to do so, and we didn't put them through anything

we gave aid to a government that acted responsibly on the international stage

to take a historic perspective, we agreed to the aid when Egypt became the first country to make peace and recognize our fast ally, Israel's, right to exist

the man that made that peace was assasinated for his vision and martial law was declared to keep things under control

unfortunately, absolute power corrupts so emergency laws often become entrenched and Mubarak got used to his power

the seeds of today's victory, moreover, were sown by George W Bush's brave intiative to promote democracy in the Middle East

he pushed the Mubarak regime to begin loosening up and people saw what was possible

you can argue that Bush got sidetracked in his second term and could have pursued change more aggressively but, ultimately, it wasn't our responsibility and we weren't responsible for Mubarak's excesses either

"The torturing, corrupt dictator Mubarak was a friend to the US"

our responsibility is first and foremost to protect the interests of our democracy and that of our allies

Mubarak was our friend on that level

odd that anyone who complained about us deposing Saddam Hussein would suggest that we should have worked to do the same to Mubarak, who was nowhere near as bad

isn't that a little hypocritical?

"and the people are not going to quickly forget what American values mean to them."

hopefully, Obama has learned not to try the Kumbayah routine with Iran and North Korea

I really don't think the street in Egypt has a problem with us

you didn't see burning flags or Obama dummies strung up

"The Obama administration needs to start right out with an honest, adult show of respect to this young democracy and show support for the right things: freedom, sovereignty, openness."

we always do

do remember, however, that mere democracy does not a friend make

if the collective will of a democratic people is malicious- if, for example, Egyptians vote to attack Israel, they can be our enemy, regardless of their political system

February 11, 2011 5:57 PM  
Anonymous I'm starting to like Joe said...

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration sent a not-too-subtle message to Iran today that the uprising in Egypt that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak could spread and reinvigorate demands for more freedom in Tehran.

In a speech in Louisville, Ky., Vice President Joe Biden called the events in Egypt "a pivotal moment in history" and said it was time to let the people of Iran speak out freely.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to supporters during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square on Friday. He lashed out at the West and Israel in a speech marking the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

"I say to our Iranian friends: Let your people march, let your people speak, release your people from jail, let them have a voice!" Biden said to loud applause of the University of Kentucky.

February 12, 2011 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

news out this morning that they're in the streets in Algeria

talk about the domino theory

here we get rid of the bums by election

here are the current leading contenders for the Republican nomination, which is close to a lock for winning the 2012 election:

"Two former governors, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Massachussetts' Mitt Romney, lead the field among potential Republican presidential candidates, according to a new survey out Friday.

The poll found Huckabee just edging out Romney in approval from Republicans (55 to 54 percent).

About four in 10 Republicans said ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (43 percent), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (40 percent) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (39 percent) would make good presidents.

Fully 29 percent of Republicans said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is worthy of the White House and 23 said real estate tycoon Donald Trump would be a good commander in chief."

February 12, 2011 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chaos erupts as Ron Paul wins CPAC straw poll

His passionate band of supporters delivers another victory -- even as the rest of the crowd reacts with rage.

February 12, 2011 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can never remember which one is Ron Paul and which one is Ru Paul.

February 12, 2011 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a lot of homosexuals have that problem

February 13, 2011 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shakespeare never fails. When I read that Gaia’s First Messenger Here on Earth, the very face and clammy palms of global warming itself, Al Gore, had invited the Edward R. Morrow of the Twitterverse, latterly of the compulsively progressive MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, to join his Current TV cable network, the familiar “Let us not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments” unfailingly suggested itself.

Gore-Olbermann: never so fruitful a partnership since Gilligan and the Skipper.

Here was a true mating, a yoking of heart-breaking genius. Gore, an imperious, lugubrious, dour and insistent one-cause Doomsday machine, a kind of oversized Spock without Spock’s lavish sense of humour, needed something of Olbermann’s manic, untethered zest. Olbermann , whose most charged flights during his days at MSNBC’s Countdown went into hitherto unpiloted altitudes of non-sequitur and denunciation, desperately needed an alignment with someone who occasionally glided within a few feet of the actual (albeit destined to imminent, carbonaceous ruin) earth.
At first it was difficult to see which way the energy was running? Who was the “little guy” and who was the Skipper?

Perhaps Gore, the Jeremiah of our melting world, is aware that, despite his stringent and Hollywood-mediated efforts, the cause is sputtering to a dying glow? The great freeze-ups all over the United States, including spectacles like the snow and ice sliding off the Houston Superbowl arena, have some people just a little disaffected from the idea that the world is being pushed by a trace gas into tropical oblivion.

Was it Al, then, seeking out Keith to buttress his slipping hold and the decline of the cause? I can see the reasoning. Olbermann, however cheap the pun here, is himself a gifted windmill, an ego-driven power source of seemingly endless capacity. He has an almost emblematic value for Gore. If global warmery can harness Olbermann’s almost fanatic drive to demonize antagonists, his utter confidence that assertion-at-the-top-of-one’s-voice is logic’s only willing bedmate, maybe the staggering crusade can be jolted into life-like motions again..

February 13, 2011 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conversely, was it Keith, dropped from his cable TV throne, no longer able to dispense his fatwa “special comments,” in need of some new, any new, perch from which to bluster and rant? Even the greatest barker needs an audience. It cannot have been money. MSNBC, wherever it found the bullion, was paying Olbermann US$30-million for a five year stint, an amazing compensation — especially when it is realized that FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly, his nemesis, was pulling in three times the audience of Olbermann’s Countdown. He didn’t leave poor and wanting.

I think, on the whole, it more likely Olbermann went to Gore, that the need on his side was greater. Whatever, they are now yoked to a single bristling chariot, the Nobel prize winner and the dismissed prime-time bellow — united against the forces of darkness and warmth. When Keith Olbermann comes on Current TV and hectors all 23,000 homes that watch its prime-time signal that “the science is settled, dammit” then you can be sure the science will be settled or else.

Still, there’s something wrong with this viewing equation for both parties. Twenty-three thousand viewers in a country of 300 million people — these are not CSI numbers. Heck, they’re not even fireplace-channel numbers; and can hardly constitute the “reach” that an impressario of Olbermann’s ego can tolerate.

Maybe the governing motto here then is not that of Shakespeare and his “true minds” after all. Maybe the real impulse can be explained more simply and commonly by the ancient piece of folk wisdom that “misery loves company.” As Gore’s star pales and recedes, and as the furious sanctimonies of global warming meet resistance, perhaps fading Al sees something of a mirror image in the fall of Keith. And perhaps both of them sense that each of them has had his moment, that this moment is past, so maybe the only fun left is to join hands and mutually console for what little of the gig remains to either of them.

February 13, 2011 1:30 PM  

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