Monday, January 31, 2011

What is happening in Egypt?

And whose fault is it?

I have been, as many people around the world, reading a lot about what is going on with Egypt. If you are old enough, you definitely do remember the upheaval in Iran that led to the dictatorship of Khomeni and eventually got us to where we are today with Iran being a nuclear threat to the region. Is that what is going on with Egypt?

Some immediately have been blaming Obama. If you are part of a group of kids who were playing baseball and suddenly a ball goes through a window, it's the kid holding the bat who will get the blame-- rightly so or not.

Some did the same thing with Iran when Carter happened to be president after years of our propping up a brutal dictator with one American president after another doing the same thing. We stopped propping and we got Khomeni.

Is that where we are with Egypt? Bush pulled his punches on Egypt's Mubarak also The thing is you have a dictator who you know brutalizes his people but he's your guy in a region where there aren't many who are. What do you do about that?

I thought this was a good article with some of the basics of what has been happening and possibly why although I am sure there is a lot more to this:


Here's the thing you wonder when something happens like this-- does someone profit from it and if so, who? It's usually follow the money but sometimes is follow the fanaticism.

It is natural in such times to wonder how much is being inspired by those behind 9/11, especially when one of them was Egyptian and probably became enraged at least partly due to what he saw happening in Egypt under Mubarak.

It looks like this is the kind of thing some would relish having happen in our country. Do they ever stop to think? On the other hand if you end up with 40% unemployment with the cost of living skyrocketing, what exactly do you do about it? What should our country do?

If the Egyptian people do get free elections, might they welcome a Khomeni style leader as the Iranians did? You think they didn't. Read Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, to see how the middle class can support such a thing without realizing fully where it will take them. Another good look at it is a documentary, The Queen and I, about journalist and previous revolutionary, Nahid Persson Sarvestani and Queen Farah Pahlavi, the widow of the Shah. Revolution doesn't always take you where you want to go, but neither does tolerating intolerable conditions.

So where does that leave a country when the existing situation is intolerable and for any rightie who thinks that is us, they are so clueless it's not worth trying to debate it with them. Where does it leave our country? Continuing to prop up a dictator? Finding a way to a real transition of power but to whom next?

I sure don't have the answer but what it ends up being may impact the world and that whole region. Can you imagine the impact if there was a peaceful transfer to a regime really wanting the best for the Egyptian people where there were jobs and chances for good lives? It could be huge. The other possibility could also and in the opposite direction.

4 comments:

wally said...

For all the rhetoric that has come out of Washington over the years about spreading democracy to other nations we have supported the regimes of a lot of dictators when it was in our own interests. In the long term I think it will hurt us.
Here's a link to a pretty good analysis of what has led up to this situation in Egypt: http://www.juancole.com/2011/01/egypts-class-conflict.html

Kay Dennison said...

Amen. How many times have we seen revolutions that just traded one bad government for another and how many of them have we supported? I remember when the Cubans overthrew Battista's dictatorship. And if I remember correctly (and I might not), we supported Castro -- at first anyway -- and wound up with missiles pointed at us.

Rain said...

That was an informative article, Wally. Thanks.

TaraDharma said...

you are asking a lot of the same questions I'm asking. It seems the uprising came out of desperation: corrupt police, high unemployment, no real change, a 30-year strong-man. Another US supported dictator who is 'elected' in a rigged game.

From what I can tell, the Islamic Brotherhood only got into the streets after the initial rioting had been going on for hours. The sad thing is, radical islamists could out-manuever a popular uprising and end up being the new dictators. Not good.

We've always supported corrupt governments, hell, we've even been instrumental in overthrowing democratically elected governments (Chile)! The governments bull about supporting democracies is just that: BULL. And that's a crying shame.