Sunday, January 22, 2012

Egypt, Revolution, Samira Ibrahim, and Western Paternalists

In the recent Egyptian elections the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties won the majority of votes. Overrated intellects such as Alan Dershowitz and Thomas L. Friedman will be giving their "I-told-you-so"s to the West and even advice to secularists in Egypt. See Friedman's December 6, 2011 article "Egypt, the Beginning or the End?" in the New York Times. Dershowitz really knows best. On 01/31/11 he wrote a piece for the Huff Post World titled "The Egyptian Revolution May Produce a Lebanon-Type Islamic Regime." He wrote:
I have visited Egypt on several occasions, most recently a few months ago. Compared to other repressive dictatorships I have visited over the years, it was a 5 or 6 on a scale of 10 for the average Egyptian. The hard question is will it get better or worse. "It's too soon to say." My best guess is that it will get better for some and worse for others.
Wow! So much insight. Dershowitz somehow has the ability to judge the scales of repression in undemocratic countries.

I think it is a shame and disgrace that Egyptians or any other country would be expected to defend their revolutions from anyone other than their own. A revolution by its definition is an internal conflict that a given society has to resolve with its self. It is also condescending to tell them what they should do. Egyptians don't need so-called advice from Friedman or others. There is one thing we as Westerners, especially US citizens, can do: We can tell our government to stop sending billions of dollars (coming from US tax payers) of military aid to the Egyptian military. You know, that military that has kept the corrupt regime in power and tortured civilians. I may be wrong on this, but it seems the Egyptian military historically pawned off the job of repression more on the Egyptian police. Initially, when the revolution against President Mubarak began, the Egyptian military attempted to divorce themselves from the dictator and the police. The military posed as guardians of the people and the revolution. Their true colors came out quickly. The military now attempts to control and perhaps sabotage the revolution to maintain the power it always had.

Why do I not mention and criticize groups such as those austere and grim Salafists from the Nour Party that have recently took power in the new government? Because my tax money does not empower them. The US government has helped fund and maintain the long standing regime. The Egyptian state uses state power to repress Egyptians and the US government contributes to that power. Hence, the US is linked to this legacy. Brave activist women like Samira Ibrahim have fought against the US funded tyranny of Mubarak, the police and the military. As a consequence she, along with countless other women, had not only suffered under Mubarak's rule for decades, but currently had "virginity tests" (rapes) from the Egyptian military while incarcerated. (It could have been worse. As Dershowitz pointed out, this was only repression on the scale of 5 to 6 out of 10.)I have posted two youtube clips talking about her and her struggle. She is an inspiration to many and a condemnation to others.

Of course I hope this revolution gets better and transforms Egypt into a prosperous nation. I want to see Egypt have religious equality and gender equality. Egyptians, not I, will do that work. There are plenty of issues for US citizens to take on in our own country. Yet, I should try to get my own government to stop using limited US funds for repression-devices and weapons to be put in the hands of the bad guys in Egypt (and elsewhere).

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