Young and old, all participated in the protests against the regime
”Mubarak light” - the preferred solution?
Egypt under Mubarak has turned more and more opressive during the last three decades. The state of emergency has led to incarceration of opposition leaders and the country has turned away from those values we claim we are guarding - democracy and a strong civil society.
But this path of Egypt has been tolerated and even supported by us in Europe and the West. Billions of US taxpayers dollars have funded the president and the Egyptian army, Mubarak has been given red carpet welcomes all over Europe and has been considered a man able to keep Egypt stable. Few, if any, countries have openly critizised the brutality of his regime.
Demonstration atTahrir Square February 1st, 2011
The demands on the regimes in the Arabian world to respect human rights, allow freedom of expression and to create open societies based on justice and rule of law that president Obama expressed in his speech in Cairo almost two years ago, resulted in nothing. Of course, one could well add...
Because, as Macmillan (or was it Churchill?) once said: "Foreign policy is just an extension of Domestic policy" and that means that nothing is more important than winning the next election and to be able to cling on to power. Then you cannot afford to offend different groups of voters and their interests and so the best reciepe for election sucess is the security in knowing what you have but don't what you will get.
So "change" is a good word for brave men but not for those whose main interest is to keep their constituency happy by keeping the oil flowing in the pipes and that no real demands that will create justice and peace in the Israel/Palestine conflict are raised, that eventually might disturb the balance and risk the economic well-beeing of our societies.
And that is now clearly to be seen in the lack of action or even vocal support from our leaders. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, at the beginning of the demonstrations, voiced support for the Mubarak regime and called it "stable" and "looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs interests of the Egyptian people". Herbert van Rompuy expressed concern that "the violence" would be an obstacle to a dialogue, as if there anyhow would have been a dialogue without demonstrations and putting a equal sign between peaceful protesters and government supported thugs. No-one comes out and openly demands the immediate resignation of Mubarak. Instead everyone is frantically behind the scenes trying to find someone to replace, a ”Mubarak-light” type, all to keep the status quo.
Who is to be hanged? Capital punishment would earlier had been the result of this expression of views.
For obvious reasons, Mubarak himself wants to cling on to power as long as possible. The future for exposed dictators now is bleak, to say the least. International legal cooperation means that stolen wealth will be confiscated and the International Criminal Court in the Hague has had many former dictators extradicted, prosecuted and kept behind bars.
Pro-Mubarak-demonstration Februari 2nd, 2011
In the inner political circles in Europe and the West, the new vice-president Suleiman is put forward as a good replacement. But among the fighters for democray in Cairo he is seen as a ”Mubarak-dark”, as a close ally to Mubarak and the man that directed the secret police "Mukhabarat" and its torture chambers and the man responsible for keeping the Egyptians controlled by brutality and opression. The proposal that such a man would be trustworthy in steering the work towards a new democratic and open constitution is hard to digest for those who at Tahrir Square demand real and lasting improvements.
"Mubarak like gay" - Egypt can hardly be considered a tolerant society... The army is popular, so far
But Suleiman seems to be a good choice for our leaders who now work hard to keep the stability in the Middle East, regardless that justice and true democracy is just so much more important for the inhabitants. In that work, a man like Suleiman who can be paid to deliver tough resistance at the price of lack of democracy in fighting what we all fear: a take-over of power by islamic extreme movements.
Egypt - 30 years of dictatorship has hampered development. Parabolic antennas - freedom of expression exists outside.
This our islamofobic view is only counterproductive. Our acceptance of dictatorships who trampel on their peoples legitimate need of freedom, prosperity and democracy, is just the path that leads to a growing, stronger support of extremist groups.
A burned-out police vehicle. Under arrest - men to the right, plain-cloth policemen or just "concerned citizens"?
In reality, the risk that Arab, sunni-muslim Egyptians would be governed by a proxy to shia-muslim Iran, is minimal. The strong support for the "Muslim Brotherhood" stems more of a reaction to the Mubarak dictatorship and will dwindle when Egypt hopefully sets course towards a genuine and open democratic society. In that process leaders like ElBaradei are urgently needed, leaders that openly declare that they have no ambitions for power on their own and with a strong moral background and integrity towards Europe's and the West's shortsighted interests.
But above all, we ourselves need to genuinely adhere to the democratic and liberal values we openly express. If not, then we will only keep on beeing a part of the problem and not a solution for Egypt and it's suffering population.
© Lennart Berggren 6 Feb 2011
10th February 2011: Mubarak finally resigns
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