Today we are all Egyptians

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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I had to chime in for a moment to say how profoundly proud and moved I am by the brave, noble, and peaceful efforts of our brothers and sisters in Egypt. You have shown the world what is possible when good people unite in a just cause. You have many challenging days ahead, but already you, the people of Tunisia, and a fruit vendor who set himself on fire, have changed the world at [near] light speed.

While our [the US] government may not have always made the right choices in the past, you can be sure that the American people stand with you. The free people of the world stand with you. Today, we are all Egyptians.

Each time a person stands up for an ideal,
or acts to improve the lot of others...
he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,
and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring,
those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert F. Kennedy (1925 - 1968)

We have the other thread to discuss the politics of the situation, but it seemed appropriate to take special note of today's historic events.
 

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  • #2
drizzle
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IVAN!!! Finaaallllyyyyy!!!! :biggrin:
 
  • #3
Evo
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We haven't seen what the results will be, it might be a huge disaster.

I will reserve my opinion on if this was a good or bad thing until we see the outcome in the coming year or two.
 
  • #4
czelaya
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While I applaud the citizens for standing up in unity and going against the wishes of their government (dictatorship). I think a more important concern is how President Mubarak has been able to stay in power for so long (i.e. how the United States government is partially/fully(?) responsible for Mubarak's presidential tenure).
 
  • #5
Math Is Hard
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We haven't seen what the results will be, it might be a huge disaster.

I will reserve my opinion on if this was a good or bad thing until we see the outcome in the coming year or two.

Same here. You know what they say about the devil you don't know vs. the devil you do.

I was just chatting with my Egyptian co-worker. Happily, her family are safe. All but one of her relatives have left the country.

She isn't celebrating about the news today. She's concerned and sees this as very precarious time.
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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This is a revolution! All revolutions involve risk. As I said, many challenging days lie ahead. But that doesn't take away from fact that this is a clear victory for freedom and the people of Egypt.

Savor the moment! It doesn't get any better than this.
 
  • #7
I am also happy to see the people of Egypt stand up for themselves. It really is a great thing. Now we have to do the same thing in the U.S.:biggrin:. I just hope that they don't get suckered into another dictatorship. Namely a church state run by radical islamic warlords. I also hope they don't give in to U.S. influence....

While I applaud the citizens for standing up in unity and going against the wishes of their government (dictatorship). I think a more important concern is how President Mubarak has been able to stay in power for so long (i.e. how the United States government is partially/fully(?) responsible for Mubarak's presidential tenure).

Yeah, exactly... Good luck Egypt! I think that everyone would like to see them succeed, for the good of mankind.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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All that was required to change the world was 25 days or so, the ability to communicate freely, and the will of the Egyptian people. Less what would normally be inconsequential diplomatic pressure, the US had nothing to do with it. Only Egypt could [or can] change Egypt.
 
  • #9
lisab
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While I applaud the citizens for standing up in unity and going against the wishes of their government (dictatorship). I think a more important concern is how President Mubarak has been able to stay in power for so long (i.e. how the United States government is partially/fully(?) responsible for Mubarak's presidential tenure).

If you see a big, bad American boogey man behind every problem in your life, it makes it very easy to simply throw up your hands and say, "Woe is me, there is nothing that can be done to change my situation!"

Good thing the Egyptians didn't take that attitude.
 
  • #10
turbo
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Now, we find out if the Supreme Council can be an honest caretaker, and peacefully hand over power to fairly-elected officials in a new government. Power and wealth are quite seductive, so none of that is going to come easy, with all the machinations that can occur in back-rooms. I sincerely hope that the military leadership will resist simply installing yet another kleptocracy, like the Mubarak family and their cronies. The Egyptian people deserve better.

One bright spot for me was seeing live shots on Al Jazeera of Coptic Christians guarding their Muslim brethern while they prayed. The commentator explained that Muslims guarded the churches of the Copts from attack while they were at prayer, too. If the demonstrators have any say in the makeup of their new government, it is less likely that the outcome will be a radical theocracy than Western media are suggesting. Cautiously hopeful, here.
 
  • #11
Proton Soup
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i wish them the best and hope our government can offer positive support
 
  • #12
Jimmy Snyder
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If I'm an Egyptian, then how come Obama is still President?
 
  • #13
lisab
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If I'm an Egyptian, then how come Obama is still President?

:rofl: *facepalm* :rofl:...you crack me up, Jimmy...!
 
  • #14
Borek
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I wish them best, but as of today I am still a skeptic Pole.

In a way it sounds like a bad joke - people forced their president to resign, to democratize the country power was moved to the army.
 
  • #15
cobalt124
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I feel optimistic too. As political upheavals go this one has gone well so far. I suppose its down to how much the military can be trusted, which looking at them so far, they can either be trusted or they are playing a very shrewd game.
 
  • #16
JaredJames
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In a way it sounds like a bad joke - people forced their president to resign, to democratize the country power was moved to the army.

That's exactly what I thought.

I remain firmly with Borek and Evo on this one. Very skeptical.

They're a few steps from being under martial law. If things go wrong now they could be in even more trouble.
 
  • #17
arildno
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L'ancien regime egyptienne has given itself ample time&stability to stage sufficient disturbances in order to justify their continued hegemony..
 
  • #18
Pythagorean
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Evo and MIH; two people I won't let in on my plans for revolt.
 
  • #19
Newai
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Celebrate the resignation of a cruel tyrant.

Hold your breath as the country gathers itself together.
 
  • #20
BobG
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The positive is that the recent events were largely driven by the middle class. The Muslim Brotherhood and more liberal factions kind of jumped on the bandwagon and still have to appeal to the middle class to really gain from the situation.

That tempers a lot of what could happen during an overthrow. While anything could happen, I think the odds of total chaos are lower than the usual overthrow of government.

The Muslim Brotherhood is probably the most powerful civilian political group, but I think they'll at least have to tone down any idea of establishing some kind of religious theocracy to get into power (what happens years down the road is anyone's guess). Otherwise, the MB would just wind up being the reason for continued military rule.

I'd say Mubarak falling out of power creates some positive possibilities (in other words, I'm not quite a skeptic), but it's still too early to guess whether this will turn out good or bad.

OT: Anyone else bugged by the title of this thread? Somehow, it just reminds me of that Bangle's song.
 
  • #21
Gokul43201
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Same here. You know what they say about the devil you don't know vs. the devil you do.
Such an argument could also be made about taking out Saddam and having the Iraqis pick their own leader. Or rescuing North Korea from the Kim dynasty. Or letting the Iranians stand up against Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. And in general, such an argument demands that corruption and tyranny ought to never be acted upon, 'cause at least that's a devil you know. Either we accept that a democracy is a better thing than a dictatorship, no matter how pretty or unsavory the results turn out, or we stop all the BS about spreading freedom and democracy around the world.

We constantly elect devils we don't know to replace devils we do, in the US. Why shouldn't the Egyptians feel good about attempting the same?
 
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  • #22
mathwonk
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I also feel this is a really great day. It reminds me of the civil rights and anti war demonstrations of the 60's in the US. I also agree it may turn sour. But if it does, that should be a lesson to the US about the eventual results of supporting an evil and greedy dictator.

E.g. we hear a lot about how crazy the Iranian government is, but how often do we reflect that we supported the shah whose rule finally led to the present problem there?

Today was inevitable for Egypt, but we seem to have long ignored this to some extent. Knowing better now, perhaps we will learn to make wiser long term decisions, and less temporarily expedient ones in our future relations with other peoples. The unlikeliness of us learning our lesson is to me a greater reason to be skeptical, than the future of this so far promising looking and still relatively peaceful revolution in Egypt.

I make no long term predictions, but today I am far more proud of the Egyptian people than of the longtime behavior of the US government in Egypt, and I celebrate with the peaceful revolutionaries at least for today.
 
  • #23
dlgoff
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I had to chime in for a moment to say how profoundly proud and moved I am by the brave, noble, and peaceful efforts of our brothers and sisters in Egypt. You have shown the world what is possible when good people unite in a just cause. You have many challenging days ahead, but already you, the people of Tunisia, and a fruit vendor who set himself on fire, have changed the world at [near] light speed.

While our [the US] government may not have always made the right choices in the past, you can be sure that the American people stand with you. The free people of the world stand with you. Today, we are all Egyptians.seemed appropriate to take special note of today's historic events.

If you see a big, bad American boogey man behind every problem in your life, it makes it very easy to simply throw up your hands and say, "Woe is me, there is nothing that can be done to change my situation!"

Remember the '60s and '70s? My CPA told me yesterday that the U.S. population should do the same thing. :surprised
 
  • #24
turbo
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I wish them best, but as of today I am still a skeptic Pole.

In a way it sounds like a bad joke - people forced their president to resign, to democratize the country power was moved to the army.
Actually, the country has been under military dictatorship (of a variety of stripes) for all of my life. There are two+ generations of Egyptians who have known nothing else. If the military can provide stability during the transition and will allow fair democratic reforms, Egypt will be all the better for it. There needs to be "sunlight" during this period, and we don't know how far that will extend. Surely, allowing citizens unimpeded access to the Internet and social networks can help keep the powers-in-charge more honest.

There are reforms that should be undertaken ASAP, IMO, including revising the business-model of state media (propaganda outlets) and reformation of the state police. The stories coming out of state media badly misrepresented the actions of the protesters, and the police force and their hired thugs took a big toll on the protesters.
 
  • #25
arildno
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Such an argument could also be made about taking out Saddam and having the Iraqis pick their own leader. Or rescuing North Korea from the Kim dynasty. Or letting the Iranians stand up against Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. And in general, such an argument demands that corruption and tyranny ought to never be acted upon, 'cause at least that's a devil you know. Either we accept that a democracy is a better thing than a dictatorship, no matter how pretty or unsavory the results turn out, or we stop all the BS about spreading freedom and democracy around the world.
Oclocracy isn't democracy, Gokul, and an authoritarian regime might be marginally less bad than an oclocracy.
Having regular elections and an elite respecting the power shifts those indicate do not necessarily yield a Rechtsstaat (pakistan and bangladesh are typical oclocratic societies, with harsh repression of religious minorities&women, for example)
 
  • #26
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Or letting the Iranians stand up against Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.

Well, recently the US kind of left them to twist.

Do you remember Mehdi Bazargan? He was prime minister of Iran after the Shah left. For a while in 1979, it looked like Iran would transition from a dictatorship to a democracy. As we know now, it transitioned from one dictatorship to another, one arguably worse.

Today people think the Russian "October Revolution" was against the Tsar. Actually, that was the February Revolution. The October Revolution was when the Bolsheviks overthrew the emerging democracy.

History is rife with examples of a bad government being overthrown, only to be replaced with a worse one. I hope Egypt is the exception and not the rule.
 
  • #27
Gokul43201
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Oclocracy isn't democracy, Gokul, and an authoritarian regime might be marginally less bad than an oclocracy.
Perhaps. But I said nothing about that. Nevertheless, we don't know that this will result in a tyrannical ochlocracy (or to what extent it will - after all, that's a bit of a nebulous term). But we do know that Egypt has essentially lived under authoritarian rule, in a state of emergency for the last 30-odd years.

I'm aware of your position (correct me if I'm wrong) that you'd rather have liberal dictatorships around the ME than democratically sanctioned human rights abuses, and that's not a debate I want to get into here.

My argument is not that the resulting government will be better than the one Egypt has had these past decades. It is, however, objecting specifically to the "devil you don't ..." argument.

Having regular elections and an elite respecting the power shifts those indicate do not necessarily yield a Rechtsstaat (pakistan and bangladesh are typical oclocratic societies, with harsh repression of religious minorities&women, for example)
Pakistan, until a couple years ago, was under a military dictatorship for about a decade. And another one before that in the 80s, and still another one back in the 60s. It's not clear to me how you see Pakistan as an Ochlocracy. There have probably been about as many Presidents that came to power via military coups as there weren't.

And Bangladeshi politics is an strange beast (I wouldn't call it typical of most anything really): how many people would imagine that the country that you say is characterized by harsh repression of women has been politically dominated by two parties, both of which are led by women? Bangladesh hasn't had a male head of state since the new Constitution was implemented twenty years ago. That's hardly typical of any state with a dominant (90%) Muslim population.
 
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  • #28
Evo
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  • #29
AlephZero
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While our [the US] government may not have always made the right choices in the past, you can be sure that the American people stand with you.

Let's hope the US government can come to terms peacefully with the fact that this is the beginning of the end for its covert imperialist adventures in the middle east. Things could get interesting if the Swiss authorities that have frozen Mubarak's assets reveal exactly where those assets came from.

The UK probably learned its lesson over this in 1952 and 56 - except for brown-nosing American poodles like Tony Bliar, of course.

If a few American citizens on the ground want to cut and run, I don't think anybody will be shedding any tears for them.
 
  • #30
JaredJames
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And they didn't have or need guns.

Ooh, nice point! :biggrin:
 
  • #31
czelaya
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If you see a big, bad American boogey man behind every problem in your life, it makes it very easy to simply throw up your hands and say, "Woe is me, there is nothing that can be done to change my situation!"

Good thing the Egyptians didn't take that attitude.

OK. You're making so many generalities with that statement I wouldn't even know where to begin.

No one is looking for the US bogey man.

The US gave the Egyptian government more than 30 billion dollars (tax payer’s money) over the course of Mubarak's presidency. Not for the good of the people but for the rights for transportation of oil via the Suez Canal. Mubarak allocated a majority of the monies to the military which doesn't bolster an economy. When did the US ever put sanctions against Egypt because Mubarak was causing havoc with the economy and his people's freedoms? The US didn't care because it only cared about stability to the region soley for US interest. Not for the good of Egypt's people.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/29/us-egypt-usa-aid-idUSTRE70S0IN20110129

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5309.htm

Simply put, the US government doesn't need to intervene in the politics or governments in other countries because it always gives way to blowback.

The following sums this up quite nicely:

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12780

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfLeTUaanuA&feature=feedu

Hasn't Iran and especially Afghanistan already proven that foriegn intervention always leads to future problems? The CIA , at one time, employed Osama Bin Laden during the Soviet-Afghanistan campaign. Look where that foreign diplomacy got the US.
 
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  • #32
lisab
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OK. You're making so many generalities with that statement I wouldn't even know where to begin.

No one is looking for the US bogey man.

The US gave the Egyptian government more than 30 billion dollars (tax payer’s money) over the course of Mubarak's presidency. Not for the good of the people but for the rights for transportation of oil via the Suez Canal. Mubarak allocated a majority of the monies to the military which doesn't bolster an economy. When did the US ever put sanctions against Egypt because Mubarak was causing havoc with the economy and his people's freedoms? The US didn't care because it only cared about stability to the region soley for US interest. Not for the good of Egypt's people.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/29/us-egypt-usa-aid-idUSTRE70S0IN20110129

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5309.htm

Simply put, the US government doesn't need to intervene in the politics or governments in other countries because it always gives way to blowback.

The following sums this up quite nicely:

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12780

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfLeTUaanuA&feature=feedu

Hasn't Iran and especially Afghanistan already proven that foriegn intervention always leads to future problems? The CIA , at one time, employed Osama Bin Laden during the Soviet-Afghanistan campaign. Look where that foreign diplomacy got the US.

Nations have interests, not friends. It's not something I like but it's a fact of life.

I'm well aware of the consequences of needing oil as a lifeline. Most of the world also needs it to keep their economies going. All the things you list (and much, much more) are done primarily to keep the oil flowing, and many people, maybe even you, benefit from that, too.

Like most Americans I *really* don't want to depend on oil anymore. I'd love to get to a point where I can read about something that happens on the other side of the world and think, "That's horrible, but it's not my problem." We'll only be able to get there if we aren't dependent on oil.

Aside from oil, the Suez is important to trade in general. Keeping it open is critical.

There is widespread warmth and good wishes from the American people to the Egyptians. I'm impressed at their courage and restraint.
 
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  • #33
rootX
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The president, Mubarak, was closely related to the military. And, now military took over. I don't see any big change.
 
  • #34
Ivan Seeking
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And they didn't have or need guns.

It would seem that MB was either unwilling, or in my view far more likely, unable to compel his troops to fire on the crowds while the demonstrations remained peaceful. The bond between the Egyptian military, and the people, is a strong one. This is why MB kept trying to provoke the crowds into violence. Last night when he failed to resign after leaking information that he would, he took his last shot. He probably hoped to anger the crowds to the point of attacking the palace, at which time it would have been a massacre, but the protesters stood firm in their dedication to a peaceful protest.

It is clear that such relatively bloodless revolutions [relatively bloodless so far, and with all due respect to those Egyptians who did give their lives] are rare in history. As of today, this may be the most bloodless revolution in history. While it would be wonderful to think that the world is so changed by the age of information that all future revolutions will be similarly bloodless, as we saw in Iran recently, that assumption would be incredibly naive. Remember also Tiananmen Square.

As Paul Wolfowitz said tonight on Piers Morgan’s show: “If a regime is sufficiently brutal, this sort of People’s power isn’t possible.”
 
  • #35
Evo
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It would seem that MB was either unwilling, or in my view far more likely, unable to compel his troops to fire on the crowds while the demonstrations remained peaceful
If the country allowed guns, I'll bet this would have failed and maybe 20,000-50,000 civilians dead and wounded. The reason it worked is because they don't have guns, so a massacre didn't occur. If the civilians had guns, they would have fired on the military and they military would have had to fire back.

Guns are a lose/lose scenario.

This proves that no guns is the best way.
 

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