In many parts of the USA, and especially conservative areas of the nation, if you have a Pro-Choice or Obama bumper sticker you will likely get your car keyed by someone who doesn’t agree with you. In those same places, if a politically moderate person sees a National Rifle Association or Pro-Life sticker on someone’s car they’ll likely shake their head and move on. No damage done.
This violent conservative vs. moderate liberal phenomenon has an unlikely parallel in Egypt. From the accounts I’ve seen on various news stations (including Al Jazeera) as well as those Tweeting live from Tahrir Square, it appears that the pro-democracy demonstrators are mostly peaceful and the pro-dictator demonstrators have indiscriminately run amok with swords, whips, knives.
What is it about the nature of conservative thinkers that seems to go hand in hand with violence?
Look at Sarah Palin and her gun rhetoric. Look at Mubarak and his goons. Is conservatism so tenuously balanced that it needs to be defended violently in order to maintain its hold?
Or is it as Isaac Asimov writes, “Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent.”?
When the US army invaded and occupied Iraq on fabricated weapons of mass destruction charges, the discourse quickly shifted to regime change once no WMD were found. Saddam Hussein and his cronies were hunted down one by one and murdered.
Here’s the thing: I don’t remember millions of people demonstrating in main squares across Iraq, crying and dying for democracy. Yet the US government saw fit to invade and oust the Iraqi dictator.
Egypt. January 25, 2011 and ongoing. Millions of Egyptian citizens are in the streets calling for a revolution, for an end to the brutal regime of their dictator. Where is the US army now? Twiddling their thumbs, because this particular dictator is their “strategic ally”.
In the meantime, the American media continue to label the demonstrators and Mohammed ElBaradei as the “opposition party” rather than what they actually are: Pro-democracy revolutionaries.
With the power of the American government’s silence behind him, is it any wonder that Mubarak has refused to step down?
O America! O Hypocrisy!
I am not saying that the US government should play a role in Egypt’s democratic revolution. I think the Egyptians will manage just fine on their own, and if they need help they will ask for it. What I am asking is how can the US government say with a straight face that they are the champions of democracy and human rights worldwide? How can America claim to be an advocate of freedom when they pick and choose who should or shouldn’t be free?
America, your true colours have never been so clear.
This is not just a revolution for Egyptians, and may the Creator be with them as they start upon a long and difficult road ahead. I hope this will also be a large-scale revolution in how the world sees the USA: as the hypocrite it is. May we all have the strength to act accordingly.
Egypt, I stand with you and your struggle for democracy. My hope is that your revolution will change not only your country, but the whole world for the better.
©2011, Sezin Koehler. Image via Guardian UK