Sunday, January 30, 2011

Walk Like An Egyptian*


Mohamed ElBaradei

Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”. I was flabbergasted—and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government.

As far as the U.S, is concerned, 'stability' in Egypt is our due, meaning that we've been paying them to be on 'our side' for years, i.e. keep them from causing trouble for Israel.

If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer. People were absolutely disappointed in the way you reacted to Egypt’s last election. You reaffirmed their belief that you are applying a double standard for your friends, and siding with an authoritarian regime just because you think it represents your interests. We are staring at social disintegration, economic stagnation, political repression, and we do not hear anything from you, the Americans, or for that matter from the Europeans.

Oh, they'll 'hear from us' when this all shakes out. We'll go with the winners, among whom we'll be popular once again as soon as they see the checks still cash. I'm glad this is happening under a Democratic administration. Under the Bush administration we would continue to stand with good ol' boy Mubarak as the legitimate head of Egypt even if he was based in Zurich so he could be near his stash of our money.

Of course, you in the West have been sold the idea that the only options in the Arab world are between authoritarian regimes and Islamic jihadists. That’s obviously bogus. If we are talking about Egypt, there is a whole rainbow variety of people who are secular, liberal, market-oriented, and if you give them a chance they will organize themselves to elect a government that is modern and moderate. They want desperately to catch up with the rest of the world.

When the 'rainbow coalition' is in charge of Egypt, I will gladly make public the video of me doing the Dance Of Joy nekkid in the snow. Won't even have to get cold. I have footage of that in stock. With the 'shrinkage' photoshopped out, of course. Heh.

Big talk, but I won't have to make good on it.

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