With family in Cairo and Alexandria, I am very well attuned to the goings on in Egypt at the current moment. After speaking with uncles and cousins via landlines (all other communication is shut down in Egypt) I have begun to understand the complexity and severity of the issue.
I have been asked by many people, why is this happening and what caused this? In response, this is an issue of a corrupt government. Close to half of Egyptians are living off less than $1 a day and the citizens simply expect basic human rights and their inalienable right to freedom. Despite the stereotype of the Middle East, religion has not played a part in the protests…yet.
All of this was compounded with the brutal police killing of Khaled Mohamed Said in June 2010. This killing of a man in his twenties ignited a spark against the government. What is more amazing about this, is the impact that Facebook has had in changing the environment in the Middle East. After the brutal killing of Said, a message on a Facebook page dedicated to Said talked about a protest that would happen on the national holiday celebrating the efforts of the police force in Egypt. The date was January 25, 2011. After hearing about the protest, Mubarak’s response surrounded the theme of ‘well let the children do what they wish’. Not knowing how upset the people were and how much of an issue for change this would become, the police force was unequipped which bolstered the protesters.
As of 6:00 pm EST on January 28, 2011, President Mubarak spoke to the people promising to remove his ministers but remained bold in his belief that he should stay in power. This will not happen. Protesters are upset with the Parliament in Egypt but they are more forceful with their words and actions as it relates to President Mubarak and his corruption.
What does this mean for Egypt going forward? Egyptians must make it known quickly that they want a moderate in power. If this does not happen then the Muslim Brotherhood will find itself in power, despite what others believe. Egyptians’ best choice at the present time is Mohammed ElBaradei, though seen as an outsider and unaware of Egyptians concerns; he gives Egypt the greatest opportunity to remain credible in the Middle East. Other names like Amr Moussa (former Minister of Foreign Affairs) have come to the surface as a potential replacement. However member of Mubarak’s ministry is an unlikely choice.
The protests right now are focused on all the right things: corruption, human rights, and freedom. If however, the Muslim Brotherhood gains power it would make this protest about religion. If this does happen, it is over for Egypt. What would that mean for the rest of the Middle East? With similar revolutions happening in Tunisia, Algiers, Jordan, and Yemen; what happens in Egypt will likely control how the citizens in other countries decide to elect their leaders.
If we look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as an example for how countries under this type of rule act, we see irrationality in foreign affairs. Fault is absolutely on both sides. However, many of the demands from the Palestinians are so dramatic that Israel has to deny them. They are dramatic because if there is peace there would not be a need for Hamas or the PLO. If these types of regimes take over the Middle East, you can expect the same irrationality (or rationality whichever way you think). Also, if this type of regime took over, what would happen to the economy of Egypt? Despite what others believe, Egypt is not as oil rich as their neighbors and a large portion of the economy is driven by the tourism of the history rich nation. However, if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, you would see a decline in tourism revenue resulting in even greater poverty.
It is very crucial for Egyptians to continue to fight for the right things, freedom from an authoritarian and a corrupt government and human rights. It must be stated that in this fight, Egyptians must not lose sight of a better Egypt, an Egypt that is credible around the world and a beacon for true freedom for other Arabs to see.
Make the right decision Egyptians, the world is watching!
Conservative circles are dismayed by the news of Robert Novak?s succumbing to a brain tumor first diagnosed last year which forced him out of the full glare of the public spotlight.? Novak seemed, to this young conservative, like the kind of man one could ask a question of and truly expect an honest answer.? I remember reading his memoires, The Prince of Darkness, in which he recounts his five decades as the man lurking in the shadows of DC?s cavernous hallways.? He was a bad ass.? HuffingtonPost has a video clip of Novak after a brief skirmish with James Carville in which he storms off the set.? When someone is interested in politics during the years of their youth, they pursue politics with a significant amount of thumos that explains the swagger of so many Legislative Aids on the hill (deserving or not; and a majority tend to occupy the latter).? Prince of Darkness was an expose of a flawed individual who knew the secrets, knew the people, and attended those notorious ?cocktail parties? without remorse; a sort of Maltese Falcon-esque Humphrey Bogart.? I wonder if I would be labeled a ?cocktail elitist? for having drinks in DC with friends of mine in attempts to rub elbows with influential people like David Frum, Christopher Hitchens, Ann Coulter, or whoever else First Fridays invites out.? I?ve realized, any place (like my favorite stomping ground, Union Pub) that shows Chicago Bears and Nebraska Cornhusker football games cannot be ?elitist.??
There are myriad obituaries and tributes dotting the internet; and what is interesting is seeing how the two sides of the Conservative Movement are treating his death.? John Podhoretz?s piece seems rather curt to the average reader, while more ?Paleoconservative? periodicals are treating the event with a little more somber reflection on the man?s contributions to political life.? I did not agree with a great many of Novak?s positions, especially regarding the two recent wars in the Middle East, of which he stood against from the standpoint of a prudent conservative.? This leads to what I believe to be one of the most interesting takes on Robert Novak?s death: Stacy McCain?s article.?
David Frum?s attack on anti-War conservatives established an irreconcilable schism in the Conservative movement.? Novak was lumped in with the anti-war ?paleocon? faction, with good reason mind you; but ?unpatriotic? was a terrible charge to levy against him and many of the others.? I don?t believe that Novak took too seriously David Frum?s charge.? I don?t know for sure, but I imagine if he had been asked what he thinks of anyone who considers him ?unpatriotic,? I imagine he might respond much as he did when asked about the Valerie Plame affair:? ?The hell with you!??