So let me get this straight for all those who advocate democracy and all the nations who package democracy and deem it their divine right to send it out to the world. Here is a man in a face off with 80 million people…and still, he remains in power with international powers unable to make unequivocal statements as to where they stand…Has democracy now become rocket science?
‘Get out! Get out!’ has become the normal chant alongside ‘The People! Want! The Fall of the Regime!’. Tahrir square looks like a scene out of the Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah which hosts on average 2-3 million people. It’s not often you find a whole nation mobilise against their leader and taking to the streets imploring him to get out; some begging him to. By begging, I mean they have ceased to want to see him held to account. They simply want him to flee and live the rest of his life, however few years he has left at 85, in a penthouse in London or perhaps Tel Aviv with his dear friend Netanyahu. Such has been the subjugation of the Egyptian people that they no longer trust the international system to hold to account a man who holds as terrible a human rights record as that of Hosni Mubaraks. Is this not a clear indication of the fierce passion that has gripped Egypt in it’s quest…and dare I say it, Liberation? Liberation from a President who has gone against his people in both domestic and foreign policy; Liberation from a man who reduced Egyptians to such an extent that they became the butt of jokes regarding cowardice; Liberation from a man who has insulted thousands of years of rich culture, history that is Egypt! Liberation from a man who reduced the proud and fierce Egyptians to silent subjects of tyranny! Oh Egypt! Om Addunya!
But in the Arab world and amongst Arabs outside Egypt, it is about time. 30 years of dictatorship which has seen political exiles, false charges leading to imprisonment of all who opposed the regime, a series of repressive measures to make sure the population is subjugated, is now on the brink of crashing down.
Yet the incredible thing is, Mubarak still holds on. He holds on like a man who knows nothing other than absolute, authoritarian rule; true to his roots as commander of the Air Force. A man who is watching his whole nation cry out for his exit and stands before them proposing reforms 30 years too late.
Perhaps we must not neglect the international forces at play. Most certainly Netanyahu is biting his nails that his ‘brother’ is on the verge of being kicked out, thereby leaving his most secure border vulnerable and exposed. Or the USA which sees in Mubarak the most cooperative of Presidents in its pursuit of its ambitions in the Middle East. Let us be under no pretence. Was it not Napoleon who stated that the one who controls Egypt and Syria controls the world? Let us not forget the importance of Egypt, no matter how bad a job Mubarak.
Effectively, the underlying question now is this. Is it now time to finally surrender democracy to the people who are crying out for it? Accroding to Mortimor Zuckermann on BBC Hardtalk, the answer is negative. They are not ready. In fact, the most frightening aspect of it all for Mr Zuckermann is that if they allow Egyptians to express their view, we may actually see the Muslim Brotherhood in power, the spread of Islamism. But since when did we deny a people their right to decide who governs them? Since when was it the role of any nation to decide who should govern another people? Since when was it the role of any nation to decide whether a nation is ready to have an opinion?
The fundamental problem in the Middle East, and what people fail to understand, is that these rulers were never put there by their people. These rulers were never chosen by their people. They were imposed on their people and told they were the best choice. Is it now finally time for Democracy to sprout in the Middle East? With your permission oh international powers, in light of the terrible choices you made for us, can we please for once make our own decision?
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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