Friday, February 11, 2011
Congratulations to Egypt
Kudos to social media and the Anderson Coopers of the world, the former, who give a people a way to organize and stay aware of what is going on in their own country and the rest of the world despite repressive measures to silence them...and the latter, who observe, recognize and help translate the passion being witnessed first hand to others.
Also congratulations to the educated young people of Egypt and around the world who are tired of old men disposing of them so carelessly while they sit back in their clubs and palaces and try to maintain their power on the bent backs of their people, all the while stuffing their pockets with ill gotten gains.
My only hope is that the unity we have witnessed between the religions and the differing groups of people involved in this revolution will continue and that the road that Egypt still has to travel to real freedom in democracy will be steered by these same educated and visionary voices that will not settle trading one master for another, in the forms of a theocracy that will impose stringent religious standards on her people, or a military regime that will be no better than what they had before.
The Egyptians deserve to chose their own destiny as a free people and join the other free nations of the world in enjoying the fruits of their own personal labors and self determination in their every day lives.
I also hope this is the beginning of understanding in my own country that we can't keep making deals with dictators who oppress their people just because they are the ones protecting American interests. This way of doing business has only spawned leftist leaders or religious zealots where perhaps some evenhandedness might have encouraged moderates of all types to follow a more free and open society for their peoples.
As we saw from the fall of the the Berlin wall and the old Soviet order, the desire for a better life and to be able to partake in the rewards a free and modern culture can offer a society in the form of freedom of expression in the arts and sciences, as an adjutant to the economic well being of the individual to the best of his ability, cannot be suppressed for long with the proliferation of communications across the open borders of the electronic revolution.
Education is the enemy of those who would rule by force. It is the thing that will bring down the autocrats of the world, whether they come in the guise of political or religious saviors, and it is the thing that we must encourage in our own people as well as all the peoples around the globe.
There will be lots of work ahead for the Egyptians to be able to realize their thirst for a more democratic Egypt. The idealistic young people need to keep up the pressure and not let the old prejudices of their elders or the narrowness of religious leaders try to dictate or impose their "we know best" attitudes. They need to demand their place at the table of any future for Egypt...young men AND women alike, and that is the one thing that our own Government should push to insure....that those who started this historic moment get a say in the future of their country.
In my view, the more free and economically viable societies are the ones who will lead to eventual peace in the Middle East and, if not love for some of their neighbors, at least respect for each others rights to share the land, so that the old wars and prejudices can be put aside and understanding, tolerance, economic advancement, human rights, peace and freedom, not war and the propaganda, will be the drumbeat that we hear crossing the borders of these ancient and proud civilizations.
It is a grand day for Egyptians and I only hope that their victory today leads to a brighter tomorrow for Egypt, the Middle East and, by extension, the United States and the rest of the free world.
It will be a big job, requiring a lot of soul searching and thoughtful self examination, for all parties to come together for the betterment of her people, but the human spirit and the desire for freedom have shown us that perhaps the Egyptians are up to the task.
Good luck and good wishes from our country to yours!
Zoni with a Z