7 Feb 2011
EGYPT AND THE ARAB WORLD--DOES THE WEST UNDERSTAND ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS THERE?
The most interesting things happening these days around the crisis in Egypt are happening outside Egypt.
In the Middle East, leaders are anticipating demands for changes in their countries.
They're responding with measures they expect will gain them enough time to remain in power and make enough adjustments to deflect popular discontent.
In the United States and the European Union they are responding with half-hearted statements and initiatives.
This reveals their shallow commitment to true democracy in the Arab world.
They are frantically groping for ways to transfer power from one old military officer to a group of equally old officers.
No wonder the Arab people are angry and risking their lives to achieve their goals.
In this historic moment of self-determination and self-assertion in two countries at least – Tunisia and Egypt – ordinary Arabs are hearing a common call from the west.
The western nations are calling for the military to assume power in some sort of undefined and peaceful transition.
It is hard to understand how the military can be the solution when the military’s excessive control of civilian governments has been the at the heart of the problem.
In the majority of Arab countries, the military and police services seized control of government in the 1970s and they have ravaged their countries ever since.
Lets us hope that the west has enough common sense to say no to the past, and yes to real democracy.
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