What do we actually want from the west?
Okay, here is something that's been on my mind for a while now, and I can't personally figure it out, so I am asking you guys for help. Ok? Ok Does anybody know what we- as Egyptians- really want from the west, in regards to our current democratic situation? It is no secret that the only reason why we are having so-called democratic reforms now is due to the fact that the US has been pressuring our beloved President. This fact usually garners 2 responses from people and divides them into 2 groups : 1) One group that is angry at what they view as foreign interference in Egyptian affairs; or 2) One group that is dismayed at what they view as fake or not enough pressure exerted on our Country to reform. I can't personally decide which group confuses me more. The people that are angry at the US and the EU for exerting pressure on Egypt to reform confuse me because they are protesting against a generally good thing that is in their benefit. They remind me of the battered wives that go bail out the husbands that are in jail for beating them: They know that they are giving their abusers sanction to keep beating them, which they don't like, but they don't want them in Jail for it either. Like the Wife on Cops that yells at the officer "That's none of your business! Let my Husband Go!" for arresting her Husband for giving her a black eye. Their rational: "Such reforms should come from inside and shouldn't be forced on us. What, are we helpless children or something, that we need the USA to demand Democracy in our name?" To them I say : Yes! I am sorry, but you are defending the person who abused you and oppressed you for the past 24 years. The person who, if it wasn't for the US pressure and its presence in the region (which you so oppose), wouldn't have tolerated a single word of dissent from any of you and would've thrown every Kifaya/democracy activist in jail till Kingdom Come. You are basically angry at the US for doing what you couldn't do, for exposing you for the helpless choiceless victims that you were for the past 20 years. I am not saying that the democracy activists that are protesting now were silent before, I am saying that they couldn't be heard, weren't allowed to organize and could never have criticized the President publicly before. The US pressure that you decry as foreign intervention every 5 seconds is the reason why you and those people now have voices, whether you like it or not. "No", they say. "This is a time of national crisis, Egypt is being targeted by the Jews and the Americans. We have to rally around our national leader and support him and his and his son's right to oppress us for decades to come. Hey, America, why don't you mind your own business?" And then they mention incoherent babblings about Gitmo , the Patriot Act, and Abu Gharib as if Egypt didn't have the emergency law present for 24 years and has prisons with torture experts that make Abu Gharib seem like Disneyland. Whatever... Then you have the second group and they confuse me even more; they are the ones that are mad at the US and Bush for not exerting more pressure on Mubarak to reform, yet they never actually specify what the US is supposed to do. This is my question to them : What kind of pressure do you want the US to inflict on Mubarak exactly? What is the specific method of your liking that you want them to implement on him? What more do you want the US to do? Do you want them to cut the US Aid off of Egypt? Would you like that pressure tactic, despite its economic repercussions? Would it really achieve anything tangible on the national level, except maybe keep more people hungry? Would you rather that they place trade sanctions on Egypt? Is that more to your liking? Because God knows it didn’t work with Iraq, Syria or Libya. Or would you prefer that they come and liberate us Iraq-style and deal with the mayhem that is sure to ensue? Is that what you are talking about? If not, then what is? Can you be more specific please, because i am having troubles understanding you here. Look, the US has done as much as it possibly could without exploring those options, and the rest is supposed to be up to us, and yet we are not doing anything. The people have become so complacent, docile, afraid and apathetic that it seems that they have lost the will to move, think or act. I mean, the fact that in a country of 70 million, the majority of which are poor and not happy with the government, the biggest demonstration against the regime never exceeded 5000 people is very telling (that’s 0.00007 %, people). It seems like everyone wants some change to happen, but they want someone else to do the actual work. How can anyone help you if you refuse to help yourselves? You get angry at the US for keeping their relationship friendly with the regime, well, what exactly is their alternative? Ayman Nour, as much noise as he makes, doesn’t have a broad constituency or appeal. The Muslim Brotherhood with their members and sympathizers maybe- and that’s a big maybe- make up 4 million Egyptians (5% of the population), but they belong to group # 1 and recoil at the notion of talking or dealing with the Americans, not to mention they switch sides so often I can’t really figure out what they stand for. What viable choice or alternative to Mubarak does the US have in this country? Does anybody have the answer to that question? I would love to hear it. Look people, this isn’t the Ukraine or Lebanon: It will take a miracle or an act of God to get our people to develop a sense of self-worth, rise up in numbers and demand their rights. This is our defect and our problem, not theirs. So if Mubarak gets back in Power in 7 weeks, don’t blame the US for not putting too much pressure on him like you would like to, but rather blame yourselves, because it’s nobody else’s fault but our own.