Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year repressive rule of Egypt is now over. As I wrote this piece last Thursday evening, news came that President Hosni Mubarak will not resign. Instead, he delegated his presidential powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman, an unsavory character who was the Head of Intelligence.
The Pro-Democracy Movement in Tahrir Square rejected this move.
Last Friday, the world saw the largest protest march ever in Egyptian history. This monumental, historical protest in its cry for freedom over the last three weeks culminated in the fall of President Hosni Mubarak; Suleiman’s short-lived Vice Presidency is now history.
This huge protest is not about ideology; this protest is about securing human dignity and human rights in a free and democratic Egypt.
Last Thursday evening, President Barack Obama made his strongest statement so far on the Lotus Revolution in Egypt; not in so many words, but he indicated that America stands on the side of the Egyptian people, and that the Mubarak regime did not do enough to institute reforms over the last few weeks.
President Obama noted, among other things: “The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world.
The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.
As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people….In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.” For the first time, the U.S. sided with the Egyptian people against Mubarak.
However, in this Lotus Revolution, the Egyptian people are not seeking reforms, but a termination of the total repressive state structure; the people did not accept Suleiman, as he was merely Mubarak’s surrogate.
And just that people know the U.S. supported this repressive government for the last 30 years, in order to guarantee sustainability of its energy security interests. For this reason, Egypt was/is a strategic ally of the U.S. in the Middle East; and so is Israel.
Since 1952, the Presidents of Egypt all shared a military background – Presidents Mohamed Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak. During this period and perhaps even in earlier times, democracy as we know it rarely characterized Egypt’s political system.
These military rulers never embraced a culture of democracy. But the people of Egypt continue to be in consort with the culture of democracy at least from the period of military rule in 1952.
In this sense, there was a dialectical relationship between the military governments in Egypt and the people of Egypt.
The current Egyptian people’s uprising for democracy is not the first. For instance, there were the Tora Cement factory protest in 2009, food protests in 2008, the Bread Riots in 1977, the 1946 protest for political rights, the student protests against the government in the mid-1930s, and there were others.
So it was inaccurate for the then newly-appointed Vice President Suleiman to say that the Egyptian people do not have a culture of democracy. If anything, the Mubarak repressive state apparatus eroded the growth of democracy for 30 years.
But let us take a step back over the last three weeks of this successful Lotus Revolution. U.S. President Barack Obama did not support the people of Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak as he did in Tunisia.
This Lotus Revolution signaled that the time is now to transform American imperialism to American alliance with other nations, where U.S. dominance has no place.
In his Weekly Address on April 11, 2009, President Obama spoke about humanizing American foreign policy, thus: “….The United States must lead the way. But our best chance to solve these unprecedented problems comes from acting in concert with other nations….”
The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and the Lotus Revolution in Egypt now provide President Obama with the fertile opportunity to switch gears in U.S. imperialist foreign policy. The world is watching.
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