12 February 2011

Democratic Revolution in Egypt: Thinking With Pictures

Egyptians celebrate in Tahrir Square after President Hosni Mubarak
resigned and handed power to the military, in Cairo,
Egypt, Friday,
Feb. 11, 2011
. Photograph © Khalil Hamra/AP.

On Twitter, Nevine Zaki circulated an image she says she
photographed Wednesday of Christians protecting Muslims
during prayer. Photograph © Nevine Zaki (3 February 2011).

Before the fall ... anti-Mubarak protesters wave Egyptian
flags at Cairo's Tahrir Square on 10 February 2011.
Photograph © Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images.

A general view shows the crowded Tahrir Square in Cairo on
February 10, 2011. Tens of thousands of Egyptian workers walked
out in mass nationwide strikes to demand wage increases and
show support for the widening revolt against Mubarak's regime.
Photograph © MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images.

So what is it that we learn from events in Egypt? Well, first there is the dissonance that many Americans must feel when watching dark skinned throngs, chanting in Arabic, engaged in protests for - democracy! After all, isn't it the case that we are supposed invariably to be suspicious of Muslims? But here are Muslims partaking in prayer during pro-democracy protests. Second, there is the observation that striking workers were an integral part of political events in Cairo. Strikes? Yikes, there is a notion. Finally, there is the largely - not entirely, but largely - non-violent character of the protests. Peaceful Muslims? How can that be? Islam in intimately related to Terrorism, no? Just wondering.

Follow Up: Oh yeah, I did neglect the obvious. Democracy here is not in voting booths or legislative assembly, but in the streets and the public square.

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Blogger Khalilah Sabra "Unplugged" said...

The Terms of a Diplomatic Agreement: Egypt and Beyond

The idea that government is obligated to its people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still contemporary and the most innovative idea in the long history of man's relation to man.

The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of Egypt have formed their objectives and understand the implications to the very life and well-being of their people. Every nation now knows, whether it wishes Egypt good or bad, that they shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the evolution and the triumph of liberty.

Americans, an heirs of a revolution, must pledge the loyalty of a faithful friend and welcome into to the ranks of the free, all nations that seek liberation. As proponents of democracy, we must pledge our word to help guard against the passing of one form of dictatorial control, merely being replaced by a far more remorseless tyrant. Even if foreign nations do not find America supporting all their ideas, let them they, at least, find this country strongly supporting their freedom.

The world is very different now. More men are insisting to use their own hands to abolish all forms of human indignity and all forms of human injustice. To those people in camps and villages struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, America must pledge its best efforts to help them help themselves -- not because the world is watching, not because we seek their approbation, but because it is the right thing to do, and because it is founded on the belief that the rights of citizens come not from the generosity of the state but from equity and moral conduct.

A peaceful revolution of hope must not become the prey of fearsome powers. When a powerful nation seeks civil partnership with a weaker one, words of honor must be transformed into righteous action. The United States has committed itself to exporting democracy, an honorable endeavor that has contributed to its political leverage. Still, the whirlwinds of change, differing ideals, and a clash of culture, may debilitate such noble aspirations. That moment in time will determine what kind of a nation we are and what direction we’ve decided to move in.

It is moral reason and not political venture that must guide our considerations, negotiate our dissent, and manage our decisions. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is a duty,

Khalilah Sabra
Muslim American Society

12 February, 2011 22:21  
Blogger noto said...

In fact, Egypt was a democracy, parties, elections, legislative, it had it all. Just like Israel, by the way. Or better, Muslim Brotherhood, and opposition parties had senators and ruled villages and cities. But also had a police estate, controlled citizens, human rights modulated according to class to colour or gender or faith... Just like Israel, just like the US, just like almost any other dem nation in the West.

European and US Journos are talking about the demands for democracy in Egypt and the Arab world, from some sort of morally superior stand, like they are empowered because they come from the right countries. Always ethnocentric and colonialist. I had a heated argument with a US friend, Don't you come from the country of George Bush? You know, the man who was president on a rigged election, won because his brother stopped counting votes and a few chronies of his father
granted him his wishes?
I find it all so hypocritical and cinic!

13 February, 2011 08:14  

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