"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekly Standard: Fears of a Muslim Brotherhood Takeover are Overblown

This article from the Weekly Standard is one of the best that I found to express what you were seeing in the streets of Cairo yesterday.  The people perpetrating the violence last week as one activist in Cairo said have disappeared into the woodwork of the streets of Cairo -- no place to be seen.  Another missing figure this week has been El Baradi, the former nuclear inspector of the UN or shall we say the former cover-up person for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Iran. 

What we have seen all week are families coming out to have their voices heard.  It was a demonstration of people just fed up with being under the rule of Mubarak.  They wanted their freedom and unlike Iran, they had the military on their side.

Yesterday while watching the people celebrate, the parade of cars started with their horns honking and flying the Egyptian flag -- many of these were the people who are the business owners taking part as you saw the BMWs, Mercedes, etc. all honking horns through the streets of Cairo.  It was celebrate today and go to work tomorrow.  The Egyptian people Muslim and Christian were united in getting Mubarak to resign and leave.  A key part came when the drivers of the tanks in unison turned their tank turrets away from the people to signal freedom had come to the Egyptian people.  Now the Military Council has removed the curfew and forbid certain people to leave the Country. 

The Military Council is now in charge until fair and free elections can be held.  Egypt although a Muslim country since 1980 when it was declared the state religion is not part of  the Islamic fundamentalist movement that is on full display in places like Iran.  The chances of fundementalist clerics taking over Egyptian Government is almost nil to non-existent.  The people of Egypt don't want to go from one dictator to something even worse where they are told what to do in their everyday lives.  They have seen what happened in Iran and chances of it being repeated in Egypt are slim to none. 

People we know from that part of the world are unanimous in the fact that Egypt has been not an Islamic fundamentalist country -- religion plays a part but it is in their personal lives and where they want to keep it.  To a person they say there is no way Islamic fundamentalist get anywhere near power in Egypt.  They talk about how this uprising had no real leaders but pulled in people from all walks of life as witnessed how the neighborhoods took over their own security to keep out the thugs. 

My favorite story was the one where the guy tried to break into someones home, they caught him and beat him all the way to where they found the military to hand him over.  Some thugs ransacked one of the museums and Egyptians took it upon themselves to guard the Museums and dare the thugs to try it again.  They had anything they could find to protect themselves and beat up the thugs.  The people were interviewed yesterday were talking about now going back to work and the shop owners were preparing to reopen today.

Yesterday was truly a remarkable day in the long history of Egypt where their prayers have been answered and freedom won -- now the hard work begins to put a Government together and set up free and fair elections. 

Weekly Standard: Fears of a Muslim Brotherhood Takeover are Overblown
8:25 AM, Feb 12, 2011 • By ALI ALYAMI

The controlled public rage against corruption, oppression, and marginalization at the hands of tyrannical Arab regimes that has unfolded in recent weeks is unprecedented and probably unstoppable, but it caught most Western observers by surprise. While they accept the Arab revolt for what it is—a rejection of dehumanizing conditions—most Western analysts have dug out their old notes and recycled their customary predictions: The inevitable outcome will be that Islamists will take over and mobilize the Arabs against Western interests.

Now that Mubarak has stepped down as president of Egypt, worries persist that Islamists will impose their theocratic totalitarianism on the Egyptian people, despite the fact that power has been transferred to the military high command as a temporary caretaker until the Egyptian people decide what form of government they will adopt.

Apprehension that Islamists will turn public discontent to their advantage is understandable and legitimate, but that outcome should not be taken as a foregone conclusion. From what we know now, the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen have been organized and carried out mostly by nonsectarian citizens who are driven by worldly needs and by the rejection of corrupt systems that enslave them through fear, intimidation, hunger, and contempt for human rights. The vast majority of the protesters in Maydan Al-Tahrir (Liberation Square) were not waving Muslim textbooks or pictures of terrorists and religious fanatics, but flashing signs that read “shukran Facebook”—Thank you, Facebook.

The chance that Islamists will capture the Arab uprisings is slim unless anti-democratic, oil rich Arab dynasties like the Saudi and other Gulf monarchs, or their Iranian rivals, are allowed to pour billions of dollars into the coffers of their respective proxies, as they did in Gaza, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The West can prevent this from happening, but even if it does happen, whoever seizes power in the countries in revolt will be forced to remember the fate of the ousted rulers they replaced.

The millions of Arabs who took to the streets and risked their lives to bring an end to centuries of oppression are not likely to accept theocratic dictatorships after ridding themselves of tyrannical ruling dynasties. Most of the rebelling generation grew up in the age of transformative modern technologies and knowledge of their human rights. They spend more time debating worldly issues over social media than reading the Koran or going to mosques. Their perceptions of themselves and the world they want to be part of supersede nationalism, tradition, and religious indoctrination. This reality is overlooked in the current avalanche of analysis and predictions.

Instead of concentrating on fear of Islamists, the West ought to focus on the unprecedented shift in attitude among Arabs in addressing their multitude of grievances. For the first time, the Arab people have publicly recognized that their misfortunes are not the fault of outsiders— the West, Israel, colonialism—but the result of the hierarchical and totalitarian Arab methods of governing in which the individual is subservient to the state and to the whims of absolute rulers.

Western analysts are also overlooking one of the most astounding aspects of the present turmoil: It is apparently irrelevant to the well-being of the international community. For example, global trade and travel, and the availability and prices of commodities like oil, are almost unaffected by the Arab uprising. This can be attributed partly to the fact that the Arabs contribute little or nothing to the world’s knowledge-based technological economy.

Some may argue that the world’s relative lack of alarm over destabilizing turmoil in the Arab world is due to the fact that Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen have little impact on the world’s oil production. True, but even if a political uprising befell Saudi Arabia itself, a short-term interruption of the oil supply could easily be made up from other sources. In addition, Arab autocracies need to sell their oil to placate their restless populations and discourage oil consumers from developing alternative sources of energy, a notion oil producers dread.

Excerpt:  Read more at The Weekly Standard

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