February 9, 2011

On "Up With Egypt"

The following comment was submitted online for Thomas L. Friedman's "Up With Egypt":

Tom gets it right this time apart from the fact that he undermines Arab/Muslim solidarity. When BouAzizi set himself on fire in despair, his legacy eventually ignited the 'Jasmine Revolution' of Tunisia which has then toppled their President Ben Ali. Arabs everywhere followed the revolution (then, in the making) with much enthusiasm and aspiration to follow suit. After all, Arabs have been suffering for decades under quiet similar dictatorships and oppressive regimes and therefore demand, more or less, the same kind of freedom, dignity and liberty.

The 'dominoes effect' takes place and further spreads the 'Jasmine scent' to other Arab countries, we saw protests in Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, and even Saudi Arabia (50 protested in Jeddah angered by repeated catastrophe from rain and floods) - were quickly contained by governments. The Tunisian heros fueled bravery and abolished fear, Arabs became fearless for the first time and their governments became fearful. People demanded their long-lost rights with roaring voices that have always been suppressed. Egypt's uprising took us all by surprise, have quickly developed and was embraced wholeheartedly by all Arabs with the same kind of enthuse and thrill. "We were Tunisians last week, we are all Egyptians now" defined the revolutionary mode of Arabs. 

Arabs have a sense of belonging and a fiery passion for solidarity that has long been silenced and immobilized by the forceful nature of power dynamics in the Middle East: namely, the US vested interests to ensure stability and security for Israel and oil, and the Arab-ally "puppet leaders" backed by the US.

More specifically, Tom gets this bit wrong: "Egyptians are not asking for Palestine or for Allah. They are asking for the keys to their own future, which this regime took away from them." --Arabs/Muslims will always ask for Allah (albeit not as a tool for exploitation but for pursuing God-given rights of liberal democracy values and beyond), they will always fight for Palestine and they will always say "down down" to the US for as long as its unconditional support for brutal Israel is sustained.

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