Saturday, 5 February 2011

Some thoughts on Egypt

I've been glued to Al Jazeera's live feed this week, its been incredible television, and I've found myself musing on it a great deal. I'm genuinely angry about that fact that puny and unworthy Western leaders are not able to embrace the fact that Egypt and other states in the region are, for the first time, begging for real democracy. My family has lost friends in the two wars which we are still fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan, wars which we primarily fought, it seems, to instill democracy.

These people want the democracy we've been unable to force on other states, and yet our leaders stand back, our media barely informs, and our public couldn't care less. But there you go.

Charles Cameron at ZenPundit has referenced a point which has been on my mind for a few days, jihadi's have gained no traction in Egypt and thats got to be a good thing. Here's a quote he's used, which appeared on ISCR:

A large group of the ones organizing them yesterday were people in galabeyas and long beards shouting "Al Jihad fe Sabeel Allah (Jihad in the name of Allah), you have to continue fighting, we will win this war, if you die here today, you will be a martyr and go straight to heaven, don't stop, fight, fight, fight".

NO! This is NOT why we werein the streets on Friday being tear gassed and dodging rubber bullets and it is not why we have been going to Tahrir everyday to be heard. The reason why this revolt went through and became successful was because it was not religiously or politically charged. Don't let the ones who have been watching this unfold in the shadows ride this wave and hijack what you have been fighting for. I saw on Monday Taalat El Sadat (a dodgy fame hungry politician) ask people in the square to get aggressive. He was met with one loud message by everyone, "Selmeya, Selmeya" (Peaceful, Peaceful) - which is how all of us want it.

Here's an image which I think summed up the emotion in Egypt for me:










According to The Atlantic, where this picture appeared (it was sourced from here):
A soldier of the Egyptian Army cries in front of one of the demonstrators after they were attacked by thugs. He cries because he was unable to protect them.
These beautiful, peaceful protests have caused me a lot of emotion this week, and no picture has hit me harder than this one.

The fact that jihadi violence hasnt polluted this movement is something which we should all feel blessed about. Its an incredibly positive sign. It shows that the power of the jihadi movement is waning, at least in Egypt, and (we can all hope) is not able to regain its momentum and sieze control of the situation. Certainly that doesnt seem to be what the protesters want. Every time I turn on Al Jazeera English I hear the cries of "Selmeya" from the crowd.

I'm afraid I dont have any great or worthy thoughts on this topic, its enormously, almost strangely emotional for me. I only hope that the next few days will bring on the first parts of a new dawn in the region.
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