Dear Egypt

Dear Egypt,

Congratulations on forcing Hosni Mubarak to resign. Millions of you stood up and protested against oppressive rule and you got results. Many of you would like a democracy—or perhaps a representative democracy modeled after the U.S. government—to replace the dictatorship that was in place under Mubarak. Yet, at least as reported by Western newsmen and women, many of you have expressed hostility towards the United States for supporting Mubarak’s regime for over thirty years.

Because the U.S. did not remove Mubarak, it’s at fault? The same could be said about the millions of Egyptians who lived in Egypt during Mubarak’s reign and did nothing to pressure his resignation. That probably sounds tactless to many, as the real blame belongs at the feet of Mubarak and his cronies, and not the victims of his oppressive control. However, why should the United States be blamed for supporting a politician whose own people (by and large) were not crying to have removed from office until recently?

Despite the myth that many have throughout the world, and that the U.S. government propagates from time to time when it seems militarily or politically advantageous, the United States is not Savior of the World. While the U.S. government (and numerous charities within the country) has sponsored numerous humanitarian efforts to help people and even countries in need, government policies are generally dictated by political opportunism and a complex web of negotiations among allies. I place no moral judgments on that; just simply offer facts. Yes, at times that opportunism has led the U.S. to both formally and informally sponsor military campaigns or plots by various agencies to overthrow governments in different parts of the world. That opportunism has also led the U.S. government to actively—if not formally—sponsor efforts to suppress efforts to overthrow governments criticized for being dictatorships. It would be naïve to believe this has not been the case. Finally, this opportunism has sometimes led the U.S. government to sit back and let events unfold before coming out in support of any side in a dispute concerning other sovereign nations.

Whether you believe it is the U.S.’s job to intervene in international conflict or it isn’t, is your opinion. But I ask you to look at the track record of U.S. intervention in other countries’ political unrest. Following are but a handful of examples. The Bay of Pigs fiasco, which was supposed to overthrow Castro’s dictatorship in Cuba, was a spectacular failure. Certainly the Iranian students who led a revolution in the late 1970’s did not appreciate the U.S.’s support of the Shah of Iran. The U.S. government’s overt, and later covert, support and financial backing of the Contras in Nicaragua (who committed gross human rights violations) was not popularly supported. Countless Iraqis are bitter at the U.S. for invading Iraq and removing a ruler who, by all accounts, committed gross abuses against the populace. Afghans, en masse, are not dancing in the streets grateful for the U.S.’s efforts to eliminate Al-Qaeda and curb abuses by the Taliban.

So, exactly, what would you have hoped for with U.S intervention, Egypt? Eventually, groups of you fed up with abuses by your government stood together and protested loudly and united. You got the attention of the international community. You got the attention of the U.S. government, who did encourage and pressure—perhaps in not the way you desired—Mubarak to step down. The U.S.-suggested timetable for his resignation might not have met with your approval, but your desire won out. Be proud of your efforts and work to establish a democratic government that provides security to all citizens. Fight against forces who will want to replace Mubarak with their own brand of oppressive rule.

Harboring grudges against the U.S. government—that you seek to emulate—is counterproductive. The only group that had a right to overthrow the government of your sovereign nation was a group from within. Being angry at the United States for not doing what was your right and duty to do is unreasonable.

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3 Responses to “Dear Egypt”

  1. Jose Says:

    This is flawed, the point of why the US is responsible for the Egyptian dictatorship is not that the people were expecting the US to be saviors.

    The point is that the US supported the dictatorial regime and provides it with 1.4 Billion dollars.

    All we ask of the US is to keep its hands off the world, but it seems like the ruling elite of this country has to much invested in the oppression of the people.

    • socialjusticeink Says:

      Sure, the U.S. backed the regime. It’s consistently backed the regimes of countries with whom it has major economic and/or political interests. No, it’s not acceptable, but it’s also not unusual. Is the U.S. “responsible” for that regime? No, that takes away all responsibility and power from the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people. Your (and that of the “we” for whom you allege to speak) argument that the “US… keep its hands off the world” is flawed and naive. Isolationism was long abandoned as a policy here when it did not work. The world is too interconnected. Unfortunately, greed is now the ruling body. If the U.S. government is not involved in something international (either overtly or covertly), then U.S. corporations are.

      We agree on this: the ruling elite in the U.S. (and throughout the world, including the elite that once ran Egypt) has too much invested in the oppression of the masses. So it’s up to the masses to join together to say enough is enough. The problem is that the masses are often too comfortable in their own oppression to push for substantial change. When they get tired enough, you see what can happen, but power is also dangerous in the hands of the uninformed. Positive, thorough reform will only happen when people educate each other about their shared oppression, put aside petty differences to join together, recognize that those in power are trying to pit them against others in the same circumstances, demand that things change, and put enough people in positions to implement these demands.

  2. Cleveland Simpkins Says:

    To the one who talked about the Tea Party agenda, as if everybody agreed it was a threat, please consider this viewpoint. And about ten more from different angles.

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