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On February 11th, 2011, the people of Egypt spoke not only for themselves, but for all of humanity. Following on eighteen days in which millions across their country could no longer be silenced, their collective cry for freedom led to the end of a three decades-old dictatorship. In doing so, they sent a message that will resound around the world: Every dictator take note, the time for democratic empowerment has come. The implications for Afghanistan are also significant. As people everywhere are waking up to their universal human rights and demanding them, both corrupt government officials as well as Taliban and other violent extremist should pay heed.

The Egyptian Revolution was Peaceful. People everywhere should be proud of the Egyptians for their restrain and unwavering resolve. If the protesters had permitted their revolution to become violent, there would be nothing to celebrate. The death and destruction would have only strengthened the forces of oppression, irrespective of whether President Mubarak stayed or left. And yet, through the Egyptian people’s commitment to peace, they embodied a dignity that was admired by all. It was this, despite many provocations, that gave them a strength that could not be matched by the force of arms.

The Egyptian Revolution was True. Their demands were spoken without any clear leader, without a political platform, propaganda, or pandering to special interests. The message was clear: “We will no longer be ruled by a dictator,” they stated. “Martial law must be ended, and we must be accorded the respect that permits us to govern ourselves freely and fairly. The time has come, and we will not turn away from this truth.”

The Egyptian Revolution was Just. The Egyptian people awoke to their inalienable human rights for freedom of speech and democratic governance. Their demands were not unreasonable or extreme. Justice demands that all people have the right to select their political representatives. The decades of hollow excuses that claimed that Egyptians were not ready for democracy would no longer be tolerated. The time for justice had arrived.

By demonstrating their commitments to peace, truth, and justice, the Egyptian Revolution had universal meaning. There is something extremely valuable for people everywhere to learn from this peaceful revolution.

And yet, let us make no mistakes… the Egyptian Revolution is unfinished; all that has been achieved could still be wiped away and lost. The Egyptian uprising that led to the end of a decaying autocracy was the first and most difficult step in creating a new future for Egypt. However, it is not good enough simply for one strongman to cede the reins of power. The long, difficult challenge the people of Egypt now face is how to forge a new governmental structure and civil society that affords its citizens the opportunities that come with full and equal human rights for all.

Taking down a dictator is easier than building a new and well functioning democracy. The challenges are enormous. Egypt is encumbered with widespread poverty and unemployment; and it lacks experience in democratic governance. So Egypt now faces the great risk that it may replace one form of dictatorship with another that is even more pernicious. A revolution such as that which began on January 25th will not come again soon. This moment must not be lost. It is Egypt’s time to make a clear commitment to democracy and human rights. In doing so, it will be honoring those who suffered injuries and gave their lives in the noble struggle for freedom.

If Egypt succeeds in creating a democratic government that respects human rights, the recent uprising will have an impact that is far greater than what we have seen thus far. Egypt will become a leader in the Arab world as a country that was true to its ancestry while embracing a future in which universal human rights are integrated into the structure of its national polity. Moreover, Egypt will join ranks with Indonesia as an example that democracy and human rights can flourish in Islamic societies.

Let us salute the Egyptian people for the strength, restraint and dignity they showed in orchestrating this historic change. May this be the beginning of a new chapter in its history to build a strong, just, and modern nation.

Salam! Pax! Peace!

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1 Comment

mgoldberg · February 19, 2011 at 10:05 am

‘If egypt succeeds in creating a democratic gov that respect human rights’ is the end of the story. Oh, it’s possible that ‘democratic’ majority rule might conceivably come- and what might that look like? Well, the federal republic that we americans enjoy has protections such that the minorities can be reasonably assured that they will not be tormented, let alone annihilated, and even have as the american nation has demonstrated, enjoyed the opportunity to rise up and thru and become speaking, acting, legislating voices within the nation.
As for Egypt- the minority’s- the coptics for example, who are the descendents of egyptian culture and 2000 yr old christian culture, have existed as the oppressed, humiliated, denied and tormented of Egypt. In fact this last month and last, they were subjected to the usual explosions of their churches, while at prayer, and the usual rapes, riots against them and the threats of eventual extinguishing of their faith, their culture and their existences by the ‘majority’ of Egypt. Nowhere is there any evidence of any change in that in this moment of egyptians dancing in the idea of regime change. In fact, the speaker of the muslim brotherhood, who this friday gave his long awaited speech after being denied the privilege by the regime, emphasizing the need for Egypt to open the borders of rafa( into Israel) so egyptians, muslims could of course, annihilate Israel, Jews, etc etc etc. Not exactly the momentous cries for human rights and liberty, that the author fantasizes will hopefully arrive in egypt via the peoples jubilation. In fact, no where during those demonstrations was there any evidence of any shame at the millenia long torment of those christians there in egypt then and now, and yes, even worse after the jubilation ends.
The water in the pot may be boiling with exitement at ‘change’ but the hands that hold the pot are the ones who brought ‘Sheik Yousuf Al- Qaradhawi’ the egyptian want to be khomeini, and who already are on the commitee to write the proposed constitutional changes for a ‘democratic’ government. Oh, he spoke of beautiful ideas of course. Like the main theme of reconquering Jerusalem by muslims, which of course, is democracy in action for muslims. Submission- salaam- as the author inprecisely used at the end of his own celebration of the ‘idea’ of freedom and democracy. Oh, and since he’s the annointed spiritual leader of egypts throning demonstrators, let’s have a look at his complete ideation and philosophy. Qaradawi, though some in the West falsely paint him as a moderate, supports the straight Islamist line: anti-American, anti-Western, wipe Israel off the map, foment Jihad, stone homosexuals, in short the works.
One of Qaradawi’s initiatives has been urging Muslims to settle in the West, of which he said, “that powerful West, which has come to rule the world, should not be left to the influence of the Jews alone.” He contends that the three major threats Muslims face are Zionism, internal integration, and globalization. To survive, he argues, Muslims must fight the Zionists, Crusaders, idolaters, and Communists.
Can you hear the chimes of freedom in there….? Can you see what will come to the Christians, the coptics, and others, and anyone else in Egypt, as sharia law is further propelled into Egyptian ‘democracy’? Can you see what will happen to the idea of ‘democracy’ and the ‘minority’s’ in Egypt, and of course elsewhere?
The Google guy, who bellowed of the facebook and google revolution and it’s importance in the democracy movment, was politely prevented from being on the stage with the glorious muslim spiritual leader and went away baffled at the unfairness of it all. He and others have a whole lot of bafflement coming as the reality arrives in Egypt. Who are you going to bet on being more influential, a Google executive and an unorganized band of well-intentioned liberal Egyptians or the world champion radical Islamist cleric? And since those ‘liberals’ never demonstrated against the torment, raping, murdering, oppression, of their fellow egyptians who are christian, how do you think things will turn out for their ideas once the Sharia enforcing, non-democratic Islamic movements enforce their idea of ‘freedom’ ergo- tyranny of Islam- even further upon egypt’s citizens.
When the american reporter, Lara Logan was raped, assaulted, and accused of being ‘Jew, Jew’, although she’s a liberal non jewish reporter, did anyone see counter demonstrations against that vile hatred? No… and there never will be.
Yesterday, Tunisia’s new govt granted general amnesty to all it’s imprisoned Islamic supremacists.
The author of the article here projects not sober analysis but mere fantasy of the Tahrir Square, as Woodstock, or maybe the early american revolution. Yes, the people in egypt are excited, and if the muslim brotherhood takes charge, subjecting the local Christians even more completely to dhimmitude, tears up the treaty with Israel, funnels arms and training to muslim terrorists- or in other words, keeps their campaign promises- will the author come to grips with that reality, or will he stand on gossamer dreams, and false notions of what … salaam means and defines in arabic.

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