I applaud the people of Egypt for their courage and tenacity. With relatively peaceful, yet spirited protests (not one person was killed), they changed the course of history for their country. Tens of thousands of Egyptians voiced their disdain for President Mubarak and forced him to resign his thirty-year stronghold on the presidency. Mubarak, a former air force commander, rose to power by Islamic radicals shortly after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.
It was well documented that throughout his rule, Mubarak showed a near obsession with stability, rigged elections, and a hated police force accused of widespread torture to ensure his control. He resisted calls for reform even as public bitterness grew over corruption, deteriorating infrastructure and rampant poverty in a country where 40 percent live below or near the poverty line. And to further illustrate Mubarak’s total disregard for his people, his fortune is estimated to exceed eighty-billion-dollars. While his people starve, he counts his riches.
Can we all learn something from this stunning demonstration that the people do have the power to effect change? Even under the most extreme dictatorship, it’s possible to promote democracy without the use of guns, bombs, or missiles. It is utterly amazing that a Middle Eastern country accomplished such a feat without any meddling from other countries.
This historic event begs a very significant question: could the people of Iraq and Afghanistan accomplish the same thing without intervention from the United States and other allies? We do have egg on our faces, don’t we? Tens of thousands of people have died. And to what avail? There is no peace in Iraq or Afghanistan, and democracy is nothing more than a distant dream. Perhaps Saddam Hussein could have been ousted in the same way?
There is a profound lesson here; one that history will write.