Why Americans should not be afraid of protests like the one in the Land of the Pharaohs
Can I hear a stampede of a thousand loyal voices chanting, “Enough is enough!”
- On the eve of July 4, the skies over Cairo are aglow in spectacular fireworks displays that signal the military ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The crowds are louder and more jubilant than anything I have seen in recent memory. Egyptians are clearly comfortable with revolution against a despotic government.
- On July 3, the military began to implement its political road map as the deadline approached for Morsi to either yield to public demands for reform or step aside.
- There will be new elections and a new interim leader, as well as a suspension of the Islamist-backed constitution and the Islamist-dominated parliament.
- If there is a charted path to stability, then the obvious question is why was Morsi under siege. Democratic reformists and moderates have accused Morsi’s government of moving in an authoritarian and Islamic direction, with many of Morsi’s top aides being drawn from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Massive demonstrations for and against Morsi have been largely peaceful. But at least 39 people have died since the protests began on June 30 and more than 200 have been injured.
- The latest deaths occurred after gunfire erupted outside Cairo University in Giza, where pro-Morsi demonstrators gathered in the street with a sheet stained with the blood of one of their allies.
- All the news that’s fit to…Egypt’s military seized control of the state-run TV network. While the Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Egyptian military to refrain from exercising editorial control over state-owned media, the nature of the coverage has predictably turned against Morsi.
- But Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, vowed not to step down. “If the price of protecting legitimacy is my blood, I’m willing to pay it.”
- In America, we have confronted similar polarizing issues: our invasion of Iraq (premised on nothing more than a desire to support a political strategy spawned by Bush and Cheney), the financial crash of 2008, sequestration, and a palpable infringement on the right to privacy. What did we do in the face of undemocratic leadership? We held some isolated protests and childishly quarreled on CNN and Fox News Channel. Egyptians, on the other hand, stoked the fire.
And The #1 Thing You Should Know About Egypt Is…
- The Gift of the Nile can be a template for how Americans deal with their grievances against tyranny. Putting it in general terms, the Egyptian civilian government failed its people, and protestors told Morsi they’ve had enough. Shouldn’t we all be standing in the streets telling our leadership, with a 46% approval rating, that we deserve a regime that admits when it has wronged us? I am not suggesting bloodshed, but peaceful protests are the most patriotic thing Americans can do and it is exactly what the Founding Fathers would have demanded of us on Independence Day and always.