I am so happy for the Egyptian people, who drove out the dictator through peaceful means (apart from a bit of rock-throwing). Now we pray for genuine democratic reform
(Image via Sylvia.)
- Hossam Tammam argues that the danger of religious radicalism overtaking the political revolution is overstated. The religious establishment (Muslim and Christian) was mostly supportive of Mubarak - and, consequently, the people ignored them.
- Timothy Burke says we should ignore the so-called realists:
[The "realists"] triumph on the fields of policy for a day, but against the deeper powers now stirring, stirring since the 18th Century all around the world, that realism is delusion. The political elites who try so hard to turn liberal democracies into dusty-dry technocracies reveal again and again that they have no real faith in the long-term revolutionary force of liberalism. Every declaration of independence, every constitution written, every proclamation of human rights, they have tried to limit or hedge or restrict those commitments before the ink on them is dry. Democracy, but not for you. Rights, but not there. Emancipation, but not so far. Free elections, but not where we need stability. And every hedge and limit condition since the 18th Century been a self-evident kludge, transparently temporary and provisional.
And so again and again, the realists, pundits and technocrats and advisors, find themselves dully amazed to be on the wrong side of history, staring forlornly from a ditch at the side of the road as their ride disappears into the distance. Eventually they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and say, “I knew it all along”. And a few days after that, “We must be realists about what will happen next”, as they restore a managerial composure, make scenarios, wargame out the possibilities, repaint and reframe what was for them a black swan event.
- As Bob Herbert watched the revolution in Egypt he wondered about the future of democracy here in America:
While millions of ordinary Americans are struggling with unemployment and declining standards of living, the levers of real power have been all but completely commandeered by the financial and corporate elite. It doesn’t really matter what ordinary people want. The wealthy call the tune, and the politicians dance.
So what we get in this democracy of ours are astounding and increasingly obscene tax breaks and other windfall benefits for the wealthiest, while the bought-and-paid-for politicians hack away at essential public services and the social safety net, saying we can’t afford them. One state after another is reporting that it cannot pay its bills. Public employees across the country are walking the plank by the tens of thousands. Camden, N.J., a stricken city with a serious crime problem, laid off nearly half of its police force. Medicaid, the program that provides health benefits to the poor, is under savage assault from nearly all quarters.
The poor, who are suffering from an all-out depression, are never heard from. In terms of their clout, they might as well not exist. The Obama forces reportedly want to raise a billion dollars or more for the president’s re-election bid. Politicians in search of that kind of cash won’t be talking much about the wants and needs of the poor. They’ll be genuflecting before the very rich.
- And now the fight for freedom moves to Algeria ....