01 February 2011

How you can help the Egyptian people

Here are three ways.

1) Join the Access campaign, to help open up communication.

2) Disagree in public, if you think your country's government is hypocritical about democracy. Ours is, and Australia isn't alone. Two excellent and informative posts are:
3) Say in public that you want your government and the mass media to stop fear-mongering about what is the most beautiful sight in society — mass demonstrations for the common good. One of the chants is my favourite, a simple one that has gone truly international and been translated into countless languages, in the universal language of audacious hope:
The people united will never be defeated.

Many stories and headlines have called the mass protests "riots", a term that would please any dictator, just as Mubarak called the demonstrators "gangs" and "thugs", but the thugs are his.

This is a dangerous and thrilling time when a people stops fearing a dictatorship, and audaciously hopes to seize the future for themselves — and by themselves, I don't mean the self-centred hysteria that our media has focussed on, wherein tourists can't get out of Egypt soon enough, now that real history is being made. And I don't mean the self as in Australia's relentless taxpayer-paid "More for me" campaign that tells us over and over again, that we have more TV channels (with even more repeats!) in which to channel surf in our homes with more TVs than people. Sure it's a dangerous time now in Egypt, but what was called riots were demonstrations in which fathers held their children on their shoulders (an act that wouldn't be allowed here) so they could see with their own eyes what they would never forget.

As for all those commentators saying how this can only end, as some Iranian-style "French revolution"— democracy is messy, and an educated electorate can still make mistakes. After all, Ms Palin could almost see the White House from her governor's office, and sees it glittering before her now. And Mr Bush was not only elected once, which could be forgiven as an accident, but . . .

One important under-discussed element in Egypt is the army, which is of the people. If these demonstrations and this army were in Europe, we'd be cheering them on.

Finally, I think that the best assessment has been put forward by Ergun Bahaban here:
Human Dignity and Egypt
"Some claim that a society that has lacked any democratic organization for many years cannot transition to democracy overnight. I think they’re wrong. But the most well-organized powers will obviously benefit greatly from this change … Turkey is a good example of how Islam and democracy can coexist and how people can receive equal treatment despite their different beliefs. Of course, there is a long way to perfection, but even its current position is sufficient to be taken as a model. As a country that has been a cradle of major civilizations, Egypt can successfully implement the Turkey model."

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