Sunday, July 09, 2006  

Uneasy lies the head...

that bears the crown-so they say. Things are not so good in the most recently annointed democracy in North Africa, which would be (no, not Tunisia! What were you thinking?), drum roll, please...Egypt! For above the Valley of the Kings and smack dab among the pyramids (how's that for Orientalist placing?), are actually the makings of a true democracy, but as usual, from the bottom up, being sat on by Mubarek and our coterie in the White House who look the other way as journalists, bloggers, and others go to jail for what should be one of the hallmarks of democracy: Freedom of Speech.
The United States has found itself stuck fast in a tarry mass of its own prejudice and financial interests in Iraq and yearns for allies, any ally, in the region. The price for this is paid by Egyptians who are victimized in the name of domestic political stability as well as by Americans, even Utahns, who find themselves witness to domestic imprisonments without trials, remote European “interrogation facilities,” or warrantless domestic surveillance in the name of insulation from terror.

From Hassam El-Hamalawy at The Arabist comes a great essay on the current state of affairs in Cairo by John William Salevurakis (from The Monthly Review). As The Arabist has observed, the last month has not been kind to a number of (US) 1st Amendment rights: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably assemble as practiced in Cairo.

As one answer to the question (as old and ridiculous as it may be- and this question must be uttered in a bewildered whine and with a look of wounded astonishment at being betrayed so) "why do they hate us?" Here it is, live and in color. Nothing is so insidious as the Quiet American helping a government oppress its people in the name of "Democracy." Unless it is a Quiet American doing it in the name of the "war on terror."

You can read this essay and more on The Arabist.

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