“When I arrived to Venezuela for the first time in 1993, the country was in severe turmoil. Constitutional rights had been suspended and a nationwide curfew was imposed. Repression was widespread, the economy was in crisis, several newspapers, television and radio stations had been shut down or censored, and the government had imposed a forced military draft targeting young men from poor communities. There was an interim president in power, because the actual president, Carlos Andres Perez - hailed by Washington as an “outstanding democrat” - had just been impeached and imprisoned for corruption. Perez eventually escaped confinement and fled to Miami, where he resided until his death last month, living off the millions he stole from the Venezuelan people.
Even though a new president was elected in 1994, constitutional rights remained suspended on and off for years, until the elections in 1998 that brought Chavez to power. Since then, despite a short-lived coup d’etat in 2002, an economically-shattering sabotage of the oil industry in 2003 and multiple attempts against his government during the following years, President Chavez has never once limited constitutional rights nor imposed a curfew on the population. He hasn’t ever ordered a state of emergency that would limit rights or shut down any media outlets. He even issued a general pardon in 2007 giving amnesty to all those involved in the 2002 coup, with the exception of individuals directly responsible for crimes against humanity or homicide.” - Eva Golinger on Venezuela
The views I am reading on tumblr right now about interim governments and maintaining economic levels are an example of privilege at it’s finest. You can’t hand over power to Sulayman, end-of-story. Sulayman is being denounced on the streets, just like Mubarak, by the hundred of thousands of people who did not protest to maintain the status quo (if even for a few months more.) In addition, any argument that the Egyptian’s are incapable of deciding their own fate, under any guise, is the sign of a well adjusted imperialist mind (to paraphrase Cornel West), to defend Mubarak by arguing that he should remain in power until September is ignorant and to make this argument solely about maintaining the Israeli-Egypt peace is an insult to the Egyptians and the people living in Gaza who have seen conditions deteriorate to unsustainable humanitarian levels during this “peace” period. The Egyptians are risking it all because the conditions are increasingly atrocious and they seek to change that as quickly as possible. For them, it is better to protest, break curfew and gamble with their lives than it is to live one more day under the status quo. We, those of us who have never experienced such a situation, in America and Canada simply cannot even begin to fathom that level of despair or that level of oppression. (It’s like the TSA frisk but they place Sulayman places you in torture chambers instead.) You and I are aware of the chants in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez etc…, the people are speaking and they want to restructure the government from top to bottom.
Another bit of advice, the general rule is to never trust an Arab army. They, like Latin American armies, will jump at the opportunity to maintain or gain power. (See Venezuela in 2002, 4 years after Chavez became the leader.) Without changing the army generals, you are asking the new president to reduce the power granted to the army and the vast network (some say 1-2 million) of Mubarak spy goons. This will be incredibly difficult unless you have complete and immediate regime change. With that said, Nasser, bless his soul, was not Sadat and he was certainly not Mubarak. Nasser was a different kind of Arab military man so do not lump these leaders together, in fact, Nasser would have cried tears if he saw what Mubarak has done to Egypt.
As was the case with any other nation in the last two decades who has transitioned into a democratic style of governance, we should be supportive of the ensuing chaos because it will happen (interim government or not) and because these are the growing pains of a democracy. That is why it is called a revolution and not a reform, a reform does nothing for the people. Health care reform was not revolutionary, it was slightly less of the same but it still largely remains the same. A revolution is supposed to make you uncomfortable, it is about taking to the streets and demanding an immediate change (even if you risk losing it all!) To assume that one can have a revolution and maintain pre-revolutionary levels of stability or economic activity is ridiculous. NO nation has been capable of that, it takes years or decades to recover from true revolution and even then it comes at a significant cost. The right to self-determination is as crucial now as it was in 1776. I don’t know enough about 1784 to determine if it was better than 1774 but I assure you that thousands died and continued to die to ensure that semblance of a democracy was available for future generations (and Americans still haven’t fully mastered the concept.) This is the logic that privilege can afford, it is okay to demand change but only within certain comfort levels. NO FUCK THAT I’M SORRY THAT IS NOT CHANGE, that is not a revolution. That is your well-adjusted mind spewing fantasies about the very nature of getting your feet wet, this is why American conditions continue to deteriorate before our eyes and yet we do nothing. When the system is fucked, you change the fucking system. You uproot it from the ground and you fucking it burn and plant another seed, it might be a fledgling at first but it can blossom into a beautiful and sturdy tree that gives back to it’s people as much as they give in. These are the risks that accompany a revolution, this is why so many have tried and failed (even with this knowledge and against all odds.) The important thing is that we let the people of Egypt select their own fate as they have more than enough capable minds to draw a resolution. We as a nation, and other nations, should be supportive at every step of the way. In any case, check your fucking privilege, I’ll check mine too. Viva la revolucion.
Also related: Why we shouldn’t fear the Muslim Brotherhood
Also related: Meet Mubarak’s American fan club