We're All Egyptians Now! - by Stephen Lendman
And Tunisians, and Yemenis, and Algerians, and Jordanians, and Lebanese, and, of course, Palestinians, suffering for over six decades after Israel stole their historic homeland, over 43 years under brutal, suffocating occupation. Their struggle is ours, and it's high time we reacted, showing spirit as courageous as theirs.
In her latest January 31 article, Phyllis Bennis headlined, "Tunisia's Spark and Egypt's Flame: the Middle East is Rising," asking:
"Is this how empires end, with people flooding the streets, demanding resignation of their leaders and forcing local dictators out? Maybe not entirely, (but the) legacy of US-dominated governments across the region will never be the same. The US empire's reach in the resource-rich and strategically vital Middle East has been shaken to its core....The years of Washington calling the shots (based on its) version of 'stability' are definitively over."
On February 3, Haaretz writer Ari Shavit agreed, headlining "The Arab revolution and Western decline," saying:
"After half a century during which tyrants have ruled the Arab world, their control is weakening. After 40 years of decaying stability....rot is eating (it). The Arab masses will no longer accept" old ways. It's "been roiling beneath the surface" for years....suddenly (erupting) in an intifada of freedom." The Tunisian "bastille fell, the Cairo (one) is falling and" others in the Arab world will follow. "The old order is crumbling." So is Western "international hegemony....The West has lost it. (It's no longer a global) leading and stabilizing force....In Cairo's Tahrir Square....Western hegemony is fading away."
On February 3 Immanuel Wallerstein headlined, "The Second Arab Revolt: Winners and Losers," saying:
Britain and France betrayed the 1916 revolt "led by Sharif Hussein bin Ali for Arab independence from the Ottoman Empire." After WW II, America succeeded them as regional hegemon. For years, "(t)he second Arab Revolt has been brewing," ignited by events in Tunisia. At issue is why this succeeded when others failed, and what's next?
Regime "fissures" created opportunities. At this point, events are fluid, outcomes uncertain. Months will pass before winners and losers are known. "(N)o Arab state today (has) a strong organized, secular, radical party like the Bolsheviks (in Russia), ready to take power." Most "organized movements are the Islamist ones," but they vary from moderate to extreme, as well as "in-between varieties (like) the Muslim Brotherhood." As a result, outcomes are uncertain.
Also important is outside influence, mainly Washington's, so far the "great loser," evident by its waffling when decisiveness is needed. The revolt's backdrop includes outrageous wealth distributions, growing global poverty and depravation, and America's weakened dominance, exacerbated by Middle East events.
In contrast, Iran is the biggest winner, though non-Arab, then Turkey by supporting the Arab revolt and confronting Israel. Hopefully, over time, Arabs will benefit most. So far, it's too soon to tell, especially since obstacles facing them are formidable.
A Spark Turned Into Revolt
First in Tunisia, popular dissent spread quickly, Egypt its epicenter as Washington's regional imperial lynchpin, rocked by mass outrage, so far sustained. Rarely ever have Americans matched it. Today, they're practically quiescent, despite an unaddressed worsening economic crisis devastating millions.
On February 1, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Beyond Mubarak," urging him to step aside and let an interim government run "truly free elections." Where's The Times' outrage about America's fantasy democracy, imperial lawlessness, dysfunctional governance, rigged elections more kabuki theater than real, and its corporate-run dictatorship, causing appalling levels of unaddressed human need.
Why isn't it urging public outrage demanding change, instead of worrying about "Egypt's next government (being less) friendly to Washington (than) this one," and saying if "Egypt devolves into chaos, it will feed extremism throughout the region."
In fact, populist liberating extremism is glorious, whether or not Barry Goldwater meant it, saying "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, (and) moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"