As Egyptians continue to take to the streets demanding their president’s resignation, I can’t help but think of Dr. King’s statement, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.” How phenomenal it is to witness citizens of another Arab League state demanding freedom.
It’s tragic that Mr. Mubarak does not get it and I wonder if he ever will. How can he not understand that dissolving his cabinet and single-handedly appointing new leadership is the very abuse of power that his citizens are protesting?
Perhaps more remarkable is the report on Al Jazeera this morning that soldiers deployed on the streets are not interfering with the protests but have, in fact, intervened to prevent police from firing on protesters. The Guardian quotes an Associated Press Report of an Army captain joining the protesters. (See the Guardian’s running blog.) Sadly, reports of violent clashes and police firing on crowds persist. The prospect of a bloodbath looms large. Reports of deaths range widely from 32 to over 70 and will only rise.
Following on the coat tails of the revolution in Tunisia, despots everywhere should be quaking in their boots. News spreads fast in the Internet age. It’s little surprise that Egypt blocked its cell network and Internet access and that China is reportedly blocking references to Egypt on social networking sites.
The US administration is now confronted with its most significant foreign policy dilemma in years. How do you remain a close ally of a country whose dictatorial leaders is poised to quell a popular democratic uprising? Egypt’s military receives more than $1 billion a year in aid from the US. How will the United States be able to continue to fund a military that turns on its own people? I concur wholeheartedly with the Washington Post editorial calling on the administration to “prepare for the peaceful implementation of the opposition platform…. And it should be telling the Egyptian army, with no qualification, that the violent suppression of the uprising will rupture its relationship with the United States.”
We’re living in an extraordinary moment. First Tunisia, now Egypt. Free people everywhere should rise in solidarity with the people of Egypt and call on our governments to support democracy in Egypt. I am invigorated by the courage of the Egyptian protesters who have risen in the face of a brutal opponent. Indeed, I pray that their cause will meet success and that they too will live in a free and democratic society where the voice of the populace matters. The arc of the moral universe is, indeed, long, but bends toward justice. I might add that the arc of human desire is long, but bends toward freedom. Let freedom ring.