“Egypt is Speaking.”

by wjw on February 11, 2011


TJIC February 12, 2011 at 1:27 am

A coup by military officers in 2010 is better than a leader who rose to power in a coup 30 years ago?

It might be.

…but it might not be.

Again, I’m not certain where you get your certainty from.

wjw February 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

As I tried to say in response to your last post: there is no certainty. There never was any certainty. With tyranny there are no rules, there is nothing to be certain of, everything can change tomorrow.

And of COURSE the military acted to remove Mubarak. It was clearly in their own best interests.

What we’ve seen is a bunch of educated Westernized geeks mobilize an entire population to overthrow a dictator, and do it in EIGHTEEN DAYS!

The military may well try to replace one generalissimo with another, but I suspect it’s too late for that. If Mubarak couldn’t crush the revolt beneath the treads of his tanks, his rodent-like functionaries are scarcely up to the task.

TJIC February 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I think that there are two deltas between me and the folks who are celebrating the events in Egypt:

1) history shows us that some revolutions end well (e.g. the American Revolution), but more end poorly (e.g. Russian, French, etc.)

2) I’m a fan of individual freedom, and don’t care a fig for “democracy” qua democracy. The fact that a strongman is gone is not ipso facto evidence that things will improve. More democracy sometimes means nothing more than more ability to vote and violate the rights of minorities. Arguably, we could increase democracy here in the US by repealing the Bill of Rights.

Anyway, fingers crossed – I hope that my concerns are all in vain, and that things turn out wonderfully.

Pat Mathews February 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Another* place we badly need a Rectification of Names. The reason the American Revolution was different from all other revolutions was because it wasn’t a revolution in the ordinary sense at all.

It was a war for independence, fought by people who had been self-governing for some time, and then had been taken over by the mother country in the wake of a massive Indian war (King Phillip’s War, look it up) – call it a standard anti-colonial war for independence and you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. And they had homegrown governmental structures and traditions already in place.

*The other two places, so far –

1) Voting is NOT your “privilege”. It’s your *Right*. Privileges are like that extra dish of ice cream you get because your parents are pleased with you. Rights are like the healthy dinner you’re entitled to from them.

2) Gas, oil, coal, and minerals are not “produced”. They are mined. To talk about “producing” them implies that all you need to do to have more is to expand the capacity of the factory. And every fool who can’t tell production from the act of using up your capital falls for that every time.

But back to Egypt — three cheers for the people, a rider on both Mr. Suleiman and the military junta (having seen how that played out in Latin America back in the day), and let us sincerely hope that this means more freedom for the Egyptian people. It could hardly mean less!

Shash February 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm

It was wonderful to follow the goings-on in Egypt. An Egyptian friend of mine has been both thrilled and despairing because she wasn’t able to be there to take part in the protests. May all go well as they reorganize their country. Please Egypt, remember to make room so all voices can be heard on a regular basis.

I hope the people in Zimbabwe are able to take note and do something about their own situation with Mugabe.

TJIC February 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Egyptian military dissolves Parliament, suspends constitution (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/world/middleeast/14egypt.html?_r=2&hp)

Three cheers for “people power” ?



This may still end well.

I continue to hope so.

…but I also continue to suggest that cheering every revolution where “the people” are either involved, or claim to be involved, is naive.

I’m betting 80/20 on military rule basically indistinguishable from Mubarek’s over the next 10 years, and 50/50 on Islamist rule in 15+ years (as with the Long Game that the various Islamist parties in Turkey played – and have mostly won – over the last 20: first, delegitimize military rule as being “anti democratic”, then get Westerns to criticize military rule and support “people power” and democracy, then get voted into power and roll back civil right liberalizations).

Fingers crossed.

Pat Mathews February 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Oh, !@#$!!!!

Well, there goes that revolution.

Michael_gr February 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Just to make things clear, dissolving the parliament was one of the demands of the protesters; this is not a move against the opposition and the people’s will – just the opposite.

wjw February 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Well, yes. Dissolving a parliament packed with Mubarak cronies in a rigged election is far from the worst thing that could happen. Likewise, suspending a constitution that had been ignored for thirty years anyway is pretty much moot.

If I were a member of the current military junta, I’d want to bring the opposition into the process as soon as possible. Not because it’s the Right Thing to Do, but because Egypt has some horrible choices to make in the near future, and if the opposition makes them along with me, they can’t start screaming once the decisions are implemented.

We’ll be able to tell whether Round One of this revolution succeeded (1) by who’s invited to the table to write the new constitution, (2) how long the thirty-year-old state of emergency persists, and (3) whether actual political parties can be formed and operate.

Care should be taken to distinguish Islamist parties from, say, al-Qaeda. It could be argued that the AK party has been good for Turkey. Their economic policies have resulted in a 10% yearly growth rate, nearly as good as China, and they seem to be making good-faith efforts to end the Kurdish insurgency by actually— hey! what a surprise!— giving the Kurds civil rights.

They’ve also broken the monopoly on power by the bunch of third-rate politicians and careerists who were running the country since the 1950s.

That said, the AK’s habit of suing opposition journalists and tossing military officers in jail for things they didn’t actually do is starting to look alarming. It’s nothing their predecessors haven’t done, but they’re supposed to be better than that.

What Turkey needs is a unified, credible opposition to the AK. But those idiots can’t seem to get their act together. They just run around pretending it’s 1955 or something.

Shash February 14, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Agreed. I moaned when I heard about the military dissolving the constitution. The fact that it hadn’t been followed doesn’t prove that the constitution is a poor one. I am less hopeful than I was.

Regardless, there will be some changes for the better. Probably others for the worse as well.

TJIC February 17, 2011 at 3:17 am

> Well, yes. Dissolving a parliament packed with Mubarak cronies in a rigged election is far from the worst thing that could happen


I’m less clear that the military junta banning strikes is equally valid…

Still, I’m quite hopeful at the spreading protests in other countries. Fingers crossed that more freedom results!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post:

Contact Us | Terms of User | Trademarks | Privacy Statement

Copyright © 2010 WJW. All Rights Reserved.