Saturday, February 26, 2011

Egyptian revolution far from over

The events in Egypt during the last few weeks have been breathtaking to watch. Old leaders do not go gently into that good night, and former president Hosni Mubarak was no exception as he tried to avoid being ousted from power.

However, he finally let go, and the Egyptian people got what they said they wanted. The big question now is whether or not the country will move toward democracy or another form of government.

Right now, the military is in charge. While that may help the country remain stable, I wonder how easy it will be to get power away from it in the long run.

The country remains months away from having any type of election. Frankly, the people appear more interested in partying in their newfound freedom than making tough decisions about the country's future.

Because of this, the military will have plenty of time to become even more entrenched. I may be guilty of stereotyping, but it often seems that when the military gains control of a poor country it is very reluctant to let it go. The Egyptian military had a large say in how the country was run when Mubarak was in power. Now, it may be unstoppable.

If this is the case, the Egyptian people may some day look back at the reign of Mubarak as the good old days. Let us pray this is not the case.

If the country does move toward a representative democracy similar to the United States, it is important that the people there understand that its transformation will not take place overnight.

When studying how different parts of the world view the United States, it appears that many lack an understanding of how much hard work it takes to make our country function.

This is understandable because the information they get about us comes through a media filter. For many, the United States is nothing more than an episode of Baywatch. Sun, surf, and beautiful women are the order of the day in this version of America.

Of course, we know better. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, our country did not just skate through all the growing pains that a new country goes through.

For instance, the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, but approximately 40 years later we were still at war with the British. They burned the presidential mansion in 1814 in one of the most humbling moments of our country's history.

For the Egyptian people, there will be no shortcuts, and they must discipline themselves. While they are enjoying more liberty, they must understand that liberty without discipline often leads to chaos.

Despite our differences here in America, many of us understand that we must discipline ourselves and be willing to pull together for the common good. Of course, not everybody does that, but most of us do.

If the Egyptians become complacent and simply want to wallow in their freedom, it will be short lived. The Middle East is too volatile a place for that approach to succeed for very long.

The bottom line is that the path Egypt takes in the coming months will impact all of the Middle East. While the military has stated it will honor existing treaties with countries like Israel, there are no guarantees this will remain permanent.

Additionally, the seeds of revolution have already spread to other countries in that region. Big changes are under way in Libya. Other countries like Jordan and Iran could be next on the chopping block when it comes to significant unrest.

Iran is the less likely of those two to see genuine change. This is because the leadership will not hesitate to crack skulls if things get too out of hand.

Expect more bloodshed to come.

1 comment:

hrc said...

The dominoes have already started tumbling in the Middle East. The big question is where this will end. I agree the Egypt situation is not resolved. Gadafi is as good as gone in Libya. Where next?