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No more Mubarak(s)!

February 14, 2011

Photo: Ramy Raoof (CC Attribution)

After weeks of protests, Egyptian president Mubarak has finally stepped down. However, it remains unclear if Egyptian citizens will see the democratic change they are craving. Will Mubarak and his cronies be replaced by something resembling real democracy, or is the old despot just giving way for a new tyrant?

For weeks on end, the brave Egyptian people have risked life and limb, protesting the oppressive and brutal regime of president Hosni Mubarak. Finally, their struggle has been crowned with victory. Or has it, really?

Sure, Mubarak has stepped down. This was maybe the most important claim that united the protesters in Tahrir Square. On this point, the pro-democracy camp has won an important victory. However, many – if not most – of the protesters were just that: pro-democracy. So far, there are few signs of real democratic reform. Power now rests with the Supreme Military Council. The military, hailed by many as the protectors and benefactors of the people, has suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament. According to Al Jazeera, the Military Council are preparing to ban meetings by labor unions or professional syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes. How’s that for democracy?

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

For the Egyptian people to finally get the democratic reform it deserves, there must be a real power shift. Not only from president Mubarak, but also from his military advisors to a more inclusive transitional authority.

Neil Hicks of Human Rights First has warned against «Mubarakism without Mubarak», and stated that

«Military authorities now in de-facto control of the government should move immediately to form an inclusive transitional authority, including credible representatives of the opposition, to oversee the period leading up to elections.  Free elections held in an atmosphere of peace and with guarantees of fairness and transparency can set Egypt on a path towards a new, legitimate government grounded in the rule of law, a firm basis for a state that will uphold the basic rights and freedoms of all Egyptians.»

Sic semper tyrannis?

The United States is, of course, not the arbiter of power in Egypt. However, the Mubarak regime has relied on U.S. assistance to deny the Egyptian people basic rights and freedoms again and again. Will the U.S. Support the next tyrant as well, or will the Obama administration help the Egyptians build their own home of the brave in the land of the finally free?

It is time for the U.S. government to break the pattern of unqualified support of despots and tyrants across the Middle East.

Urge US president Obama to support the Egyptian people this time – not the next Mubarak!

Photo: Ramy Raoof (CC Attribution)

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