lunes, 14 de febrero de 2011





The previous post No. 776 relieves us of any need for further explanation, Mubarak ruled Egypt in an Arab style, as a dictator, hard and cruel, which allowed him to remain for many years in power. As with all the others we see in the picture; we must add the usual nepotism and accumulation of wealth at the expense of the poverty of his people. Toward the end of his term in office he tried to leave the position to his son, who was not trained by him to exercise the power, he wasn´t a member of the military in a country where the military hold more political weight over any other group.

To explain who Mubarak was and what his undemocratic "practices" were does not make any sense, they are the same as those of his peers in the Arab world. Those practices must end and in fact, all dictators are trying to avoid the same fate, each of them in their own way. Jordan's King changed his entire cabinet, a way of saying "I didn´t do it", he is simply replacing fuses, others will seek other means that we will know as they occur.

What I think is important is to try to differentiate Mubarak from the rest starting by remembering how he came to power. His predecessor as Egyptian President, Sadat, was assassinated by members of a fundamentalist group -the Muslim Brotherhood- a consequence of having made a peace agreement with Israel. It must have been important to Mubarak, if he didn´t want to suffer the same fate, to control them, and so he did throughout his term. He kept the agreement with Israel that was critical to the region in order to have relative calm and was the best Arab ally of the U.S. It wasn´t a little thing, if we accept that it couldn´t be a Western government, but similar to all Arab dictatorships. Egypt, the militarily strongest country in the region was positioned as pro-Western, pro-peace country in the region.

I believe it is essential to evaluate why the trigger of these events occurred now and why the first was in Tunisia.

The economic collapse is happening worldwide, including the Arab world, all governments are making efforts to overcome it but dictatorships put the squeeze more on the poor and defenseless people. And people react to it where weak governments are more permissive and more "liberal." In the case of Tunisia the government was not one of the hardest, without being able to quickly control the situation, the dictator Ben Ali abandoned power and fled to Saudi Arabia.

The second was Egypt, it is appropriate to think why. Why not Syria? Why not any of the other Arab regimes with the same problem? I think that Egypt, despite sharing all characteristics of dictatorial Arab governments, had some kind of freedom through Internet communication, such as FaceBook, which allowed young intellectuals to express their grievances and aspirations and convey their displeasure.

It hasn´t happened in any other Arab country, until now, where they have no chance to communicate and to demand a change of government for other forms that are more democratic and respectful of the popular will. What happened in Tunisia and Egypt cannot be stopped, there is no need of a computer or Internet to find out what's going on in the Arab world, just reading a headline is enough to realize that the countdown of these autocracies is running.

But again, it started in Egypt, which means that it was the country with more access to information and had the possibility of uniting all discontents. It was a tough government but evidently not too tough.

In this scenario appears the ineffable Obama and instead of accompanying an inevitable change, trying to minimize the chaos and factional fighting, he directly takes part on the side of the "opposition" and tries to quickly get rid of his most important ally in the Arab world, demanding that Mubarak have to go now and whoever wins must take office in free and democratic elections, Western-style: What ...?

Free and democratic elections where all groups are represented? And who are ALL those opponents? It is difficult to understand this attitude of supporting the "opposition" as if just because they oppose Mubarak they are automatically democratic and respectful of the results.

Now appears another self-proclaimed "candidate" demanding the immediate resignation of Mubarak; former head of IAEA, Al Baradei on the bandwagon of those who are supported by Obama, i.e. "opponents." There will be more, ambitious people who are very fast.

Unfortunately the young idealists who started this have no possibility to control the situation, they are not organized groups with a political platform, they just want freedom and say that Mubarak must leave. We can only perceive a group that has been organized for a long, long time, and knows what they want, the Muslim Brotherhood, which predicts a repetition of the same events that occurred in Gaza with Hamas, because Hamas is part of them. Nothing good on the horizon.

Argentinians would name Obama "pato criollo". (What happens when a duck walks). His desire to be approved and appreciated by the Arab people makes him commit blunders, chaos reigns in Egypt and the struggle between factions is beggining. "Opponents" are not all wise and democratic just because they want to fire a dictator. This world is not like that, there are many nuances, there are opponents and also enemies within those gathered in the Tahrir Square. This is not the end of a dictatorship, it may be the beginning of another. Democracy can not be learned by decree, people must be educated and it will take generations as it was the road that ran west, with comings and goings but, although imperfect, democracy is better than any other form of government.

Finally, in Mubarak, I repeat, a dictator with all the faults of his peers, appeared a trait that distinguishes him.

Because of his Arab culture he doesn´t see himself as he is seen by the West; he is not willing to resign, he wants to transfer control in elections in the time allotted and doesn´t want to flee like the others. And in doing so he is risking his life, but I think he has something that many lack, I think he has dignity.

We don´t know the price that will be paid, because this disorder does not bode well. If Obama had supported an orderly exit, the prospects could have been different. But that is asking too much of a person addicted to applause from the crowds.

Even when it may cost many lives.


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