There’s little question that the Egyptian people are protesting in resistance to tyranny, or that Mubarek has abused human rights and exercised totalitarian oppression of the people in the process of maintaining his 30 year rule. The Mubarek regime justifies its oppression as the only effective means of preventing the violent overthrow of its government and its replacement with an even more tyrannical regime. The people have clearly suffered under Mubarek’s rule, they no longer (if ever they did) subscribe to this justification for oppression, and are seeking a change in government. The Egyptian people, as all mankind, have a Natural Law right to the liberty and self-determination that they seek and that has long been withheld from them.
While the current mass protests in Egypt may indeed precipitate a change in government, the use of violence by either the protesters or the government is deplorable and is only destructive to the causes of either party. The use of violence in this type of mass popular uprising, where an unarmed people face a heavily armed and mechanized military force, the people will suffer more casualties and a higher rate of defeat, unless there is a significant mind-set change in the troops, military and other political leaders. If the current protests do lead to a change in government, it remains unclear whether such change will improve or diminish liberty for the Egyptians.
As freedom loving Americans, we can certainly identify and empathize with the desire of the Egyptian people to be free. However, regardless of American commercial or political interests in Egypt (which are undeniably significant), it is not our place to intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign countries, one way or the other. The question, then, is how do we support the Egyptian people in their quest for freedom without intervening inappropriately in internal, sovereign affairs? While we can provide moral support in terms of world reporting on the protests and our government and public opinion leaders, and the American people speaking out in support of the people, anything more than this could easily be interpreted as inappropriate meddling, and could actually be detrimental to the cause of freedom.
The Egyptian Army and Police have kept Mubarek in power all these years. While the U.S. has worked with Mubarek by default, in order to have dealings with Egypt, the U.S. has in no way “propped-up” the Mubarek regime at the expense, or promoted its oppression of the Egyptian people. Continued efforts to encourage the Egyptian government, whether changed or not, to conform to the principles of freedom and human rights, including the right of self-determination, must be maintained.
The real danger is that many groups and organizations that do not have the best interests of the Egyptian people at heart, including their right to freedom and self-determination, are seeking to co-opt
the current power of the people for their own designs of imposing different tyrannies. If the current government is incapable or unwilling to supervise the peaceful transfer of power to a new government that will hold free elections and respect the rights of the people, it is likely that the Mubarek government will disintegrate, leaving a vacuum that will be filled by one or the other of these totalitarian groups, leaving the people no better off, and perhaps even worse off, than they were under Mubarek.
Egyptian President Sadat, a leader who was largely responsible for Egypt signing on to a major agreement of cooperation and peace with Israel (the first such agreement between an Arab nation and Israel in modern times), was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood. At that time Alman-al-Zawahiri
was a major figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. After being jailed for his terrorist activity, he became the mentor of Bin Laden, and currently serves as second in command of al Qaeda.
The Muslim Brotherhood, despite Mubarek’s tremendous oppression and counter-terrorism efforts, has continued to spread blood and horror throughout Egypt, spread terrorism beyond Egypt’s borders with Hamas, al Qaeda and others, and continues to pursue the violent overthrow of the Mubarek government so they can impose an Islamic Totalitarian State. These folks, and many others like them, are not the good guys. Egypt is at great danger at this time of ending up like Gaza (ruled by Hamas), or more recently, Lebanon (ruled by Hezbollah).
Whether or not countries seeking freedom and self-determination succeed in their efforts, or fail, leading to more tyranny, is of considerable interest and import, not only to the citizens of the countries seeking freedom, but to the peace and security of all nations of the world. But the truth may be that there is precious little peace and security in store for the future. Perhaps the world is fated to descend into terrorism, anarchy and totalitarianism, and resistance is futile.
I pray for people everywhere seeking freedom, and especially now for the people of Egypt, that they may achieve their righteous goals and enjoy the blessings of liberty.