Friday, January 28, 2011

Dominoes in Progress: Egypt and Yemen

In the aftermath of the successful Tunisian protests, Egypt and Yemen have followed suit. Under thirty years of 'president' Mubarak, the Egyptian people faced a reduction in civil liberties and censorship; such as under the emergency laws. There was no freedom of assembly.

Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N.'s IAEA, said "the barrier of fear is broken. And it will not come back."

I thought this quote was particularly powerful. Egyptians, and most likely other Arab/North African citizens, have felt fear towards their government. This fear makes for a very unhealthy society. When people fear their governments, unrest and radicalism emerges. I think this is a universal truth.

Like I said in my last post; when governments to not respond to their people, reform for their people, and do not give their people necessary freedoms we see the mass protests going on today. Tunisia made the world see that through protest, governments can change.

Now I know that both Egypt and Yemen are different locations with different situations, but I hope that the outcome will be freer and fairer governments.

If the U.S. wants to curb anti-Americanism, now is the time for us to step up and support the values which our nation is founded on. President Obama made a reference to Tunisia and alluded to Egypt in his State of the Union speech, but more interaction and support of the Egyptian public could change minds about the U.S. throughout the Arab world; something that could be a big player. More public diplomacy is needed. 

I don't think its just coincidence that Iran in 2009, and Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen in 2011 have the same features. Generations are changing, and the freedom yearned by the current one will have its impact in due time.

Citizens should not have a "barrier of fear" towards their governments

Egypt 2011:

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