Sunday, February 6, 2011

Egyption Revolution 2011

[This post is not on MMOs]

For the last week I couldn't really switch off Al Jazeera. They are obviously biased, not always very reflected, don't have the best english speakers. But in contrast to any other TV station on earth, they have the courage to cover one of the most significant events of our time.
Occasionally, I was moved to tears, listening and watching people risking everything they ever had and ever will have to make a difference. I also found this very remarkable video.

In some way I am not certain that it isn't distasteful or even crude to use those most magnificient events for 'entertainment purposes'. After thinking about it for some time and watching this Extra Credits episode, however, I now think that it is not only the right thing to do, but really has to be done.

While following the unfolding events I almost assembled a whole TV series in my head. The only thing I needed to do was imagine protagonists. And even they were partly already on my screen. The events I was watching were better than any invented story, anyway. So, why is there no series? I mean, we have trivial things like 'Heroes' or 'Lost'. Why is there no serious series about the people fighting for their rights? Is there any more emotional theme in our time? Did I miss something?

Perhaps Babylon 5 got near it. I remembered on of my most favourite quotes yesterday. But Babylon 5 is in space and there is no need to go so far away. The drama is here on earth. The dilemma is there. There are good and evil guys, but then again, who is really evil? There seem to be easy solutions at first. Make the first two seasons about it. And later on you find out that there never are easy solutions.

You find out that you have to compromise on that which is most dear to you. You find out that tolerating parts of the regime for too long can easily cost you your life; tortured to death. But it may still be the right thing to do!
You find out that the antagonist has reasons, too. Not the best, no, he is not a good guy. But then .. who is? Perhaps you should wish to never have so much power.

Don't misunderstand me. Humans Rights are universal. Who suppresses them without a really good reason deserves death. There I said it. But reality is more complex, less fair and still never without hope. Reality is the best story; just put some protagonists in there. And watch the sparks flying to places far, far away.

My best wishes to the Egyptian people. And .. yes, I am a bit embarrased of the western governments. But only a bit. This is YOUR revolution; and unfortunately, it is not complete, yet.


  1. Everyone has their own crazy pet solution. Mine: Israel assassinates Mubarak and does absolutely nothing else. That could score them some points in any new government.

    More seriously, it sickens me to see this getting spun by certain media outlets here, pretending that it is some sort of Muslim revolution and Mubarak is all that stands between Freedom and Islamofascism. This doesn't have a damn thing to do with Islam, or even America, it's about people wanting freedom and jobs and freedom.

  2. Israel is the protagonist in a related story. If they continue to walk the way of the last decade ..

    There is a perfect storm coming into this region and most governments seem too slow to move out of it's way. Israel makes one of the most dramatic stories ever.

    I call it a story, because if you look at it like that you see the problems for what they are. You learn to lift your head up into the air and see.


  3. that it is some sort of Muslim revolution and Mubarak is all that stands between Freedom and

    Perhaps. But the fact is it doesn't matter who instigates the revolution. What matters is who gets the power. You would surprised but in Russia bolsheviks werent the prime players who removed czar and ended monarchy . But they were the ones who grabbed power in turmoil which followed afterwards. Didnt turn very well for my country

    Egypt would become 2nd Iran if not worse. Dont make a mistake - islamo-extremists would be the one in power should the current regime fall

  4. You are right Max, but I don't think you know why :)

    The problem is that in a country like Egypt, the Regime could forbid everybody to meet and and discuss alternatives to him. You couldn't talk openly in a café you couldn't talk openly on the street. .. But in one place you could always talk: The mosque.

    Thus the only organised group in Eqgypt today that could not be destroyed by the regime was the muslim brotherhood. In some way they were even useful to Mr. Mubarak, as he could use them as a scapegoat against the freaked out US citizens.

    So if you had an election today, even if it was fair (it wouldn't be), the only party that were well organised would be the muslim brotherhood. It is a late revenge by Mr. Mubarak.

    That is why Egypt needs time. The protesters need to organize themselves into political parties. But that takes a few months at least. And what in between? Massive pressure by western governments on the regime to limit the number of protesters that get tortured to death out of revenge?

    It is a really difficult situation. But that doesn't mean that there is no solution. There's just no easy and fast solution.

    What western governments, and especially Mr. Obama are doing is the right thing to do. Problem is that their influence is limited. but then again .. it has to be that way!

    Unfortunately, it is very hard to communicate and there is no certain success. I can only encourage the protesters to keep the pressure high without crippling the country or creating a situation in which the regime considers itself to have it's back against the wall.

  5. Is there any evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood is or would push for a tyrannical Muslim regime? I know they had their extremely extremist past, from which came some Al'Queda thinkers, but since then they appear (note that I say appear, since I cannot read their minds) to have moderated. Didn't they get denounced by Al'Queda?

    Revolutions do get subverted, but not always, so while we should be ready for the worst, we shouldn't be so sure that it will happen. It might be my own bias, but I think America did pretty well with its revolution, even if it was more war of independence and less actual revolution.

  6. Klepsacovic, I guess the nature of the Brotherhood is hard to grasp for outsiders. Especially agnosticists like me.

    I'd say there is a fair chance that radical elements subvert the revolution and we end up with some islamistic regime that falls into economic isolation and out of pure desperation propagates anti-Israel propaganda.

    At some point they might not be able to control the ghosts they call and then we have a war in the middle east with nuclear weapon on Israel's side, that they will NEED to use to protect themselves. They are vasty outnumbered. Even with US support.

    God help us if Iran has nuclear weapons then, too. Who knows what Saudi Arabia, Irak, Syria, etc do at that point. Can they resist the public pressure to join the war against the arch-enemy that took their land and suppressed Gaza? Saudi Arabia, perhaps.. the rest?

    The Egyptian regime is already dramatically restricting the press again. Should liberation square in Cairo fall in some nightly surprise mission, it is hard to say what happens. It could well mean that all the pain has been for nothing.

    Theoretically the best option in that case would be an US invasion. But unfortunately US are too stupid to do this in a way that the people don't think that they do it for oil or power or for whatever. (Absurd, but the masses are dumb).
    Also, this is just not an option for current US.

    If you had to choose between letting the current regime gain 100% control and having the brotherhood come out with 60% of the votes .. well .. perhaps you should chose the brotherhood. The way to democracy is paved with traps, to say the least. But once you have it; you have it!

    Fortunately, US has some 1.3 Billion Dollars in annual support for Egyptian military. If they can use this one trump card properly ...

  7. The 'fun' thing for US is that should Agyptians succeed in creating a stable democracy, Mr. Obama will finally have justified his nobel price. He will, indeed, enter history as the guy who brought change. His speech in Cairo will be considered as strategic and brilliant.

    However, should this revolution fail, or even end in some islamistic state .. .. what would be the conclusions the US media and citizens will draw when the next election comes about ?

    There is a lot at stake here. Not only for Egyptians, but for all of us.