Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is Democracy Breaking Out in Egypt? (But No One Is Noticing It!)

The world news is saturated with reports of the uprisings in the streets of Egypt. The clear and constant demand is for the departure of President Hosni Mubarak. But what is behind it? Is it the Muslim Brotherhood, as some are claiming? Will it lead to a more conservative regime? A regime based on Sharia Law?

Or are we possibly seeing the birth of democracy in Egypt? (Many demonstrators interviewed say they want democracy and free and fair elections.) And will it spread to the rest of the Middle East?

Things are different now in 2011. Authoritarian regimes can't keep their tight grip on a population linked by the internet. Information flows more freely. Regimes can't keep people in the dark or uninformed.

And secrets are a thing of the past, as we witness with WikiLeaks. In fact, information from WikiLeaks may have in part sparked demonstrations in Tunisia which may have in part sparked demonstrations in Egypt. And next Jordan. And maybe also Yemen, and Syria, and the Palestinian State.

They say the truth will set you free. So, are we witnessing a milestone event, where the free flow of the information on the internet may lead to an outbreak of freedom and democracy? Will this be the first revolution that started on Facebook?

Unfortunately, the western nations are too fixated on a "controlled transfer of power" as to miss what could be Egypt's version of the American Revolution leading to free and fair elections and real democracy. Yes, Mubarak will step down, but not until September, in part at the advice of an American diplomat. But this will not satisfy the people of Egypt.

The world is changing. And the democracies of the world cannot afford to sit idly by and not support the expansion of freedom.

(Note this post is in part inspired by my friend Kelvene Requiroso who posted: "I smell people's victory over there in Egypt! Democracies of the world, let us UNITE!")

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