A revolution – power to the people – democracy, these are the core foundations of the free world. We all hope to make the world a better place – and the people in Egypt are no different.
All revolutions are blissful in the first days and the Egyptian revolution is greeted with euphoria by many in the world. PM Netanyahu acknowledged that saying: “These hopes are understandable. All those who cherish human liberty, including the people of Israel, are inspired by genuine calls for reform and by the possibility that it will take place.”
But are all revolutions the same? In the last three decades images of revolution came from a range of autocracies under threat – from the Shah’s Tehran, Deng Xiaoping’s Beijing and Ceausescu’s Bucharest to the uprisings of the last couple of years in Iran, Tunisia, and now Egypt. Some revolutions failed and some succeeded. The frightening concept of a revolution is that you know where you start but you don’t know where you’ll be when the revolution ends.
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In Israel and every other democratic country we appreciate the significance of liberty. We enjoy independent courts that protect the rights of individuals and the rule of law, free press, and of a parliamentary system with a coalition and an opposition. One can only hope Egypt will come out of this revolution as a democratic state providing freedom to its people.
Anyone that believes that democracy is the likely option in Egypt, or the only option, has not done his homework on the recent history in the Middle East.
In 1979 the Iranians have rallied against an autocratic regime only to end up with an oppressive radical Islamic one. The West has lost a strong ally in the Gulf region and the Iranian people lost their freedom and human rights. The same radical regime in Iran is looking at the Egyptian revolution with glee. They have embraced the protesters, proclaiming an Islamic awakening is under way.The Mullahs in Iran are not interested in seeing democracy in Egypt that protects the rights of individuals, women, and minorities. They want Egypt to become another Gaza, run by radical forces that oppose everything that the democratic world stands for.
A few years ago, Hamas, a non democratic radical Islamic group, used democratic elections to gain control of Gaza. Hamas became the rulers of Gaza without demonstrating any commitment to democracy, and Palestinian society had no checks in place to prevent the outcome from being one man, one vote, one time.
Let’s look at Lebanon – a fragile unstable democracy in which the terrorist group Hezbollah is now the dominant force in government. Radical Islam does not believe in democracy. It may use democracy to gain power but will not deliver democratic values.
Does Iran enjoy freedom? Is there a real democracy in Gaza? Does Hezbollah promote human rights?
The House of Mubarak is no more. He is 82 and not running for reelection. The only question is who fills the vacuum in Egypt. There are two principal possibilities: a provisional government of opposition forces or an interim government led by the military.
In the chaos created by a revolution all of us in Giyus.org hope peace and democracy will prevail but we must maintain watchful eyes that recognize reality.