US should support Egypt's democractic revolution
The revolution in Egypt has me glued to my digital screens. I have constantly been watching the Al Jazeera English live stream online, waiting to be updated as U.S. news channels' coverage has been lacking.
What I notice more on Al Jazeera is a local coverage of the Egyptian people and their struggle for freedom. American coverage has predictably been U.S.-centric, asking how the outcomes could affect United States relations with the Middle East and how this could affect Israel, our main ally in the region.
While this may be pragmatic, it diminishes the struggle the Egyptian people expressed on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. Media pundits have been discussing President Barack Obama's administration's decision not to support Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, an ally of more than 30 years, and thus have shown support of the protesters.
Israel fears losing an ally in Mubarak and the void his expulsion would leave behind. Yes, it is not known who will lead Egypt next, but that is the cost of democracy. If we truly stand for the principle rather than democracy as meaningless rhetoric to spout out when one needs to justify foreign policy choices, then we should support the revolution and not fear it.
The despicable hypocrisy in U.S. foreign policy in supporting democracy while propping up friendly dictators has to cease. I applaud the Obama administration for treading the fine line between pragmatism and silent support of the Egyptian people. There is cleverness in not supporting the revolution out loud, as some would interpret it as U.S. involvement. I, however, deplore the pundits for trivializing a democratic revolution. How can we promote democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan and stand against them in the rest of the world?
People have taken inspiration throughout the Middle East after the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Protests have broken out in Morocco and Yemen. King Abdullah II of Jordan has dissolved his parliament and ordered to implement changes, though this may only be superficial. China has blocked Internet searches on Egypt for fear of revolution.
While I was thinking about the struggles of the Egyptian people and eagerly anticipating their success — in contrast to the pundits at MSNBC and Fox News — I remembered the powerful words of Bob Dylan, "There's a battle outside and it's raging. It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a-changing."
The revolution is happening now. To oppose it would be futile and irresponsible.
Tabish Talib is School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies and political science.