“Let my people go!” That is what Moses asked centuries ago in the desert of the pharaoh.
And now, the descendants of that pharaoh are asking to be freed, but this time of the 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak.
And now it is time for we the people of the United States, and for our leader, our president, Barack Obama, to state our position and take a stand for the people, for democracy, for freedom, and tell Mubarak to step down. Sen. John McCain has, and our president must follow suit. The people of Egypt need to hear that the American president supports them. Just his words will make them continue to brave this fight for security, safety, food, drink, and most of all, freedom. But I am asking the president to go one step further—put a freeze on the funding.
Is the United States in a precarious position? Is Obama? Yes. But the United States can no longer back a dictator who is clearly behind this violent opposition to the protesters, and who cashes our checks in the hopes it gets to the Egyptian people. If Mubarak weren’t behind this, he would’ve condemned the actions of the progovernment protesters. And since he has not condemned these actions, how can we fund the work of a man who, after ruling 30 years, is watching the attacks on his own people? And perhaps ordering these very attacks in secret. We can no longer risk our $1.3 billion or more a year funding a military that has stated they won’t shoot the protesters, but now are not shooting those who are shooting the protesters. The military in its tanks quietly stands by, even hiding while the Mubarak supporters are loading their semiautomatic weapons. We must take a stand, and a strong one at that. And so must the world. The United States cannot stand alone in this position. The leaders of the world must unite in demanding that Mubarak step down, demanding that Mubarak leave. [Take the U.S. News poll: Is the Obama administration handling the Egypt crisis well?]
The majority of the antigovernment protesters are peaceful people seeking peace. In walk the Mubarak supporters on horses and camels with whips, on rooftops with firebombs and in Tahrir Square with semiautomatic weapons. The peaceful protest has turned into a bloodbath, an orchestrated bloodbath, many observers feel.
Now there are many who feel this is Egypt’s fight to have. There are also those misinformed, fearful of a fundamentalist regime, of sharia law. The Muslim Brotherhood themselves have stated they have no aspirations of running the government of Egypt nor turning the country under sharia law. They, the Muslim Brotherhood, want what the people want: majority rule, or more specifically, majority vote. We see a few progovernment people on television stating they hate us, America, and they attack American journalists. This is wrong, but this is nothing new. And this is not the will nor the voice of the people of the peaceful revolution crying out for freedom day and night for over nine days now. And now, they cry for freedom in pain, as over 600 are injured and lives have now been lost in this fight. [See a roundup of political cartoons on the Egypt protests.]
Americans say we can’t get involved. But we are involved. With our money, our time, our politics, and our voyeurism of these people’s struggle. We have to step out of the shadows and call a spade a spade. Or a violent dictator a violent dictator.