The Fall of the Second Wall of Berlin

Posted on January 29, 2011



I intended this blog to be on matters technical, but today, I’m deviating from that theme, from that meme. The fact is that technical contexts are superseded by greater, social contexts and things of a higher moral imperative, and some things are worth considering in the name of morality and human dignity.

The world, the west, the US in particular is watching with trepidation as a great human drama unfolds in the Middle East. As wildfire running through dry grass, the waves of discontent and frustration bottled up for decades of neglect and destitution, unrest have moved from Tunisia into Egypt.

Until just yesterday, pundits and experts conjecture on the differences between Egypt and Tunisia. From experience drawn God knows where (for some of them from their poopoos maximus), they proclaimed toppling or even shaking Mubarak’s ossified regime was nothing short of impossible. And yet (and confirming my beliefs in the cyclic nature of history), in less than 24 hours, the unthinkable has happened – Mubarak asking the government to resign:

What that means, what that entails, it still to be decided by dynamics of a revolting people. But the fact that such an statement is made is something that until 24 hours ago was unthinkable. The fact that it occurred is miraculous, remarkable… and terrifying.

It is worth nothing (from personal experience witnessing the civil wars in Nicaragua and their aftermath), and at the risk of sounding like a Marxism theorist (which I’m not, and which is something I utterly detest with every fiber on me), such events are inevitable. In many ways, they are necessary. Those are indeed pains of labor as a new order (for good or bad, completely new or same old news) is pushed out a fiery, infernal womb.

We don’t know exactly how this will take shape, or how radically different that shape will be. All we know for certain is that we might be witnessing a pivotal event in history, as pivotal as the fall of the Wall of Berlin, the effects of which might take years, if not decades to cope or understand.

Morally speaking, if we really look at this with honesty, and if we believe that people has a right to revolution against an oppressor, independent of whether that oppressor is our ally or not, then this has to happen.

It must happen.

These people have been living with the jackboot on their neck for way too long (in great part with the West’s license.) It is certainly a possibility that a militant Islamic regime can take over, but it is not as likely to happen as many people seem to believe. For many reasons.

For instance, the Christian minority (a sizable minority in Egypt) is actively involved in the uprising. In fact, the uprising seems to be pulling from all sectors of society. It is not a military act of war spearheaded by a particular militant group espousing a particular ideology. These are just people. People fed up. Humiliated, exploited people. People in pain.

The Muslim Brotherhood might take the reins of government (or be a primary participant of it.) This is a valid fear, one that I fear as well. In such an event, it is certain to create a government antagonistic to the West (and to the US in particular).

But pause for a moment if you will (especially if you believe the right of rebellion only exists on our terms.) Pause for a moment and consider this , at the very least because what will happen – whatever that might be – it is not up to you or me or our government. It is not a function of our likes or dislikes. Pause for a moment and consider this:

It does not follow, for many practical reasons, that it will be one actively hostile (in a militant way) towards us. It might not follow that Egypt will become a new Iran. It does not follow that Shariah (which is open to different interpretations from country to country) will be institutionalized. And if it does, it does not necessarily follow that this will bring war against us. It might be a possibility, but it is not an inevitability.

Not a casus belli (at least not one that is based on truth and not on ‘weapons-of-mass-destruction’ falsehood.)

It has to happen, sooner or later, the toppling down of dictators in the Middle East has to happen. For moral reasons, it has to, and chances are it will not happen in the US’ terms. The sooner our foreign policy aligns to that incoming train, the better.

Morally, we can no longer prop the abomination that is about to be squashed by the will of the people simply because it suits our geo-political agendas… or the fuel needs of the SUV you have to pull the boat that you don’t have over the hill that does not exist[1]

I hope there is some intelligence left in our government and not go chicken-hawk making matters worse. And I hope even more that these turns of events give the Egyptian people (and many people like them) a chance to live with a shred of decency, a chance to find work, a chance for hope, a chance to live as they see fit which is their God given right.

[1] A quote I believe said by Ron Stewart IIRC.


Posted in: politics, world