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DEBBIE MENON : Visions; Failed Endeavors, and Wishful Optimism

ED NOTE: Your attention is invited to “policing up” Tahrir Square, which is an operation in progress as we speak.  Note that the white billowing clouds are tear gas, and all of the sticks in that formidable looking rank of soldiers are not broom handles.  They have not come here to sweep the streets with brooms, but to crack heads.

By Debbie Menon / STAFF WRITER

The will of the people is bound to prevail.”

Yes, a fine sentiment.   But when has it ever and, when it has, how long did it last?  Freedom, Liberty and the dignity of man, must be built on more than slogans!

Yes, hopefully.  And there have been days when it looked like we might be making some headway  but then, when we step back a few paces,  let the smoke clear a bit, it is apparent that we still have a long, long and difficult task ahead of us.

Yes, the people have “Power,” at the moment, but it is apparent power, latent power.

Only kinetic power, properly applied and maintained will carry the day.

They will probably prevail in the end… I certainly hope and pray that they do…. but I think they should wait until they have caught the chicken before they start setting the table for a Victory Banquet and inviting the world to join them.

Premature celebration can quickly turn into a wake!

Where is the popular leadership who will muster and guide this power?   Suleiman?  The Army?  ElBaradei?  The US Embassy?  The Israeli Embassy?

These seem to be the only power points in view, the only spearheads on the table.

Lets be realistic.  Where is a leader? Freedom is more than just the absence of a despot or a tyrant.  It must be built, nourished and defended.  This requires strong leadership with a moral understanding and singular objective of bringing liberty and freedom to a people and their land.

They still have a long way to go, and many pitfalls and unseen traps between where they are now and their idealistic goals.

For starters, Omar Suleiman does not have a good track record when it comes to principles of freedom, liberty, human rights and the dignity of man. He will perhaps also be replaced by more of the same. There seems to be many more from where Mubarak hailed!

Prof. Richard Falk succinctly points out in his recent blog post, titled: Egypt’s Transformative Moment : Revolution, Counterrevolution, or Reform –

“It is rather obscure about what is meant and even more so, what will happen, in the course of an ‘orderly transition’ under the auspices of temporary leaders closely tied to the old regime, and likely enjoying enthusiastic backing in Washington. Will a cosmetic agenda of reform hide the actuality of a politics of counterrevolution? Or will revolutionary expectations come to the fore from an aroused populace to overwhelm the pacifying efforts of ‘the reformers’? Or might there be a genuine mandate of reform, supported by elites and bureaucrats, enacting sufficiently ambitious changes in the direction of Democracy and social justice to satisfy the publics? Of course, there is no assurance, or likelihood, that the outcomes will be the same, or even similar, in the various countries undergoing these dynamics of change, and some will see ‘revolution’ where ‘reform’ has taken place, and few will acknowledge the extent to which ‘counterrevolution’ can lead to the breaking of even modest promises of reform.“

Keep Albert Einstein in mind:

“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
– Albert Einstein

The definition of insanity is when someone keeps doing the same thing while expecting different results.”
–Albert Einstein

The Hon. Former Congressman Paul Findley, author of the book ‘They Dare To Speak Out,’ believes the best prospect for new leadership, in Egypt, is Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei, who is deeply committed to democracy and has long demonstrated political skill and statesmanship as head of the International Atomic Energy Authority, based in Vienna. He could be the silver lining in the dark cloud over Cairo affirms Findley.

I agree.  In the interim, ElBaradei,  along with  The Brotherhood seems to be the popular and “best” choices which would reflect the will and promote the welfare of the people and “democracy,” or as much of it as Egypt is prepared to deal with.  But, both contenders are unpalatable to Israel and the US as being too popular or “democratic,” which makes ElBaradei an extremely unlikely candidate to be selected, or permitted to be selected by the US and Israeli interests.

No one wants a popular or “democratic” government in Egypt except the Egyptian people…and I am afraid they will be the last ones consulted in this matter.

I like Prof. Petras even though he writes like a lecturer. He does illustrate, succinctly and simply, the duplicity and self -interest upon which the US bases its foreign policies.  This is the duplicitous three-fingered US Foreign Policy in action as Petras describes it:

“…Washington responded with a three track policy:  publically criticizing the human rights violations and advocating democratic reforms; privately signaling continued support to the ruler; and thirdly, seeking an elite alternative which could substitute for the incumbent and preserve the state apparatus, the economic system and support US strategic imperial interests.”

So much for the “manifest destiny” of the Americans as “Procurers and Defenders of Liberty and Justice for All.”

Freedom and Democracy, built upon, surrounded, shored up and sustained by despotic dictatorships which it creates and defends, is not a true Democracy, nor can it exist  as one for very long.

Eric Walberg offers  a balanced, realistic view.  Yes, now is an opportunity for the US to “do the right thing.”  But, by whose definition of “right,”  So far their batting average has not been up to major league standards.

Mark Lander, Martin Indyk, Jeffery Feltman, George Mitchell and Aaron Miller all are driving nails which sound “right,” but by whose definition of “right”?  Are these the heavy hitters whose batting averages we are looking at?   I am not impressed.

Try Einstein’s second quotation on the definition of “Insanity.”  We’ve been down this road too many times before, and have always been tagged “out” at first base.

How about, instead of deciding what they really need and what is best for them to improve their lot and become valuable allies and friends of ours, why not ask them what they think they need to do just that?  And then leave them alone.

We will see and hear a lot of “informed comment” and analysis from a great many pedants, hopefuls, idealistic romantic dreamers; Been there!

One should not ignore the fact that Omar Suleiman for years has been Mubarak’s tried and trusted assassin and agent for executing, actually carrying out, most of the brutal activity which he found necessary to keep his position and “run ” Egypt according to the demands of his Israeli masters.

Omar Suleiman will most certainly have his own agenda. With the seat of Max Power within his sight and grasp, he will assert himself as best as he can as “his own man,” and the most fit to become “The New Leader” of Egypt.

But, which way and how far he will lead Egypt still remains to be seen.

He is definitely not a Simon Bolivar, a Nathan Hale or a unifier and ”Liberator.”  He is Omar Suleiman, former Egyptian political assassin, hitman, and former Second in Command of a brutal dictatorship.

He will have a lot of contenders for the throne.  He will contest them as vigorously, as violently and as mercilessly as is needed to consolidate and stabilize his position as President.  He will apply the same methods to the general populace in order to “keep the peace.”

Do not expect him to be patient, benevolent, generous or merciful.

He will “command,” and he will demand acceptance and obedience.

Anything the Egyptian people may get out of this will be only coincidental, and as little as is necessary to maintain peace in the streets.

The name and figure in the Presidential Palace mean very little. As long as he is a lackey of Israel, the Egyptians will not be free.

Kevin Barrett of the truthjihad radio avers, “Genuine democracy, for its part, is leaderless governance.   All public servants, up to and including presidents and PMs, should be just that — servants.  NOT leaders…. The only kind of leadership I’m interested in is moral and scholarly exemplars like the best ‘ulama’ and others noted for goodness, courage and piety.”

I agree with him, on the role of the statesmen in a democracy as servant and steward.  We hear too much, particularly in the mainstream press, about “who rules,” or “the rulers” of a State, even when referring to the ostensibly “democratic” or Republican States.  And, too many of those so-called “representatives” seem to regard themselves as governors, “rulers” or “Lairds of the Manor” rather than stewards, servants or representatives of the people.

Democracy” is full of pitfalls, and weaknesses.  It is a shaky and dangerous experiment in social engineering.  Thucydides warned us of all of that a couple of thousand years ago when he wrote the words of Pericles in his chronicles of the Peloponnesian Wars.  He also warned us that we would never benefit from the lessons of history.  Plato was sure it could never work, or endure!

Any endeavor of Man will fail without a vision.

Debbie Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Her commentary has been published widely in Print and Online publications. She can be reached at: [email protected]. Her website:

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