Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We the People?

I had fully intended to devote this entry to the most recent referendum here in Egypt to amend the country's constitution. It looked to be a contentious vote and one in which many Egyptians (some who had lived all of their lives under the rule of King Mubarak, some also under King Farouk) were going to vote for the very first time. Those who favored the amendments were one of a number of groups--the entitled members of the former regime, the well-organized, but much maligned Muslim Brotherhood, and those who just want their lives to go back to the way things were pre-January 25 as quickly as possible. Those who were against the changes were the many marginalized groups or those who were responsible for the initial protests--students, intellectuals, youth, Coptic Christians, splinter groups from the people in power. The whole thing looked like it could bring about another round of riots, looting and chaos. I waited anxiously to see what Sunday's announcement of the vote would bring. What a letdown--no noise, no riots, no excitement. People waited patiently in line and cast their votes. No crisis, no drama (ok, opposition candidate El Baradei had rocks thrown at his car, but so did Prince Charles and Camilla) ...just an exercise in democracy that seems to have worked, at least for now. Yes to the amendments and now onward to elections of a new government in the fall. I was going to then launch into a treatise on the lessons to be learned from the Founding Fathers and their compromises that led to such a solid yet flexible document that has lasted since its inception. Yada, yada, yada.

But my thoughts on how disparate groups can get along if they just keep calm and think logically were discombobulated by the discourse on how the international community is reacting to the events unfolding in Libya. Just when you thought there was a clear, megalomaniacal, evil nut-job at the helm towards whom it would be simple for everyone to rally against and put a good hate on, everyone goes strangely wiggly. Countries that had indicated support for UN Resolution 1973 are beginning to balk now that the rubber has hit the road, so to speak. Egypt claims that it will not participate in enforcing the no-fly zone for fear of hitting the not insubstantial number of Egyptian citizens still stuck in Libya. Turkey won't play...yes, the bi-polar nation that on the one hand has been petitioning to become a member of the European Union, but now refuses to lift a finger against a potential Middle Eastern ally (they are really torked off because they were not invited to the Sarkozy UN Security Council after-party). Russia abstained, huffing and puffing about the potential civilian casualties...yes, we know that has always been a heart-felt concern of theirs. UAE wants to know Western intentions vis a vis Bahrain before making a move. And of course, everyone is backpedaling quickly because nobody really has the money or the will to get involved in what, given the generally accepted level of absurd intransigence of Colonel Gaddafi, will certainly be a protracted fight. Thus, leaving the US holding the bag or letting go and taking the blame for any failure. Like we would be surprised if France decided to knock off work early? Do we really expect the cavalry to swoop in from Qatar? No, undoubtedly we will be the people to help form a more perfect union..or not, again.


  1. Thanks for the boots on the ground perspective. Keep your head down! Stay away from Libya. Pray.

  2. I see Obama wants fighters out ASAP. I can't blame him. Everyone wants the Colonel gone, kinda sorta, but they do fear what will take his place.