Thursday, March 10, 2011

Egypt is not free, yet...!

We have been witness to two Revolutions, seen masses on the march, become aware of young people and of new forms of global communication. Media coverage that carried away people’s sense of commitment functioned, literally, as a “blanket”, as a deforming screen that obscured reality and masked key issues. All praise to the people of Tunisia, and of Egypt (whose bloggers have been working to raise public awareness for nearly three years). Their contribution to the awakening of their peoples has been incomparable. Their calls for liberty, and their mass demonstrations have brought about a break ; have opened a path to freedom.
But we must remain lucid. The powers that be are well aware of these developments. To all those who believe that the American administration miscalculated, demonstrated clumsiness or could not keep up with events, we suggest that they would do well to re-evaluate the situation in the light of what has happened and what may happen in the coming days. Egypt—like Tunisia—is still under tight control ; the way in which power was successfully transferred points to a considerable grasp of communication (up to and including apparent errors in judgment exposed to the public in press conferences) and of the internal logic of the Arab world.

People must now be less emotional ; the leaders of the opposition must be more vigilant and responsible. These leaders must shoulder the critical—and historical—responsibilities that are theirs as these lines are being written. Mobilization must always be an option. But now, the primary task for Arab civil society is to create opposition platforms that reflect the multiplicity of political voices and ideological aspirations. No longer is it possible to look on passively as the mass movement is diverted by lessened tensions, by the passage of time, by fulsome speeches and hackneyed declarations of principle. From where we stand, the same basic recommendations mist apply : stay alert, to not confuse political promises or pledges of support for emerging democracies after thirty years of propping up dying dictatorships, with hard cash.

Several years ago, we called for the emergence of a new “We”, based on principles, values, demands for coherence and a sense of belonging to shared national ideals. Now a fresh page of history is opening before us, ours to inscribe with the concrete and practical objectives of this new “We.” Together we must now commit ourselves, freed from potential emotional deafness, and nourished by a realistic knowledge of democratic demands, so that our governments—in the West as in the East—can no longer divide us, can no longer manipulate us, are no longer able to convince us of differences that simply do not exist in our daily lives, and to undermine our hopes to be fully human.

After all the joy and relief it is time for lucidity, time to set up common fronts based on resistance and on reason. Lucidity and perseverance must become the arms of our non-violent resistance. Neither Tunisia or Egypt is free or independent yet ; mass mobilization in support of the revolutions unfolding before our very eyes must continue, inspiring our hope of more to come.

Tariq Ramadan in his website. More Here.

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