So much is going on that it is mind numbing, heart palpitating. One thing is clear: state ‘policy’ is infuriating and at best frustrating.
Japan faces a nuclear catastrophe as an earthquake-induced tsunami devastatingly destroys parts of the country, killing thousands, and destabilizing a nuclear plant – that was brilliantly built in an earthquake zone.
Protestors are shot down, arrested and terrorized in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Oman, Morocco. Am I forgetting anywhere else? Peaceful protests have turned bloody, as state forces use violence against their own people demanding reform.
Gaddafi’s forces continue the reign of terror against revolutionaries, one opposition stronghold after another falling to the forces’ brutal warfare. And I keep thinking…Where is the equivalent of the mujahedeen who came from all over the world to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan? Or the leftists from Western countries who fought in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists?
For weeks I shed back tears, tears of sadness, tears of anger.
And today is Egypt’s much heralded constitutional referendum. A day of celebration and a day of concern and caution. The Military Supreme Council has seemed to get a referendum (from the committee it formed) asking the public to approve exactly what it has said it would do – quickly turn to elections and dismantle parts of the emergency law.
Sounds good, huh? Well, as is clear now from the yes-no voting split, the constitutional reforms would likely benefit those who are already strong politically, namely the National Democratic Party (or whatever parties its members form in its place) and the Muslim Brotherhood. While opposition groups struggle to build their parties and their movements’ agendas in a short timeframe of several months, the Egyptian People’s Revolution gets siphoned to shallow ‘free and fair’ elections. (Uh, ‘free and fair’?)
Not only does this referendum reveal what everyone already suspected – the Muslim Brotherhood’s embrace of a limited democratic revolutionary transformation (if it can even be called ‘democratic’) – but it begs the question of what kind of relationship the ruling military is trying to shape with the Brotherhood. My hunch is that quick elections will lead to a Brotherhood victory and will provide an excuse (and a Western-sanctioned one, at that) for the military to annul the elections and maintain power.
The military command’s unfettered co-option of the Egyptian revolution has been brazen and clever. Take the dissolution of the Amn Dowla, the much hated secret police. A week after Tunisia’s historic dissolution of the secret police and the Ministry of Information, the Egyptian government announces that the Amn Dowla will not just be abolished but replaced by a national security agency to combat terrorism. Come again? A what? Yeah, that sounds familiar – aka, Homeland Security – US Ministry of Interior and Secret Police Order wrapped into one.