1 Feb 2011

Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen

I visited and traveled in these countries in 1996 and 1997. Since then, I have paid attention to the ongoing corruption, cronyism and government failure that has made many citizens miserable, many politicians rich and many soldiers and bureaucrats fat, lazy, evil and incompetent (articles on Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen).

What kept them in power so long? Friends like the US government.

I wrote this on Sep 12, 2001:

The Muslims get screwed quite often (with support from Christian/Western Governments)... Before we go off and start shooting (or nuking) all the "rag heads" (as Howard Stern's listeners want), perhaps we should consider where the perpetrators are coming from in terms of their anger at what "America" has done to them. It's too bad that US citizens are not called upon to make the decisions that the government makes for them, because, if we knew more of what was happening (there is a clear lack of coverage and bias in most of the US press/television - against Muslims), it is likely that the USA wouldn't be responsible for as many messes as it is.
For example, the Egyptian government used "MADE IN USA" tear gas canisters against Egyptians:

Someone left a funny comment about these rebellions that I thought appropriate: "Wow. Looks like these guys can liberate themselves without our help. So much for GW Bush's grand plan to save them."

Watch this 2 minute video. Listen to the guy at 0:45 and tell me that we are not all the same:

Bottom Line: The US and other liberal democracies need to stop military, financial and political aid to illiberal countries. The Iraqi, Saudi, Afghan and other oppressed peoples can take care of themselves, but not if their freedom fighters are assassinated by CIA operatives, shot by riot police using "made in the USA" bullets, or imprisoned by regimes whose torture the US ignores. Don't worry, China, Russia, Iran and other exporters of political tyranny would never win. People like freedom and they will fight to get it.

Addendum: A friend emailed this response: "1989 all over again?" and it made me reconsider the parallels: If the Berlin wall was held up by Soviets, maybe the Wailing Wall is held up by Americans. Interesting thought... and what an amazing thing it would be for people to throw out so many authoritarian rulers in the region!