Friday, February 11, 2011

Peaceful protests, not suicide bombs


By Robin Wright

Feb. 11, 2011 -- Arab world’s old authoritarian order is being shattered, whatever happens next.

Egypt accounts for roughly one-quarter of the Arab world’s 300 million people, so the transition of political power in Cairo will likely have widespread effect across the 22-nation bloc. From Casablanca to Kuwait, Tripoli to Damascus, Egypt’s transition will affect every other Arab country in some way—small or large, direct or indirect.

In a region made famous for its suicide bombings, the use of civil disobedience to peacefully force Hosni Mubarak from the presidency changes the political dynamics, not only in Egypt.

In the end, Mubarak and his loyalists could no longer isolate or discredit the burgeoning opposition without enormous costs, and potentially not at all. The movement began to take its demonstrations beyond Liberation Square to parliament, state television and the presidential palace. Protests also spread throughout the country. And labor began to strike in sympathy with the opposition.

Already crippled economically over the past two weeks, Egypt could not afford to see strikes spread and the country paralyzed. The opposition could not be contained, politically or physically.

Despite the breathless pace of change in both Egypt and Tunisia—all since Dec. 17, a mere eight weeks—the political drama is likely to play out for a very long time.

So far, the model for Egypt is more Turkey than Iran. Ironically, Mubarak resigned on Feb. 11—the same day as the Iranian revolution. But Egypt’s uprising has taken a decidedly different form.

Now the hard part begins—organizing elections, amending or rewriting the constitution, developing new political parties, and getting the economy going again. The economy will be a key in ensuring a healthy transition for Egypt.

Robin Wright is a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

1 comment:

  1. uh ya, mrs. wright, if you dont have a pro-isreali, pro-netenyahoo, pro-likudnik agenda, i suggest you look at what the media says in the Muslim world, and you will be shocked at how little support fundamentalists actually have. if all Muslims worldwide were such rabid fanatics as you have constantly portrayed us as throughout your career, then why is it that in muslim countries where elections are actually held, and contrary to what you write, we actually do hold elections in indonesia, malaysia, bangladesh heck, even pakistan, fundamentalists cannot win a single election.

    and when they did, which was the north west frontier province, the people got so sick of living under their rule, that they threw them out of office come re-election time.

    try reading, al ahram, or even out of pakistan. these area all in english. obviously the propaganda you get out of the jerusalem post, owned by henry kissinger btw, doesnt seem to get it.

    believe it or not i actually read your book 'sacred rage' in high school, and i did a report on it too. i also read a biography on the legendary jamal abdul nasser. i still admire him for the principles he stood for.

    but i invite you to look at my news channel that i have on youtube. given what you have written in the past, it should be eyepopping for you. you might even like some of the indian/pakistani cooking shows i uploaded as well on youtube, like the lucknow kabab.

    "Look into the eyes of the Muslims that live in India, and if you truly see through the pain that they live through, to which land do they belong to? (India or Pakistan?) We (Hindus) treat them as aliens. Somewhere, Inside, because we continue to ask 'even after Pakistan you still want something?' these are citizens of India now, that was Jinnah's failure, because Jinnah never left, and never really advised the Muslims that stayed back (in India). Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian and we (Hindus) must treat them as so!" - Former Indian Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh, Author of "Jinnah, India, Indepdendence, Partition"

    "When i first moved to south asia 20 years ago, Sufism was a revelation to me and overturned all my pre-conceptions about Islam. It's peace-loving, tolerant and Pluralistic". - William Darlymple, Author, "Sufi Soul: The Mystic Music of Islam"