11-2-11 | | Al Jazeera


    Finally a recent date has come to pass reflecting positively on the peoples of the Middle East.  They richly deserve it.  September 11, 2001 was a horrendous crime against the world.  But on this day its worth remembering that those who attacked on that day drew inspirations, at least in part, from the hands of their torturers in Egyptian jails.
    On 11/2/11, the world can collectively celebrate, as it witnesses persistent civilization courageously revolting to earn their freedom, secret police be damned.

    That Mubarak was an authoritarian dictator kept on political life support by the West, especially the United States Congress, will remain fresh in peoples minds, and a stain on America's own foreign policy.
    But all that's for the historians.  After dithering and taking wishy-washiness to new levels since the revolution began, President Obama's foreign policy team is resigned to the category of regional irrelevance that it merits. So too are the Johnny-come-latelies in the EU and elsewhere, who only phoned in their support once the Presidential plane was wheels up for Sharm. 
    They Egyptian people know pthey ousted Mubarak in spite of Washington, Brussels, or Tel Aviv. The entire Arab world knew from the beginning that all those parties, especially the U.S., were singularly obsessed with one pathetic question throughout: whether the next Egyptian leadership would continue to support the peace agreement with Israel. 
    The American blinders were far narrower than the masses at Tahrier Square could have possibly appreciated.  As they stood outside day and night there was no time for them to watch episodically interested American networks.  Spotty internet service probably denied them the ability to peruse the latest Wikileaks revelations.  If they had they would have noted, perhaps to no suprise, that their unelected Vice President Omar Suleiman was so eager to do the US-Israeli bidding that in December 2007 he advocated seeing the people of Gaza (fellow Muslims no less) "go hungry but not starve" in response to the election of Hamas.  There are much worse anecdotes in our recently released Palestine Papers.  How about that Freedom agenda, America?
    That logic taken further, it means the same Suleiman would do far worse to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood within Egypt, which is especially what the American Right and the eager-to-prove-their-security-credentials Left would like.  "The Muslim Brotherhood is a mortal enemy of our civilization," says Newt Gingrich, the revered Republican party strategist.  Even if they were, and they most clearly are not, Gingrich and any other US political parties will have to come to terms with a reality they have so far failed to grasp.  The Arab and Muslim world are making changes with their feet.  They draw their strength and power from the numbers they bring and the righteousness of their causes. They are unafraid and unshackled to take on the status quo. 
    These are the same people who will determine their destiny, arbitrarily chosen for them by Westerners with last names like Sykes and Picot and by DC-based lobbies and think tanks that once mattered in the scheme of things but don't so much any more.
    This is not a time in history to fear, though many would like us to.  The devil we have known has not been good to the world either in its place, the Egyptian people step forward to offer this inspiring gift, a moment of change for the Arab people, and a real opportunity for the West to reflect on its sordid Middle East interventions. 

    The best lesson of all, of course, is the promise of what can the Arabs can accomplish not on the back of an American tank, but through the coalescing of masses around information and ideas, which in the New Media age of Facebook and Twitter, is beholden to no dictator, lobby, or monopoly.   



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