UPDATE 2/10 @ 8:30 a.m. PST News reports that Mubarak will step down tonight. Awaiting announcement on Egyptian TV.
UPDATE 2/9 Google executive Wael Ghonim’s release got demonstrators back on the streets, and employee strikes have begun. This week’s demonstrations may prove to be the largest yet, as those opposed to Mubarak are set to turn out in big numbers on Friday. Meanwhile, Washington is now calling for a “prompt, meaningul, peaceful and legitimate” transition and concrete reforms.
UPDATE 2/3 1:3O PST President Obama prays that, “the violence in Egypt will end,” at National Prayer breakfast. Meanwhile, Mubarak supporters fired on protestors in Cairo killing five in latest wave of violence where thousands are still demonstrating. The Egyptian army has placed soldiers between the protestors and pro-Mubarak supporters. Foreign journalists have been beaten and detained in clashes, which the United States has called “unacceptable.” Oil prices rose today as a result of the unrest.
UPDATE: 2/1 3:50 PST President Obama has just announced that he told Mubarak that the “transition must begin now.”
UPDATE: 2/1 Mubarak has announced that he will not run for re-election, but will “die on Egyptian soil”. This means that democratic elections will be held in the fall. Read the attached article (Jerusalem Post) and links for more, MAMAs!
What happens when we rule with an iron fist – our kids rebel. Sure, they’ll be submissive for a while, and do what we want out of fear, until puberty hits and then WHAM, it’s on. They will challenge every idea and every rule. Their friends become the center of their universe, as they seek to connect with people who “get them” and value their perspective.
Egypt has reached puberty. It’s people, 2/3 of whom are under the age of 30 years old, have found themselves cut off from their “friends” by a government who has shut down the internet and access to social networks, like Facebook and Twitter. When people don’t have an outlet to vent about economic, social and political reforms – poverty, unemployment, corruption and fair elections – they take to the streets. They’re rebelling against authority…in this case against the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak and his 30 year rule (see live feed).
The situation is complicated further as Egypt is a “friend” of the US – not a bestie, but a country we have turned to in tough times. They have made peace with Israel and helped with stability in the region. The key word seems to be stability…caution…everything tiddy and seemingly calm and proper. But, if stability is abusive, at what point do we have a responsibility to say/do something? Years of oppression and lack of hope for a better future has risen like the phoenix in the aspirations of the Egyptian people and they aren’t going be still and quiet any longer.
In his speech in Cairo in 2009, President Obama said:
“The fourth issue that I will address is democracy,” he declared, before explaining that while the United States won’t impose its own system, it was committed to governments that “reflect the will of the people… I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.”
So, it seems like this is a defining moment. Again, the US finds itself looking at a very complicated situation in the Middle East – we can’t exactly “unlike” Mubarak, can we? How could we support a country, but not its leader? How do we cheer on the people of Egypt in the pursuit of freedom, but hope the extremists don’t take over the movement? Do we stand up and say “hey, we told you to get your act together…and now, we need to stand up for your kids.” Or, do we mind our own business and just stay out of it?
Why should Opinionated MAMAs care about what is going on half-way around the world? Well, for one, all moms are connected in our own hopes for our children’s future. We support the dreams and aspirations of our kids, we do not suppress them. We provide them with their basic needs, we do not deny them. We are the ones that “get it” – the innate need for our kids to connect and be loved, valued and respected.
Oh, and, because what happens in Egypt will impact the entire region and will have implications for us and our other “friends.” But, what about the kids…
Do we support those who yearn for democracy and a better future at any cost…or do we support the quickest, easiest way to command order? Democracy is hard and takes time. But, there will always be a need for a connectedness between people and the ability for their voice to be heard and valued. The lesson here is that “where there is a will, there is a way” because people will always strive to build a better future for themselves and their children. As mothers, we know our kids can be strong-willed – they should be, they need to be – and we must always act in their best interest. Sometimes they’ll get what they want and sometimes they won’t. But, the way we foster respect and love matters…it must be substantive. And, we must always do what is in their best interests.
Like any pyramid scheme, a government cannot thrive on the backs of its people without providing the products or services it needs because, at some point, it will crumble.
MAMAS – let us know your opinions on preventing our kids from showing up with a tattoo on their butt or, in this case, rebelling against the government…what do you think the US role should, or should not, be in Egypt right now?