Students can take a lead in Egypt crisis
Posted February 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm in Opinion
Although the media might have led us to believe the Egypt crisis is under control, the truth is young people in the United States must take a stand on this issue â€” it is perhaps more critical now than ever before.
In response to the demonstrations in Egypt, some critics are concerned the situation in Egypt will result in something similar to the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Unlike the radical Islamic movement that led the revolution in Iran, however, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a social religious movement that supports a democratic government in Egypt. If a democracy is to flourish in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood must be allowed to compete for power.
Contrary to what some skeptics believe, however, the Muslim Brotherhood has not played a significant role in the demonstrations. It was the enlightened youth who began the protests Jan. 25 and who are continuing to lead them.
Hosni Mubarak has said he will work on constitutional reform and legislation in hopes of settling the unrest. He has appointed his first successor and put a brand new cabinet in place. The Egyptian people, however, believe his attempts are too little, too late.
At this moment, the only clear path to achieving transparent elections in September is to establish a legitimate transitional government. The Obama administration has shown support for newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, Mubarakâ€™s righthand man and the CIAâ€™s point man for Egyptian rendition. This is what most Egyptians do not want: the same military dictatorship hidden behind a slightly prettier face.
The United States is attempting to install a strongman, and that has the capacity to create conditions for a secular democracy.
But what the Egyptian people need is an organic democracy, not a chemically induced one.
This is not to say there should be an election now; Egypt has neither the institutions nor the political leadership to ensure a smooth transition. If it did, protestors would not be out on the streets.
But there are alternatives. Democracy advocate, Nobel laureate and former IAEA leader, Mohammed ElBaradei, has just returned to Egypt, and by gaining support from the Muslim Brotherhood, could prove an exceptional candidate for achieving a national unified government.
Egyptian leaders should take one thing into account: Two-thirds of the entire Arab population is under 30 years old â€” and look at all the changes they are making.
It is our responsibility in the United States, as members of the younger generation, to speak out, whether by participating in protests inspired by the Egyptian revolution, writing to our members of Congress or merely changing our Facebook statuses to express our solidarity.
The repressed people are relying on us to amplify their voices, and who else better with our advanced technological and networking skills to expand this revolt for liberation, human rights and self-determination?
Whatever the case may be, as students of a highly recognized research university, we need to look beyond what is fed to us by the mainstream media.
Nesma Tawil is a junior majoring in political science and international relations.
For more stories on the crisis in Egypt, click here.