It would be hard to underestimate the importance and impact of the current popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The fall of Egypt's modern-day Pharaoh, Mubarak, and the establishment of a true democracy will likely shape that volatile part of the world more than anything since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
This change is historic because it is not driven by any specific ideology. It is not driven by nationalist, Islamic, socialist, or political motivations. It is truly a popular movement that is bringing together poor and rich, young and old, religious and non-religious, Muslim and Christian, and political and non-political. It is a movement of the masses, of people seeking freedom, rights, honor, dignity, self-determination, economic prosperity, and a recognition of their humanity.
The fall of the Egyptian government and its repressive policies would be a catalyst for many changes. Here are the top 10:
1- A stronger push for democracy, freedoms, and human rights among the people in the rest of the Arab world.
2- A self-reassessment and public challenge of the repressive practices of Arab dictators and puppet regimes. The prospect of reform is a wake-up call that it is possible to change the status quo and that the "Arab Street" is not in a coma.
3- A end to the inhumane siege on Gaza and its people.
4- A greater chance for peace when more pressure is exerted on Israel to give the Palestinians more of their rights.
5- A major blow to the US-Israel bloc of client-states and allies, leading to more popular and stable democracies. (Tunisia and Egypt were among its leading members).
6- A shift in the Palestinian Authority's current policy of shamelessly ceding the Palestinian people's moral, legal, and human rights under heavy pressure from Israel's closest Arab ally/protectorate, Egypt (US and Saudi pressure will surely remain).
7- A weakening of religious extremism and terrorism, which is greatly fueled by political repression by dictators such as Mubarak (as well as ongoing occupations in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan)
8- Improved social and economic justice for the people when corrupt and greedy government officials and their cronies lose their ability to embezzle and squander the resources of their countries.
9- An easing of the tension and polarization between the West and large Muslim populations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, which is a result of the US and a few other Western nations imposing, supporting and funding brutal autocracies.
10- On a lighter note, this will also create new job opportunities as our intelligence agencies and State Department will have to go back to the drawing board to remap new US policies and strategies in dealing with a new democratic Arab and Muslim-majority countries and peoples.
Shortly after he was elected, President Obama promised that he would support political reforms, freedom, democracy, justice, and human rights in the Middle East. Now he has a golden opportunity to put his words into action. So far, he has made it clear that he intends to do so with regard to the Egyptian uprising.
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html