Dear Egypt: We Love You for Your Freedom

Remember when that ignorant fool opined, “They hate us for our freedoms”?

As one American still ashamed by that comment, let me thank Egypt for such an amazing display of what freedom is about. Congratulations!

May it inspire those of us watching from America to reclaim our own democracy.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

    • Arbusto says:

      The emotion is carried.

      Wouldn’t be nice if we in the USA could scuttle our government in favor of a better republic. Tears came to my eyes, listening to Al Jazeera and the fervor and joy of the citizens in the square, as I realized to how moribund our citizens are as our freedoms continue to disappear.

  1. JTMinIA says:

    I’m so happy. When I heard that Mubarak had left the country, my first reaction was “he doesn’t want to be around when Sulieman starts the killing; he wants to be able to come home and be the ‘saviour’.” I am so happy that I was wrong.

    But, at the same time, I hate them for their freedom. :)

  2. cregan says:

    It is odd that that “fool” also said that establishing a true democracy in the mid east would start a chain reaction. Turns out, he was right.

    And the chain will continue.

    And, any objective observer knows that Bush was referring to Al Quida, not the people. He knew the people, once they saw democracy in action in their own neighborhood, would get hooked, just like everyone of us is.

    I say pooh-pooh on all those who ridiculed such a view and said the assumption democracy was for everybody was mistaken.

    Congrats mostly to the Egyptian people.

    • Jim White says:

      Bullshit. Bush was mouthing the lines about freedom and democracy, but the Neocon plan was to take down what he saw as Islamic governments, through violence, and replace them with Mubarak-like repressive regimes that would funnel wealth to Bush’s buddies. This is the exact opposite of what the neocons want.

      • cregan says:

        You’re so 2008, I’m so 2000 and late.

        You need a new line. Does anybody really talk about Neocon’s anymore?

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Lest you forget…

          “Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a good friend and U.S. ally, and he urged the Obama administration to move cautiously as turmoil continued to shake that nation’s government.”

          • croghan27 says:

            Maybe he did – but:

            . They already made headlines Thursday when they heckled Dick Cheney. And a group associated with Paul reportedly bought 1,000 tickets for supporters, ensuring a strong performance in the straw poll.

            These are tea partiers, no less…. they also soundly boo’ed Rummy …. Maybe not the audience I would chose .. but his bs is being identified as BS.

            http://www.salon.com/news/cpac/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/02/11/ron_paul_at_cpac

          • MaryCh says:

            Lest you forget…

            “Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a good friend and U.S. ally, and he urged the Obama administration to move cautiously as turmoil continued to shake that nation’s government.”

            Somehow this reminds me of George Will and the like condescending and cautioning nonVillagers in 1989, words to the effect ‘Sure the USSR appears to be falling apart, but this might be a trap to get us to let our guard down, and maybe {shudder, shudder} reduce defense spending!!!’

          • nextstopchicago says:

            I’ve felt there was a LOT of difference between Bush and Cheney. The decision not to pardon Libby is a huge sign, in my opinion. To say “look what Cheney said” as evidence of what Bush believes about all this isn’t convincing to me.

            Not that I like Bush. But there are people that are wrong-headed, ignorant and have a devastating impact on the world (Bush) and then there are people like Cheney – pure evil. I just like to be precise.

        • brendanx says:

          People don’t talk about them because they haven’t successfully started a war in a few years.

          They’re still there, though. Take a look at the still prominent John Bolton or Charles Krauthammer for their line on Egypt.

          Or better, comment #16.

          Or better still, go straight to the horse’s mouth and see what Netanyahu thinks.

          You’re naive if you think this country will do anything but attempt to subvert any Egyptian democracy that arises.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            I dunno. I don’t think we’ll attempt to subvert what’s happened, simply because I doubt we have anyone working for the USG anymore smart enough to pull it off.

            I think we’ll go to the new leadership and say basically “You can have democracy. Or Military rule. Or whatever. As long as you continue to support us in the war on terror, including supressing the Moslem Brotherhood, American financial support will continue”.

            Boxturtle (And that message may already have been conveyed)

            • hotdog says:

              Since when has competence had anything to do with the pernicious and underhanded attempts at meddling our oligarchy undertakes?

              • BoxTurtle says:

                Good point. ObamaLLP has always had an exaggerated assessment of their own abilities.

                Boxturtle (Msg to Obama: There is a God. You ain’t him)

            • brendanx says:

              I don’t make a habit of reading someone like Krauthammer, but at a time like this it’s instructive, as the propaganda narrative hasn’t yet coalesced (there’s a lot of confusion among elites when genuine democracy is at odds with our presumed “interests”, more particularly so when the Israelis are vocally hostile to such democracy). His column today is more subtle than his previous one: he calls for a “Freedom Doctrine”, a la Truman, in which we support parties of our choosing. Well, obviously such support has to be covert, and its flip side is subversion of parties not of our choosing. We may not be all-powerful, but you wouldn’t expect us to refrain from meddling, would you?

              I doubt we have anyone working for the USG anymore smart enough to pull it off.

              So much the better. The Israelis will doubtless be able to assist us with their expertise.

        • madma says:

          What, do you not want to deal with reality? did you see who Obama’s advisors on this crisis were? Educate yourself.

      • madma says:

        Haven’t the neocons gotten what they want? suleiman has taken over just like the women(did not catch her name, but on AJ) from DC said. obama was on the phone to Suleiman for days orchestrating him taking over and now he has. Perfect for the neocons.

        • nextstopchicago says:

          No, Suleiman has not taken over. The whole essence of what happened yesterday vs. today is that Suleiman overplayed his hand, and the army demoted him. Where yesterday, Mubarak did actually mumble that he was giving his “powers” to Suleiman, today, sovereign power rests with an army council that is explicitly committed to ending the emergency law and transitioning to democracy. Suleiman is one person on that council, but everyone noted the abjectness with which he gave today’s statement, like a schoolboy told he had to confess in front of everyone.

          I’m not saying things will be rosy – there are obviously hurdles. but when you pretend that Suleiman is in control, you’re calling millions of Egyptians, and not least the democracy activists who put this in motion, fools, because they don’t believe that the developments of today are a defeat. Suleiman is not in control, and this was definitely not a win for neocons.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Unh, which country is a true democracy in the Mideast? Tunisia and Egypt are both now under military rule.

      The fool may be right. But the jury is still out. And it looks like Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are effectively preserving their rulers.

      BoxTurtle (I guess you could call Israel a democracy, in the same sense that America is a democracy)

      • cregan says:

        Yes, there is still more history to see. But, it’s a good start. And, I think those other places will find it hard to preserve their leadership after this. That’s a chain reaction. One thing leads to another, and the things that come after could not happen without the thing before it.

    • Evelyn says:

      I’m sorry. Which “true democracy” that created a “chain reaction” are you referring to? I don’t notice anybody in Egypt referring to the wonderful, inspiring example of occupied Iraq, or occupied Afghanistan. Perhaps you are referring to that model, the only “democracy” in the Middle East (ignoring Lebanon) — Israel, which has been jumping up and down screaming stop, stop democracy in Egypt!

    • dark knight says:

      Bush doesn’t and never did give a rat’s ass about democracy in the Mid-east or any where else. And you sure as hell can’t force democracy down people’s throats with a gun. Irak isn’t done yet.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Excellent. Linky? Maybe something that says how much they froze?

      Boxturtle (The fool was keeping his stash THERE?!? I thought the MOTU’s had moved to the Carribean)

  3. phred says:

    Amen, EW. Egypt gives me hope that people everywhere will stand up for their rights. This is a great day for all of us!

  4. dipper says:

    It must be a wonderful feeling for the Egyptian people to know there is so much solidarity amongst them. If something similar were to happen here the people would be fighting each other.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Most interesting. But they won’t give amounts. Or the number of accounts. Which makes me worry that this is simply Swiss window dressing, to prevent media speculation that the Swiss are hiding money again.

      But why would Mubarak use a Swiss bank? They’ve frozen dictator money before. Why not Bahrain or UAE? Or Grand Cayman, if you want it out of the mideast.

      Thinking about it, would Mubarak be smart enough to place some money in a Swiss Bank where it can be found and then swear that was all he has?

      Boxturtle (And Mubarak knows too much for America to try to take his loot back. He’d talk)

  5. DWBartoo says:

    Thank you, Egypt, we love you for your freedom, the hope you have given peoples the world over, and the lessons in non-violent revolution you have shared with all of us.

    May we long honor your triumph as you have honored your own humanity and that of every single person in the world.

    Peace be unto you.

    DW

    • dark knight says:

      My favorite moment (if true) was the report of the middle-aged lady approached the Army officers at the palace and asked them why Mubarak killed her son, then held up a burial shroud and said it was for her other son should he give his life to get rid of Mubarak.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The jury’s still out on that. The real work for Egyptians is just beginning, and all while the media glare will inevitably turn elsewhere. One yoke they have taken off; but like hacienda owners, others will want to put new ones on them. Here’s hoping those persistent rounds of negotiating remain peaceful, too.

  6. rosalind says:

    meanwhile back here in the land of the free a 6-year old boy was placed on an involuntary 72 hours psych hold by Los Angeles Unified School District officials because of a picture he drew was deemed “disturbing”.

    Dorman’s mother, Syndi, is outraged at the school’s response to her child’s drawing. She explains that Jack had not wanted to go to school that day because his father was being deployed to Iraq, and wanted to spend time with his parents. She also adds that the drawing was an image from one of the video games her son plays. Jack suffers from separation anxiety, and had been seeing a therapist.

    Six. Years. Old.

    • KrisAinCA says:

      Slow down, though. My wife works at a level 14 facility for kids here in California and is the key residential counselor to a 7 year old who stabbed his brother in the chest. Just because he’s 7 doesn’t mean he doesn’t need help. The kid in the article is probably only on a hold for a matter of a few hours, not 72. 51-50s rarely last the full 72 hours, just until there’s a change for psychiatric evaluation.

      What kind of picture did he draw?

      • dosido says:

        well go read the article…he’s already seeing a therapist at six years old (sounds like a lot of back story) but otoh the school refused to release him to his mother. He was in the lockup for 48 hours. yikes.

        I don’t think this is a b/w case. sounds like a disturbed little boy.

        • KrisAinCA says:

          That’s terrible. I just finished reading the article and it sounds like he is indeed a trauma survivor at this point. He probably needs residential care. My heart breaks when I read about children who’s spirits have been crushed like this :(

          My wife tells me about the kids she works with every day. The amount of trauma inflicted on these innocents is abhorent. I don’t understand why our society permits these things, then lets these kids fall through the cracks.

  7. dosido says:

    I too am so inspired by the Egyptian people. I am also heartened by the fact that the army disobeyed orders to shoot upon their own people from the very start.

    We pretend they hate us for freedoms we pretend to have. h/t firedog whose name i can’t recall at the moment.

    Please do not feed Bush trolls during this momentous time. This is a moment in history to be treasured.

    • KrisAinCA says:

      Suleiman’s announcement today said power has been transitioned to the Army Supreme Council, which is kind of like our Joint Chiefs, from what I can gather. This means Sully’s got no power. AJE has also been referring to him as the “former Vice President”.

  8. Knoxville says:

    “They hate us for our freedoms”?

    We still have a government of the people, for the wealthy.

    It’s time for Americans to stand up against our flawed and all-too-abusive system.

    The American people should demand that the Republican and Democratic Party machines be dismantled and that none of the leaders of these two political parties be allowed to do anything more than vote in regular elections ever again.

  9. demi says:

    BTW – the photo at top is sensational. The face of this revolution. Could be some kind of winner. I keep finding myself starting at it.

  10. veganrevolution says:

    The real change we can believe is Egypt. Oilbummer doesn’t know “change” if it hit him in the face.

    We should be looking to Egypt as our model. Imagine millions around the White House camped out demanding jobs and real health care and jail for banksters?

    Wonder if Barry Cocaine would act as non-violent as the army did in Cairo.

    • warp9 says:

      We should be looking to Egypt as our model. Imagine millions around the White House camped out demanding jobs and real health care and jail for banksters?

      Yes, that would be interesting to see.

  11. montanamaven says:

    Great picture and a great example of organized PEACEful demonstration that brought together a diverse crowd. We have all kinds of peaceful demonstrations here. I was at the anti-war D.C. march in 2005. There were at least 300,000 people there. But they were not that many young people or workers. And it was not covered at all by the news. Neither were the half million Latinos who came to D.C. to protest.

    Now the real reform must begin. I would urge Egyptians to read “The Shock Doctrine.” The chapter on South Africa shows that the South African blacks gained political freedom, but their economic fate was still in the hands of the white banksters. They did not get the land reform that they had fought the revolution for. The Soviet Union fell only to be replaced by neo-liberalism and oligarchs. Millions starved.

    The Egyptians must focus on their economic freedom. Not sure where to begin. Any ideas?

  12. endtimesgal says:

    Best day in the last decade plus. Inspiring. And America had nothing to do with it. Which how could we? We mouth platitudes about Democracy and I don’t believe them at all. Not sure if our elections are even counted accurately so what would I believe? We aren’t the greatest country on earth. Now Egypt is because they overthrew tyranny. We couldn’t even get rid of Bush and cowered in fear and changed our own freedoms over one terrorist attack.

    Almost for a second wipes out how worthless and uninspiring our country has been in my adult life time. Let’s celebrate Reagan some more! We have jobs and great health care and no one ever dies in vain in foreign wars right? I told my daughter-imagine 30 years of Bush-well yeah Mubarak was worse-but I can’t imagine. None of us can. These people know what a fascist government really means and they risked life and limb to change it. The people in this country have no idea what rights they really have anymore. We are always only one more terrorist attack away from shitting our pants, rounding everyone up and disappearing them.

    But yeah, sometimes the people win. Egyptians are looking more American than Americans to me.

  13. wendydavis says:

    The courage they showed should leave us a bit ashamed. I can’t say how many times when I’ve written about demonstrations like Showdown in America or One Nation I was told that being in the street is ‘old school’, with all the accompanying predictions and reasons they would be failures.

    ‘The Power of the Internet’ I was aways told; movements to Move Our Money, or Boycott _______ store or telecom, la la la. They are good ideas, and have the power of withholding $$$ behind them (Hit Them Where It Hurts), but we just got shown that sometimes you have to put yourself on the line.

    Sadly we have the exapmles of being hundreds of thousands strong protesting the wars, or protesting them once a week for a year in even small groups in hick towns like mine.

    But don’t ever let them tell me again that mass amounts of people can’t catch an idea from one thing we write about and turn into a movement

    that can change the nation,

    Thanks, Marcy. This is a good day to be alive.

  14. Masoninblue says:

    This uprising and revolution would not have happened without the internet and there is absolutely no reason why we cannot reproduce it here in the United States.

    We have 3.5 million homeless; 28.5 million unemployed, underemployed, and people cycled off the BLS rolls or just joining the work force; and millions of homeowners facing foreclosure by the criminal banks. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., just announced it’s closing a plant in nearby Union City, TN, which means 1900 people in a small town have just lost their jobs to a major corporation closing a factory, killing a town, and outsourcing the jobs to another factory in a foreign country. The price of grain, corn, and oil is skyrocketing. This fucking bullshit has to stop.

    We need a revolution in this country and we need it now. We have no voice in Washington, D.C., and we’re going to have to go one at a time, by twos, by threes, and by greater combinations to gather on the mall in D.C. where thousands upon thousands gathered to listen to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. tell us about his dream, now our dream. We need to go there and refuse to leave until Obama, every member of Congress, and the members of the Supreme Court tender their resignations to us and leave town. We can do it too. For the millions of us who are unemployed, it’s not like we’re going to lose our jobs and livelihoods, when we do this. Today, we are all Egyptians. They did it. We can too.

    We shall overcome!

    Que todos se vayan!

    Venceremos.

    • john in sacramento says:

      Yea, it’s not over. This is just one piece to a huge puzzle but …

      Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

      In the cabinet, where he still wields significant influence, Tantawi has opposed both economic and political reforms that he perceives as eroding central government power. He is supremely concerned with national unity, and has opposed policy initiatives he views as encouraging political or religious cleavages within Egyptian society.

      […]

      Tantawi rejects any conditioning on Egyptian FMF on human rights or any other grounds. Before this year he thought that FMF was inviolable and regarded ESF as a layer of protection against possible cuts to FMF. He will argue that any conditions on military assistance are counter-productive. He will also state that the military is not behind human rights problems in Egypt and that U.S. Congressional human rights conditionally is mis-targeted.

      […]

      … he is, nonetheless mired in a post-Camp David military paradigm that has served his cohort’s narrow interests for the last three decades. He and Mubarak are focused on regime stability and maintaining the status quo through the end of their time.

      ESF = Economic Support Fund?
      FMF = Foreign Military Financing

    • peony says:

      Leonard Bernstein conducts Mahler’s Second Symphony (finale).

      Music fitting this occasion. Bernstein is a joy to watch.
      I love this comment: “My goosebumps have goosebumps.”

      Thanks!

  15. substanti8 says:

    The primary common ailment across the political spectrum in America is the misguided belief that “bigger is better.”  Republicans may talk a good game about opposing “big government,” but they actually only oppose it being used for certain things (such as social justice).  Power on the left – whether in Washington, on college campuses, or even in radical third parties – is similarly addicted to statism.

    So if you want to compare Egypt with the United States, you need to look first at the difference in SCALE, and you need to understand that the larger a country is, the less inherently democratic it is.  Avoiding that fact is like a failure to notice the emperor’s lack of clothes.

    But Americans have long been good at delusion.  I don’t expect this time to be any different, and I don’t expect any real lessons to be learned from the streets of Cairo.  Pundits will continue to spin their narrative of large scale – and perpetuate the myth of democracy for 300,000,000 people.