...is not that TV news in the U.S. sucks eggs. We knew that, and my little post didn't add anything to that story. There's this freakin' revolution happening right now in Egypt (and a mostly peaceful one at that), and all I could find to write about was how I get my news from the Internet instead of from TV. Gosh, I'm so self-centered. At least not everyone else in the U.S. media is like that (I don't mean this as a criticism of Doc Searls' post).
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Listening to NPR on the way home last night, I heard some Egyptian protesters were talking about how they had been so inspired by Obama's campaign and election, but were now feeling betrayed by how Obama has been straddling the fence instead of supporting them (I've also felt deeply betrayed by the president on issues of concern to me, but that's a whole other story).
What hit home for me was when one person talked about how Bush had been all high-minded about democracy as the justification for U.S. actions in Iraq and Afganistan, yet his actions had been all about denying democracy unless it was carefully managed by the U.S., and how Obama has continued this policy. We went in to Iraq talking democracy, and now democracy might actually be breaking out in the Middle East but it's happening without us! Worse, we're seen as being afraid to offend the dictator!!
Yes, I know how geopolitically and strategically important Egypt is to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and blah blah blah. Yes, I realize how bad it could be if Egypt were to turn into a fundamentalist Islamic state. But the price we've paid for stability in the region is that we have been propping up a dictator for the last thirty years. From everything I'm seeing this looks like a non-violent revolution of moderates, it looks like the wind is blowing in their direction, and we are late to the party. It would be most excellent for them to feel that we supported them in their time of need. [UPDATE: Unfortunatey, the pro-Mubarak thugs have brought violence to the protests. No surprise that that dickweed and his cronies would resort to this.]
Because I'm an internet guy, the way I found to do something practical to help was by donating some cash to help Egyptians get around their government's blockade and get online. The money is directly going to the Tor project, and will be used to "[provide] satellite internet devices, other related equipment, to help with network access costs, and general support for Egyptians and people working with Egypt during this crisis and beyond". It's not much help, but it's something.
Update 2010-2-2 17:00 May God protect the protesters... Looks like pro-Mubarak thugs are preparing to attack them. I hope this doesn't become another Tiananmen...