AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
Without a shot being fired or massive violence in the streets, the people of Egypt last week made one thing crystal clear. They wanted a change from the dictator form of government that has ruled their country for the past 30 years. And their quiet, but effective pressure to oust Hosni Mubarak has literally taken the Middle East and the rest of the world by storm.
But the big question that remains unanswered is will the people of Egypt choose to become a democratic nation or will they allow some fanatic Muslim group to usurp the peoples’ voices and send the nation down a dangerous path?
What we do know is that presently the army is in charge of whatever is going to happen in Egypt in the future. And that army will, for the better or for the worse, have a great deal of influence on whether the new Egypt that emerges will be a nation that wants to have a solid working relationship with the United States and the rest of the free world, as well as with the nation of Israel or if it will follow a more militant Muslim path.
Let’s hope that the army and people of Egypt want a more democratic form of government than what they have known for the past 30 years. A government that honors the rights of the Egyptian people to be free, to have freedom of speech, to have the freedom of the press, and the right to have open and free elections with opposition parties being able to freely compete.
If all of these freedoms sound all too familiar, they should. They are the freedoms that every American is guaranteed by our Constitution. They are the basics of our society and our economy. And they are the values and principles that we, as Americans, wish for everyone in the world.
Which is why it is important that America and the Obama administration must stand firm in their support of the Egyptian people as they begin to transition toward a new form of government. Hopefully, a democratic form of government.
The Egyptian army, and the Egyptian people need to know that America will be at their side to help them bring their new government into fruition. No one should expect the process of Egyptians creating a new government to be without its moments of anguish and nail-biting. As we know, while democracy is a wonderful thing, it can take some getting used to. And it doesn’t happen overnight.
As Egyptians celebrate the demise of a dictatorship and the birth of a new form of government, the world needs to celebrate with them. Peaceful dialogue, not bullets, brought about this overthrow of tyranny.