I Think They are Going to Like You
I cannot believe how we are getting popular on the Washington Post pages when David Ignatius is complaining about the unpopularity of the US or the Bush Administration in Egypt. I feel I am so lucky that many writers are taking the situation in Egypt and US-Egypt relationship so seriously.
But in fact, I do not think that the US is unpopular, it is extremely popular that if a traffic light in Egypt stops working, many would lay the blame on the US. As when any earthquake happens in Egypt, they believe that the US is supporting Israel to do the nuclear tests that would shake our Egypt. The earthquake is tailored in a very special way that does not shake Israel. And they do not ask why the US is not capable of stopping any California earthquakes? The answer is pretty simple; it is the earth not the US that takes the liberty in moving in some areas. There are hundreds if not thousands of situations when the US has to stand as the sole reason behind anything. If a woman cannot get pregnant it is because the US gave Israel a spray (could be a pesticide or even a perfume) to export to Egypt to prevent women from conceiving. Yes, it gets funnier by the minute.
But this does not mean that Egyptians do not like the US but actually they are obsessed by the US. It was so funny to see all those Egyptians that literally talk about the American elections more than about our referendums. They talk about President Bush more than about President Mubarak. The only thing they do not do is that they do not go to the polling stations with the Americans. They wait for the results as if it were their elections. I once was about to have a fight with one of my friends, I asked her why are so passionate about the American election where you do not enjoy the same passion for Egypt’s 99% referendums. I told her whoever comes to office in the US whether we like or dislike him, he is chosen by the majority of Americans. THEY CHOOSE. I told her look at us we DO NOT CHOOSE.
Ignatius said in his article “Indifference is not an American trait. Part of our Benjamin Franklin heritage of industry and self-improvement is that we want to be admired, applauded -- and, yes, loved.” And I would add something else that should make us believe in the US whic also intrigues me if does not leave me stunned is that the US is among very few countries if not the only one that succeeded in bringing hundreds of nationals from all over the world where everyone feels home. Arabs are very nationalistic people, hence they fail to see other peoples’ best. The US brought the best from all over the world to live under one flag.
The reason of the “unpopularity” of the US is that many Egyptians believe that their oppressors and US are one. The continuous US support to dictators in the Middle East created this strange vicious circle; dictators want the US to believe that they are indispensable, because if they relinquish power, terrorism and Islamists will be the alternative which is a good reason why terrorism should remain that’s why they are doing their best to flare up more terrorism.
Domestically, they making their people believe that the US is providing a bloody alternative and definitely not a true democracy, as many Egyptian national newspapers report on a daily basis with this message: look at what kind of democracy the US wants, thousands are being killed in the streets of Iraq. At the same time dictators are fooling the US, making the US believe that they are doing it great deal in stabilizing oppressed terrorist peoples in the Middle East as I am seeing that all international press reporting only on Islamists in Egypt disregarding a majority of a non-Islamist category and I do not mean Egyptian Copts here. Egypt is not Islamists only. David Ignatius mentioned an Islamist and this Hisham Kassem who has many question marks on his background. Is this Egypt?
Many Egyptians would not have been able to get out of their homes for demonstrations without the Bush Administration pressure in a country ruled by emergency law since 1981, where there are many reports on missing citizens that never returned home. But there were some irritating statements like the one by the US First Lady, Mrs Laura Bush, during her visit to Egypt last May describing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's plan for presidential elections as "bold and wise". What kind of message is the US sending to the Egyptian people? We love your dictator. He is doing a great job. The result is that the hatred of the Egyptian people to Mubarak is automatically transferred to the US. Many Egyptian Liberals found these statements extremely frustrating. And of course let’s not forget the Islamists who are taking their enemy model to be “Israel”. They see Mubarak as the US agent who takes orders to secure Israel’s existence…bla bla. Actually, Mubarak is not a US agent but an enemy because he does not promote the values of the US or on which the US was founded that’s freedom and democracy. He is igniting Islamist movements in Egypt by giving them an open forum every Friday, known as Friday prayers if you do not know, to say nothing to the people, on the contrary degrading their mental abilities. Egypt which is not Iran has more mosques than those in Iran. There are many countries that has many political parties that have the words Christian or Jewish…etc but they are not used to destroy a society or used as a threatening tool or used to instate inequality between the different forces of the society. Islamizing Egypt and claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is “Banned” is a bedtime children’s story. Banning them and then giving them every free corner in a building to erect a mosque free of taxes with free utility expenses while we (citizens) pay for them to survive to stifle our freedom, is that what we call supporting or banning?
The US fails to talk or listen to the Egyptians that truly believe in freedom and democracy. They either talk to the regime or the agents of the regime who claim to be advocates of democracy. I really do not understand how come US Secretary of State Dr. Rice allowed herself to be introduced at the American University in Cairo before her famous speech by an editor-in-chief for a regime paper that names itself “Democracy” that has nothing to do with rights or freedom of the people. It is such pretentious superficial paper. Any simple-minded Egyptian knows very well that this woman who introduced Dr. Rice is a regime agent and has nothing to do with democracy. Again what kind of message is the US sending? We are talking about democracy and freedom through dictators’ agents. The result will be no credibility I am afraid.
David Ignatius said in his article: “Another leading democracy activist, Hisham Kassem, said he warned the secretary of state when she was in Egypt not to expect any bouquets.”I told Rice your administration is the most unpopular ever in the Arab world and will remain so until Bush leaves office." I have a question. What is this Hisham Kassem doing while advocating democracy? Is he promoting Turkmenbashi-like democracy? He is sending that same messages of the dictator regime that are said hundreds of times on every pro-regime paper. Why does not he draw an example to appreciate the freedom and democracy by grouping some people and appear on TV offering Dr. Rice flowers instead of warning? I m sorry I find his comment/warning a bit funny. These are the people, the US deals with and gives grants. They do not believe in the US. They believe they can change the US administration before changing themselves. Then good luck.
More on the US-Egyptian relationship from my blog: "Remembering 9/11"