Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Egyptian liberals and the American conservatives

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend of mine who claims to be a liberal Egyptian on the Iraq war. In a separate coincidence, I had another meeting with another friend who also claims to be also liberal on the same topic.

Egyptian liberals are quite divided on the war in Iraq. Or it could be that the war on Iraq demonstrated sharply two streams of liberals in Egypt. The first group of Egyptian liberals agrees with the American conservatives in general. It is quite amazing how some Middle Eastern liberals are agreeing with the American conservatives. It is quite extraordinary to find the liberals and the conservatives on the same side. But yes that happened in Egypt. They are agreeing with the American conservations on what is making American conservatives the most controversial and hated. That’s the war on Iraq.

The Egyptian “pro-conservative” liberals believe in the following. There is no other way to topple dictators in power for 35 years like Saddam without war. The world was turning into pockets of terrorists. The US is the only country that decided so early to take the risk and the lead to lead the war on terror. Many should be grateful to the US for taking the responsibility of toppling Middle East dictators. No one else could do the job. We knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction WMD, but we knew that the US finally realized that the terror threat will remain as long as Middle East dictators are in power. Europe does not realize the magnitude of the destruction that happened in these countries over half a century that can pose a true threat to global security as the US does. They believe that without the US attack on dictatorship in Iraq, many peoples in the region would not have dared to start all these opposition movements in the streets without pressure from the US. In Egypt people used to be sacred to death to talk to each other about the ruling family. Now you name it you have it…Egyptians became more vocal and outspoken. This group of liberals is very sensitive to the US reactions towards the democracy march in the Middle East. They measure the US reactions inch by inch and they usually judge very harshly. They are expecting a lot more from the US administration in general. They see Iraq as free and democratic. They think the US makes mistakes but they believe in it.

The other group of the Egyptian liberals is quite controversial as well. They are anti-Islamists and anti-Iraq war, hence anti-American. They see Islamists and terrorists as a danger but they fail to explain how they can confront an ideology of fascism that wants to take the world over stamping out centuries of civilizations. This group cannot wait to see the US out of Iraq. They are against the atrocities of the war in general and they see Iraq as occupied with no sovereignty. I think because both groups have different views on the principle of non-interference or self-determination as well.

Both groups of Egyptian liberals believe in social freedom and the right to a true citizenship under democratic free state.

Thank you my friends for the enriching discussions. At least if we do not agree on how democracy should take control, we all agree on the necessity of freedom and democracy that would guarantee a free world.

Read the American story from Gateway Pundit on the same post.

I wrote this related cynical blog last August: "The B52 will take care of you".

15 Comments:

At 8:58 PM, Blogger مصرى أوى said...

I belong to a third group of "Egyptian Liberals".I believe in social freedom and the right to a true citizenship under democratic free state. I am anti American policies in the middlle east hence anti the war on Iraq, I believe we have to let the Ikhwan have their own political party if they choose to do so as we cannot have social freedom with some exceptions.

egyptianhopes.blogspot.com

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

I will agree on letting Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) on having a political party on the following conditions:
They should believe in a civil state with no religious color, quitting their ambition in having an Islamic Egypt.

They should quit playing games with the regime while gaining more ground in the society at our expense and our liberties.

Political parties are welcomed to compete with fair rules for game with no bias.

 
At 12:50 AM, Blogger مصرى أوى said...

1st condition: That's up to the constitution. If you allow Seculars, Marksist, leftist, Nassirist etc..You should allow Islamist backgrounds.

2nd condition: Polotics is about playing games, I cannot imagine a "straight" party or lobby of people trying to be in power without forming and breaking coalitions, maneuvers right and left etc..

3rd condition: see comment on 1st condition.

 
At 3:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Freedom for Egyptians regarding Ikhwan. How can any liberal with an opposing view respond to a party that says its constitution are dervied from divine words (i.e., implication: whoever does not join us is implicity not a ''good'' Muslim).
By the way, I am a liberal somewhere in between the first and second types mentioned. That is I believe the US is doing a good thing in Iraq and the region. However, the US should have come in first for the right reasons and not the WMD farce made and the US should have had a long-term plan and not as amateurish as they did following the fall of Baghdad,
Egyptian in Germany

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

Masry awy,

The constitution should not be tailored for Seculars, Marksist, leftist, Nassirist....etc. A constitution is made to guarantee equality, freedom and democracy for everyone.I am not so sure that the Ikhwan finds themselves in this context since they want to apply the Islamic Sharia.

The Ikhwan committed many crimes in the past against many Egyptian politicians which I consider against Egyptians before the revolution. If they want to start clean, they should apologize to the Egyptian people first. Their hands have the blood of an Egyptian prime minister..and many prominent figures.

Then if you are talking about political games or coalitions or whatever, this comes after all parties agree on a democratic and free country where all citizens become empowered to be true participants in the ruling process.

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger Gateway Pundit said...

I enjoyed your post very much. American conservatives are beginning to understand that with freedom comes peace.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

And I add that peace cannot be achieved when many people in the world are still living under oppressive regimes. Frustration and anger under such regimes can generate violence and anger that can lead into falling to the traps of terrorism networking.

Freedom and democracy are indispensable for a peaceful world.

 
At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE PROBLEM IN IKHWAN IS NOT THAT THEY WANT ONLY A PARTY IN EGYPT BUT REALLY THE DANGEROUS PROBLEM IS THAT THE LAST TIME I READ AN INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF THEIR FAMOUS LEADERS HE WAS DISCUSSING THAT THE IKHWAN WANT TO INFLUENCE IN THE MENTALITY AND THE BEHAVIOR OF THE EGYPTIAN SOCIETY WHETHER THROUGH A LEGAL PARTY OR BY HAVING A CERTAIN MOVEMENT ??????????? CAN ANY BODY HERE KNOWS HOW DANDEROUS IS THIS ??????? AND THEN IF WE HAVE TO INTERFERE RELIGION IN POLITICS SO AT THAT TIME IT IS THE FULL RIGHT FOR CHRISTIAN ALSO TO HAVE THEIR OWN PARTY SO TO EQUALIZE BETWEEN THE RIGHTS OF MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS AS ITS NOT FAIR IN THIS SITUATION THAT ANYONE SHOULD LIVE UNDER THE MERCY OF THE ANOTHER RELIGION :PEOPLE DONT U SEE THAT THE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS THING THAT COULD HAPPEN IN EGYPT AND THAT WE CAN ALL AVOID THAT ??????? I REALLY HOPE THAT PEOPLE THINK BEFORE THEY SAY...... THINGS

 
At 8:17 PM, Blogger مصرى أوى said...

I agree with you on most of what you said and that is what I meant by it is up to the constitution then we do not need every party to pledge that will not do this and that and the constitution will be tailored by the people if they come to an agreement that Egypt shoul follow Sharia'a law or Egypt should Nationalise all businesses etc..Then hat is what Egyptians want... It is every party right to try to push for its ideals...Fanatics on all sides (Islamists, Liberals, leftists etc..) scare me and not only the Muslim brotherhood. Many groups includen the Muslim Brotherhood should apologise to Egyptians and "Mubarakists" should be the first to do so...

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Egyptian Person said...

Of course these are general classifications, people's ideas will always be mixed. For example, an Egyptian liberal could disagree with the Iraq war but still agree with most of the USA policies.

I always try to avoid saying "liberal" and "conservative" because they are always misunderstood by Americans. I use "progressives" and "traditionalists", which puts the second group of liberals (mainly Pan-Arabists and Nasserists) with religious parties (Muslim Brotherhood and such) under the "traditionalists" group, while those who are more pro-USA/pro-foreign pressure or those who seek a more progressive change in Egypt's policies as "progressives".

I explain it in detail here:
http://egyptianperson.blogspot.com/2005/09/challenges-facing-progressivs-in-egypt.html

 
At 8:36 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

I agree that seculars, marxists, leftist, Nassirist in Egypt could be so aggressive especially if they belong to the Nasserist stream which make them fanatics.

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger M. Simon said...

It looks like the Middle East is the repository of some of the worst political philosophies developed by man.

The Nazis left traces, the Marxists, the socialists etc.

And then you have your own home grown defective thought.

To the Marxist I say go back to your roots. Marx believed a capitalist phase was required to develop the wealth required to make redistributionist policies work. Socialism was inevitable when profits were no longer possible. We are a long way from that thanks to continually advancing technology.

For the rest of you. Read Hayek "The Road to Serfdom" and DeSoto "Capitalism" (not the full title).

For those liberals who understand that a market economy with secure property rights is one of the foundations of liberal democracy - hooray. For the rest - read and learn from the mistakes of the west.

BTW Egypt was one of the founders of the idea of property rights. From that came geometry and surveying. From that came the pyramids.

In some cases we are truly blessed by our ancestors. Of course in other cases we are led astray. May we be wise enough to tell the difference.

 
At 12:13 AM, Blogger newc said...

You are well read M.Simon.

 
At 2:33 PM, Blogger Haximus said...

Well said.

 
At 1:34 PM, Anonymous babs said...

Egyptian in Germany -
Perhaps the United States should have explained to the world that the countries of GERMANY, FRANCE, RUSSIA, AND CHINA, not to mention several mid east second parties, were making a fortune off the oil for food embargo at the expense of the Iraqi people and the military of the United States who were tasked with enforcing the no fly zone over the north and south of the country in order to prevent further genocide... Do you think Europe would have rallied to the cause of freeing the nation of Iraq if that was given as the reason for invasion??? Do you think that telling Turkey and Jordan that they needed to stop supporting smuggled oil out of Iraq would have helped the situation? How many years did you expect the United States to enforce a no fly zone at their own expense of blood and treasure (while the Germans made a profit selling NVG's and underground bunker engineering to Saddam) before they said enough is enough, this situation is rotten to the core! If I were a German, I would think myself lucky that the U.S. used the WMD reason, rather than the base corruption of it's European "allies" for a reason to topple Saddam.
I am sickened by your nation and other European nations that made a buck off the suffering of innocents and now stands in condemnation of the lives and treasure of the United States employed to bring freedon to a nation far from their shores. What has Germany done for ANYONE over the last 75 years, other than to bring misery and death?

 

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