The Egyptian people took to the streets two weeks ago today to protest the way the Egyptian regime has actively oppressed them and taken away their hope for a better future. This is what the protests are about.
Egyptians' grievances are not much different than those of many living under dictators - particularly dictators who claim to be democratic.
There are many autocratic regimes in the Middle East. In fact, there is no really true democracy with perhaps the exception of Turkey. Which is not exactly in the Middle East. And Israel gets no prize for being democratic since it has about 4 million Palestinians living under occupation without citizenship or vote.
The rulers or Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates should be afraid. For Egypt to follow Tunisia's example of showing the power of the people is a big and dramatic departure from, what is that word everyone is using? Stability.
Stability for who might I ask? Stability for the millions of Egyptians and millions more in other Middle Eastern countries who are deprived of decent education? Stability for these same people who are then unable to find jobs, unable to have a future, unable to start a family, and face a lifetime of disappointment and humiliation? Stability for those who live in constant fear of the police and the bribes they might demand? Stability for those who can have no hope of having a successful business because of the amount of money needed to bribe government officials to do their job?
Whose stability are we talking about?
It is insulting for these other leaders to talk of stability. It is insulting for Mubarak to suggest that he is the zenith of stability in Egypt.
Let me tell you what these leaders mean when they talk about stability. They are talking about their own ability to stay in power and extract from their populations the life blood within them. Mubarak has sucked the hope out of the Egyptian people for long enough. Jordan is not much better. Saudi Arabia is so oppressive, particularly towards women, that what they are saying about stability is the material for comics not foreign policy. And Israel? Go sign a damn peace treaty with the Palestinians - with some real effort - before you open your mouth and utter the word "stability."
These leaders have no right to comment on Egypt's stability.
And the US? Oh my darling country who so often misreads the rest of the world.
Look, the US foreign policy has been to bribe Egypt into keeping a peace treaty with Israel and making it the focal point of American foreign policy. We've given billions upon billions of money to Egypt - mostly in the form of military aid. The Egyptian protesters had a point when the held up tear gas canisters that said "Made in the USA."
The US has allowed and supported Mubarak's rule. We turned a blind eye to the way he mistreated his population and are only now truly pushing for "democratic reforms" because it would be embarrassing for us not to.
A lot of Egyptians quite understandably want the US to mind its own damn business. But this time I don't think we can. If America has any respect for the democratic aspirations of people throughout the world, particularly in a country in which we have so actively allowed these aspirations to be quashed, then we must stand up to this Middle East peanut gallery. They don't want stability. They want power. They want control. They want to not be afraid of their populations resentment and anger
Obama, don't embarrass America. Don't insult the deaths of those Egyptians who have died because they felt they were fighting for real change. Don't allow these rulers to dictate Egypt's events. For the sake of Egypt, the people camping in Tahrir, and those continually rallying throughout the country, close your ears to Middle Eastern leaders and help the Egyptian people meet their goals.
Support the Egyptian people in their revolution of democracy.