February 10th will be known in history as one of the most important days of the last fifty years throughout the world. As President Obama said the people of Egypt have found their worth, their dignity and their strength. The people have been empowered and the corrupt oligarchs have lost their power over them.
The rest of the dictators in the world are now quaking in fear. The 18 day revolution in Egypt was born of the peaceful revolution in Tunisia, and already we are seeing other dictators offering pay raises, relaxing human rights, and providing token concessions in the hope of appeasing their suffering people.
The pattern is remarkably similar in all of these dictatorships. Each ruler controls the military, the police and all power. They control the media, and they are allied with the worldwide corporate/conservative culture. Earlier they held on to power and squelched all opposition by claiming that the alternatives would lead to socialism. Lately they claim that if they lost power the Islamists would take over.
All of these dictators also control their people economically through crony capitalism. They give the plum contracts to friends and family members, or to those who provide the most bribes or "campaign Donations". The result is that a small minority in each country becomes fabulously rich and the rest of the people become poorer. In order to get a job you have to bribe someone, and the educational systems, if they exist at all, are so expensive that those without money are doomed to remain in poverty.
It is this economic disparity more than anything else that resulted in the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. People are less concerned with ideology than they are with jobs and the ability to raise their families and provide at least the basics of survival; food, water, sanitation and a roof over their heads.
Throughout history and all over the world, people fight for the freedom to provide for their families. Dictators have in the past been able to control the mobs through force and through control of the media. What has changed recently is the social media. A modern or developing country, needs cell phones and computers to work. Once people have these tools they become aware of what is possible in the world. They are able to become aware of their plight, and they are able to organize. They are able to find their worth and their dignity, and the Egyptians were able to see from the Tunisians that they had strength.
Countries like North Korea can still control their people because they do not allow cell phones or computers, and they control the media so the people are not aware that there are not alternatives to the dire poverty and totalitarian authoritarianism that they are living under.
China controls it's people by responding to their needs. Their economy has been growing at a 10% rate for decades now and the people have benefited from more beneficial changes in the last 50 years than any other culture in history. Still the Chinese government is terrified of the changes in Egypt, fearing another Tianamin Square uprising, and has thus far been able to withhold news of the revolution. Now that the revolution has succeeded will they be able to continue their manipulation of the truth?
Egypt will now become a model for social change throughout the world. Will terrorism decline now that people realize that peaceful change is possible without violence? Will the other dictators start treating their people more humanely, and will they start providing the basic needs of their people, to stave off their own overthrows or will the dictators of the world topple one after the other in a domino effect of freedom?
Already there are protests in Sudan, Yemen, Jordon and Algeria. What roll should the United States take? The United States still supports many oppressive dictators because we consider their geopolitical position or their resources more important than human rights.
The most important and the most repressive of our allies is Saudi Arabia. They control one fifth of the worlds reserves of oil, and have used some of that wealth to improve the nation, but 80% of their people are under 40 years old, and there is greater income inequality there than anywhere else, with the royal family's opulence and thousands of palaces a constant reminder of this inequality.
We have other dictators that we support. The Corporate/Conservative culture resists change. Will the incremental changes they allow in their puppet governments appease their people, or will the knowledge and support from the social networks result in further revolutions? http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02...
Glen Beck with his Islamaphobia and fearmongering of a New World Order leading to Caliphate in the MidEast looks kind of silly now, and Sarah Palin may not have really called for an invasion of Egypt but her criticism of Obama and the Corporate/Conservative support for the status quo is plainly absurd. The Tea Party radicals with their calls for second amendment remedies is on the wrong side of history this time. This is not an Islamic revolution, it is people's democratic revolution and President Obama was right to keep a hand's off posture with support for the democratic principles the people desired.
It is possible after all to bring about meaningful change without taking up weapons.
That Hopey-Changey Thing actually works pretty well doesn't it?