Iraq and the Sidi Bouzid revolt

Since we’re all sitting around, waiting for the bundles to start to arrive, maybe it’s time we talk about the Sidi Bouzid revolt in Tunisia.  People are wondering, I know — could it spread to Iraq?

Do you want the short answer?  That answer is simply “yes.”

The longer answer takes more time to explain.

Tunisia has had its troubles.  The people there took to the streets over simple issues — unemployment, food inflation, corruption, freedom of speech and poor living conditions.  That fire, those protests, led to a movement by the people that led to the President fleeing to Saudi Arabia.

But those issues, those complaints, have been seen by others in the Arab world.  People have taken to the streets in other countries across the Arab world, as unrest has spread across the region.

Most of these protests have been peaceful, with Egypt as the exception.  While more than 200 were killed in the uprising in Tunisia, it looks like more than that have been killed in Egypt.  Egypt has a long-standing reputation of having a strong security apparatus — and yes, I am choosing my words carefully, because the critics today cite a history of alleged torture, corruption, oppression, and dictatorial power.

Mubarak has fled.  The military has stepped in.  I expect to see new elections in the near future, and I expect that the Muslim Brotherhood will play a key part in those elections.  I expect that what we thought of as being Egypt, in the broad terms for most Americans, has come to an end.  Egypt will be more Arab, with more incorporation of their culture and faith.  Its close relationship with America likely just ended.  And that’s OK.

Were Saddam in power today, yes, this would give him great cause for concern.  Was Mubarak that different than Saddam of a few years ago?  I don’t know.

I’ve tried to find the time and words to write something for the IBOL blog about Egypt.  This time, these events, this wind of change is important.  I’ve spent a lot of years fighting, a lot of years with and among people who are very pissed off at the people who are in charge – Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.  And while Egypt is different, it is not in so different that these places in many other ways.  People want electricity.  People want the ability to put food on the table, and have freedom for their own children to play.  When they live with others, they want a means to provide input into their group, and to know that their grievances will be addressed.

Be happy for the people of these countries, and mourn with then for the loss of those who died during their efforts to bring about change.  Be patient, and wait to see how the changes play out before rendering judgment on whether these things are for betterment of America or not.  And try — please, try — to look at these events through their eyes, their lives, their values.  It’s a giant world out there, and I’ve had the good fortune to see a lot of it during my time, and I’ve come to appreciate that different can be truly awesome.

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5 Responses to “Iraq and the Sidi Bouzid revolt”

  1. obscure Says:

    At this moment CNN is broadcasting footage of Egyptians cleaning the square–very moving. Here was a revoltion which took place in a village formed by thousands of people, each with her or his own ideas of freedom. So much for the leaders who say their people “aren’t ready for democracy”.

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      Oh, I know! Wasn’t that the most amazing thing? Mubarak is gone, and everyone goes out to clean things up. “OK, party’s over, let’s clean this place up and get back to business. Can’t have a mess now, can we?”

  2. Mary ann Says:

    Its been an amazing week. And one in which the world got to see what it means when the people speak. I pray their efforts will materialize in everything you’ve spoke off today.

  3. stephanie allgood Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. In spite of all of our differences, we all need and want security, dignity, and respect. Oh, and food, shelter, and belonging. Thank you for IBOL that lets us reach out and share those things we have in common.

  4. kimd2@mindspring.com Says:

    Let us hope that while the “Muslim Brotherhood will play a key part in those elections. I expect that what we thought of as being Egypt, in the broad terms for most Americans, has come to an end. Egypt will be more Arab, with more incorporation of their culture and faith.” that Egypt and the world do not forget that there are Christians who have lived their faith in Eygpt as in Iraq/Iran and other middle eastern countries who desevere to be allowed to live theri faith without being terrorized too. I recenetly talked to some Canadian aquaintences who told me that any problems that Christians have in those countries is their own problem for converting-

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