The outbreak in Egypt of the ‘Youth Revolution’ on January 25, following
on the heels of a popular Tunisian revolution, heralds the start of a
movement for freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and social
justice that is bound to leave its mark on the country, the Middle East
and the world. This revolution will be ranked at the same level as other
major social upheavals in modern history. It is unrivalled in the
history of the country and is already triggering a tidal wave in the
Arab World. Egypt is a pivotal Arab country that has the capacity to
chart a progressive socio-economic course of development anchored in a
democratic system and the rule of law. For the past three decades, the
regime in Egypt offered itself to the West as the linchpin of regional
stability, ruthlessly suppressing its people and facilitating American
and Israeli hegemony in the region. The policies that were pursued
rendered Egypt heavily dependent on foreign powers. The vast majority of
Egyptians and other Arabs aspire for an Egypt that is ruled by freely
elected governments accountable to their own people.
We the undersigned, American and Canadian academicians of Arab descent, wish to declare in the most emphatic manner our support for and solidarity with the campaign of the Egyptian youth, backed by the overwhelming majority of citizens from all sectors of Egyptian society, for freedom and democracy. In their confrontation with domestic and foreign elements that conspire to maintain the existing order, they are establishing the principle that there is no political sovereign other than the people. The present order is guilty of running a police state, suppressing its opponents, closing avenues for legitimate criticism and gagging critical media, practicing mass arrests and torture and mounting fraudulent parliamentary elections. This order lost its credibility twice. Once when peaceful demonstrators throughout Egypt and in massive numbers expressed their unanimous rejection of the regime and its apparatus of oppression. Secondly, when the regime unleashed armed plainclothes police, thugs and mercenaries against unarmed and peaceful civilian protestors, leading to the death of scores and the injury of thousands. The masses are justified in demanding the downfall of the regime.
We the undersigned, American and Canadian academicians of Arab descent, deplore the continued equivocation of our and other Western governments. Their calls for “orderly transition”, evolutionary change, moderation, and stability betray a policy of not giving up on the regime and limiting support to cosmetic changes. It tells the Egyptians they are not
to change the political order and are not trusted to establish a democracy. Many Western politicians and intellectuals have declared that the only permissible change should be one that secures Western strategic and economic interests and those of their allies. They fear reintegration of Egypt into the Arab World and its pursuance of an independent course.
The eyes of the world are on Egypt. Egyptians have broken the barrier of fear and by their sacrifices have ushered in a new and more promising age for themselves and their Arab brethren.
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