Sara Whitman

Egypt: A Message to Be Feared

Filed By Sara Whitman | February 01, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Egypt, Egyptian revolution, Muslims

I'm nervous.

egypt_protest.jpgOh, I should be nervous about the snow but I'm simply resigned. I give up. I have assignments lined up for the kids to do if they are home for the day.

I'm nervous about Egypt. I've been watching the news and we've gone from a democratic movement to a radical Muslim uprising. The frame has changed. The administration of this country wants us to think one way - not the other.


I'm keenly aware of framing in the news media. I teach it to my classes. I can help them argue for anti-piracy laws or against them. How to make an image that will resonate for the American public. It's not hard. We're fairly easy game to media manipulation.

The "Muslim Brotherhood" is now the headliner. And yet Mohamed ElBaradei, a lawyer who headed the International Atomic Energy Agency and won the Nobel Peace Prize, is the leader of the opposition. A secular figure.

A man, not a religion.

Still, we hear about religion, poking at our fears about holy wars where our buildings come tumbling down.

Why? What is the President trying to convey? We've supported a non-democracy for over 30 years. Are we the least bit ashamed of that? Or was the peace in the region worth the trade?

A few million people in Cairo would disagree.

Yet it is the disturbing instability of the entire region that must give us all pause. Far deeper than pro-democracy, anti-dictatorship, pro-Muslim, anti-American... this is a conflict that goes back to the birth of mankind. Whether or not America becomes involved any more deeply than it is, is not the point.

The way it is being presented to us? Please. Listen carefully. There is a message in there I think we all should fear. Not about Egyptians, or Muslims or who is right or wrong, but the way we are being tugged into this issue.

Like I said, I'm nervous. Very nervous.

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"Think of the rivers of blood
spilled by all those generals and emperors
so that in glory and in triumph
they could become
the momentary masters
of a fraction of a dot.

Think of the endless cruelties
visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot
on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants
of some other corner of the dot.

How frequent their misunderstandings,
how eager they are to kill one another,
how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings,
our imagined self-importance,
the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe,
are challenged
by this point
of pale light."- Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot

While people may scare me to no end, the Cosmos always brightens my day with humility and hope.

Americans love democracy as long as the people elected are the ones we'd choose...

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | February 1, 2011 10:25 AM

I understand the nervousness, and totally agree with the thoughts about how we've supported these regimes.

On the other hand, Mubarak has every reason to insist that the only alternative is either him or the Muslim Brotherhood......because it serves his own interests in remaining in power.

I think this needs to pay out a bit more before being too pessimistic.

From what I'm reading from journalists who are actually there (some media outlets still have them) is that the Muslim Brotherhood hasn't taken over, the revolution is still secular, and that the secular Army is the hero right now.

Either way, it's not up to us to choose. If we support democracy, that means we have to support some leaders being there even if we wouldn't have picked them ourselves.

And there hasn't been peace in Palestine while Mubarek was in charge. The killing just looked more like a one-way street.

Good point, Alex.

My point, mainly, was about how it's all being portrayed. I think it is still secular, it's about democracy and ultimately, a good thing for Egypt.

Unless the US gets involved.

which makes me worry. because when have we kept our noses out of anything to remotely do with oil.

The Muslim Brotherhood will be a major party assuming there are free and fair elections in Egypt. That is an indisputable fact.

If that is the will of the Egyptian people then it has to be respected.

If Egypt transitions to democracy it will not be a religious regime like Saudi Arabia (a regime as murderous and vile as that in Iran, but tolerated as they serve US interests). Egypt is more secular and has 10,000,000 christians.

The US needs to realise that meddling in other countries' business for our own financial benefit simply encourages extremism.


March - Tsar deposed by Democrats.
November - Democrats deposed by Bolshevik coup.

The repeated reference, for a couple days, to the Muslim brotherhood was such a ploy to stir American fears it made me a little crazy.

Of course there will be a party! My goodness, we have the republicans! what's the difference?

Nah, no bolshevik's are coming in to take over. I have to believe this is for the good.

Okay, I want to believe this is for the good.