The 30 year regime of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak ended with his resignation today after 18 days of protests became a revolution; the strongman resigned his presidency with the tens of thousands of protesters never firing a shot. Today, the government has been turned over to the military, but Mubarak is out, and Egypt and Egyptians around the world are celebrating as if it were Mardi Gras and a Super Bowl win rolled into one.
And I could never be prouder of a people....a commitment to topple despotism with non violent protests worked. No guns or bombs were needed, no American flags were burned while crowds screamed about "The Great Satan", and the world watched in anticipation of what would happen next. And they got it done.
After the bungling of the Iraq war by the Bush administration when no weapons of mass destruction were found the Bushies and neocons shopped around for a new reason for the war; that aim became freedom for the Iraqi people. At last count 4,754 Americans and allies have been killed, as have tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, at a cost of $773 billion to a nation fighting it's way out of a devastating recession. We have fought and had a presence in Iraq since 2003.
It took 18 days for the people of Egypt to decide ENOUGH and end 30 years of one man rule.
Last night I thought about the vague speech Mubarak gave concerning stepping down....and it appeared he had no intention of doing so. You know that small, still voice we have within? It started jabbering to me.....as Mahatma Gandhi, as portrayed by Ben Kingsley. It was the sequence when Gandhi appeared before representatives of the British government, and told them they must leave. The British commander asked Gandhi why should the forces of Imperial Britain leave India.....Gandhi told the man "Because we will not co-operate with you. And there is no way you can force 100 million people to co-operate if they don't wish to".
And that was the beginning of the end of British rule in the Indian subcontinent. The government knew Gandhi was right; the alternative was to fill the nation's prisons with protesters, and then face the prospect of protests involving those who were arrested.
India became a free and independent democracy largely thorough non violent civil disobedience and through non violent assembly.
History repeated itself in Germany in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell; and 1994 in South Africa when apartheid went on history's scrap heap; Poland, Indonesia, Romania, Tunisia.....and in America's South, when Jim Crow was no more.
And of course, the big one....the fall of the Soviet Union
Today, the people of Egypt have risen, and seized their destiny.
They didn't need to assemble with automatic weapons and confront troops with "second amendment remedies", a solution suggested by Far Right American politicians to "take America back".
I'm still trying to figure out...."Take it back? From whom".
I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau's insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injusticeMartin Luther King, on Henry David Thoreau
God bless the Egyptian people.
This is, indeed, a great day.