June 21, 2005

WHY NOT ALL OF US?:

Rice's push for Arab reform resonates with activists: A growing number of groups in Egypt are advocating greater freedoms and speedier reform. (Sarah Gauch, 6/22/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East - and we achieved neither," Ms. Rice told the crowd at the American University in Cairo. "Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people."

And those are words that may embolden Egypt's increasingly impatient - and vocal - democracy movement.

While the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and the secular Kifaya (or Enough) movement have been the most vocal and public groups demanding democratic reform in Egypt, a number of smaller groups have emerged to join the fray.

It's a sign that the stirrings for democratic reform are reaching beyond a few opposition groups and beginning to mobilize formerly apolitical professionals to demand many of the same reforms that Rice called for: fair elections, freedom of expression, and women's rights.

It seems that every day a new organization emerges. There are Writers for Change, Journalists for Change, and Workers for Change, among others.

An ex-prime minister, Aziz Sedki, even formed a group of former government officials, journalists, and academics earlier this month, denouncing the Egyptian regime's corruption and despotism.

Some analysts thank American pressure for the growth of this civil movement, saying that it was this pressure on the Egyptian government that encouraged these groups to demonstrate, to demand democracy and to refuse another term for Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. Some also say that American pressure is helping to protect these organizations from Egypt's security forces.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 21, 2005 8:04 PM
Comments

Yet, I was listening to the BBC News Hour the other day on NPR, and they read an email from an Egyptian-American in Oregon who said that US efforts in Egypt will fail because the administration doesn't understand the culture or traditions of the Egyptian people.

Posted by: Dave W. at June 22, 2005 11:32 AM
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