Posts Tagged: freedom
To all the folks in the Arab countries: Stand tall, protest, make your voices heard, and assert your rights even if your current government doesn’t honor them.
Human rights is a term that is so bandied about that it has almost lost its meaning. By human rights, do we mean no torture, yes; do we mean no slavery, yes; do we mean no human trafficking*, absolutely.
In watching the people led uprisings against oppressive regimes in Iran 18 months ago, in Tunsia last month, and Egypt this week, it has become evident that we here in the West have taken for granted the most basic of human rights as defined in the last 200 years: the right to assemble, the right to free speech, the right to protest, the right to not agree with your government, the right to free press, the right to fair elections, and the right not be attacked or beaten by government agents/police/military/thugs.
If Mr. Mubarak actually believed that his government was elected by the people, then he should feel strong enough to allow the people to protest. But the heavy handedness of this week’s government response and thuggery has belied his claims to power and to his own humanity.
If we the people believe deeply in the rights that the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights grants us, then we would do well to watch and renounce our own government’s behavior when it is bad as well as celebrate and support all other people’s desire for the freedom of speech, the freedom to assemble, the freedom to protest, the freedom to dissent, and the freedom from unwarranted government reprisals.
For all of those who fear the loss of the dictators in the Arab countries as it might mean the rise of Islamicists, take a chill pill and in turn encourage your governments to support real human rights and not authoritarian regimes who are client states to the West. Much of the claims, and resulting power, of the Islamicists derives from poverty, hopelessness, and the West’s continuing support of oppressive dictatorships.
Egyptians have the right to wake up and not fear their government. Egyptians have the right to assemble. Egyptians have the right to speak up. Egyptians have the right to self-determination. Egyptians and Tunisians are us, just 235 years later.
Many are saying that this is the Arab world’s 1989, I truly hope it is. If we really believe in democracy, let’s support it in word, truth, and action.
My Favorite photo from this week: The most subversive protest of all: An Egyptian protestor kisses a riot police officer.
* If you want to be a pimp, pimp yourself out, not someone else(s).
Happy 20th Anniversary to a whole lot of gumption and hope.
1989 – DDR (East Germany)
1994 – South Africa
2009 – Iran ???? – One can only hope.
Bill Moyer gave the keynote speech at the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis this morning. This is an excellent speech on the importance of a free press in a free society, not a media monopolized by a few corporate giants. Watch it.
Bravo, Bill, Bravo!
In other areas of opinion and politics, John Scalzi writes on Hilary Clinton’s concession speech today:
“People have hinted that Obama needs to avoid having Clinton as VP to avoid being tied to the Clinton legacy, but it’s really the other way around: I’m not sure why Hillary would want to tie herself to Obama’s legacy and policies so concretely when she has so many opportunities now to stand on her own. She’s was second banana to another man for years; it’s not trading up to be the second banana to another. Let Hillary be Hillary now, on her own, in her own spotlight, and let’s see where she goes from here.”
As other folks have noted, previous to Mr. Scalzi, rather than this being a loss for Hilary, she now has the opportunity to carve her own path.
Now if only Michelle Obama would run for President…