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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Media Moment: This Is What It's All About

  The world braced itself today, as word came that Hosni Mubarak was going to step down as leader of Egypt. Many news outlets jumped the gun, stating that the announcement was imminent. And then people waited for Hosni Mubarak to step down, and while several of his cabinet members did vacate, he did not.

  Word from Egypt is that state TV is still doing its best to silence opposition to Hosni Mubarak. Journalists have been beaten and arrested and bloggers have simply vanished. Yet the U.S. government still backs Hosni Mubarak and western pundits warn of life after him. They don't want Hosni Mubarak's tyrannical regime to fall because more people will start asking questions, asking why the U.S. and other nations continued to arm a man who terrorized his own people.

  Egypt has an atrocious human rights record and if I was blogging about it years ago, the United States government certainly knew about it. Egypt was quite open about incarcerating and torturing gay people and nobody did anything about it. 96% of Egyptian women and girls have suffered some form of genital mutilation and they still got aid. Police routinely kidnapped people, sexually abused prisoners, and even murdered human beings and our governments knew about it and still kept giving Egypt money. 

  Mubarak will step down to be replaced by Suleiman, and everyday Egyptians say this is not enough; that they don't want to surrender their nation to yet another sociopath. And I don't blame them. And I can also understand why many Egyptians don't trust westerners; they've been through so much at the behest of us. And this regime will fall in spite of American wishes, and horrible stories will come out. And next will come an era of responsibility. 

  We must make sure to never enable wholesale human rights violations in the future, but we must also listen. We must own our mistakes and atone for them and make sure to keep telling the tale of that day in February where the people stood up against their government and said enough. For if the tale of Tank Man tells us, a story is only good if the intended audience hears it. 

  One great benefit of the new technology is proof. We have the ability to find new information, process it, and transmit it within seconds of a thought. We can find the truth in a web of lies and love in a sea of hatred. We can look at the stories told by society's bravest and stare cowards in the face. The short you will see here is over a year old, yet western leaders claim that Egypt was a peaceful state and free state until 2 weeks ago.

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