One pair between them, that would be enough. But NO! Our governments’ inability to make a difference in aiding the pro-democracy movement in Egypt is our collective shame. Their cowardice, their calculated ‘real politiek,’ their inability to say the truth while looking in the mirror has allowed Mubarak to take things to the limit. We could have and should have put our collective foot down.
Here is what America should stand up and say.
We are not going to tell the Egyptian political, business and military leadership that their President must go. That is a decision only they can take. As they think of their country's future, we do hope they will seriously and deeply consider the wishes of their people. And what is in the best interest of their people. We hope that they will elevate the interests of their people above their own, especially at this transformational moment in history.
To do anything less, based on the Egypt we know, would not do justice to the great history and great potential of the Egyptian people. And your people have shown true greatness with their days of huge, peaceful and inclusive assemblies. And sadly they also showed greatness in the way they were forced to defend themselves yesterday and last night from violent and murderous thugs.
No, it is not for us to tell you that your President must go. But we will be very uncomfortable with the close relationship we have and seek to maintain with Egypt, if it is the kind of Egypt we are seeing this week since Wednesday. Treating your own people, peaceful protesters, this way. Treating journalists this way. If that is the kind of Egypt the political, business and military leadership of the country is seeking then we will have to sit down and discuss the future nature and depth of our long-standing friendship. A friendship we appreciate and want to maintain. A friendship which has in so many areas and at so many moments in time been good for our country, good for the region and good for the world. This is sadly not one of those moments.
And yes we have our differences and there are some difficult tensions in our relationship: we an imperfect democracy and you our friends, an autocracy. Odd and sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows. It's true. We are, for our part, convinced that on balance our friendship over the decades has created more good than harm. Others may have a different view on that one. But what we are witnessing now in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, etc goes further, much further, than what we are comfortable with as your friend. And let me make it clear, witnessing what is happening in Egypt, and what happened in Tunesia, has convinced us that we now need to be totally honest with each other over this question.
We have been discussing for years with our friends in the Middle East how beneficial a path of reform could be for their countries. Economically. Politically. Socially. There's a lot of work to be done in the world and we need to tap as much of the human potential of this planet as we can. We are convinced that there is a huge amount of human potential in your countries. We see the quality of the young generation. And being Americans, we really believe that the key to maximum potential and happiness, for each of our citizens and hence for our countries, is on a path that begins with self-determination.
Your people's are starting to clamor for and claim their legitimate and what we believe to be universal right to self-determination. When that happens there is only one reaction possible: Just do it. It is what your people want. It will eventually help transform the lives of every Egyptian citizen. Plant the seed of self-determination and you won't believe what can grow.
We hope we can stay friends with the Egyptian people for decades to come. But, we can now only stay friends with an Egypt where all her people enjoy the freedom of self-determination.
To all those fighting and dying for freedom tonight in Egypt, I salute you! Good luck and (g)(G)odspeed.