Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 6:05 PM on Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egypt a chance for 'do over'

I believe that what is happening in Egypt right at this moment is the most important event in recent history. They, and we, have a chance for a "do-over." Egypt is our connection to the Middle East and our strongest ally in the region. We need a friend in the Middle East, and the almost-free citizens need help to re-take and re-shape, their own government. That "help" is being offered from several non-American groups, mostly radical Muslim groups. If one of them ends up in power in Egypt, well, we're screwed.

It makes no sense for the United States to continue holding up the dictator we put in power in 1982. Back then he was a pretty good guy. He talks nice, too.

But he's outlived his time, and he got caught up in the whole "Absolute power" thing to the point his greed, his policies and even his presence now hurts Egypt so bad that the citizens are marching — peacefully — in the streets. They're not being led by charismatic religious leaders shouting "down with America" and preaching war. No. What they are shouting is "We want to take charge of our own lives. ... We need help." That is what they are peacefully rioting about.

Peacefully rioting. I can't believe how much that says about the Egyptian people. They are not the typical confused, uneducated, wild-eyed radicals that usually make the news. These peaceful people need help, and at least friends. Friends with power even, and that's us. It just doesn't seem like a difficult decision to offer the people in the streets every bit of assistance or help we can bring to the game. I'm a liberal who prays President Obama can step up to the high expectations we all had for him a couple years ago, but maybe our president isn't the right guy to "friend" the Egyptian mobs. Maybe you and I are.

This whole thing started on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. What would happen if millions and millions of we proud, brave, freedom-loving Americans simply "Friended" them? Any of them. The knowledge that millions of us are on their side, hoping, praying that they find a way to make their country free and their government fair, might be a moral victory that spurs them on.

Right now several dictatorships in the Middle East and around the world are being threatened by "They, the People" of those countries. Maybe if Egypt gets the time, the support and the help to create a strong and honest government, other countries in turmoil will insist on it. What happens in Egypt may lead several countries to change — in the same direction. Let's hope it's not in a direction that leads to an even more out of control world. Egypt doesn't need another greedy leader, nor do they need another radical theocracy to move in and enforce Sharia law. They need friends.

I say "Go, Egypt Go." I'm going to find me a new Egyptian friend on Facebook. In fact, a bunch of them. I don't have to know them personally. I just want to jump on the "Let's make our word a better place" wagon. I want to show my support for an entire nation of people who, after being in many ways raped by their leaders for decades, have now decided to walk peacefully down the streets of their Capitol declaring "We don't want war. ... We want better leaders."

Wow. And yes, I do understand the politics behind the past, as well as the contradictions of the present in Egypt and throughout the whole Middle East. But I also recognize peace mongers. I see this as an opportunity to make the world a little nicer place, for a lot of people who I suddenly admire. At the same time, I see America in a position to get a real foothold on sanity in an area of the world where sanity seems to be in short supply. What if a worldwide trend toward better, more fair, more connected-to-the-people type governments caught on?

Dax Radtke