We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Egyptian protests echoed MLK strategy
There are not so many obvious connections between Egypt and Atlanta, yet there was one that some people have realized. That same connection may have wider tendrils than we recognize.
Egypt’s ruler fell not because of force of arms, nor even because of terrorism in the streets of Cairo. Instead, the fall came after a remarkable, relatively peaceful demonstration. There were protests in the streets, but largely subdued compared to what has been seen in violent overthrows in other countries.
The connection between Georgia and Egypt is what many throughout the world have learned from Dr. Martin Luther King: the non-violent approach to social — and governmental — change. Such an approach is revolutionary. Dr. King sometimes had virtually to hold back his own soldiers for the cause when they were brutally attacked, such as during the Selma march. Slowly, ever so slowly, Dr. King and his people began to make his non-violent message understood as more people in our country not only adopted his methods, but saw his program spread and thrive.
Now we recognize that Dr. King’s message did not limit itself to the borders of this country. Of course, Dr. King himself got much of his thrust from the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi of India. This approach has an universal appeal to those oppressed, whether of people in the former Soviet block, in dictator-led nations of Africa, or the Arab world, or in any country where people are ruled from on high. Peoples throughout the world began understanding the success of a non-violent approach to change.
So the 18 days of street protests in Egypt won victory through the protesters holding the lid on violence. What they were seeking was not just the overthrow of a governmental leader and his programs … but wanting to see their country move forward in a progressive manner, creating more freedom, and more than anything, more opportunity for the average Egyptian.
Over and over we are told that democracy may have its problems, but that it is a far better form of government than anyone else has devised.
That’s because what anchors democracy is not just picking its leaders through open and fair elections. The linchpin of democracy is far more than that. Democracy gives the individual a coveted position, one that allows the united efforts of individuals to pick their leaders in a free and open manner. Prior to any democratic election, a country must have free and open discussion of the qualities of the candidates before the individual person can intelligently cast his or her vote.
So what gives democracy its power is that the individual must exercise the power of freedom, and have the right to go up any legal path to determine how to cast that vote. Then, once candidates are in office, they must conduct the public’s business in an open and legal manner, or else face the wrath of the voter.
Given all this, we come back to one of our basic rights, as written in the 45 words of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Essentially, this is what happened in Egypt: a petitioning (through peaceful assembly), to redress grievances. It could not have happened without Egyptians adopting Dr. King’s approach. We applaud their approach and their success.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Summary: Americans think the nation is heading in the wrong direction. My biggest worries are 1) that our democracy is increasingly being transformed by the influence of big money into a plutocracy, and 2) we are failing to act vigorously to address the pressing emergency of global climate change. On both issues, the Republicans are playing a darkly destructive role, while the Democrats are failing to press the battle with the necessary vigor. That pattern reveals the essential core of America's national crisis. *******Are you, like me, unhappy about where you sense our nation is heading? Do you, like me, fear Read on →
The ethical man keeps his hands to himself and does not destroy what he admires and loves. The ethical man does not subscribe to the excuse that “you always hurt the one you love. The ethical hurts no-one at all. Most of the electorate is probably too young to remember the perverse responses Jimmy Carter’s admission of having lusted in his heart occasioned among Republicans. In retrospect, it seems rather obvious that people, who live and die by the euphemism, were ready to believe that Carter had uttered a prevarication, as they, surely would have done themselves. Moreover, because it came out Read on →
Summary: From the perspective of the evolution of life, it can be seen how value is an emergent -- but none the less real -- dimension of the reality of creatures like us humans. Evolution operates on the principle that life is better than death. Operating on that basis, evolution brings into existence creatures who experience that fulfillment is better than misery. That is the foundation of value. and it makes value fully real in every way it could be. Previously, I asserted that: the imbalance in intensity in the political battle raging in America is largely due to the deficiency of Read on →
One wryly fascinating aspect of achieving "seniority" is that my senses have become more adept at finding free entertainment. Locating alternative sources of amusement has become almost a necessity these days. Daytime television remains abominable, cable TV is objectionally priced (probably by those same pirates who sell inkjet print cartridges) and the ransom one has to give up for seats to professional sporting events is unconscionable. Also, our local news daily, though not unreasonably priced is but a shell of its former self. It is no longer a joy to read. One amusing activity, I find, involves no equipment, no cover cha Read on →