- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
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
The French Impressionists attempted a rendering of what they saw, an "impression" yes, but the interesting aspect is best illustrated by Seurat's Pointillism. Interesting because in the late 1800s there was a shift in emphasis among painters of an adventurous nature, what came to be called the "avant-garde," from the "subject" depicted to the "act" of perception. This shift may have grown out of or been influenced by then current scientific theories of how the eye works, but I believe it was based in an emerging self-awareness. The excitement was not about "how" I see but "that" I see. I Read on →
Dear Soccer: Congratulations! The 2014 World Cup has been truly great. You`ve really outdone yourself this time around. As it turns out, you really ARE a 'beautiful game.' You've had boffo TV ratings and you've inspired a resurgence of U.S. national pride. You've even raised our awareness of geography -- such as the fact that South America is not really "... Alabama, Mississippi and the parts of Georgia that ain't Atlanta" as many Americans previously thought. We learned other things too, such as Buenos Aires is not in Spain, 'buenas noches' is not in Natchez and the Amazon rain forest is not Read on →
My high school years unfolded in a time when hanging out at drive-ins and burger joints was all we had. We played 45 RPMs by the Beach Boys and William Jan Berry and Dean Ormsby Torrence. You know them as Jan and Dean of “Dead Man’s Curve” and “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” fame. Surf music was the craze back then in the era of steering wheel suicide knobs, but catching a wave in eastern Georgia wasn’t easy. Cars, though, now that was a different matter. Hot, candy-colored cars possessing names like GTO, Chevelle, Firebird, and Thunderbolt mesmerized us. So there we we Read on →
How did it come to this? How did our political life in America get to be so drenched in hostility? While reading an article about how “anti-environmentalists” are spending thousands of dollars to alter their vehicles to increase the smoke they produce, I came across this statement from one of that group, who call themselves “coal rollers”: “If [Obama’s] into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not.” And it’s not just the president they’re hostile to, it’s also those Prius-driving “librels” who, according to the article, might be specially targeted with a blast of smoke and soot. How did “if they’re for it, I’m agi Read on →