“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

The Last Days Of A Dictatorship.

with 17 comments

The pent-up rage, economic and social frustrations are coming out in Egypt, and understandably so.

They have suffered under Mubarak’s legalise dictatorship since 1981.

Economically, Egypt is backward and suffers from high unemployment.

Socially, there are many problems.

And dissent is not tolerated, as Egyptian bloggers have found out.

Still, with the breadth and nature of the uprising in Egypt I feel that Mubarak’s days are numbered and about time too. His regime has been kept in power by fiddled elections, police brutality, State repression, and the compliance and support of the West.

He’s clinging on to power furiously, as he knows the fate of many ex-dictators is to be shot.

But Mubarak could probably borrow a nice comfortable villa from his fellow despots in Saudi Arabia, and while out the rest of his life, there as others have done.

Written by modernityblog

28/01/2011 at 22:36

17 Responses

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  1. Here’s hoping Mod. I hope it gives hope to the people of Iran

    jams o donnell

    28/01/2011 at 23:00

  2. Well Jams, hope to people in the region, eh?

    There’s a lot of dictators out there


    28/01/2011 at 23:08

  3. Mods

    Like Jams you are a decent sort. The deterioration of Egypt started with the far left Nasser regime and the mono obsession with Israel and leading the Arab world.

    In reality Egypt has many problems and left out of the discussion is the abuse of the nations indigenous Christians who predate the Arab invasions and have a genuine claim to nation status.

    The military has witnessed what the religious radicals have done in Gaza. They have seen the bodies tossed from the roof while the hard left ( Jams and yourself in no way are being mentioned) yawned while continuing to stoke populist antisemitism.

    The soldiers will not want their families massacred and will react.

    The ham handed Obama administration should have remained quiet. How many people remember what Syria did in Hamma? Jams and yourself right remember. Has the far left ever protested a visit from a Syrian official. Of course not because the BAATH party is the Arab socialist party.


    29/01/2011 at 12:48

  4. Hang on, what point are you getting at?

    Are you saying it is right for the Egyptian military to be killing people in the street?

    Do you think it is good for the world if dictators like Mubarak keep going, with Western acquiescence?


    29/01/2011 at 14:29

  5. Mods

    In life there are often shades of gray. In reality the alternative of a Muslim Brotherhood Egypt would likely produce more bloodshed.

    In this case the military need not look further than Gaza to see how this type deals with rivals. They will protect their families and properties in a matter of time.

    There is some irony here. While the left ranted about starvation in Gaza many Gazans found that conditions in some parts of Egypt were worse.

    I do not give my blessing to strong men like Mubarak. Nor do I think that it is okay to gun down peaceful civilians. Merely I am a realist and am pointing out how this story will end.

    These are not Chinese Students holding up images lifted from the Statue of Liberty. These protesters are something quite different.

    Does anyone remember Hamma? You can see plenty of articles about Rachel Corrie, but 10,000 dead Syrians gets a yawn.


    29/01/2011 at 15:27

  6. Look, you seem to have some unhealthy obsession with the “Left”

    I get that.

    I have listened to US talk radio, and most of it is politically illiterate, polarised and incapable of making any lucid political analysis, and I can understand that their readers take up the points pushed by Glenn Becks of the world, Rush and others.

    But frankly I am not very interested in straw men, or such arguments.

    Unless it’s very hidden I am a Lefty.

    I do not subscribe to any of the views you attribute to lefties, and there are many others who tire of these caricatures (I recommend reading Bob, but also Kellie, Engage, etc)

    Incidentally, Mubarak is somewhat more than a “strongman”, he’s a dictator that fiddles the elections, locks up political opponents without trial and has been in power since 1981…


    29/01/2011 at 15:54

  7. Mods there is the decent left which yourself Jams and Michael Ezra are a part of. The decent left does not make excuses for Hugo, stoke populist anti semitism or wax in rather mindless anti americanism.

    95% of the bigots I encounter are hard left. A real Jew views them in the same manner a Black man views them KKK. Would you tell a Black person who was tired of KKK goonery that his hostility is “unhealthy”.

    I grasp the subtle differences between yourself and the obnoxious Trotskyite clowns. As for listening to talk radio, my views do not come from there.

    The basic problem with the decent left is that with the exception of the people named they do not step away from the obnoxious types.


    29/01/2011 at 22:42

  8. I’m afraid I can’t argue with anecdotes and strawmen.

    Personally, I find people on the Right often willing to excuse a dictator, should he be “their” dictator.

    This is the case with Pinochet, Saudi Arabia’s leader and any number of little despots.

    But me, I’m against dictatorships, period, be they Hugo Chavez, Soviet leaders, Fidel Castro, Burma’s generals and those that drive the Middle East into the ground….

    I just wish those on the Right would aim for such consistency….

    I feel that *any* democracy is better than *all* dictatorships, that’s where I’m coming from.


    29/01/2011 at 22:58

  9. Mods

    Who says that Mubarak is an ideal?

    I am a realist who looks at thing from a historical perspective. Crowds chanting “Allah Ahkbar” are quite a different animal than the student protesters in China or Prauge Spring.

    The best look at what the Muslim Brotherhood will do is Gaza. The large media and government aid contingents probably muffle some of the worst tendencies.

    We can dream of Muslims quoting the Magna Carta or Jefferson, but this is most likely a Westernized man like Stephen Schwartz of the CIP. The best we can hope for is a benevolent strongman ala the King of Jordan.

    That being said the Egyptian military is unlikely to sit quietly and allow violent religious fanatics to cut their throats. If the situation gets out of hand they will act and order will be restored and a new strong man will emerge.

    Pinochet is what he was and at least he left others alone and yielded power when he had had enough. Cuba sent troops to Syria, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique and had officers torture American POW’s in Vietnam.
    Do the same voices that call for Pinochet to be tried say a peep about Castro or Chavez. No conservative I ever met thinks Pinochet as an ideal.

    Democracy, while optimal is not a likely outcome in Egypt.


    30/01/2011 at 00:51

  10. Pinochet initiate and instigated a coup d’etat.

    He then proceeded to torture and murder people.

    Subsequently you could always find a Conservative to defend him, maybe they didn’t think he was ideal,but they still defended him.

    This is all evidenced, these are all facts.

    I think human rights should apply universally, that means to Americans, Europeans and those in the Middle East (and every where else)

    If you don’t, well……

    By the way I’ve heard a few Lefties giving the same arguments “it’s not an ideal situation, but the Soviet states….” etc
    or “Chavaz is not ideal, however…”.

    You see the point?


    30/01/2011 at 00:57

  11. Some reading on the effectiveness of repression, from a 2002 New Yorker article by Lawrence Wright on Al Qaeda’s No.2:

    One line of thinking proposes that America’s tragedy on September 11th was born in the prisons of Egypt. Human-rights advocates in Cairo argue that torture created an appetite for revenge, first in Sayyid Qutb and later in his acolytes, including Ayman al-Zawahiri. The main target of their wrath was the secular Egyptian government, but a powerful current of anger was directed toward the West, which they saw as an enabling force behind the repressive regime. They held the West responsible for corrupting and humiliating Islamic society. Indeed, the theme of humiliation, which is the essence of torture, is important to understanding the Islamists’ rage against the West. Egypt’s prisons became a factory for producing militants whose need for retribution – they called it “justice” – was all-consuming.

    Kellie Strøm

    30/01/2011 at 17:35

  12. Mod, Kellie well put the “He may be a son of a bitch but he’s our son of a bitch” is a recipe for disaster. Propping u a scumbag of whatever political hue and being sen to do so is going to blow up in your face.

    And that’s not even touching on the appalling fate handed out to to the people of the country in question.

    I agree wholeheartedly that Huma Rights are universal and not slective. We cannot turn our eyes to repression, be it in a cell in ESMA or a cell in a Rangoon prison.

    jams o donnell

    30/01/2011 at 17:49

  13. Mods

    The Pinochet situation was a civil war. He could have sat back and waited for a Katyn type of massacre or for his country to be turned into Cuba redux. In the end Chile is in better shape than Cuba. The usual numbers are low.

    Lets try Pinochet, Castro, Chavez and the loon in North Korea that stole Elton John’s eyewear.


    30/01/2011 at 17:54

  14. Kellie,

    Isn’t much of that a post rationalisation?

    In the 1950s onwards Egypt was under the influence of the Soviets, and they supply masses of military hardware to Nasser, etc

    Only later on did the West try to edge them out, so why didn’t Sayyid Qutb & Co turn their hatred towards the Soviets? If that were truly the case.

    I think it is largely ahistorical veiw of things, and very wonky.


    30/01/2011 at 22:27

  15. Mod, it’s certainly a bit condensed and simplified. But in the context of Islamism was any great distinction made between the West and the Soviets? Obviously in Iran Communists were next in line for destruction after the Western-backed regime. And Afghanistan was a direct war by Islamists against the Soviets. And Islamists, including al-Zawahiri, carried on fighting against post-Soviet Russia.

    Kellie Strøm

    30/01/2011 at 22:50

  16. I think the thing is, that until the mid 1970s the USSR had considerable influence in Egypt, even now Putin gets on very well with Mubarak.


    30/01/2011 at 23:01

  17. […] The Last Days Of A Dictatorship. […]

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