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I think it's a ham-fisted attempt at that, but also - since most US foreign policy is for domestic consumption - to wave the "hey, we're the good guys!' flag at home.

It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to pretend that after 50 years of instituting and supporting some of the most odious, violent and repressive regimes on the planet that the US has any interest at all in peace or democracy.

Clearly, it has none at all. But it's very useful to pretend that it does.

Now that Sharp has been identified as the - reluctant - saviour of Egyptian democracy, no one needs to ask who sponsored Mubarak, who trained his secret police, who supplied military aid, or who kept the country impoverished in the first place.

For many avid readers, the narrative is now full of hope that the rioting African savages can be civilised into modernity after all - but only when gently guided by the wise and mature counsel of a more serious and established intellectual tradition.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 12:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh of course, referring to this one guy is all a cunning capitalist plot to excuse the US government's support for dictators for decades. What rubbish.

It was young Egyptians who mentioned him:

When Egypt's April 6 Youth Movement was struggling to recover from a failed effort in 2005, its leaders tossed around "crazy ideas" about bringing down the government, said Ahmed Maher, a leading strategist. They stumbled on Mr. Sharp while examining the Serbian movement Otpor, which he had influenced.

Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian blogger and activist ... said that some activists translated excerpts of Mr. Sharp's work into Arabic, and that his message of "attacking weaknesses of dictators" stuck with them.


The fact that some of them said they found some of his ideas useful hardly makes him a "saviour of Egyptian democracy" - except in your cartoon world. Another NYT article makes it clear that the organisers were bright, informed people who used net skills to help organise things, but they themselves pay tribute to the majority who risked their lives:

"When I looked around me and I saw all these unfamiliar faces in the protests, and they were more brave than us -- I knew that this was it for the regime," Mr. Maher said.


And some already had experience of confronting police:

"The youth of the Muslim Brotherhood played a really big role," Mr. Maher said. "But actually so did the soccer fans" of Egypt's two leading teams. "These are always used to having confrontations with police at the stadiums," he said.


Also noted is Egyptian pride in their own level of civilisation:

"Eighty-five million people live in Egypt, and less than 1,000 people died in this revolution -- most of them killed by the police," said Mr. Ghonim, the Google executive. "It shows how civilized the Egyptian people are." He added, "Now our nightmare is over. Now it is time to dream."


Not quite the caricature you try to pass off.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 02:05:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is this like Thomas Friedman's quoting of a taxi driver?
by stevesim on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 02:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that supposed to be an intelligent response ?

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 02:27:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, the ad hominem attacks commence!

yes, how do I know this woman exists and that the NYT is telling the truth about what she said?

they've lied before and are not above inventing comments from people to support their stories, à la Tom Friedman.

you dismissed my source, and I have a very valid argument to dismiss yours.

by stevesim on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 02:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Couldn't you do some elementary checking for yourself - try using Google (if that's not too "white man" for you):


The NYT is at least not stupid enough to just invent Egyptians and comments by them which could be revealed as inventions.

I didn't just dismiss your source, I showed where he had got things wrong - stupid of him since it's easy to check what the NYT did actually say.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 02:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wow.  you are really on a roll.

they are stupid enough to invent people.  they have done it before.  

by stevesim on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 03:08:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I think ONE of their reporters was stupid enough to do this, and so was fired.  The fact remains that you could have checked one of the named bloggers and had you done so you'd see she exists.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Feb 21st, 2011 at 03:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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