Sunday, June 7, 2009


I asked a friend of mine who is a blogger in Egypt what he thought of Obama's much-lauded "Muslim world" speech. He said that he he attended the speech, but Obama only met with seven journalists (not he). I told him that it seemed that the speech was universally loved, but he responded:
It was bad... He was playing with Muslim emotions… He is like bush but with a good words.”
I asked him what he wanted to hear and he said “Democracy.”
For Egypt, he said, or for Arabs.


Zeyev said...

This is a hard one. Were Obama to go anywhere and ask a country to change its form of government, would your friend automatically say "huzzah!"? And somehow we're supposed to know what is best for the incredibly diverse group of countries that are majority Muslim. For some of these countries, "democracy" would result in a tyranny of the majority. For others, it would would lead to prosperity and the development of a stable middle class. And for still others, it would fail miserably.

Iran appears to have a functioning democracy with - by and large - protection of its minorities. Would a "real" democracy in Egypt be taken over by fundamentalists, the way it nearly was in Algeria?

I wish your friend all the best in working towards his goal. I think all that we can want as a country is that Egypt be stable, seek peace with all of its neighbors (not just Israel), protect human rights of its citizens, and enjoy justice. Sorry, but that does not necessarily require a democratic form of government.

Jonathan Rubin said...

Well said, my friend.

George said...

I agree with your friend that Obama is pretty much just a nicer version of Bush when it comes to that part of the world.

Same old slogans for Israel-Palestine.

Continued support for repressive Saudi monarchy.

Yeah yeah withdraw from Iraq but make sure we still control the oil supply, and the Iraqi government for that matter.

Bomb Afghanistan into the stone age.

More blogs about your lunch Rubin, I'm tired of getting baited into cynical comment land!