I think the Historic poll in Egypt that will be held soon can be read as half-way towards democracy and opennes in egypt. egypt has long story of repression and persecution against dissenters since gamal abdel nasser, anwar sadat and now husni mubarak. most repressions are against muslim brotherhood (ikhwanul muslimin), a social islamic movement which are very popular in the middle east. many indonesian friends of mine who studied there told me that the repression and persecution are so severe; the secret agent is everywhere. you cannot talk in cafe shop against mubarak or you will find your self in torture chamber. so much the dislikeness of the regime to dissent movement with islamist odour like muslim brotherhood that even if you do not belong to this organisation but you have a model of beard similar to theirs, you are officially a suspect of a member of terrorist!
even the poll is historic in nature from egypt perspective (never ever any presidential candidate in egypt other than the incumbent ruler!), but egypt is far away from anything democratic: freedom of expression, transparency and independent judiciary. the information tools like tv channel also fully monopolised by the regime. so, even there is multicandidate, mubarak position is not underthreat whatsoever.
egypt need reform and real democracy desperately. the initiative should come from its biggest allies: the US to pressurize the regime in egypt to make a reform as smooth and fast as possible. the dissenters in egypt has begun to lose patience and start making violence and terror act to be heard of. mubarak should understand that. it’s time to be a ruler with sportmen-like competition: who got the highest charisma and popularity he/she deserve to be in power. that’s the rule of the world.
i hope, the US doesnt protect the egyptian dictators for fear of his would-be-democratic successor will be unfriendly to US and Israel. if it happen so be it. that’s democracy. but im sure, any leader when in power are much more pragmatic than when they are in opposition. so israel and the US should not worry.
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