By Ron Forthofer
Recent revolutionary events in Tunisia and Egypt reflect people’s strong desire for an end to repression, injustice and inequity. In effect, people are saying we are as mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore. The Tunisians’ courageous ousting of their autocratic leader has inspired others suffering under oppressive regimes in the Arab world and maybe beyond. While it is still too early to say what the outcome in Egypt will be, Egyptians have discovered their power and their voice.
Despite this daring uprising of the Egyptian people, President Obama still indicates support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Obama and previous U.S. leaders clearly haven’t learned from the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and former President John F. Kennedy. On April 4, 1967 Dr. King spoke about U.S. aggression in Vietnam and other places: “It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible…”
Despite our revolutionary pedigree and fine words supporting democracy, the U.S. has often sided with dictators who were willing to serve our perceived interests. Even worse, we have gone beyond this sorry state and helped to overthrow democratically elected governments in, among other places, Iran, Guatemala and Chile. After these ousters, we then supported the brutal dictators who took power.
It’s well past time that the U.S. lives up to its alleged principles, stops accommodating tyranny, and supports democracy around the world. Even former President George W. Bush recognized that to do otherwise doesn’t work. For example, in a 2005 speech commemorating victory over the Nazis he said: “We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability.” However, Bush, similar to other U.S. presidents, continued to sacrifice peoples’ freedoms through his support of repressive rulers in, for example, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Egypt.
Please call the White House message line at 202-456-1111 on weekdays between 7am and 3pm Colorado time. Request that President Obama support the Egyptian people and finally put the U.S. on the right side of people-led revolutions.
– Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.