Be rational, let Hosni Mubarak stay

Published: February 1, 2011
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All cries that Mubarak should leave are dangerous and unpredictable.

Egypt doesn’t seem like the best holiday destination at the moment. As thousands of energetic and idealistic youths throng the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, yearning for change and a better tomorrow, one would think Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years in power are coming to an end.

And while this is a momentous opportunity to observe the vagaries of people’s power and mass demonstrations, of idealism and political change in the struggle for democracy, let’s not be fooled. Hosni Mubarak stepping down from the Egyptian presidency may just be the worst thing that could happen in these precarious times.

Forget idealism, do the rational thing

While I’m certainly not a fan of octogenarian despots who leverage their military support to deny basic rights to their population, let’s not confuse idealism for stupidity. Yes, Mubarak in an ideal world should step down. But ideals are rarely the most rational choice. Yes, democracy should come to Egypt. But the ground realities suggest that morality must be ignored in the face of hard cold facts.

Given Egypt’s tenuous political situation and immature democratic base, the winds of change that are gathering speed may just bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. My case is not founded on what is necessarily right but what is necessary. It is not a repudiation of democratic values but an argument for stability which I feel will help the greater good as opposed to merely selecting political leaders.

Egypt’s inexperience with democracy, it’s geopolitical situation – vis a vis its neighbours as well as the strength of the Muslim brotherhood – make it a potential disaster if the government becomes destabilised and a power vacuum ensues after Mubarak exits.

Undemocratic Egypt

The country has never really succeeded with democracy. Since 1952, the land of the Pharaohs has been more or less been controlled by the military. Three leaders, Nasser, Sadat and now Mubarak have dominated the helm of politics. Often, this has led to disastrous results such as the 1967 war where Israel pre-emptively decimated the Egyptian air force and used that impetus to dominate the West Bank and East Jerusalem; repercussions which are still being felt today. Sadat’s tenure saw an unprecedented improvement in relations but his subsequent assassination demonstrated that there are more conservative voices looming in the shadows of Egypt.

Mubarak brought stability

Since Mubarak took over from Sadat’s assassination in 1981, Egypt has been relatively stable. True, dissent has not been tolerated, corruption has been present and the government has failed to deliver on many issues. However, the government has been present and has provided stability despite the numerous obstacles it has faced.

History teaches us that the immediate removal of a strong leader immediately engenders a state of anarchic chaos where rivals with strong factions vie for power. This alternative is truly more detrimental, no matter how you plead your case, than authoritarianism.

An empty seat

The reality is that the forced removal of any strong leader inevitably creates a power vacuum which cannot be fulfilled by any one leader or party. More troubling is that Egypt’s constitution will need to be reformulated; the role of the army will need to be further clarified while the judiciary hangs in limbo, impotent unless the forces of might (the army) support a change for the positive. Political clamoring will ensue, interest groups will form, factions will break out and anarchy may ensue. There need to be a lot of rational, idealistic, like-minded individuals to execute this in a peaceful fashion before venal desires and tainted ambitions, the bane of human existence, take precedence.

The fact remains, that unless there is a clearly identified succession path and a transition phase outlined, forcing Mubarak to step down may just open the dikes on a torrent of violence, instability and petty infighting.

In a sticky position

This situation is further exacerbated when you consider Egypt’s geopolitical situation. Across the Sinai, lies Israel. There can be no doubt that Egypt’s political deadlock and descent into anarchy will have far reaching implications. Intervention may be necessary, and just who exactly will intervene?

Israel intervening will nurture blowback hitherto unfelt. Although the two countries are technically at peace with one another, the potential to inflate an already over-inflated Middle East crisis is not very attractive. At the same time, the United States cannot intervene either as lessons from the previous Bush administration have caused enough of a trust deficit in the Muslim world.

So who steps in? Egypt’s neighbours? The sad reality is that neither Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Uganda or Somalia make for very compelling options. Worst still, are Libya or Sudan. There is the UN which is all talk with little action. There is also the African Union which is equally if not more contemptible. The alternatives therefore are best left out of this equation. The fact remains, if Egypt descends into chaos, how to salvage it? If Egypt’s self-implosion destabilises the region, how best to remedy it? There are few answers to this one.

Pockets of Islamist anger

There rests in Egypt pockets  of clandestine operatives, students and demagogues, individuals who have felt the government’s wrath for decades. Vice-regal dictators like Mubarak, despite all their faults, have prevented their country from descending into a theocracy. However, in the absence of such controls and the emergence of a democracy, the threat of Islamists remains a possibility.

Iran is a prime example where the swift downfall of the Shah bought about an even swifter theocracy under Khomeini, despite the fact that the movement to remove the Shah emanated not from the Islamists but the same sort of people you see on your TV screens today in Cairo; the young, the idealistic, the hopeful and the passionate.

As much as I would like to see Mubarak go, the sad reality remains that the greater good for Egypt and dare I say, the world, is if Mubarak stay until a more feasible solution for him to step down is formulated.

Until then, all cries that Mubarak should leave are dangerous and unpredictable.

hamza.usman

Hamza Usman

A writer with a Bachelor's in Political Science & History and a Master's in Global Communications. He tweets at @hamzausman.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nadir El-Edroos

    The chances that the doomsday scenario you articulate above are about the same that things get better for the people of Egypt if Mubarak leaves. Even if these protests never took place, and the supposed tourist friendly calm continued, Mubarak is 81 with no obvious succesor in sight. He lined up his son who is unversally hated. The instability that you warn of would have come one way or the other. The events of today carry legitimacy, which an elite negotiated post-Mubarak transition would never have had. The pessimism that Egypt will drown in chaosis the worst case scenario. The protestors have been at pains to point out that they are neither extremists, war-mongerers, anti-American, anti-Israel. Further, they have so far emphasised the role of both muslims and coptic christians in the protests. Anyways, events are snowballing as we speak. The onus now is on Mubarak to move towards and orderly transition and avoid giving the space for extremists, hate mongerers and oppourtunists. Recommend

  • gwelymernans

    This opinion column is itself irrational. The point of no return has quite obviously arrived. The Egyptians have clearly voiced their demands that Mubarak leave and they will not accept anything less. Even if you find Mubarak a stabilizing force, to your own ends, he is the antithesis of a stabilizing force w/ respect to the Egyptian masses who simply want to have enough food on the table, adequate health care and the right to express their grievances w/ their gov’t. If this country has never succeeded w/ democracy, it is merely b/c they have had any opportunities towards such an ideal hijacked by those who could not tolerate such a social system. You are merely criticizing a populace rather than the institutions that have have lead to such a low standard of living and freedom.Recommend

  • parvez

    Change is one of the hardest things to accept and digest. Putting it off only makes the transition harder.
    I totally disagree with your point of view and agree with @gwelymernans that this opinion column is itself irrational.Recommend

  • http://www.tamfilms.org Tobo

    Any formidable documentaries to your credit Mr. Hassan?Recommend

  • http://www.tamfilms.org Tobo

    Mr. Hamza (Apologies)Recommend

  • Ahmad Ali

    The author is guilty of pandering to authoratarianism in a supposed ”secular” ideal. This type of bonkers ”secular” thinking permeates much of the Muslim World.

    We need post-secularist and post-Islamist politics:

    http://pakteahouse.net/2011/01/31/from-egypt-to-tunisia-towards-a-politics-of-post-islamism-and-post-secularism/

    Enough of autocracy religious or secular, there is no difference between the two.Recommend

  • http://motls.blogspot.com/ Luboš Motl

    I completely agree and I wrote the very same things yesterday on my blog. Mubarak is not a perfect leader for a paradise but his regime kept Egypt among the top Arab countries when it comes to stability, peace in the Middle East, peace with Israel, co-operation with the West, and even the propagation of modern civilization, technologies, and Facebook that is being used by the current idealistic protesters.

    Those things make it likely that the situation without Mubarak and his power is likely to be worse for the West, for Israel, for peace, for co-existence of the civilizations, and for freedom of the citizens – including 10-20% of the Christians (copts) – than his political survival. Mubarak should be praised as one of the most sensible “old” leaders in similar countries. Moreover, the Islamists and other not-quite-acceptable groups remain the most coherent voices among the groups who dream about their power. Once the rallies disappear from the street, coherence and thirst for power will surely matter, so I have no reason to think that someone else than the Islamists, Marxists, and similar radical group will benefit from the chaos.

    Mubarak has arguably allowed as much democracy as the current degree of political evolution of the base – and the citizens’ innate aptitude – allowed him to allow. ;-) By the way, my exchanges with some of the Egyptians activists on Facebook showed that they have no clue about politics, indeed. Cheers, LMRecommend

  • Neeraj, India

    I support what the author is trying to imply here. Arab world is not ready for democracy, at least, not right now. Removing Saddam Hussain was a big mistake, the current situation in Iraq proves the point. All the Arab dictators/despots, including Hosni Mubarak have been a source of stability and order for a long time. Disturbing the status quo, poses a danger of bearded fanatics capturing power, as it already happened in Iran decades ago.
    The mullhas of Iran proved no better than the autocratic Shah, in fact, they turned out to be even worse kind of oppressors. The unrealistic and foolish foreign policy of the mullhas has left Iran friendless in the world and in spite of the immense petro-wealth, it’s economy stands on the verge of bankruptcy today.
    I think the octogenarian Mubarak should step down in favor of another young and reformist dictator. That would be good not only for Egypt but for the rest of the world. Recommend

  • Ahmad Ali

    @ LM

    Disgusting…..

    What about the Iranians? When the brave Iranian dissidents marched on the streets the West was up in arms but when a similar sort of State like Egypt sees similar outpourings of dissent (much more than the Iranian situation), the West stays silent. Why?

    It has come to a critical point, that the West can no longer apply different standards to different countries. This is blatant hypocrisy, and it dehumanises the Egyptian people. The demonization of ”Islamists”, (there are liberals, democrats, pragmatic, theocratic, totalitarian and many types of Islamist parties), has been the great Orientalist myth to deny the Egyptian people basic dignity and human rights.

    As those in America and Europe enjoy democracy, so should those who live in Egypt and the wider Arab world. Anything less is symptomatic of a deep seated prejudice and political racism. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/225/ali-ahmad/ Ahmad Ali

    ” the threat of Islamists remains a possibility”

    What is that threat exactly? As far as I know ”Islamist” opposition is incredibly diverse and mainstream Islamism in Egypt is non-violent, democratic and adopts constitutional means. Mainstream Islamist opposition engages in social, charity and educational work.

    Whilst Mubarak buys his son flats in Knighsbridge, London..

    There are things to be critical of, absolutely, I myself point out these contradictions and the danger of extremism (just see my article history for the ET blog).

    I think the author of this column has made it clear why ”secularists” in Pakistan just fail completely. Because they cannot engage and cannot even connect with their fellow countrymen. People want reform, they want sustainability, they want better living standards, they want rights and they want a say in how their country is run, not this euphemism of ”stability”.

    Egypt’s neoliberal economic reforms have only benefited a few, real democratic and economic development has left more people worse off. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/08/egypt-imf

    One-third of Egyptian children suffer from malnourishment under Shah Mubarak:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/01/western-media-egypt-iran

    Let’s hope Western governments do not end up on the wrong side of history…..

    All this talk of the ”greater good” in the article is absolute rubbish. Evaluate the economic performance of Egypt under Mubarak in terms of living standards and other markers of development and you will see the failures of an autocrat. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/225/ali-ahmad/ Ahmad Ali

    ”Arab world is not ready for democracy, at least, not right now”

    What rubbish.

    Well if Indians are ready, with their caste system, and other hopelessly ant-democratic social practices revolving around caste, the prejudice of race and faith then surely Arab countries are.

    If we in Pakistan are ready for democracy with our hopelessly corrupt and autocratic political parties which are really just family businesses then surely the Arabs are!

    Arabs are now adopting a form of liberal, religious and democratic governance to move their countries into the 21st century. See my post:

    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/3984/what-we-can-learn-from-tunisia/

    Arabs are just as capable as any other people of committing to democracy. Recommend

  • Natasha S.
  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/225/ali-ahmad/ Ahmad Ali

    ”By the way, my exchanges with some of the Egyptians activists on Facebook showed that they have no clue about politics’

    Geez I wonder why? Reading from your post, and the priorities that matter to you, perhaps you mean because they disagreed with you on matters of American foreign policy, a more just and humane stance towards Israel’s brutual occupation and that they want a relationship with the West which is based on equality, to quote President Obama (how ironic he was giving a speech in Cairo just a while back!) mutual respect that means they have ”no clue about politics”.

    Dogmatism is dangerous, and right now Western foreign policy and how it treats the Middle East is oozing with this dangerous dogmatism and this euphemistic rhetoric of ”stability” (which should be read as totalitarianism). Recommend

  • gwelymernans

    Those saying Arabs are not ready for democracy are either being xenophobic/ethnocentric or are not saying what they are really thinking (ie, they have self interests which they do not want to really speak aloud). People are people, no matter where you go. The Egyptians have intellectuals, spiritual leaders (both Coptic and Islamic), business leaders, teachers, doctors and nurses, engineers, etc… in short, very capable people in every walk of life and profession. They have had enough and they will not accept anything less than to live in a free, peaceful and tenable society. This is something that Mubarak cannot and would not provide.Recommend

  • http://natashasuleman.wordpress.com Natasha S.

    So now the citizens of the world’s most dangerous country infested with almost every sort of problem will teach rationality to the oppressed Egyptians.

    If you don’t know how to fight for yourself , let the Egyptians do that. Let them have what they want. You arent the only nation that deserves democracy.

    ‘What ifs’ are none of your business.Recommend

  • kailash sethy

    There are people who don’t see any thing wrong with AK 47 in a kid’s hand. so not with terrorism, not with taliaban and again not with Al Qaeda. there are people who would love to live under Mullahs’ rule like a country Iran. no right for women. Death by stoning is justified in name of religion. If that is the case, so be it.Recommend

  • Neeraj, India

    @Ahemed Ali,
    Dude, do have any understanding of democracy at all? I don’t think so. Otherwise, you would never have called Pakistan ready for democracy, even with it’s corrupt leaders. Laughable logic indeed! Don’t you see thousands of Pakistanis marching in support of cold blooded murderer hailing him as a hero, bestowing him with heroic religious titles and showering rose petals. On the other hand, no one even flinches, when in the name of religion hundreds of innocent men, women and children are ripped to the shreds by the exploding human bombs. Minorities are booked under dreaded blasphemy law, even for throwing a business card in a bin. Wow! And you have gall to say your country is ready for democracy!
    If this is your ideal democracy, then, Egyptians better pray for Mubarak to stay in power.
    Dude, no democracy ever succeeded, without separating the religion from the state. If religion is allowed to interfere with the state, then, the result is a theocratic Iran or a chaotic Pakistan.
    That is why I said that the Arab world, in fact, the most of the Muslim world, is not yet ready for a true form of democracy, because a vast majority of muslims are not ready to treat religion as a personal matter.
    As for caste system is concerned, it has nothing to do with democracy. It is social problem which gets reformed with passage of time. Remember, even in the United States, racial segregation was legal as early as 1950s and 1960s, but, see, today a black man is a president of the US. Only democracies are capable of bringing such a miraculous change.
    India has changed for good, would keep changing for better in future too. Recommend

  • Ahmad

    In that case, we should also have let Pinochet stay, as well as Musharraf, Ben Ali, and all the crack pot dictators of the Middle East and Latin America. What a stupid argument to make. Transition to democracy is always messy, thats not exactly a reason to not want it. In fact, it should make one realize that the longer one waits the more trouble it will cause so might as well do it sooner rather than later.Recommend

  • Ahmad

    Neeraj, dare i say that Pakistanis know the meaning of democracy much better than any Indian, because we have actually had to fight for it. Democracy for Pakistanis is a privilege, not a right. And if you look at the National and Provincial Assemblies right now, only 1.6% of seats are occupied by Islamist parties. They might be able to bring our 40,000 protesters to the streets, but they will never get more than a single digit percentage of votes when it comes to elections. No matter what happens in Pakistan, a JI backed candidate will never come to power, unlike AB Vajpayee in India, who was a BJP candidate. Yes, our treatment of minorities is heinous, and is among the million other things thats wrong with this country, but if you want to talk about unrest, then lets talk about the Samjhota Express blast, or better yet the Babri Masjid demolition and the Gujarat massacre. Or the possible sedition charges against Arundhati Roy for speaking the truth, or the countless deaths of activists in India for merely using the Freedom of Information law. India is obviously in better shape than Pakistan, but inequality in India is more than in Pakistan. Thats a fact, not my opinion.
    Oh and btw, suicide bombing was invented in India, by the Tamils who then exported it to Sri Lanka, from where it spread everywhere else.Recommend

  • Asad Badruddin

    Hamza,

    I would like to quote Thomas Jefferson:
    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
    If the Egyptian people want to do this let them do it. It’s time people were in charge of their own destiny. Of course there will be mistakes along the way, but there their mistakes to make, not anyone else’s to fix.

    @Neeraj, India: I’m sorry to say this but your response reeks of arrogance. There was a time when the British too thought that the Indians were too uncivilized to govern themselves. It is a pity that India’s founding fathers fought against this dangerous idea only to have their own citizens spout it.

    As for Iran, it has problems of having a very illiberal political structure, but I would say most of Iran is still better off then in the Shah’s time. Its poor are looked after better, and most of its women attend college. These are things it has done better than both Pakistan and India so please bear that in mind before constantly maligning it.Recommend

  • Neeraj, India

    Ahamed,
    You said, //Pakistanis know the meaning of democracy much better than any Indian, because we have actually had to fight for it. Democracy for Pakistanis is a privilege, not a right.//
    Oh, really where is it? In the pockets of Gen. Kayani? Who never stops ‘briefing’ and ‘advising’ Pak politicians.
    //And if you look at the National and Provincial Assemblies right now, only 1.6% of seats are occupied by Islamist parties.//
    Islamist parties? Aren’t PPP , PML(N), ‘Islamist’, enough? What more do you want? These ‘secular’ parties have already accepted Khadri as a Ghazi, haven’t they? Could you deny it?
    //No matter what happens in Pakistan, a JI backed candidate will never come to power, unlike AB Vajpayee in India, who was a BJP candidate//
    What do you mean by that? Are you comparing Vajpayee with the likes of Munavvar Hussain or Hafiz Saeed? The BJP is a most reputed Indian political entity, it has not only ruled India for whole six years, but, still is a ruling party in the several key Indian states and it is likely to come back to power at the center during the next elections to the Lok Sabha.
    Here is my opinion on a similar topic on BJP:
    “The BJP cannot be dubbed as an extremist Hindu party. It is a conservative party, which not only advocates small government, market driven economy, small states etc., but also stresses on the respect for the cultural values(hindu) of India. This kind of a party in not unique to India, but, in fact almost all the democratic countries in the world have their own kind of conservative parties.
    Take for example the Republican party of the US. The BJP, in many ways reminiscent of the Republican party. The US republicans are all for the christian values, they oppose abortion and are less tolerant of gays. In Europe, we find even more rabid conservatism. In France, the blatantly racist party the Front National came so close to power that, in 2002, it’s leader Jean Marie Le Pen finished second in presidential elections. Less said about Netherlands is better, because here society is badly divided between Catholics and Protestants and parties openly represent either of the two faiths. Worst, in recent elections ultra-rightist and anti-muslim politician Geert Wilders’ party won large number of parliamentary seats and became a key to the formation of the new government.
    Same can be said about Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. Therefore, measuring the success of Indian democracy purely on the basis of rise and fall of the BJP, is utterly misleading. The truth is, the BJP’s existence as a strong opposition party is very much vital for the Indian democracy, as it keeps the ruling party on tenterhooks and prevents them from becoming power drunk.”
    As for Arundhati, let me remind you that she is still alive and living a luxurious life with all her so called love for the poor and the oppressed. She is yet to be killed for expressing her sympathy for a fragile and helpless christian mother of five, awaiting death sentence, for allegedly insulting the prophet of Islam, who the faithfuls never cease to proclaim as epitome of peace and mercy. Recommend

  • Neeraj, India

    Oh I forgot to explain the Samjhouta Express carnage. It was a heinous crime and no words of mine can express my shame/grief for the tragedy. But, you must remember that the crime was brought to light by the Indian intelligence agencies and on one else, therefore, you must give credit to the Indian democratic system for that. I am happy that the criminal Purohit and others are languishing in jails, awaiting justice.
    In contrast, murderers of Mumbai are roaming free in Pakistan. Please note the difference.Recommend

  • Talat

    This is another way of questioning sanity of millions of Egyptians. I would rather believe and support the Egyptians, not a Pakistani who is ready to declare millions of people crazy on the basis of few articles that has read on the internet.Recommend

  • Rajat

    @Ahmed
    lol, by your rationale Sweden should be held responsible for two world wars, numerous other wars until today and the death of millions just because it’s citizen invented the dynamite. Just by calling your opinion as facts shows your rabid hate for India, and your indoctrination of the idea that no matter how bad my country is, it is always better than yours. Gujarat violence was 9 years ago, and there has’nt been a case of riots ever since. Babri Masjid was a mistake, and the only reason LK Advani is not a PM of India is because of his involvement in the same, moreover the recent court verdict gave proportional land share to hindus, muslims and nirmohis(who have got nothing to do with the temple).
    We are talking about Egypt here, so keep your ignorant comments about my country to yourself. Recommend

  • kailash sethy

    It looks muslims will support (dil se) revolt in countries which r perceived to be tilted towards WEST(read) and moderately secular like Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. But when it comes to IRAN, they would rather not see happening the same. Probably no muslim would like to see a change of guard in Syria because it is perceived anti West(US).

    West and other non Islamic countries would like just the opposite because they fear Egypt might go the IRAN way where it is legal to kill someone by stoning and hardly any rights for women. Remember when Iran revolution happened, none had thought they will become what they r now and hardly any friend left for them unless there is some real oil businessRecommend

  • Patriot

    @Neeraj…pathetic and arrogant comments. Dude your title of the biggest democracy in the world is not helping the 700 million indian democrats living below poverty line…talking of doing miracles with democracy, dont ignore china Recommend

  • khan

    I suggest we ought to send Musharraf to Egypt to take Mubarak’s job, at least then he will leave us alone.
    Musharraf can be in the spotlight for the next few decades – giving his much loved daily press conferences – until he also gets overthrown (but then, unlike Mubarak, he is already has some experience in getting tossed out)Recommend

  • Ehtisham Rizvi

    @kailash sethy:
    Women in Iran enjoy complete freedom and equal rights, have you visited Iran lately? or ever? dont be prejudiced in your approach, you try to sound like one of them liberals, and yet in your Iran bashing you sound like a salafi.

    When I visited Iran a few years ago, there were two employees at the immigration counter, one of them was a woman, when I roamed the streets of Mashhad and Qum, I could see women in markets, mosques and shrines, just like in Karachi, only they were dressed differently. Yes they have to cover themselves up properly but the people of Iran chose it for themselves and a dominant majority is in support of the life style after revolution. In Iran they are self sufficient in agriculture and economy, they dont owe any debts to America or any other countries, Iran is much better off with the revolution and poses a great threat to Israel and other ‘brother’ Arab countries, who by the way are allies with Israel. Iran’s influence in Palestine is on the rise and Qatar and Jordan are soon to follow. Iran is the only true Muslim state in the world thanks to the revolution, and minorities enjoy equal rights there.

    So stop mentioning Iran like the revolution there was some kind of a disastor, it was a roaring success. Recommend

  • Ahmad

    rajat, you’re right. That last point, even though true, was irrelevant to this discussion, but I didnt open the door to this conversation, that was Neeraj. And I just get pissed off when people like him keep trolling about Pakistani websites because they’ve got nothing better to do. And I don’t hate India, quite the contrary, but again, heat of the moment. The one point I would make in your reply is that calling the Babri Masjid demolition a ‘mistake’ is oversimplifying it quite remarkably, especially in India, whose founding father was Nehru. And the fact that Advani never became PM is hardly consolation. People go to jail for that kind of actions, and if you are going to bring up Mumbai 2008, then rest assured I firmly believe that they should all be rotting in jail right now. I also believe that India showed remarkable patience in dealing with that episode. And as to your last point, if Nirmohis had nothing to do with the temple then why allot them land at all, and the land allotted to Hindus was on the base of what? Divine Providence? Something that was written in your Holy Book? Please correct me if I am wrong, I don’t mean this polemically. But if I am right, then again, quite a remarkable development in Nehru’s India.Recommend

  • Ahmad

    getting back to topic,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/opinion/01brooks.html?scp=1&sq=in%20quest%20of%20dignity&st=Search

    “The experiences of these years teach us a few lessons. First, the foreign policy realists who say they tolerate authoritarian government for the sake of stability are ill informed. Autocracies are more fragile than any other form of government, by far.”Recommend

  • Neeraj, India

    Ahmad,
    You amaze me man! //rajat, you’re right. That last point, even though true, was irrelevant to this discussion, but I didnt open the door to this conversation, that was Neeraj. And I just get pissed off when people like him keep trolling about Pakistani websites because they’ve got nothing better to do.//
    Are you sure you wrote above lines with an open mind? Why don’t you look at the comment section again. You will find that in your first comment, directed at me, it was you who brought babri masjid, Gujarat, BJP, Samjhouta Express, Arundhati, invention of suicide bomber and of course the better understanding of democracy by Pakistanis etc..Even before you, another gentleman donning your name, with Ali attached to it, went even further and made India’s caste system a part of the debate. And still you have the audacity to accuse me of diverting the debate? Bravo man!
    Oh yea, you also got p****d off at the presence of Indians on the Pakistani websites, sounds like an another standard Pakistani complaint. But, you forgot to use an another favorite Pakistani ‘logic’, which is often used as some sort of an ‘ultimate weapon of defense’, India’s poverty!
    But, don’t worry brother, one of your fellow Pakistani Patriot has already accomplished the noble deed for you! Just check above. : )Recommend

  • http://amnamela.wordpress.com Amna Mela

    The Egyptian people worked together- men, women, Christians, Muslims- to take to the streets. They organized themselves to protect each others homes, made human walls to protect others who were praying, made human walls to protect their museum. The Christians protected the Muslims who were praying and the Muslims protected the Christians. The women guarded at night and let the men sleep. They picked up trash and sorted it for recycling. When Mubarak’s hired thugs entered Tahiri Square and tried to run over the protesters on horseback, the protesters pulled them off the horses and then tried to calm down the horses.

    They did all this while they were running low on food and money and their internet had been cut off and they couldn’t contact family and friends. They made an orderly line for access to the single water fountain in the square. We Pakistanis could learn a thing or two from the Egyptians, just from their solidarity.

    When outsiders decide to intervene and comment that the Egyptians don’t know what is best for them, it just sounds like very patronizing Fox News rhetoric.

    And while Mubarak is paying his henchmen to massacre his people and throw Molotov cocktails at them and into Cairo’s museum, I bet the author of this post is feeling quite foolish for saying that a allowing a mass murderer to stay is the more ‘rational’ option. Recommend

  • hu

    @ Amna Mela
    The author does not feel stupid at all. The title of this piece is not mine, it was changed by the editors of the Tribune Blog. Hence all the attacks at the word ‘rational’ are not a reflection at my work but a reflection of what happens when a writer’s original ideas are changed. I have a strong objection to any changes to my work so I hope the editors are reading this.

    Secondly, a lot of the feedback to the article is opinion, which I respect but others abound with negative criticism with neither supporting evidence nor a coherent argument. Some like Nadir or Asad Badruddin have provided a balanced perspective with a logical argument which I really appreciate. Then there are people like Mr. Ahmed Ali who are fiercely pushing their beliefs upon others whilst shamelessly promoting their own writing with links to their blogs. This is not the space for that. If your writing indeed had any merit then you wouldn’t need to guide people to your writing nor would you need to try so vociferously to push your opinions on others. You also claim that no one wants stability. The truth is my good friend, that without stability, none of the lovely things you want will be available. The point I’m trying to make to hotheads like you is that you need calm down and analyze the situation before you start spewing one diatribe after the next in order to make your point. If indeed you are so keen on democracy, then perhaps learning to accept others’ opinions and working toward the best one is better than championing ideals which have no use to anybody. Ironically, your attitude is no less tyrannical than Hosni Mubarak’s.

    Often, passion and ideals are mistaken for common sense when the reality suggests otherwise. It is unfortunate that many readers only read the title of this piece (which is not mine) and concluded I did not want Mubarak to step down. If you read my last paragraph, I too state that I want Mubarak to step down but not before steps are taken to ensure a stable transfer to power where democratic institutions are in place that can prevent any of the above-mentioned problems from taking place.

    As for all the Indian/Pakistani hate speech dialogue, there is really no need for that either. Recommend

  • PK Expat

    I disagree with the author. There is no “right” time for idealistic change. Such moves are challenging and hence only bold and courageous people accomplish them. If the Egyptians feel now is the time, then this silly status-quo maintaining Western comfort backed “stability” argument needs to be ignored for the more pressing argument of change and courage. What the author is proposing is a kind of acceptance of defeat and cowardice type of role that the Egyptians assume. We, as Pakistanis, should look up to the coming together of people from many different walks of life in Egypt. Recommend

  • http://amnamela.wordpress.com Amna Mela

    this silly status-quo maintaining
    Western comfort backed “stability”
    argument needs to be ignored for the
    more pressing argument of change and
    courage. What the author is proposing
    is a kind of acceptance of defeat and
    cowardice type of role that the
    Egyptians assume. We, as Pakistanis,
    should look up to the coming together
    of people from many different walks of
    life in Egypt.

    Agreed with above, 110%. Recommend

  • Neeraj, India

    @Ahmad,
    Dude, the sentences you are attributing to me are not from my original post, you lifted them from my reply to Ahmad Ali who quite unnecessarily brought India and caste system etc. into the debate and you countered it by responding to my above reply and not to my original post, thereby indirectly ended up endorsing the views held by Ahmad Ali.
    Defending yourself by twisting the facts is certainly not an act of decency. Recommend

  • Ani

    Very well laid out counter argument. But when despots are so disconncted this is what happens. The normal people are in rage fighting for justice and dignity (not Islam); in the shadow of their sacrifice a more organized body like the muslim brotherhood may position itself to hijack the revolution (for Islam)- that is the fear. Not sure how you get around that at this stage of the game. Mubarak just has to go.

    (Why don’t the readers comment on the article? There is no point in dragging India and Pakistan into the argument). Recommend

  • Tahrir

    “People are tossing around the word “stability”, like it’s some kind of indication of a fair and just economic or political system. It’s not. It simply means that the dictatorship has had a firm hold on the population through torture, intimidation, blackmail, false imprisonment and other human rights abuses. At least 30,000 Egyptian dissidents are being held in underground prisons by the Mubarak regime. Some of the methods used by Mubarak, documented by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, include: Arrest on suspicion. Arrest for carrying audio tapes or flyers found objectionable by the government. Detention without trial. Open ended detention with no date or hope for release. Kind of like Gitmo. Mubarak’s police holds wife, mother and children as hostages to make Islamic dissidents in concealment to surrender to the police. Torture, both physical and psychological. (Some of the torturers were trained in the United States.) Control of mosques: Most of Egypt’s mosques have been taken over by the Mubarak government which issues official “sermons” to be read by the appointed preachers. Mosques stormed by security forces: In numerous instances over the last 10 years, Mubarak’s security forces have attacked mosques where opponents had gathered, killing people inside the mosque. So much for stability. It’s not very stable for the people of Egypt, only for those who suppress the population.”Recommend

  • Raqib Ali

    I don’t blame the writer as he has grown up (like many people) under Pakistani establishment’s propaganda!!!!Recommend

  • Faraz Akbar

    Right now I don’t wanna hear anything against the Egyptians, or for that matter anyone fighting for democracy. Recommend

  • A

    Mubarak brought stability? Sure, if by stability you mean emergency rule since 1981, then yes. Glad that’s something you approve of…geez. Recommend

  • Burhan

    Power to the Egyptian people, Period!
    Predictions and analysis of what could happen is pointless. Recommend