In the State of the Union speech, Barack Obama did get applause for saying that the US stands with the people of Tunisia. Now, he didn't mention the two decades of support the US had given the dictatorship.
The President did not have anything to say about Egypt -- where thousands of people, inspired by Tunisia, were taking to the streets to protest their own repressive government — another one the US has backed for years. Secretary of State Clinton's official word is that the Egyptian government was “stable”. Aha. She said it's “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests” of its people. And she urged “restraint” as they suppressed protesters.
Today there's more tear gas and water trucks being used on people in the streets of Cairo, and Twitter's been blocked. As has become the norm, social media helped Egyptian protesters organize and spread the word: Video was uploaded to the Web from cell-phone cameras; it showed activists blocking trucks with water cannons and fighting off police batons.
As of Wednesday night the Guardian newspaper was reporting six dead. And now the Twitter-world's aflame with reports that Egypt's ruling Mubarak family's arrived in Heathrow. Stable -- in another country -- I don't think that's what Secretary Clinton meant.
While this was playing out President Obama was holding forth on US exceptionalism, and especially its role promoting world democracy.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Standing By 'Our' Dictators
Laura Flanders writes about our speechlessness concerning the Egyptian protests: