Wednesday, February 9, 2011
From an interview on DEMOCRACY NOW :
These are IMPORTANT words from journalist Robert Fisk.......
“The Great Tragedy is Obama Chose Not to Hold Out His Hand”: Robert Fisk on the Gap Between U.S. Rhetoric and Action in the Egyptian Uprising
And the great tragedy is that at this critical moment, Obama chose not to hold out his hand to the democrats and to say, "We support you, and Mubarak must go." He chose to support, effectively, Mubarak by saying orderly transition. You know, he wants another general—he’s already got one, Omar Suleiman, the Vice President—to take over. The army, which receives $1.3 billions of American taxpayers’ money every year, is going to be called upon to try and make this transition, even though Mubarak himself, of course, was the head of the air force. He was a general, too. Omar Suleiman, the Vice President, is a general, head of intelligence, a very ruthless man. His people carried out a lot of tortures in the past against Islamist uprisings in Egypt. And for many of the people on the street, there was deep disappointment that at this critical moment the President of the United States, who came here to Cairo just under 18 months ago to tell the Muslim world—he held up their hand, and he said, "Do not clench your fists in response." When the democrats came onto the streets of Cairo and wanted what Obama had advertised to them, it was Obama who clenched his fist and Hillary Clinton who said that it’s a stable regime.
Only now, when they realize that perhaps Mubarak is going to go, mainly because the army want to get rid of him, not the protesters—and another part of the tragedy—are they beginning to say, "Well, we’ve got to get rid of this old man," but not, of course, to replace him with real democrats but to replace him with an army-backed regime, which is effectively Mubarak part two.
You see, American—the problem with the Americans is that when you—the moral values of the United States become disentangled from the national interest at critical moments like this. You know, we all want democracy, but not if we lose Mubarak, who is Israel’s man, etc., etc. And this, of course, doesn’t come as a great surprise to the Arabs, although, as I wrote in the paper, had Obama decided to say, "Look, I’m with the democrats; they’re doing what I talked about in Cairo 18 months ago, 17 months ago," there would have been American flags all over Cairo, all over Egypt. And indeed, it would have solved, in many Arab minds, all the wounds that the Arab and Muslim world has sustained from the United States, and particularly Britain as well, over the last 10 years.