Egypt has entered a dangerous period in which its future hinges on whether a change in government can be accomplished smoothly. The last thing the protestors want is to get rid of one dictator, only to discover the new government even more oppressive that the one they ousted. The question is, will the new leaders protect basic human rights, implement policies that promote human dignity, and guarantee individual freedoms? The uncertainty is caused by the fact that no one yet knows how this is going to turn out for Egypt. For the USA and many other countries around the world, the fear is that the new regime will govern by a rigid fanaticism, in which human life has no value without strict adherence to religious ideology.
The revolution in Iran in which the Shah was overthrown was initiated by a group of young middle-class students and members of society seeking greater freedoms and greater opportunities. Like the Chinese students in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 the Iranian protestors wanted nothing more than individual freedom and the right to the pursuit of happiness.
The Revolutionary Guard in Iran hijacked the revolution and brought in the Ayatollah and the Mullahs to rule with an iron fist over Iran.
Iranian students tried again in the past two years to demand change, but the forceful and brutal response of the Ayatollah’s Revolutionary Guards shut the protestors down faster than the Chinese Massacre in Tiananmen Square.
The battle is about winning the hearts and minds of the poor and disenfranchised among the Egyptian people. Their support is essential to whoever wins power in the new government in Egypt, assuming Mubarak is overthrown.
I have been to Cairo, Egypt. I have seen the widespread poverty first hand. I’ve seen child labor in factories and the deprivation of poverty for families that live on $2 per day. I’ve seen the merchants selling their meager goods from donkey-driven carts.