Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for January 29th, 2011

When Will the West Stop Backing Dictators?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 29th January, 2011

The message from Cairo and other Egyptian cities could not be clearer: the people want octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak to leave. Already more than 100 have died in the biggest uprising since Mubarak came to power 30 years ago. They are fed up with the denial of true democracy and the reality of a police state in which the torture of detainees is endemic. The police have disappeared over the past 72 hours, which has encouraged an outbreak of looting and violent crime; some people accuse those involved of being security forces with their uniform off, deliberately creating chaos. Whatever the truth of that, it is the army which is now trying to maintain order — and many soldiers are bonding well with the protestors. Everyone in the street seems to believe the only course open now is for Mubarak to stand down, but he has dug his heels in. Shamefully, his Western allies seem to be backing him on this, merely urging him to allow peaceful demonstrations. Mubarak has spoken to both Barack Obama and David Cameron in recent hours, but no indication has been given that they have told him to recognise the truth: that his people hate him. They are discrediting themselves by standing by him. Of course, both the United States and Britain have a long history of supporting dictators, or at least of not pulling the carpet from underneath their feet. Pulling the carpet from under the feet of Mubarak is exactly what the United States — and to a lesser extent, the EU — can do. It is time to do it.

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