"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Friday, February 4, 2011

In Egypt, the Revolution Will Be Televised, but Is it the Right Revolution?

They said the revolution won't be televised, but that was before social networking. Egypt may be the first made for TV revolt, an uprising that has been tweeted, blogged, youtubed, and manufactured to look like a grassroots protest when it is an entirely different animal, a youth riot over unemployment and food inflation hijacked by Islamist groups to overthrow a pro-Israel government.

The production is well orchestrated with media savvy protesters carrying more signs in English than Arabic, trying to convince the news networks this is a pro-democracy movement. It's not, at least not in the western sense, and signs in Arabic are more likely to quote the Koran than any thinkers of the enlightenment. With so much playing to the camera, one half expects to see Rev. Al Sharpton pop into frame and co-opt the whole affair.

No word yet on how many throngs of people are being CGI'd into the picture, but such propagandizing is having the desired effect. Regime change is the word du jour, and President Mubarak, who at first balked like an Egyptian, has at the very least agreed to not run for an umpteenth term. Nevertheless, the protesters continue their push for change now. An orderly transition overseen by the military in September is unacceptable. They are the jihadists they've been waiting for, community organizers every one of them, and ready for their close-up.

The only remaining question is will their close-up lead to democracy, theocracy, or an even worse autocracy? This is where the whole affair gets muddled, and I part ways with a lot of my conservative American brethren. I have no expectation for any type of government to take shape in Egypt that we would recognize in the United States as free and democratic. There's absolutely nothing to suggest that this is a foundation Egyptians are capable of building on, no history of individual liberty or freedom of worship or equality under the law. To most citizens of the Middle East, democracy simply means mob rule and/or tyranny by the majority. That majority, of course, happens to be Islamic. Thus, when rioting protesters have moved beyond the anti-Mubarak rhetoric to express the principles on which they wish to replace their current regime, the most common references are to Sharia Law and "Death to Israel."

While I'm no expert on Egypt, I'm well-practiced in discerning misinformation spread through the media. I know when I'm being played for a fool and when it comes to the uprising in Egypt, we're all being played. Consider how often you have heard the demonstrators called "peaceful protests" by the mainstream media, the same media who described every tea party event as an angry mob. Yet 100 Egyptians were killed during the first three days of "peaceful protesting." Banks were robbed, homes were set on fire, foreigners were attacked, and businesses were looted. These are not the acts of Gandhi. Meanwhile, the villain we are being sold, President Mubarak - and no one is pretending he is a saint  who hasn't violated human rights - didn't open fire or aggressively run over protesters with tanks.

In recent days, the news of a restrained Mubarak has not been as encouraging, although oddly enough most of the reports of plainclothes police officers beating protesters are second hand accounts relayed by the very people who want to violently overthrow Mubarak. We are, in essence, only getting one side of the story. This should give pause to the reporters in the field, but they are so obsessed with selling their ratings-winning, iphone uprising, that all prudence has gone out the window. Facts aren't verified. Grains of salt are offered sparingly. It's certainly interesting that as Mubarak makes his first move to restore order, having promised to hand power over in a matter of months, the body count is suddenly front page news and the violence is all the president's fault.

There are two reasons the coverage by the American media can't be trusted. The first is Hurricane Katrina. Remember all the killing, stabbing, raping, and thuggery that supposedly took place in the SuperDome that had Shepard Smith and other members of the MSM hyperventilating? Turns out it never happened. Mobs feeding misinformation to reporters trying to scoop their competitors in this age of megabytes and milliseconds means globs of misinformation and few retractions until the hysteria is gone and the 24/7 news cycle has moved on to the latest faux Palin family scandal.

The second and more significant reason I don't trust the coverage of Egypt is a lot of it is originating with Reuters and Al-Jazeera, both of which have a long history of making up facts, publishing staged photos, and using events in the Middle East to further the cause of a Palestinian state and turn public sentiment against Israel, the one true democracy in the region where residents are guaranteed an impressive array of human rights and liberties. No wonder Israel thrives while the rest of the Arab world disintegrates.

To want a free and democratic Egypt is noble, I don't blame anyone for their pollyanna tendencies, but it's also dangerously naive. The history of the world if rife with revolutions in which displaced rulers end up looking like wallflowers compared to the newly installed regimes: Russia, Iran, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and the Gaza Strip to name just a few. With the rare exception of Iraq (thanks to us), most of the Middle East is moving further toward Islamic theocracy than secular democracy, with Turkey and Tunisia leading the path into darkness.

America must continue to psychologically nudge repressive societies toward the beacon of freedom, but when it comes to Egypt, we are seeing the devil we know replaced with the devil we don't know. Make no mistake they are both devils.


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