Sep 022013

By Marcus Flores

Egypt’s trial run with democracy ended in an abrupt transition from civilian to military rule, spawning an unusual number of critics of American foreign policy. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post writes that in the spirit of democracy, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s fate ought to have been decided at the ballot box rather than through a military coup. It’s a noble sentiment, but what if the Egyptians unwittingly elected a dictator?

Suppose such a leader appointed a terrorist to preside over the same city, Luxor, where his terrorist group smiled as it butchered 62 tourists; that such a leader’s party crafted the state constitution to read like a surah of the Koran; that, in regard to the September 11 attacks, he seriously said “When you come and tell me that plane hit the tower like a knife in butter, then you’re insulting us…something must have happened from the inside” ; that he forced the retirement of old generals because he preferred the more malleable younger officers. Suppose he then packed parliament with appointees from his own party and declared his executive orders supreme law of the land; that he aptly demonstrated his authoritarian instincts when he jailed bloggers and journalists for petty insults.

Honest question for Robinson: does that series of events not describe a protracted coup, albeit, by a legitimately elected leader? Continue reading »

Feb 162011

Will U.S. foreign aid impede the will of the Egyptian people?

By Michael Dean Benton

As I write this (Sunday February 13), the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak has been forced by the Egyptian people to step down as president after thirty years of ruling the country with an iron fist. The Armed Forces Supreme Council has temporarily taken control of the nation while the Egyptian people are still occupying Tahrir Square and are publicly demonstrating for more democratic openness in the decision making on the future direction of their country. Continue reading »

Feb 122011

Democracy does not only exist in Egypt.

We should have an article in the next issue regarding the ongoing civil disobedience in Frankfort on behalf of the people and places, flora and fauna, of the Eastern Kentucky coal region (and all that lies downriver).Currently, between 10 and 14 citizens are staging a sit-in at Governor Beshear’s office to protest the destructive process of mountaintop removal mining.

Here’s a quote on getting people out for I Love Mountains Day this Monday, from an NoC interview with someone who provided initial backup support for the 14 citizens.

What is it gonna take? What is it gonna take for people to get out in the street if it’s not for poisoned water? If it’s not for your grandparents dying of cancer? If it’s not for destroying million years old mountains, for completely wrecking the economic future of a region? Then what is it? What is it gonna take for folks to wake the fuck up?

My sincere dearest hope is that there is gonna be one, two, three thousand people in Frankfort. You know, hopefully we have a more responsive government than Egypt. Hopefully we have a more responsive government than the guy who hadn’t had an election in thirty years. And hopefully we have the people to demand a better democracy.

A lot of college folks read this site. I hope you follow me in ditching class (both teachers and students), heading to I Love Mountains Day, and saying, “This is more important right now, right here.” Who knows, maybe both students and we teachers might make history rather than simply reading about it. (And if you do go, please tell us about it.)

The activists holed up on thin cheaply-carpeted floors in Frankfort this weekend are not heroes. They are not graced with superhuman skills. They are teachers and nurse practitioners, retired coal miners and state police radio technicians, filmmakers and students. They are you and me.

Except, thus far, they have showed up. Will you?

See you Monday.