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Anniversary: Egypt marks 1 year since Mubarak’s fall

http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2013/03/wpid-0213_Hosni_Mubarak_and_George_W_Bush.jpgHOSNI MUBARAK IN HIS PRIME. In 2002, President George W. Bush rolled out the White House red carpet to Mubarak, and Bush told the world: “President Mubarak has a long history of advancing peace and stability in the Middle East.”SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11: The eyes of the world are on Egypt, once again, at the one-year anniversary of the fall of Hosni Mubarak, who is still alive at age 83 although reportedly is in frail health. America’s top general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, is expressing serious concerns to Egyptian leaders about the harsh new course that military leaders based in Cairo appear to be taking.

No less an editorial voice than the New York Times, on Sunday Feb. 12, thundered at the Egyptian generals about their country’s “Unwise Course.” In part, the Times editorial declared:
The generals who have controlled the country since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted a year ago have started a preposterous crusade against civil society groups. … Their paranoid argument? That the groups—which do voter and poll-worker training among other things—are ‘foreign hands’ out to destroy Egypt at a time of unprecedented unrest. The generals portray themselves as defenders of the country’s sovereignty. The army is under fire at home for holding back the democratic tide, abusing civilians even more than Mr. Mubarak and failing to govern effectively, so it is using America as a scapegoat. The confrontation is poisoning relations with a key ally at a time when Egypt needs all the friends it can get. It is diverting attention from solving the country’s profoundly serious problems: continued political turmoil and looming economic meltdown.

That pretty well sums up global concerns, especially among groups concerned about global peacemaking.

In addition, the Newsweek-owned Daily Beast website warns that fear is spreading among Egypt’s newly emerging community of artists and creative-media professionals. According to the Daily Beast: “One year on, Egypt’s revolution has opened up space for more criticism of the cultural status quo, but it has also opened the door to other, deeply conservative forces that see much of the recent art as an affront to religion.”

British newspapers are reporting that the threat to cut off American aid to the Cairo regime may be more than a bluff. While American leaders are wary of losing influence with Egyptian leaders by cutting off the aid, UK correspondents for the Independent and other newspapers are saying that the generals in Cairo may actually welcome turning off the flow of funds for their own political advantage—a show of defiant independence. No question: The year-old Egyptian revolution is at another major crossroads.

Care about these issues? At ReadTheSpirit, we recommend two books: Read Daniel Buttry’s Blessed Are the Peacemakers for a larger perspective on the challenges unfolding in Egypt and around the world. And, for a first-hand perspective on the talented and courageous young peacemakers who ousted Mubarak, get a copy of Wael Ghonim’s new Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power

Originally published at www.ReadTheSpirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity. 

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