by Khalid Amayreh
There is no doubt that the United States is at least morally responsible for the scandalous election joke which took place in Egypt on 28 November. The brazen falsification of the Egyptian people's will would not have occurred had it been for America's unethical embrace of Mubarak's regime.
With a turnout not exceeding 10-15% of eligible voters, the elections have been described as "brashly fraudulent" and "probably the most fraudulent in Egypt's history."
The elections were marred not by a small number of irregularities. On the contrary, the regime has employed every conceivable illegal, even criminal, method to intimidate and scare away voters suspected of intending to vote for the opposition, especially the Muslim brotherhood.
According to independent sources the regime resorted to widespread fraud, barring independent monitors from polling stations, ballot-box stuffing and vote buying to ensure victory for pro-regime candidates.
In some areas, government candidates were seen passing cash and food to voters near polling stations.
Moreover, the voting on Sunday saw more than sporadic violence. Pro-regime baltagiya or gangs of intimidating young men were seen hanging around polling stations to scare off brotherhood supporters. One woman was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that "people are scared to leave their homes. Everyone is afraid of the thugs."
Another Cairo man said "it would be an insult to language to call what is happening elections."
According to a coalition of local and international human rights observers, the elections "lacked any transparency and were marred by widespread fraud."
In addition to the atmosphere of fear and terror fostered by the security forces and the regime's civilian thugs, independent monitors from human right groups were barred entry. Some were arrested.
One human rights monitor, who had obtained accreditation from the election commission, was quoted as saying that "the security is running the show.
In fact, one could go on and on and one, describing the dirty game of raping the collective will of 80 million Egyptians who tried but failed to restore their dignity and freedom, usurped by an autocratic and corrupt regime.
In his landmark speech in Cairo on 4 June, 2009, President Obama undertook to repair the troubled relations between the United States and the Muslim world. He said "I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect."
The American president made numerous other remarks which promised good will toward Muslims in general. He also invoked the spirit of democracy, saying people everywhere should be able to have a say in how they are governed.
"But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere."
In truth, the Egyptian regime wouldn't have reached this level of depravity, corruption, tyranny and repression were it not for U.S. support, acquiescence and silence.
U.S. officials often claim they are encouraging despotic governments in the Arab world to initiate democratic reforms and respect human rights and civil liberties. However, everyone, including the repressive regimes themselves, knows well that the U.S. doesn't really mean it and that all the reluctant and half-hearted public statements about democracy and human rights in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the rest of America's puppet regimes in the Arab-Muslim region are only meant to mislead and deceive the masses.
One actually wouldn't indulge in far-fetched prognostication if one presumed that the U.S. has privately asks these repressive regimes not to take its human rights-related criticisms too seriously since these criticisms were meant only for propagandistic reasons.
In the final analysis, the U.S. has never ever demonstrated a real, absolute and consistent commitment to democracy and human rights anywhere in the world. This ugly portrait of America's moral duplicity is illustrated by the long standing relations between the big empire and a long list of tyrants, including filthy tyrants, around the world. The list is too long to confine to a few lines.
The American-funded and American-backed tyranny in Egypt is very much reminiscent to US backing of the Shah's regime in Iran prior to the Islamic revolution in 1978. The US gave the Shah all sorts of state-of-the-art weapons, hoping to maintain and perpetuate his grip on power. The notorious Savak was given a free rein to kill, torture, and rape Iranians while the regime made sure to suppress every gesture of public dissent.
Even as the Shah's regime was showing signs of morbidity and fatigue, President Carter continued to describe the shah's Iran as "an Island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world."
We know the rest of the story.
To be sure, today's Mubarak's Egypt is not exactly a carbon copy of the Shah- era Iran. But the similarities are striking. Today, in Egypt as was then in Iran, repression is rife, corruption is rampant, poverty is shocking, and political repression is prevalent.
There is so much frozen rage and too much police state. People are routinely arrested, mistreated and even tortured for merely expressing their thoughts. The regime itself is increasingly insecure and it often tries to make up for this insecurity by stepping up repression of political activism or anyone deemed a threat to the regime.
An in the midst of this lugubrious atmosphere, President Mubarak is in the process of grooming his son, Gamal, to succeed him as Egypt, mainly thanks to Mubarak's absolute autocracy, has been effectively transformed into a republic in name but a kingdom in reality. It is a republic kingdom!
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|