Friday, 28 January 2011


I've had a crap day at work but I've had a real dose of perspective from watching the protests in Egypt. Thousands of people are on the streets defying State violence and seeking reform and good luck to them. After the turmoil in Tunisia, it is to be hoped that we are seeing the end of another despot who was subverted democracy and established an authoritarian rule. People have also marched in Yemen.

I would shed no tears for the departure of Hosni Mubarak and his thugs any more than I did for Ben Ali in Tunisia. Some fear that the relatively pro-western Mubarak would be replaced by an Islamist regime as happened in Iran in 1979. Others hope that a stable democratic Egypt will emerge from the chaos.

The West needs to decide whether fundamental principles are more important than realpolitik. The longer authoritarian pro-western Governments are propped up, the more severe the nati-western backlash when these Governments are inevitably replaced. Ultimately, the fundamental rights of a people to freely and fairly choose their Government must be more important than a despotic friend.

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