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Protest Like An Egyptian

“Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.” – Optimus Prime

Congratulations to Egypt for winning their freedom against a leader of 30 years.  Hopefully this revolution will inspire other countries in the Middle East to stand against their dictators and rise beyond the hardships imposed by their governments. It was a necessary revolution and the world is better off for Hosni Mubarak being taken out of power. But in light of the events we’ve learned since, I have to ask, was it worth it? At what point is the fight for freedom not worth it anymore? Is it worth losing our humanity for? How many lives must be lost? How many atrocities have to be committed? Or do the ends justify the means?

A Poster for the Revolution

As much as I’m happy that Egypt has overthrown their dictator, it did come at a very high price. At last count, an estimate by the Egyptian health ministry put the death toll at 365, while over 3000 may be injured. CNN’s Anderson Cooper was beat in the head by protesters not once, but twice. Now we’ve learned about CBS’s Lara Logan was brutally sexually assaulted by the protesters on the day that independence was won. This is only the tip of the crimes against humanity iceberg committed during this revolution, since are still hundreds of stories of those affected still untold.

In light of all of this, I have to ask, ‘Is it all worth it?’

After all, we’re not even sure the Egyptians have won their freedom for good. In light of Mubarak stepping down, the military current runs the government, hoping to transition it to a civilian-elected government in the future. Nevertheless, before she had even made it to Cairo, Lara Logan and her crew were detained, arrested and interrogated as spies by the Egyptian Army , who Logan described as “as an institution is not on the peoples’ side. The army is on its own side. They want to be with the winners. That’s who they’re going to stand with. If it looks like it’s going to be the people, they’re with the people.”

Can such a fickle institution be trusted? What if a strong figure rises up in Egyptian politics in the next few months? Could we be looking at a situation similar to Germany in post-war Europe in the 1930s? It’s not enough for the Egyptian people to stand up for Democracy now, but they must keep standing less everything falls.

Lara Logan

One reason that the country devolved into a frenzy so quickly may be the fact the revolution started and ended in 18 days. Emotions were quickly stirred and continued until the government held no choice but to fold under the mounting pressure. As a result, fringe elements were formed on both sides leading to almost small-cell terror groups. Mubarek’s side was attributed to Anderson Cooper’s attack, while a “dangerous element” of the crowd was attributed to Logan’s attack.  Granted, these were splinter groups and were in the minority, but they did commit the atrocities they committed

On a philosophical side of things, there are a few major theories to justify all sides. Thomas Hobbes for example would agree with far right-wing commentator Debbie Schlussel in saying that these violent actions only make the point that Mubarek should have kept his position as ruler as a sole deity is the only way to control the more savage instincts of mankind.

In regards to the actions of the protesters, Consequentialism would ultimately be fine with them overall since the consequences were good.  Deontological ethics on the other hand would have looked at the revolution as a bad thing since it brought about bad actions. Both of these theories look at the moral absolute, in this case killing and assaulting people, and see if they are worth violating for the greater good of a free nation.

In the end, we must all choose what’s worth fighting for on a personal level. We also must decide what are the lines we do, and do not cross in pursuit of winning the fight. In regards to the recent Middle East revolutions, I would personally like to believe that I would either leave the country, or put up a hard-fought fight until the end. If I could protest, and that was working, I would protest. If the protests wasn’t working but the need for change was still great, I would like to think I would fight for my nation’s freedom.  I would like to think I would create my own band of Wolverines to combat the tyrannical rulers.

Hosni Mubarak

The fight for freedom is hard fought battle fought with many perils and obstacles standing in our way. If we fight it at all, it’s a personal fight. We must think about what lines we would draw. Would we protest as long as we had the support of our fellow people like Iran, or would we raise hell until our government and anybody standing in our way was defeated, as in Egypt?

The fight for freedom in Egypt is over for now. The actions of those involved are written in the books of history. We must live with them. The question is, at what price did this freedom cost?

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