Thursday, December 01, 2005

Faster, Please

From the AP:
Riot police battled voters Thursday, killing one person and blocking entry to polling stations in opposition strongholds in the third and final round of Egypt's legislative elections.

Police fired into a crowd in the Balteem district of Kafr el-Sheik, killing Gomaa el-Zeftawi, a fisherman, and wounding 60 other people, said Mohammed el-Ashqar, a campaign worker for a Nasserite opposition candidate.

In one village, men and women determined to vote resorted to sneaking into the polling station, putting up ladders to climb over back walls out of sight of police barring the entrance and slipping through bathroom windows to get in.

Voting proceeded normally in some towns, but in two villages visited by an Associated Press reporter one the hometown of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate, the other of an independent candidate police were blocking voters. In some southern towns, voters were intimidated by lines of police outside stations.

"I'm calling on his excellency, the president, to appoint the members of parliament because no one has been allowed to vote. It would save the money wasted on elections," Sameer Fikri, a would-be voter in the village of Sandoub, said sarcastically.

Hundreds of people lined up in front of a school used as a polling station in Sandoub, 75 miles north of Cairo the hometown of Brotherhood candidate Saber Zakher but they were prevented from approaching by lines of riot police, armed with sticks, rifles and tear gas.

A police lieutenant said "I don't know" when asked why both polling stations in the village had been cordoned off. An AP reporter was barred from entering to ask the judges in the polling stations.

In the nearby town of Bussat, the smell of tear gas hung in the air as angry would-be voters shouted at police blocking the station. "There are no human rights here, only war and destruction," said resident Mustafa Mohammed. Behind the polling station, men and women clambered up ladders over the wall.

The first-round vote and runoff saw little violence, but after the Brotherhood's strong showing, there was a crackdown in the second round and a runoff, with police and government supporters blocking or assaulting Brotherhood loyalists from some polling stations. At least one person was been killed.

"I heard that the police have arrested so many people, especially those who vote for Brotherhood," said voter Ahmed Mohammed Abdel Salam, who supported the Muslim Brotherhood.
Democracy in action. We can either walk the walk and embrace it, or we can keep repeating to ourselves that "they hate us for our way of life" instead of our hypocrisy in supporting an odious, torturing tyrant like Mubarak for the past quarter century. How many more times will we have to learn this painful lesson?

And if the dateline on the above story had been Tehran, Revolutionary Guards had fired on people so desperate to vote they were climbing over walls, and the Mullahs had simply shut down polling stations if they didn't like the results, what would President Bush be saying right now? He made a point of criticizing Iran's election as not much more than a sham. And what would the usual pundits and bloggers from the Hysterical Right say?

Michael Ledeen, are you out there?

34 Comments:

Anonymous thirdeye said...

TCR, this has nothing to do with "democracy-in-action." Islam, since 1948, has become increasingly radicalized towards the West as a result of the imposition of the state of Israel in their land.

All your hand-wringing about whether Republicans or Democrats are handling this thing correctly is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We are on a collision course with radicalized Islam and can thank Israel for dragging us into this mess.

12/01/2005 7:16 PM  
Anonymous grass root said...

What could Bush say about it? Didn't the same thing happen in Ohio?

12/01/2005 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good going, grass root!

12/01/2005 7:56 PM  
Anonymous lilybart said...

Democracy in Egypt means the radical Muslim Brotherhood rules.

As a woman, this is very very bad. But then, what they have now is not good either.

I would like to hear how we solve this HUGE problem?

My idea, education, especially of the women. Educated people question authority, don't accept the word of mythologists like Immans and preachers.

12/01/2005 9:16 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

The horror! Maybe Mubarak should just let the radicals run Egypt. I'm sure that would be much better for the world. In fact they would probably instill a liberal democracy.
While it is true that Mubarak has a crappy regime, please do not imply that he is suppressing liberal democrats.
Egypt should have never legalized the party. There is no way that party is legal in any real democracy.

12/01/2005 10:33 PM  
Blogger socratic_me said...

RB,

I wasn't too clear on all of the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, so I checked what Wikipedia had to say about the topic, and found a helpful little history here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Muslim_Brotherhood_in_Egypt

So I read through and I have to say that I am not seeing what in the world would lead you to believe that the MB has been dominated by loons recently, given that every time they are, their public sentiment dies off.

I also cannot fathom how you would claim that in a "real" democracy, a party would be banned for some reason? Is limiting association fundamentallt democratic in some way I am completely missing?

12/01/2005 11:29 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

And Libya is holding elections when?

12/02/2005 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was struck by the paragraph....

...In one village, men and women determined to vote resorted to sneaking into the polling station, putting up ladders to climb over back walls out of sight of police barring the entrance and slipping through bathroom windows to get in. .....

And many Americans can't be bothered to get in their suburbans and 4-door sadans and drive a few blocks and vote. We don't have to worry about guns and goons and most can't be bothered.

....climbing down off soapbox now.

12/02/2005 8:54 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

The most recent comment from the Bush administration (via praktike)


MR. MCCORMACK: I think that we have not received, at this point, any indication that the Egyptian Government isn’t interested in having peaceful, free and fair elections.

http://www.liberalsagainstterrorism.com/drupal/?q=node/1964

-Eric Martin

12/02/2005 12:25 PM  
Blogger Chris F. said...

CR, I noticed a couple of your readers made one seriously flawed assumption, which can only be truly devastating to relations between American citizens and those of Arab decent. Because fundamental Islamists have captured our attention with their violent anti-western actions, many westerners have lost sight of the fact that the extrimists are few and that the Qu'ran most certainly does not teach violence against civilians. In fact, jihad as described in the Muslim holy book, consists of holy war, most certainly, but it is meant to describe the war within your soul between good and evil. It is meant to reinforce the belief in personal introspection.

It may be true, though I honestly doubt it, that the vast majority of the Middle East hates America. What is absolutely true is that the vast majority of Islam does not believe in violence as a means to achieving their goals.

I can honestly say (from experience, as I attend school at University of Michgan, on the Dearborn campus, with the highest concentration of Middle Easterners outside the Middle East) that in all we have nothing to fear from Islam, and that the form of "Islam" taught by the radicalists in the Middle East is not Islam, at all, in much the same way that David Koresh did not truly preach Christianity.

My experiences with Islam (even some of the more orthodox branches) have been nothing but positive, and furthermore, the Arab people rarely demonstrate anything but cultural richness, graciousness and friendliness. I believe that in international contexts, you and I have more to fear in walking down the street at night than in any dealings with the Middle East, with the exception of the highly vocal minority of radicals who misinterpret Islam to support their anti-democratic, anti-western agendas.

12/02/2005 1:05 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Socratic Me.
My point in saying that any real democracy would ban that party is that violent political parties are banned in real democracies. Political parties which assasinate standing presidents (think Sadat) have no place in government. Contrary to what Wikipedia says, killing presidents is not peaceful reform!

12/02/2005 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Michael Ledeen said...

"Michael Ledeen, are you out there?"

Yes, I am. Waaaaaaayyyyyy out there.

12/02/2005 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris F,
I have not read the Koran, but I have many friends from the Middle East, and I don't believe your assertion that the Koran does not endorse killing of civilians. As I understand it, the Koran INSISTS on killing of heretics, allows killing of non-Muslims, including civilians, and demands use of war to spread religion.

Now, as far as I am concerned, you are just choosing a brand of bullshit when you belong to a religion; if there are Muslims who believe the Koran teaches peace, and if they so act, bully for them.

12/02/2005 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Rojo said...

Anonymous said: "As I understand it, the Koran INSISTS on killing of heretics, allows killing of non-Muslims, including civilians, and demands use of war to spread religion."

And, of course, absolutely nothing similar can be found in the Bible. At All. Seriously. Don't read it, just trust me.

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