A joke once doing the rounds talked about a principal catching two teachers misbehaving on a bench on the school premises. So he sacked both the teachers. But then political pressure was brought on him and the two teachers were reinstated. Wanting to stamp his authority he said he would show who was boss and thundered at a PTA meeting, 'Remove the bench'. In a similar manner Barak Obama has ordered the sacking of the Egyptian cabinet while the culprit and his puppet, Hosni Mubarak, remains in the seat of power … at least for now.
To add insult to injury Obama sent a message to the Egyptians that violence was not the way to go about changing the political landscape while at the same time Egyptian police fired volley after volley of 'good quality' tear gas supplied by the US. Neither did he see the paradox in what he was uttering or muttering. His way in dealing with opposition to his occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq is more cruelly violent and his backing of Israel's military occupation of Palestine makes nonsense of what he was saying.
|An Egyptian anti-government demonstrator sits next to shelves of stones at Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday. AFP
The telephone lines connecting the White House and its ally in Egypt may have gone red hot with Obama thundering orders after orders, but his CEO seems quite helpless as ordinary Egyptians from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender or faith, took to the streets filling the air with just one demand -- 'Mubarak Must Go'.
Then came the news, according to the Washington Post, that an Israeli cabinet minister, had said he believed Mubarak was strong and that he would overcome the protests with his strong military apparatus, echoing the views of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made a day or so earlier. As if this was not enough of an insult, Israeli premier Netanyahu sent a message to 'world leaders' which is a euphemism for the US and its EU cartel, warning them not to criticise his 'friend Hosni Mubarak'.
And they obeyed.
Any neutrality from the US and the Western world, leave alone support for the pro-democracy protesters, were put paid with this warning from Netanyahu. But these moves had a reverse effect with the Egyptians and added more fervour to the passions of the 'mobs on the streets' as one ruling Egyptian party member chose to describe his own countrymen.
The world had taken the Egyptians in particular and the Arabs in general for granted, believing they were an anachronism in modern day society. And then suddenly they explode with a desire to be free and to take their due places in their respective societies. And shouldn't the US, the preacher of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, support them? No there is no reason for Uncle Sam to do that because in reality it was the US who was oppressing and humiliating them all along through its puppet Hosni Mubarak and his gang of tyrants. But now the Egyptians have decided to take matters in their own hands - with even Amr Moussa, the Arab League's secretary general, throwing in his lot with the pro-democracy protestors at Thahir square.
Egypt's pro-democracy movement has exposed the US' hypocrisy like nobody has. Only recently we had America throwing its weight behind Mousavi and his gang as they went on a rampage against president Ahmedinejad claiming he had rigged the election even though it was clear he would win by a landslide according to UK's Guardian newspaper.
Then we had the amazing spectacle of the US shedding crocodile tears for the Tiananmen Square protestors and more recently Obama spoke in his usual eloquent manner on the bravery of the Chinese as the world commemorated its anniversary.
And now when it comes to Egypt the US ruling elite would have wanted Mubarak to do a Tiananmen Square. But it's too late for that. As matters stand the US is about to 'lose' Egypt like the way it 'lost' Iran.
(The writer is Vice President of the Sri Lanka-Palestinian Solidarity Committee)