Tyrants or ordinary people?

By Ken Feltman

The strategic interests of a nation are used to justify support of authoritarian rulers: They may be tyrants, but they are our tyrants. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak served a purpose – he maintained stability in a region of critical U.S. interests. In a crisis, the first reaction of pragmatic politicians, in Egypt and around the world, is to maintain stability. The Egyptian people have suffered years of oppression for that stability. But now the people demand something much more eloquent and elusive – their dignity.

In the hearts and minds of many Egyptian people, this was never about stability. This started with more immediate concerns about jobs and rising food prices. Now, with Mubarak leaving, it has escalated into something more elemental: Self-determination. The people want a voice in what happens to them. They will risk instability for something better, even if any resulting instability makes it easier for more oppressive rulers to seize power.

We can reflect on other examples of this human desire for individual dignity. The oppressors prevailed in Tienanmen Square. Perhaps as we think about what has happened in Egypt, we can reflect on our part in causing the frustrations that made a proud people rise up. It is as simple but as confounding as the ages-old human desire for dignity.

About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Know as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
This entry was posted in Ken Feltman, Ken Feltman at Politico and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.