Sienna Jackson / Roundup
After non-stop protests through Cairo, (former) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has finally resigned from office, marking the end of a 30-year regime that played a key, stabilizing role in the region for the United States.
The popular uprising in Egypt, led predominantly by the young and tech-savvy, has the opportunity to bring about a new type of politics in the Middle East, both abroad and for the U.S.
Egypt is the Arab world’s most populous nation, with its largest middle class – throughout the Mubarak years the country served as a linchpin in implementing American Middle East policy.
But when Tahrir Square erupted with the sounds of rebellion (and the whiz of rubber bullets), the United States chose democratic principal over strategic interest.
President Obama made a Feb. 1 address applauding the protests and encouraging Mubarak to make good on his promises of change in government.
Immediately after that statement, envoys from Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pressed the White House not to sever ties with Mubarak so soon.
Throughout the crisis, Obama toed a very thin line, showing support for the protesters without taking definitive action, showing a delicacy that paid off in the end:
This revolution in Egypt, much like the one in Tunisia (which also ended in the ousting of a government), was one belonging entirely to the people. A nonviolent popular uprising, the likes of which is rarely seen in the Middle East.
If the United States had taken a more assertive role, it would have undercut that positive significance.
In the age of globalism through technology, we see in Egypt what results when a young, well-educated populace is aware of the civil liberties and democracy enjoyed by the rest of the world.
The people demand the same standards of government in their own country, and they exercise their right to assembly and free speech to get them.
This victory goes to the Egyptians, and all the United States can do is wait for a new government to come in, one duly elected by the people.
As the dust settles in Cairo, already the same stirrings of unrest can be seen in Jordan and Yemen.
What the Egyptians have accomplished in a little over two weeks has taught the world a very valuable lesson, one that the Middle East should take note of:
An empowered populace can move mountains, using dissemination of information and free speech as their only weapons, in place of bullets, bombs or militancy.
It’s a movement we could all hope to see more of in the Middle East, a promise of better things ahead.