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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Praying for Change in Egypt

02/8/11

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This photograph of Egyptian Christians joining hands to protect their Muslim fellow citizens bowing in prayer in Cairo is both heartening to see and conveys the support we feel for the democracy movement in Egypt. (Christians in Egypt, known as Copts, are some 10 to 20 percent of the country’s population; Alexandria, of course, was an early center of Christianity.) Some of our friends are from Cairo and tell us the poverty, suffering, and hopelessness under 30+ years of Hosni Mubarak are intolerable—and this is what has driven Egyptians of all ages and backgrounds into the streets to demand an end to his rule. Please join us in supporting and praying for the success of the democratic revolution in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

How can you show support? You can contribute to Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International (for political prisoners) and designate “for Egyptian pro-democracy demonstrators,” or to the Egyptian Red Crescent, equivalent of Red Cross. (We note, however, that the president of the Egyptian Red Crescent is Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, wife of the dictator. Is this a good place to donate? We’re not sure. Let us know if it’s not a safe place for pro-democracy contributions.) We invite other suggestions, too.

Good coverage can be found through Al Jazeera (English), Middle East specialist Juan Cole’s Informed Comment blog, solid coverage through The Rachel Maddow Show and the Maddow Blog, and a news and commentary roundup at the AtlanticWire. See also Steve Coll’s fine piece in The New Yorker on the revolution in Tunisia that inspired reform movements in Egypt and other neighboring states:

The objections to pushing democratic reform in the Arab world are by now familiar: it may create instability; it may empower Islamist parties; it may open more space for Iranian mischief by empowering Shiite minorities; it can undermine a legitimate opposition group by making its members appear beholden to Western ideas; and it may deprive the United States and Europe of reliable partners in counterterrorism. Yet the corrosive effects of political and economic exclusion in the region cannot be sustained—among them the legions of pent-up, angry young men, Islamist and otherwise. . . .

The practical rewards for promoting democracy in Arab societies may be uncertain and slow, if they come at all. There are significant risks, particularly if Egypt’s government were to fall to leaders who would abandon any alliance with Washington. But it is the right strategy—in principle and in pursuit of America’s national interests. Tunisians showed that the status quo in Arab politics is not stable. Sometimes, common sense is ample guidance in foreign policy: the United States must invest in populations, not in dictators.

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From Times Square to Tahrir Square

Tens of thousands of Egyptians and friends marched from Times Square to the United Nations building in New York City on Friday, Feb. 4, in solidarity with the struggle for freedom in Egypt.

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See also “Anti-Islamic Furor Helps al Qaeda, Endangers America” (LNW 8/10)

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