Egypt’s revolution is under way. Reports of police officers removing their uniforms and joining the protesters fills me with hope. My own country’s interest in Egypt and horrifying human rights record when it comes to respecting foreign powers fills me with dread. The likelihood of their success depends upon a number of factors. Outside influence is surely one – from the US, from Israel, from nearby Arab nations who fear their own security might be at risk if the flames of revolution spread (cough, Saudi Arabia, cough). The reaction of the military is also key. Will they start executing their own citizens, or will they bow to the will of the people and step aside?
Liberty for Egypt would further destabilize an already unstable region – but so would failure. In their success the message of self-determination and hope they broadcast to the world could spur advancement for human rights. Their struggle is not disconnected from the rest of the world – no matter how much their government attempts to cut them off. It resonates and carries with it elements of frustration at rapidly increasing economic and political distance between the haves and the have nots. That is a universal frustration.