Democracy in Egypt a Myth?
BY Michael Lucas
January 31 2011 6:30 PM ET
Hope, freedom, and democracy — these are three words that have little or nothing to do with what’s happening in Egypt at the moment. Yet utterly ignorant newscasters and liberal bloggers seem to equate the situation there to Tiananmen Square — where protesters two decades ago risked life and limb in a face-off with China’s authoritarian leaders. Of course, in China they lost.
The frightening thing is that the protesters in Egypt are looking more and more likely to topple Egypt’s regime and replace it with something far worse. We, as gay people and Americans, shouldn’t be surprised by the horrors likely to come. We shouldn’t buy into the false and ignorant hopes of those on the left who falsely frame the events unfolding in Cairo and other cities in Egypt as a fight for human rights.
Protesters there may be upset over poverty and government corruption, but the radical Islamist forces that have long been held in check by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak are seizing the moment. And we certainly know what their goals are.
Stay tuned. We’re about to watch the most populous Arab nation go from one where gays and lesbians live relatively free, albeit discreet lives, to one where they’ll be persecuted, targeted, scapegoated, and condemned to death.
I spent time in Egypt as recently as last year and made friends with some gay people who have enjoyed the camaraderie of a more-or-less underground community — where gay people could gather for parties and meet one another in Internet chat rooms. Yes, homosexuality has been technically illegal in Egypt, but authorities have long turned a blind eye, for the most part.
The same has been true in Lebanon, where in the past decade, the spirit of a city once called the “Paris of the Middle East” (Beirut) has been making a comeback.
But the dark thunderclouds of Islamist fascism are rolling in upon both great cities, Cairo and Beirut, and the gains a new generation has made in terms of dignity and safety are about to be washed away.