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.
The revolution in Egypt may have included liberal voices on Facebook and Twitter. But as we're now witnessing, the angry mob is chanting Koranic verses and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood (described by The New York Times
as "the largest and best organized political group in Egypt"), though technically outlawed in Egypt, are licking their lips at their good fortune. The Brotherhood is positioning itself to turn the West's most important ally in the Middle East into the next Iran.
Protesters say President Mubarak (pictured) and his corrupt cronies steal their money and leave the populace poor and miserable. Whoever grabs power next will no doubt do the same, except they will stir some nasty 14th-century-inspired brutal oppression into the stew.
It's all part of the Islamists' master plan to impose the most strict and cruel form of Sharia law on the entire Arab world.
That's what makes this nonsense about a democratic revolution in Egypt so ironic. The feared yet all too likely outcome is the antithesis of liberal democracy. The Arab street may be calling for Mubarak's head today, but tomorrow it'll be following the well-worn script of the rest of the Arab world: blame their problems on the liberalism of the West, threaten to destroy Israel, force women to wear burkas and take away their rights, and drive gay people into hiding.
With Lebanon in the hands of Hezbollah and radical forces posed to seize power in Egypt, we could be approaching the brink of a great and frightening clash of civilizations. The potential scenarios are horrifying. We could see tens of billions of dollars in military aid, money America spent over decades to supply Mubarak with the latest tanks and jet fighters, turned against us. It wouldn't be the first time.
It's a good thing gays can now serve openly in the U.S. military. They may be finding themselves in the Middle East defending Western values and interests against the forces of evil that today are masquerading as protesters for a so-called democratic Egypt.