That rare Israeli voice welcoming Egyptian freedom

From Gideon Levy in Haaretz, of course:

At 6 A.M. yesterday, shortly before dawn in Cairo, Al Jazeera correspondent correspondent, Jacky Rowland, described the massive street party happening around her as “the hangover of the revolution.” The big words are being taken out of storage. They are still wrapped in a plethora of fears and reservations, but one can easily say that Egypt has never before seen the dawn of a new day such as this, with the possible exception of the morning of the coup by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Free Officers Movement, more than half a century ago. That ended the monarchy; on Friday night the dictatorship ended. In between, the land of the Nile was tossed from hungry mouths to silenced mouths.

The news from Egypt is good news, not only for that country and the Arab world, but for the entire world, including Israel. Now is the time to be happy for the Egyptian people, to hope that this amazing revolution will not go wrong. Let us lay aside all our fears – of anarchy, of the Muslim Brotherhood or a military regime – and let this great gamble have its say. Let us not wallow in the dangers; now is the time to bask in the light that shines from the Nile, after 18 days of popular, democratic struggle. Of all countries it was Egypt, ironically, that proved that yes, it can. That it is possible to bring down a dictatorship, and even to do so by peaceful means.

But of course the struggle is not finished, it has just begun. The beginning of the end of the ancien regime is only the end of the beginning of the revolution. But one can already predict that even if Egypt experiences another undemocratic phase along the way – a military regime or an Islamic takeover – even if it does not turn into a liberal Western democracy, with an opposition and freedom, overnight, it will get there eventually. There is almost no way back, and Egypt has never been closer. The Orientalists can go hang: The racist idea that the Arabs aren’t ready for democracy has already received a knockout blow. What is more democratic than this uprising?

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