Democracy rising

My latest New Matilda column discusses the rise of Egyptian blogging as a political force:

In mid-June 2005, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered a speech at Cairo’s American University. She said that her country’s pursuit of Middle East ”˜stability’ had actually led to a democracy-deficit in the region. ”˜Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people,’ she said.

Rice’s ambitious rhetoric appeared to signal a significant shift in US foreign policy. Alas, two years later, it is clear that nothing has changed — except perhaps that there’s even greater cynicism about Washington’s true goals among many democracy-starved Arab people.

My time in Egypt has revealed a hatred of the US Government that is at once familiar and new — focusing on the Iraqi cataclysm, Washington’s unyielding support for Israeli brutality in Palestine; its whole-hearted support for a puppet government in Lebanon, and its backing of autocratic regimes across the region —. Furthermore, the ongoing crackdowns on opposition Parties, bloggers and activists under President Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic regime (funded by the US, like Israel, to the tune of billions of dollars annually) ’signals that the future of this country is not as predictable as it was.

My New Matilda archive is here.