UPRISING, from first-time filmmaker Fredrik Stanton (shown at right) that gives us the aforemen-tioned event in a manner that seems to me more compelling and complete than anything I've yet seen -- certainly more so than the sound-bite TV coverage we received, and even more than the interesting, on-the-ground-amongst-the-people documentary Tahrir: Liberation Square, that opened at the Mayles Cinema this past June.
article in this week's The New Yorker magazine by Peter Hessler, explaining quite a bit about The Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that rose to power shortly after the overthrow of Mubarek. Mr. Stanton's film, by necessity, deals only with the period of the initial protest leading up regime change, but the view it allows us to see and the voices we hear are interesting & pointed.
The important thing is protection of basic rights, minority rights, separation of powers, freedom of the press, and a functioning independent judiciary. If these are put in place, there are fewer opportunities for abuse. The Middle East would benefit from more examples of countries where piety does not have to result in control and despotism.
The young activists I interviewed are keenly aware that removing Mubarak is only the first step to achieving a functioning democracy in Egypt. It is very encouraging that they have continued to push back against both the Egyptian military and the Muslim brotherhood's encroaching on their rights. This is a process that will take time to play out, and there may be a period of continued instability. The opposition is learning from its mistakes, and over time I have confidence in those Egyptians who desire freedom and don't want to live under an authoritarian theocracy.
I think the distinction between a secular dictatorship or a fundamentalist religion leading the country means little to those who can be arrested without cause, taken away in the middle of the night and tortured, or to to the people whose government is unaccountable to their basic needs. Lack of freedom in any form is unacceptable, and the Egyptian people deserve better than either type of tyranny.
I think Ambassador Wisner represents a major school of thought in American foreign policy that believes the US needs to deal with governments in power, even if we find their behavior offensive, especially when vital strategic interests are at stake. This is why the US supported Mubarak for decades, and continues to support similar regimes around the world. I recognize that this is a prevailing view, and I strongly disagree with it. Of course the US must look after its strategic interests, but in the long run our interests are better served by supporting peoples' desire for freedom, which is more consistent with our principles. And, as we have found, dictatorships are fragile, and when they fall, this leaves us in a very awkward position.
I'm hoping it'll be a vacation. Thank you for taking the time to write about the film and share it with your audience.