Friday, July 24, 2009

Saad Eddin Ibrahim on political reform, Middle East style and Egyptian and Iranian cooperation.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim (top Egyptian political/ human rights reform advocate and dissident) has a great article , "The Mideast's New Spring Freedom", on Iran and how it is just one of many exmaples of cases in the region in which moderate democractic Islamist (and non Islamist) parties are making major ground: "...the events in Iran are symptomatic of a larger change in the political landscape of the Middle East -- the revival of a regional freedom movement, which stalled in 2006 after the election of Hamas in Palestine."

Ibrahim points out in the article how 'new media' and these gains toward moderation and democratic values are creating cooperation among populations of different countries in the region, such as Egypt and Iran:

"Regardless of the gains of the Middle Eastern moderates, Islamists will continue to be an integral part of the region's political landscape. But they should neither be pathologically feared nor cavalierly excluded. Rather, they should be actively engaged and encouraged to evolve into Muslim democratic parties akin to the Christian Democrats in Europe. By implicitly recognizing Hamas, President Obama may be leaning in this direction.

The next major test for democracy will be the upcoming elections in Egypt, the most populous Arab country and a strategic U.S. ally. Egyptian bloggers have made their Web sites and Twitter accounts available to their Iranian counterparts after the mullahs disrupted Iran's Internet. The youth's use of information technology has proven to be a surprising match to the brutal autocrats and rigid theocrats they oppose. The Egyptians' display of solidarity with the Iranians proves their commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy."

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