People protested against President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt outside the United Nations headquarters in New York on Saturday. Source: The New York Times
This article was co-authored with Dr. Morad Abou-Sabe, President of the Arab American League of Voters of New Jersey.
Dear President Obama,
The US bears an enormous responsibility for the ongoing crisis in Egypt as violence escalates. Unfortunately the delay of a formal response from the White House to the political strife that began January 25, combined with ambiguity in your speech on the evening of February 1 has done little to quell the unrest of the crowds of hundreds of thousands of Egyptian citizens awaiting a clear path forward.
Mr. President, people are dying in the streets in Egypt right now. Cairo may soon become a firestorm of riotous factions battling for political power if you do not stop Mubarak from using his ruthless tactics that include turning people against each other. Those hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Egyptian citizens who protested peacefully for the last nine days are caught in the middle of an increasingly aggressive response from Mubarak’s administration.
Continuing to support Mubarak against the clear and unanimous interest of the Egyptian people is not what we expected from the US Government, and does not reflect the spirit of your eloquent speech delivered in Cairo in June 2009, when you said:
But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.
The Egyptian people are waiting for your Administration to put these powerful words into action. We have full confidence that you can do so decisively and swiftly.
We know full well that your heart is with the freedom of the Egyptian people and that deep in your heart you want to see democracy and freedom flourish across the Middle East. Mr. President, let your heart guide your policy, let your pronouncements meet that intensity.
Time is not on the side of the young Egyptian masses who are only seeking a chance for having their dignity back, a chance for having their human rights and freedom reaffirmed. Last evening, you called for Egypt to begin a transition now. A transition lasting until the Fall cannot resolve the ongoing human rights violations in the streets of Egypt. It is a disease for which the only cure is clear, swift resolution and peaceful transition of power for the next chapter in Egypt’s history. Let the US and Egypt do this together, hand in hand.
A version of this article was published at The Huffington Post.