The BBC, and much of the Western Media have been going to great pains to inform us that the protests currently waging in Egypt are not an Islamic Revolution, but are being undertaken by people of all religions and creeds. There was one image shown on the news last night of a man that the BBC said was a Christian being held aloft on the shoulders of Muslims, in order to shout his message into the crowds.
However, I treat this claim with a healthy dose of skepticism (as I believe we all should with anything that the BBC tells us). The fact that other peoples as well as Muslims are joining the protests is of little consequence, afterall, many Jews supported the National Socialists of Germany in the 1920s. Yet, without doubt, what we are seeing in Egypt is a revolution. Hundreds of thousands of people have been gathering in Tahrir square in Cairo, as well as the other big cities such as Alexandria. More recently, the protests have turned violent, with pro-government factions clashing with the anti-government demonstrators. The numbers appear to be overwhelmingly in favour of the anti-government camp, and it is clear that the Egyptians have been stirred to demand a change in their country’s governance.
I am not going to discuss the reasons for which the Egyptian people may want to oust their current president, Hosni Mubarak. I am not an Egyptian, and I do not live in Egypt, therefore, it is rather difficult to comment on daily life in the country, and probably not my place to do so. However, the current upheaval in Egypt has potentially large ramifications for the dynamics of International relations, particularly with regards to Israel.
The Western media have been championing the revolution as a fight for democracy, which is more-or-less revered as the ideal form of governance. The word ‘democracy’, comes from the Greek dēmokratia, which itself is derived from two words: dēmos (people), and kratia (rule, or power). Therefore ‘democracy’ literally translates as ‘people power’. Sounds alright? I must say, I approach this with cautiousness. What if, for example, the dēmos are overwhelmingly Islamic, and view the west with hostility or downright hatred?
And even if we leave the potential problems with democracy aside, if a radical change of government is achieved, who says that it will be a true democracy, representing the will of the people? We can safely say that Britain is not a true democracy, as the government implements all manner of laws and policies against the will of the majority (think the EU, etc). A revolution on this scale is merely an opportunity for someone else to seize power. And it is the potential ‘someone else’ that we should be very cautious of.
Something worth researching is what happened the last time there was a radical shift in governance in an Islamic Middle Eastern country. Prior to 1979, Iran did not exist. It was called Persia, and was a secular-Muslim state with far more rights for women and non-Muslims than currently exist in Iran today. The strict Islamic culture of modern-day Iran did not exist. It was also fairly friendly with Israel, and many Persian Jews lived in the country. Then came the Islamic revolution, led by Ruhollah Khomeini, who later became the Ayatollah and Supreme Leader of what would become the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thousands were imprisoned or murdered, and strict Islamic laws were put in place that have totally changed the face of Iran. What is interesting is that many of those who were killed by the new Islamic regime were the same people who were protesting against the Shah, calling for the implementation of democracy.
Iran is now a country that is incredibly hostile towards Israel, following Sharia law (and therefore the gross oppression of non-Muslims and women). Its current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently proclaimed that Israel should be “wiped off the map”; a massive contrast in foreign relations compared to pre-1979 Persia.
I feel I should note that Israel is not a country that I blindly support (like Zionists): It is still largely an unsaved state that follows the defunct Jewish religion and rejects the Messiah, sometimes showing Christians hostility. However, it has a clear right from God to the land that it currently holds, and we know that in the future God will again bless the Jewish people. This should be borne in mind when we look at international events concerning Israel, as should the venomous hostility shown by its surrounding nations. This is not a call to condone sin, but simply a recognition that God still has work to do with Israel, and will again bless the Jewish people in the future.
At present, Egypt is officially not a strictly Islamic country (although the atrocities committed against Christians and others by Islamic mobs are largely condoned). However, who knows if Egypt’s future could go the same way as Iran, post 1979? The mood of certain protestors (not shown by the BBC, et al.) is certainly worrying. This video shows a protester saying that a ‘free’ Egypt would go on to 'free' Palestine, and then destroy Israel.
The man widely touted as President Mubarak’s successor, Mohamed ElBaradei, is former Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and has been acting very much in favour of Iran's nuclear programme. Could this man transform Egypt in the same way that Ayatollah Khomeini transformed Persia? How would this change the Middle East, which is increasingly becoming more hard-line Islamic (Turkey also appears to be becoming more Islamic, and less secular)? And what would the ramifications for Israel be if another more-or-less friendly (or at least tolerant) neighbour is transformed into yet another enemy?
© 2nd February 2011