Katika pita pita mtandaoni nimekutana na hii makala ambayo inazungumzia yatokeayo Egypt na points nyingi ni kama zinafanana na hali halisi ya Bongo. Nimeona niipesti hapa ili wanaotaka waisome na kutafakari. Kuifupisha ni sawa na kuharibu utamu! Where Egypt goes the region will follow By Hasan Abu Nimah Jordan Times Afew weeks ago, the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, was asked by a journalist whether he thought the popular protests that succeeded in overthrowing the regime in Tunisia could spread to Egypt. Kalam farigh (empty talk) he disdainfully replied. Every country has its own circumstances, Abul Gheit said, words that must have been uttered privately by many other Arab officials to reassure themselves. It would have been imprudent for the Egyptian minister to agree that indeed the Tunisian peoples grievances against a corrupt and dictatorial government that squanders national resources and fails to offer a future to its young people are similar to those of Egyptians. But while every country does have its circumstances, there is no doubt that Arab citizens in virtually every country can identify with the complaints of their Egyptian or Tunisian brethren. Calls for constitutional reform, democracy, accountable government, independence in foreign policy, and indeed a restoration of Arab dignity are now heard everywhere. Whether the movements for change take the same form as Tunisia or Egypt is not a foregone conclusion, but no government can pretend nothing has happened and carry on as usual and feel secure. People are now speaking openly about the situation of Arab leaders (with the exception of Lebanon) who once they take their seats remain in them for decades. After exhausting their constitutional allowances for one or two terms, they seek to change them in order to run for a third, fourth or fifth. In several countries, presidents have sought to make way for their sons to succeed them, as if they were monarchies. Other peoples complaints, again heard across the region, focus on unprecedented nepotism; there, leaders, their extended families and their cronies blur the lines between state and private sector. State assets and companies are privatised through opaque processes - much the way the so-called oligarchs took over state assets in the crumbling Soviet Union and became billionaires. As for the ordinary people, families struggle to educate their children, hoping for the best, only to see their prospects for a career and dignified employment diminish, unless those children seek to emigrate. Meanwhile, privatised services and takes mount, squeezing ordinary families even harder. The gap between rich and poor becomes visible in the conspicuous consumption of the super-rich who have become the permanent and privileged elites. Following the momentous events in Tunisia and Egypt, other Arab governments have responded with a whole host of preemptive measures, from raising salaries to delaying announced price increases and promising new initiatives for the poor, in the hope that the steam can be let out of any possible popular outburst. However, the problems are too complex to be settled easily. Two weeks into the Egyptian uprising, it is still unclear which direction that country will go. If there is a bold and genuine response to the calls for a real revolution in the way Egypt is governed, it could prompt voluntary and radical reform that would serve as an example for the whole region. But if the interests of the Egyptian people are once again subordinated to the ambitions of Israel and the United States - as sadly seems to be happening - the outcome will be disastrous. For 30 years, the regime of President Hosni Mubarak has provided the full range of services to Israel and the United States, for them to maintain their hegemony - what is misleadingly called stability. In recent years, Egypt has joined Israel in besieging Gaza and opposing any form of Palestinian resistance, thus helping ensure that Israel remains dominant and feels no need to make any concessions to reach peace. Egypt has become the keystone of a US-led alliance of so-called moderates. Their moderation could never be measured in terms of respect for their citizens rights and democracy, but only in their allegiance to the United States and its ally Israel, and their willingness to confront Israels rivals: Iran, Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas. This concern to put Israeli and American interests above those of the people of the region has become apparent in the wavering US response to the crisis. The United States was at first embarrassed by the protests in Egypt and felt it had to say something to support them. But very quickly the American position evolved into open endorsement of continuing the existing regime, with Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman in charge. According to US embassy cables from 2008, released by WikiLeaks, Israel long viewed Suleiman as the perfect successor to Mubarak, as Haaretz reported (WikiLeaks: Israel long viewed Egypt VP as preferred Mubarak successor February 8, 2011). This is no surprise for anyone who has followed Suleimans career. He would be committed to continuing the same policies regionally, and it is hard to see him tolerating any but the most cosmetic internal reforms. In his various statements on the issue, US President Barack Obama stressed that it is the Egyptian people who will decide their leaders. But already we see that if the United States has its way, that will not be the case. The clear American preference - apparent to everyone in the region - is for the old regime to continue with a new mask. If this plan succeeds, it will have aborted one of the most promising moments of renewal, hope and possibility in decades, one for which so many people sacrificed their lives. It will ensure that not only Egypt, but the region as a whole continues on a path of steady decay and possibly more violent explosions. Contrary to the image that the US tried to portray when Obama made his famous Cairo speech in June 2009, we see an unchanged relationship between the United States and the region. We are also reminded that contrary to so much propaganda, the bad relationship was not between the United States and Islam or the Muslim world, but because of the clash between heavy US interference in other countries affairs, and the desire of the people of those countries to be free of such interference. It is also ironic that the Egyptian government has claimed that the uprising was a result of foreign interference and external agendas. It accused everyone, from Hamas to Hizbollah, to Qatar, to Turkey, to the US and Israel, of stirring up trouble. But the clear reality is that millions of Egyptians were motivated to come to the streets by their desire to see their country afford them a dignified life. In fact it is external agendas that are now working to frustrate this desire. The struggle is not over, and the Egyptians have not yet finished speaking. They want a new political structure that is totally separate from the old. They want a new constitution, new election laws, new representative assemblies, free press and independent judiciary. They want clean government with accountability and responsibility towards the people, a government that respects the rights and the dignity of its citizens. Such is the model that many other Arab governments need to copy. Such is the right beginning for a better Arab world, which will build relations of cooperation and mutual respect for common interests on the basis of principles and legality among its nations and with the rest of the world.