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EGYPT: American professors urge Obama to 'seize this chance,' oust Mubarak

Noam Chomsky in 2009. More than 80 American academics, including Noam Chomsky and several California scholars, posted an open letter online Sunday to President Obama, urging him to heed the will of the Egyptian people, help remove President Hosni Mubarak and "move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt."

"Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence," they wrote. "If you seek, as you said Friday 'political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,' your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants."

They also noted that, "There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy."

In closing, they urged Obama to "seize this chance, turn away from the policies that brought us here, and embark on a new course toward peace, democracy and prosperity for the people of the Middle East" through "a comprehensive review of U.S. foreign policy on the major grievances voiced by the democratic opposition in Egypt and all other societies of the region."


Egypt's military moves to take control of parts of Cairo

U.S. Embassy in Cairo to begin voluntary evacuation flights Monday

Egyptian opposition leaders plan to negotiate with military, not president

Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks with counterparts in Egypt, Israel about unrest

— Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Noam Chomsky in 2009. Credit: Juan Barreto / AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (12)

I have spoken to people in Eygpt who are protesting and want the regime to fall. The majority say that America is hypocritical, and that America needs to practice what it preaches. Little do most of them know that our politics doesn't practice what it preaches, either, in the good old USA. We try, but the facts are we have high unemployment, high cost of education which is causing people to drop out, and to not complete their degrees, and strangling them with debt. We have lending institutions that are corrupt. Politicians bought off by powerful elites and their lobbyists, and we the people -- well -- you know the rest of the story America. You are living it. Chomsky is right.

This could really be a game changer.

Imagine if the U.S. had to use real diplomacy instead of bribery. Imagine if
all governments, rather than serving an elite minority, were compelled by the will of the people to serve all of the people.

What a sea change that would be.

Is anyone else depressed by this crap? Its very easy after the horse has bolted - these squeamish middle class academics would never (and have never) argued for regime change enforced by the US or any form of western intervention in any shape in Egypt.

And this still doesn't get to the point that there are particular anti-western, anti-US overtones in this well overdue uprising - and quite rightly so. We have propped up Mubarak, the House of Saud and to be honest nearly the whole regions leaders for a generation. Yes its shameful that our leaders are saying nothing, but its even more shameful for our 'intellectual leaders' should perform an about-turn for the sake of admonishing Obama and co. It shows the futility of the non-violent and anti-interventionist camps that talk about peace and democracy everyday of the week until they have to fight for it themselves.

As for the UN - dont get me started - where the hell is Ban Ki 'Scared of a scrap' Moon - he is such a coward, and his leadership of the UN will go down as one of the worst in the organizations terrible history.

If we (the enlightened) are convinced by our values and espouse them so whole heartedly in the form of universal human rights - lets started putting our money where our mouth is. These events have shown us what the populations of Egypt et al desire. For heavens sake - the last thing we should inflict on them now is a white night in the shape of Barrack Obama and David Cameron, international relations is not just about governments and diplomats, or at least I hope its not - because if it is - the world is screwed!

I envisage a new website like wikileaks which could hold referendums and early pre-elections on the web for populations to oust these despots. As a demonstrable and irrefutable voice of the people which could remain untainted by the regime at risk. Some support by civil society (hate that term) groups, IOs, media outlets and alike could build its credence as a tool to prompt action rather than us sitting on our hands until a compromise is reached which will no doubt screw the population just as much as the status quo would have done anyway.

Another reason we don't want Obamas go ahead on regime change would be the preference on the result. What happens when the Palestinians vote for Hammas? or the Lebanese vote for Hizbullah? I dont swallow the fear mongering about the Muslim Brotherhood completely and its use as a 'better the devil you know' argument is just so cheap its not worth contesting - but would the US let them on the ballot as they list them as terrorist organization and made Mubarak ban them, demonize them and drive them underground.

The Middle East for Dummies

1. Dictators, including Mubarak, are there because the US supports them.

2. The letter says: "Stop supporting Mubarak."

3. Therefore, the letter is about minding our own business.

4. Reading comprehension is a good thing.

If only it was that simple.

The U.S has one thing on its mind. The dollar. Its the supreme ruler. Morals, Justice, and all dignity is sacrificed for the dollar.
If Egypt was as oil rich as Iraq, you would see all the U.S has to offer in military power, and it would be labeled as a humanitarian mission.

We need to wait and see. If fundamentalists take over we still need to wait and see. Not many of the fundamentalist governments have changed much for the common man. They will still blame us either way. As far as the academic opinions? Do they really think they're all that important. Chomsky is a known liberal, I can only imagine what the other academics are. The first thing we need to do is put a hold on aid. If they need food, fine. No dollars!

Detter, You do realize that the US has enabled Mubarak to maintain undemocratic control of Egypt for decades, right? Egypt is the second biggest recipient of US aid, what do you think that money is used for? Helping the average Egyptians? So, before you criticize Chomsky et al for suggesting that we support the will of the masses of Egyptian people in their efforts to take back their country, you may want to acquaint yourself with the US role in propping up Mubarak. The letter is a way of saying, "Do not undermine the Egyptian people, as has been done for the past 30 years, by giving more guns and money to the Mubarak family to be used to suppress citizen uprisings". The irony of your criticism is breathtaking. Someone says, "I recommend that we stop giving that person all those guns, I think he is using them to terrorize the community"...and you Detter shout back saying, "What is wrong with you? That's none of our business, if we get involved then we will be partially responsible for the shootings!"....Wake up! We are a big part of the problem, have been for a long time.

America needs to stay out of this, it has nothing to do with them. What is wrong with these academics have they lost their common sense. The Egyptians do not want any American help or influence full stop. Also do these academics also not realise that Mubarak was supported and a close ally of America there is no way this would be acceptable.

Butt out Noam Chomsky and your so called academics and get out in the real world.

2 years ago Obama should have pushed Mubarak on reforms to keep this from happening. now you must side with the opposition before it's 2 late. If the Muslim Brotherhood gets their feet in the door then all is lost. Isreal will fall and use it's nuclear arsenal to destroy the Middle East rather than bow down to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran

Obama came out with his statements and it was dead on. Egypt is sovereign and it appears to be going fairly well without any involvement. In other words it ain't none of your business. Stop trying to manipulate the outcome. If we do then we become liable for the outcome. I honestly hope it does go well.

Why are you guys sticking your noise in other peoples business? Seems a little confounding to me that these so called professors who complain about the US being too involved and then turn around and encourage it. Amazing.

Most of them think they are great sociologist or something. Prob never took the SOC 101 ethics class. If you guys are behind this then shame on you. No nation should be pushed by anyone. It better be from the people or it will look as ugly as 78' with Iran. Surely Norm you recall how that went? Soc as a practice indeed. You put a stain on those who are true sociologists. Pissant.

It is hard to know what the US should do. We are not very well liked in that part of the world.


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