Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Killing Me Softly: Sand Monkey Goes Dark

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-Dylan Thomas

Someone I hadn't linked to in a long time, but have read routinely is the Egyptian blogger, Sand Monkey.

Sand Monkey was one of the first proponents of Democracy that I read in any other country besides the brothers at Iraq the Model. He was funny, snarky and serious all at once. He was pro-democracy, pro-American, and, though he would be categorized as "conservative" by current American politics, he is one of the most liberal Egyptians that I know.

His conversations with his NDP mother were priceless. Blogging about taxi rides, religious music and politics gave you a taste of Egypt on the ground. His site was the first place I ever talked to a real "Palestinian" about Israel, Palestine, Arafat and many other subjects. Most of all, his continued efforts to talk about the real political situation in Egypt, the motives, the laws and the people, allowed us to alternately hope for and fear for democracy in Egypt and the greater Middle East.

He's going dark now because Egypt has been arresting bloggers and, he fears, coming closer to him daily. He believes his anonymity has been compromised and, like the pamphlateers of old, he relied on that to be able to say whatever he felt about democracy and the lack of it in Egypt.

There have been stories of bloggers being beaten up and molested in jail. Egyptian authorities do not have the constraints on them that American police would have in treating people with some dignity or, at least, when THEY break the law they can be prosecuted, not rewarded.

Democracy is dying a slow death in some parts of the Middle East while a few bright lights continue such as Lebanon and, as strange as it might seem, Iraq.

Atlas Shrugs has an interview with Sand Monkey you don't want to miss.

Would you believe that he blames it on the Democrats winning the 2006 elections and taking over congress?

ATLAS: Why? What happened to the pressure in Washington?

SANDMONKEY: You know what happened to the pressure in Washington. The Democrats won the Congress. There is no more pressure coming from Bush because he is not able to push people anymore to do those things. He is not able to push the Egyptian government anymore because the American public is suddenly not interested in reforming the Middle East because of what's going on in the Iraq. So suddenly the Egyptian government is not afraid of the American pressure. They are doing whatever they want to do. They are beating up demonstrators, they are cracking down on activists, they are changing the constitution, and eroding civil liberties once and for all and they are using proxies to take down bloggers.

It's not just that the Egyptians are not afraid of the American pressure. They are betting on a Democrat government not putting any attachments on the 2 billion aid that they receive annually. Unlike the Bush administration which had insisted that they would put requirements on this aid if necessary. This had a lot of power behind it when it was a Republican congress.

The Democrat plan for the Middle East is what is motivating this reversion to type. Because they see democracy as a general failure in Iraq and they believe that the Middle East is a hotbed of Islamist terrorists and sympathizers, they have decided on putting their bets back on the "tyrants" to be able to hold down their populations and, in short, "crack down" on these folks with extreme prejudice. Of course, like any dictatorship, these laws are usually put in place with such alacrity that they are easily used to crush any dissent against the government. Sadly, as people like Sand Monkey show, they generally aren't advocating for violent overthrow of the government, are less dangerous and are more visible than an Islamist terrorist cell agitating against the government, planning attacks. The non-violent dissidents are usually the first to suffer and suffer more greatly than any terrorist group because they are the easiest to find.

The Democrats are willing to sell people's freedom for the ability of tyrants to fight a "proxy war" against terrorists. Considering 9/11 and other events, the dictators' abilities to do so is suspect, but they can certainly kill democracy without breaking a sweat.

They do it "legally", like dictators have for over a century, by passing laws for the "protection" of the people and the state while they grind them down.

Blogging anonymously provided an ability to organize and speak in ways that they had not been allowed to do in any other venue. It is the new pamphlateers that have written words that echoed around the world.

This ability to speak freely, among several other reasons, is why I started to blog. I wanted to say something and make my voice heard, not just mumble it to myself or a few friends.

Still, I understand Sand Monkey's fears. Thomas Paine and many others wrote anonymously for years. The pamphlateers' presses were sometimes found and shut down by the Brits, but many would simply move the press or start up someplace else.

Let us hope, someday, we hear his voice again.

In other news, the Iranians are cracking down on their dissidents. Stefania at free thoughts mentions that women are still defiant.

While Turkey citizens protest the Islamization of their government.

Please read Atlas Shrugs interview. She has a podcast of their discussion.

Say "goodnight" Sand Monkey.

Thomas Paine - The Crisis

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER," and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

Common Sense

SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

1 comment:

Walter M. Clark said...

Has anyone besides me noticed what groups the Democrats did/want to turn their backs on and allow millions of innocents to die? First was Vietnam, which took Cambodia and Laos with it and resulted in at least three million dead. Then Somalia, where a continuous state of anarchy has resulted in many thousands killed since President Clinton chickened out, and now Iraq, where a blood bath that will make southeast Asia and Somalia look like a playground fight. Yes, there is one factor that unites all three. These people the Democrats threw/want to throw to the wolves are all non-White. While they claim to be for minorities, when given a chance they turn their backs and allow millions to die.

If you look back through American history the Republicans have done more to aid the blacks, starting with freeing the slaves during the Civil War, than the Democrats, who fought long and hard against integration, voted overwhelmingly against the Civil Rights Act, and have as a revered elder statesman a KKK member, Robert Byrd, and yet the Democrats have used the big lie so loud and long they have the minorities believing them.

It's long past the time the Republicans should have started publicizing this, but by starting now we might get some to see the truth.