On June 4, 2009, President Obama delivered a sermon of hope in Cairo, promising a new beginning based on the principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. Although he addressed the students and Egyptian intellectuals at Al-Azhar/University of Cairo, his intended audience was the global Muslim community.
He candidly acknowledged American failures in the past and promised a future based on mutual respect and interests. He advised resistance movements, especially in the Muslim world, to adopt democratic processes to advance their political aspirations.
The Muslim Brotherhood did exactly what the president prescribed.
Now, all hopes in Obama and his noble vision of justice, tolerance and dignity lie bloodied in the streets of Cairo. It is not just Egyptian democracy on the line, so is America’s credibility — and not just in Egypt, but across the world.
The president has one last opportunity to restore peace and American credibility: Tell the Egyptian military to hold the free elections within six months, and that the United States will only deal with a democratic regime.
Otherwise, the Brotherhood has only one option left, return to the political wilderness, join with hardliners and fight for their rights. It will bring violence across Egypt and perhaps the entire Mideast.
The United States, Egyptian military and the people can find a textbook lesson in Pakistan’s experience when the military undermines democracy. The United States preached democracy, but supported military coups and lost all credibility. The Pakistani military claimed to honor the will of the people, and it has lost more soldiers to domestic terrorism. And the Pakistani people would gladly trade hell over their current living conditions.
Mohammad S. Shakir, Miami Shores