The other day on Alan Thatcher’s blog (here) we saw a picture of Ramy Ashour out celebrating during the protests that are currently sweeping Egypt. There is a lot to say about these protests, but what I would like to start out with is simply a plea to Ramy, “Get outta da streets!”
Ramy, the best squash player on the planet, does not need to go out and get himself killed in what could be a bloody mess. I sympathize with his feelings, and I know it would be hard not to join in on the demonstrations for what must seem like a fight for independence akin to our 1776, but there is another argument, that Ramy is the leader of the sport and is an Egyptian recognized around the world. Could he do his country more of a favor by being an exemplar of the sport, perhaps even playing it in the Olympics in 2020, or should he be one of millions taking to the streets and clamoring for change? Could he use his celebrity status to articulate the wishes of freedom-loving Egyptians, perhaps even to rally like-minded Egyptians to the cause? It’s a tough call, of course, but I say Ramy, and indeed all the many top Egyptian squash players, should sit tight. Use their influence behind the scenes, definitely, but sit tight and represent the New Egypt when the time is right.
The latest tumult in Egypt puts American sensitivities in a quandary. After all, the government of President Mohammed Morsi was elected in a democratic election that was judged to be fair by outside observers. If many Egyptians don’t happen to like what Morsi is doing, then in a democratic country they would be expected to organize, demonstrate peaceably, and throw the bums out in the next election. I was not a fan of George W. Bush, and when, amazingly, he was elected again, I was beside myself, but being a good democrat I just stayed back, licked my wounds, and planned for the next election. Likewise, those Republicans who consider Obama to be a socialist Kenyan from hell and the worst president ever are doing the same, but in reverse. That’s the American way….
So the American impulse is to root for the demonstrators, who want to expel the Islamists who now rule, but to do that they are really rooting for a military takeover of a democratically elected government. It’s a disconnect. What should happen is Morsi and his crew should listen to the demonstrators and make changes to their governance, but they are hard-liners convinced they have all the answers, and so the positions are locked in, and the military awaits. There will be blood.
Ramy! Let none of that blood be yours….