Egyptians fought bravely, ousted Mubarak and gave power to the military. But it turns out that USA effectively controls the Egyptian Army. It financed it, trained it and should it go into conflict with it, it can easily defeat it. So Egyptian people, whether they are aware of this or not, gave considerable power to USA. In Latin America and other parts of the world, giving power to US backed military would have been seen as a huge step back in time. So this situation must change quickly and in favor of the Egyptian people. It could also change in favor of US and EU foreign policy in the region.

Egyptians deserve speedy and easy visibility on how democracy will be instituted. Also USA has to be very careful not to be associated with the Egyptian military, but instead with the democratic forces which hopefully will take power. It also needs to prevent the brewing of another Mubarak from inside the military, a military who like Hugo Chavez, after trying to take power as a military leader changed clothes and took power through elections but behaves as a military dictator. The Egyptian people, USA, Obama and Clinton in particular, can emerge as winners in this revolution but there are many obstacles ahead.

After failing promoting democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, USA has a chance to do in Egypt with $50bn what it could not do wasting $1 trillion. It can fund the stabilization of Egypt and prevent the rise of terrorism and Hamas type forces to arise out of discontent. Egypt can become what Iraq never became but it is still one of the poorest nations on earth on a per capita basis and it quickly needs a stabilization fund. Right now what the new government has to prevent is food shortages and provide basic necessities for all. That needs short term EU and US Aid. In short, President Obama can do with Egypt what the Neocons wanted and failed to do with Iraq. Helping Egypt at this moment would be greatly appreciated around the world.

Lastly as soon as things calm down, we can all do our fair share and consider Egypt for our next holiday destination. This will help re start the economy.

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Nora Abousteit on February 11, 2011  · 

I was just on the phone with my mother – and although we’re both happy that this peaceful revolution managed to oust Mubarak, we know it’s not done yet.

Essentially the military has been and is ruling the country; with its investments and revenue generating business it is operating like a huge corporation or holding company and won’t have any interest to loose that influence and money. Really, the power has already been with the military for decades.

But now that people dare to speak freely and realized that they can organize themselves in large numbers to change a dictator (hopefully without any persecution), they might be inspired to ask for more.

I lived for eight years in Egypt between 1996 and 2004. Back then, no one dared to talk about the government and many people were afraid to even mention Mubarak’s name for the fear of arrest. It was almost as if nothing was wrong, because nothing was said. When I saw the first video of people stripping down a poster of Mubarak I was almost in shock, I would’ve never believed that this could happen.

I am with you, the US has to make sure it supports a democratic process rather than the military, the tradition of military generals ruling the country (Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak) has to be broken. But the US and other countries also have to keep in mind that Egyptians are highly skeptical and suspicious of foreign influence. The US must realize that most of their top down approaches are conceived as arrogant or ignorant and often simply don’t work.

Instead of betting on the established big giants, maybe the US should think of themselves as VCs or angel investors that bet on people, their vision, and their track record, and allow for a new, innovative, and liberal founder-run country.

In any case, I am happy today, because with this somewhat explosive freedom of speech in the past days the first step towards a true democracy has been made and I am optimistic and deeply hope for much more to come.

And, I would be thrilled to organize a trip to Egypt! Let’s all go! Let’s talk to the people there, climb minarets, explore oases, and chill on the beach.

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Rodrigo SEPULVEDA SCHULZ on February 11, 2011  · 

Alexandria Tech Talk (at the Library ? ) as soon as it settles down ?
or the usual Travelling Circus on a felouka / ship between Luxor and Aswan ? 🙂 > did it about 25 years ago, it was incredible

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Jonas "Birger" Birgersson on February 11, 2011  · 

Nora, very interesting comments indeed – I will of course come to any activity of the sort you cleverly envisage – on them that I would be very happy to talk about is how Egypt could organise its digital infrastructure (from construction of the duct to the very latest in regulation and policy) – so that Egypt could have the most modern digital infrastructure to boost “cheap for all” education, information about health and of course all of the e-government. Also one important thing should be how the digital infra should be constructed so that is robust against both different fraction that try to filter out information and to make it very very hard to do the same kind of “black out” of communication ever again…

I think that Egypt would be a great place for a “tech talk” – the “group” of us could bring many different aspects to try in a small way add what we can of good examples.

Not to go in to any long detail but I have had for a long time a very strong feeling that entrepreneurship could be very important (and positive) counter act against extremism and terrorist – by winning the best mind for the “creative battle” trying to do the next great thing instead of doing the next “most terrible” act is a very worthy and in my mind effective potential “game changer” – and here the true inspirational power of “tech talk” type of event and community is a very positive thing indeed!

I so want to be a part of this in a long term productive way…

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Martin Varsavsky on February 12, 2011  · 

Nora, I love that concept of seeding change rather than managing it, and failing, as USA did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Vasco Sommer-Nunes on February 12, 2011  · 

Egypt was like the 2nd Berlin Wall of my life – despite the fact that I have no connection to that country at all. When the Berlin Wall came down I was 15 and glued to the TV, witnessing history, yet too young to jump into my car and go and take a piece out of that wall with my own hands. These last days were somewhat the same, I would wake up at 4am in the night because I simply wanted to go to Egypt hand help these people, be part of a movement for freedom and bring about change. Then I always had to hold back and realize that I´d probably be of more help by keeping a blog platform alive and fighting of denial of service attacks.

I hope that Egypt is strong enough to transition into a political environment which allows for a more liberal society. I see the faces of young, smart Egyptian people on TV and I just want them to be able to expose their minds and thinking freely to the rest of the world. There must be tremendous potential in this country and the signal it´s sending to countries with a young demographic within oppressive regimes is priceless.

A VC/Angel approach by the US would be great to see instead of an economic hitman policy. Let´s hope for the best and meet the brave and young generation how has helped to make this come about. Count me in!

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