The Obama administration has not taken a strong and unequivocal stand against Hosni Mubarak’s regime yet, and has instead opted for calling for an “orderly transition” to a new government. The latest news on the administration’s reactions to the Egyptian uprising is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt “spoke today with Mohammed El-Baradei.”
Regardless of the administration’s outreach to a major opposition figure, though, it’s hard to be viewed as a neutral player when the U.S. has not cut off the more than $1 billion in military aid annually to the repressive dictatorship. This fact has not been lost on the Egyptian demonstrators, who have had to deal with the violence meted out by Egypt’s security forces using U.S.-made weapons.
This amazing video (above), produced by Philip Rizk and Jasmina Metwaly for the Electronic Intifada, provides a taste of how ordinary Egyptians view the United States government. At about 2:30 in the video, a young Egyptian man cries out to the camera (thanks to Lubna Alzaroo for the Arabic translation): “This is an American grenade. American! American! Hosni Mubarak is a spy, he is a collaborator and we don’t want him. We’ve had enough, we are suffocating, the nation is hungry, we’ve had enough.”
Until the U.S. halts its military support to Egypt, Israel and all of the other authoritarian states in the Middle East, the “American grenade” being used to harm pro-democracy demonstrators will be the ugly U.S. face in the region.