Beyond the Cusp

August 31, 2013

Egypt Erupts Again, It Must Have Been Friday

Reports out of Egypt recounted that late Friday violence by ousted President Mohammed Morsi demonstrators resulted in at least six people killed and close to two-hundred suffering injuries requiring medical attention. These reports came from both the Egyptian Health Ministry and Al Arabiya. The clashes broke the calm and quiet of the past two weeks and resulted from the largest demonstrations since the first weeks after Morsi government was replaced by a Military installed interim government until a new constitution and elections can be voted on. Those demonstrations had resulted in hundreds of protesters being killed and almost countless more suffering various extents of injuries. In the interim period numerous Muslim Brotherhood leadership have been arrested and held by the Egyptian military in their efforts to decapitate the leadership of the demonstrations. Chief among those arrested was the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie. As is the usual instigation for these demonstrations, five-hundred demonstrators came straight from Friday prayers leaving from central Cairo’s Sahib Rumi Mosque chanting, “Wake up, don’t be afraid, the army must leave!”; “The interior ministry are thugs!”; and “Egypt is Islamic, not secular!” This resulted in several thousands marching in several other Cairo districts and suburbs by the late afternoon.

 

The reinitiating of demonstrations, even of a somewhat lesser level of violence, does not bode well for proceeding with an orderly and peaceful transition back to a semblance of a functioning Egyptian democracy in whatever form is decided by the future constitution. Apart from the foreboding that the transit from the Muslim Brotherhood supported Peace and Justice Party dominated parliament with their candidate Morsi as President to a new non-Islamic secular government will be resisted by the Brotherhood and that they have sufficient middle level leadership which has stepped up to replace those who the Egyptian military has already arrested. This poses yet another challenge to the Egyptian people who are the impetus behind the call for new government which is secular and not under the thumb of Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Unfortunately, transiting to secular governance may not be the biggest problem facing the world from out of Egypt. The problem will require the intervention of outside interests to force an alternative for the Coptic Christians, as they are victims of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters, while not raising sufficient concern that the Egyptian military or the Egyptian public will act; so they need an outside interest to lead the way to a solution. The Coptic Christians have become the punching bag for every angry group looking for somebody to blame and persecute to relieve their anger. The Coptic Christians are an easily found and defenseless group whose safety and property are not worthy of protection by the authorities. They have faced broad based violence resulting in burning down of their churches, businesses and even their homes. Some of the churches and monasteries that have been destroyed are of great historic value but since they are not Islamic they are considered worthless and not worth preserving by the Egyptian military, the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafists. Add to this the situation in the Sinai Peninsula with the infestation of terrorists and the Egyptian military and people have their challenges before them, and these are dangerous and serious challenges. The future in Egypt will eventually settle down, it just does not appear that eventually will come easy or soon. The one item which should not be left to the Egyptians is the safety and future of the Coptic Christians. This is one problem which will fall on the Christian world to address and will serve as the measure of the compassion in the Christian world. The simple truth is that the Egyptian military would probably assist to a minimal extent any Christian efforts if it would remove the Coptic Christians from being something which will only reflect poorly on the reputation of Egypt in the eyes of much of the world. Should the Egyptian authorities, military or civilians, find a solution which permits the Coptic Christians to be rescued from the dangers they currently are facing, would be a major step towards revamping the Egyptian’s reputations. Will anybody from the Christian world step forward or will the Christian world share the shame for the persecution of the Coptic Christians, one of the oldest and most pure to their roots Christian populations in the world.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 6, 2013

Calls for Revolution Will Lead to Undesirable Results

Revolutions are part of the natural cycles of governance and are often required to bring forth change. Change is the one result of revolution that is guaranteed. Desirable change is not guaranteed and is the least likely of all the possible results from a revolution. The one consequence of revolution is unpredictability and such uncertainty is a wicked mistress. The closest analogy of revolution in nature is fire. The great plains and forests of the world left to nature will suffer cleansing fires as that is nature’s way of effecting change. The renewals resultant from these flames is necessary in the cycles of renewal by Mother Nature. The other similarity between nature’s renewal by fire and political renewal by revolution is that each is an extremely dangerous process to all living things within the effects of the sweeping flames of change. The forests and plains then reset to an original starting point from which nature rebuilds eventually reaching the point where the conditions will eventually again reach the point where the conditions are ripe for the next renewal by fire. Governance of man is similar in that the governance that results from any revolution is not guaranteed and, more often than not, the forces in control at the end of the revolution are rarely the same forces that began the revolution. The recent revolutions in the Middle East are perfect examples of this consequence.

 

The originators of the Egyptian uprising, for example, were students and young adults who using the new high tech media began a revolution that presented the opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists to step in and reap the rewards from the wind swept flames of change. Similar results followed from what began actually in 2009 Iran where the students and many from the society protested the stealing of the election by Ahmadinejad and were violently oppressed. Their attempt at change failed largely due to the timidity by the rest of the world to support their calls for relief from despotic rule. The next country was Tunisia where a vegetable street vendor reached beyond his limits and revolted by self-immolation. This was the spark that lighted the flames of revolution in Tunisia which then ignited across Northern Africa and beyond. The original protests were demands for freedom, democratic representation, liberty, and an end to economic repressions. The results have thus far been the replacement of nationalistic dictators with the election of Islamic religious leaderships which may result in the imposition of a new dictatorial type of theocratic tyrannies. The freedom expressing youth who wished for modernized democratic governance began these revolutions and the theocratic fundamentalists had the organizational presence to take advantage of an unstable leadership vacuum which they used all their influence and power to fill while displacing the idealistic youth. The history of revolutions will verify the posit that those who initiate revolution are more often than not cast aside by other forces who have the necessary organization in the ready seemingly waiting for just such an opportunity to divert the situation for their own gain.

 

There are those who believe that a revolution may be required in order to reinstitute the original Constitutional limits and reinstate idealistic governance that they believe existed at the birth of the United States and honestly believe that they would be able to control the transformation once the existing governance had been toppled making room for their visions to be realized. Other than the disillusioned truth that even at the time that George Washington was taking the oath of office the constitution was on the verge of being compromised as soon as Congress was seated. The Constitutional standard set forth in the actual document was an idealistic governance for which we were to strive and described a perfection which was to be minded in order to limit the evils to which men fall victim simply due to the fact that all are imperfect and corruptible when compared to a perfection of the vision such as presented in the Constitution. The ideal is near impossible yet is what must be the used definition of governance if society is to have any possibility of resisting the temptations that lead to corrupt ruling leadership that result from partaking of a taste of power. The problem with any revolution, even one with the stated goal of reinstating the original Constitution in its entirety, the temptations of power will work their tantalizations on those who find themselves as leaders. Since revolutions will tend to appoint or have some assume power, they leave the aims of the revolution to become victim of the desires of those trusted with leadership. History has proven that those trusted with leadership often break every vow and trust that was instituted when they first assumed leadership and power. As the old phrase states, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

 

When looking at the current state of political power in the United States and comparing it to the allocations of power according to the Constitution, one finds the structure which was meant to protect the individual States from an overreaching central government have been completely turned on their head. This is very much a stipulation for change that is made by those who believe the time has come to take whatever steps may be required to reset the governance of the United States back to the originating Constitutional arrangements. The problem is there is far too much risk in attempting to force such a change as those in power will not likely surrender that which they now hold. Forcing the issue would necessitate revolution and the flames of change are usually not kind. The only guaranteed manner of reasserting the limits and doctrines of the Constitution is to go through a period of disciplined change in order to undo over two hundred years of compromise. Such an endeavor would take near inhuman dedication over generations all the while resisting the exact same temptations which caused this problem in the first place. The problem is that each compromise committed to the purity of the Constitution was seen and accepted as an improvement or necessity and was generally approved by the majority at their inception. The perfect example would be the Seventeenth Amendment which called for a change in the manner for the selection of United States Senators. In accordance with the humanistic philosophies of the period where it was theorized that the people as a whole entity were of superior intelligence and pure nature than were the State Governments which were seen as even more corrupt than the Federal Government. This caused the belief that the citizenry would be preferred to be given the power to elect their Senators instead of allowing the State Legislators or Governor to appoint them. This was seen as advantageous and the Constitutional Amendment was presumably ratified as such. The theory that the Senate was to be the house that represented the individual States was set aside and transformed to mean the Senators were to represent the will of the peoples of each State. This was definitely to the advantage of the powers in Washington as it completely removed any vestige of power over the Federal Government actions and laws from the State legislators or other governmental power. This one Amendment may have had the most far reaching affect in subsuming power from the States into the centralized Federal Government. To undo the evisceration of the United States Constitution by two centuries of compromises and cheating performed by the representatives of the people, often despite vocal protests from a minority of strict constitutionalists, the people must be convinced it is in their vital interest to partake of an effort to reassert the original limitations, definitions, identifications, and structures of the Constitution of the Federal Government and all other forms of governance throughout the United States. Even if this should become evident, it would then take transmitting this eminent desire to the ensuing generations very likely for far longer than it took allowing for the constitution to be abridged. That will be one difficult and possibly climbable mountain to conquer, but likely a worthy goal. It is that very difficulty that makes the idea of revolution and quick restoration so tempting, but that allure would likely not produce the desired end. The fires of change tend to burn out of the control of those who lighted the initial flames.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 24, 2012

Just Another Mass Murder of Innocents in Syria

The forces loyal to Assad utilized an airstrike to slaughter people who were simply lining up at a bakery to purchase bread and pastries. The toll has already reached close to one-hundred with expectations that the final count of dead might exceed two-hundred. The result was bodies stacked and slung all over the entire block of the street in front of the bakery with dead and wounded lying together as others searched to find the living and separate them from the dead. The scene is captured in this <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIfdO7yzKeM&feature=player_embedded target=blank>explicitly graphic video</a> showing a scene of trauma expectant in the aftermath of such a horrific and senseless slaughter of innocent noncombatants. This attack comes on top of the revelation that Assad’s forces have begun to use scud missiles against rebel forces and civilians with no discrimination between the innocent civilians and those who have taken up arms against his rule. This has to lead one to believe that Assad is but a decision away from the use of his chemical weapons on these scud missiles and the horrors and havoc such will render on the remaining Syrian population in addition to the rebel forces. Meanwhile, the world leaders decry these attacks and invest great numbers of words and promises that they are monitoring the situation in Syria and will take serious and decided action should Assad introduce chemical weapons to the conflict. Judging by the lack of serious response to the over 40,000 civilian deaths estimated to have resulted from the civil war thus far, one has to wonder if such threats are empty bluster more than resolutions to take the actions threatened.

On the other side of the coin, news continues to enforce the existence of two distinct and separate groups which comprise the rebel forces. One group is a cobbled union of secularists, disparate minority groups, and Muslims who wish to establish some form of democratic governance with universal rights while the other group consists of Islamists belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Salafists, and other Sunnis who favor establishing a Sharia State. Many fear that once Assad is taken down from power the fighting will simply turn with these separate rebel groups beginning yet a second civil war for the future of Syria. The parallels between the situation in Syria and the history of the French Revolution is frightening and if the conflict in Syria should come to a similar end, the future for Syria is bleak and dark at best. This bifurcation of the rebel forces has also made supporting the rebels a more difficult proposition fraught with possible mistakes and weapons and aid falling into the hands of terrorists instead of the intended secular forces. Much has been speculated as to how much of the weapons and aid has already fallen into presumably unintended hands and this has clouded the plans to send further such assistance. This is definitely not an instance where one can simply make decisions using the old system of the enemy of my enemy is my friend as some of those who are enemies of Assad are also enemies of the West and a threat to the Western way of life. Decisions, decisions, all I can say is I am glad these are not decisions that will rest on my shoulders.

Then there is the last threat, the stores of chemical weapons. There are serious concerns as to into whose hands these deadly weapons of mass destruction will end up falling. There are many who claim that there are some who we can trust to receive these stores and some we must avoid allowing to come into possession of Assad’s vast stores of chemical weapons. My vote is that there is nobody who we should allow to come into possession of these weapons and possess such a threat. Assuming that the forces of the world continue with their hand-wringing and making bold statements while taking no actions, then these diabolical weapons are going to fall into somebody’s hands and the only safe solution would be to make sure that at the end of the fighting these weapons are destroyed and not left for anybody to possess, or even worse, to use. That is the one action which needs to be planned for and executed preferably with great stealth and assurances that all of these chemical weapons are destroyed. These weapons should not be allowed to continue to exist even if it is in the hands of a Western country, the Russians, the Israelis, or anybody else. The destruction of these chemical weapons stores has to be the one result of this conflict that must be made a primary goal. Any other path would be pure folly and could only end, sooner or later, in catastrophe.

Beyond the Cusp

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