Robert Fisk: Obama Administration Has Been Gutless andCowardly in Dealing with the Mubarak Regime
The renowned Middle East journalist speaks from Cairo on the historic uprising and how PresidentObama has lost an opportunity to back a democratic movement in the Middle East. "One of the blightsof history will now involve a U.S. president who held out his hand to the Islamic world and thenclenched his fist when it fought a dictatorship and demanded democracy," Fisk said.
By the way, you can follow Sharif’s tweets at democracynow.org, our senior producer on the ground at Tahrir Square in Cairo, and as well as the blogs and the latestreports.I want to turn now first, though, to Robert Fisk. The longtime Middle East correspondent of
newspaper in London has been voted best correspondent by reporters and editors inBritain for years. He’s the author of a number of books, including
The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
. Writing from the streets of Cairo, he wrote, "Oneof the blights of history will now involve a U.S. president who held out his hand to the Islamicworld and then clenched his fist when it fought a dictatorship and demanded democracy."We reached Robert Fisk just hours before the broadcast and asked him his reaction to theunfolding events in Egypt, as well as the U.S. response.
Well, immense courage displayed by those who are demanding the overthrow,effectively, of Mubarak, oddly matched by the complete gutlessness of the U.S. administration.In fact, the cowardice of the language coming from Mrs. Clinton in the State Department, theendless calls for restraint and the endless calls of Mubarak being a friend of America, etc.— Mubarak himself being a dictator, runs a secret police state, in effect—against these loneEgyptians who are being filmed by state security, who are being filmed on television around theworld, who are giving their names, identifying themselves as being against the regime, it’s beenan extraordinary example of lost American opportunities, in fact. You know, I’m on the streetwith these people. They’re not anti-American. There are no anti—nobody is burning Americanflags, though I probably would if I was among them and I was an Egyptian in thesecircumstances. They’ve been immensely understanding of the international situation, but of course immensely betrayed.What they’re buoyed up with is basically a simple fact. When you throw constant humiliationand fear and repression and increased education, when you throw off your shackles, as the oldcliché goes, when you say, "I’m not afraid anymore," you can never re-inject a people with fear.They’re on their feet. They may get defeated temporarily, but they’re still going to be standingup. And that’s why more and more people are coming to join the protesters.