egypt-democracy

Nonviolence often means amnesia, the suppression of a collective memory of struggle and all the experience and wisdom that comes with that memory. People who remember hundreds of years of struggle against authority cannot be tricked into a simple reform that promises to make things better by changing the election laws. People who remember hundreds of years of struggle know that what little they have, they won by fighting. They remember how to make barricades, how to assemble molotov cocktails, how to use guns, how to survive in clandestinity, how to protect themselves from infiltrators. Just as the reformists of Real Democracy Now ereased the true history of the uprising in Egypt, full of street battles and burnt police stations, they tried to erase the rich history of anticapitalist struggles in Spain. They tried to tell people who had spent their lives in the streets that the only way to win was to be peaceful because that’s what the television says.
—  Peter Gelderloos, The Failure of Nonviolence, page 132
In the longer run, with years of American efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East in a shambles, press freedom in the region isn’t likely to move forward simply on the strength of its moral claim. And perhaps the press can help enable democracy, even if its supporting institutions aren’t democracies themselves.
—  Nicholas Lemann on protesting Egypt’s Al Jazeera verdict: http://nyr.kr/1sDa9n7