Feature

U.S. fails to defend democracy

The Egyptian government can trample human rights with little to fear from the U.S., said the Beirut <em>Daily Star.</em> &ldquo;Long gone are the days when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would come to the defense of dem

EditorialDaily Star (Lebanon)

The Egyptian government can trample human rights with little to fear from the U.S., said the Beirut Daily Star. “Long gone are the days when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would come to the defense of democracy.” Last week, an Egyptian court sentenced democracy advocate Saad Eddin Ibrahim in absentia to two years in prison for “tarnishing the reputation” of Egypt. Ibrahim, a sociologist who lives in exile in the U.S., writes and gives speeches about democracy—“a cause which President Hosni Mubarak claims to embrace.” Yet Egypt found this “one lone man with a microphone and a keyboard” to be a grave threat. If Rice truly believed in free speech, she would thunder her denunciations. Instead, she merely said she was “disappointed” in the verdict against Ibrahim. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. A few months ago, when the U.S. Congress recommended withholding just a fraction of U.S. aid to Egypt until the country improved its human-rights record, Rice overrode the recommendation and authorized the full aid package. “Evidently, the United States now favors stability, even if this comes at the expense of lofty ideals like democracy and human rights.”

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