埃及胜利的价值

ROGER COHEN 文 ruiheng 译

开罗—当我晚上在一个俯瞰解放广场的九层楼单元房写这篇文章时,整个广场充斥人群,一个巨大的欢呼已经兴起。埃及武装力量,发表了他们所称的第 一号公报,宣布埃及人民的要求将获得满足。长期统帅这支军队的侯赛尼·穆巴拉克没有表达任何讯息。在进行压制性统治30年后,他似乎辞去了职务。

“任务完成”,维尔·戈宁(Wael Ghonim,谷歌中东和北非营销主管)发出这样的推特信息,遭受12天拘留后,这个年轻的google执行官的组织能力和毁坏性的新闻访谈是个重要的激励力量。过了些时候,他说还要等待来自军方的进一步阐述。

在我下方的广场是个被灯光照亮的人群的海洋,人们围绕着广场中心的的帐篷城,它是过去几个星期长出来。埃及人聚集在此,老的少的,世俗的信教的,他们当初誓言穆巴拉克不下台他们就不走,现在看他们当初说那话可是动真格的。

来自军方的声明意味着,不管人民用什么方式要求自由都将被满足,这在未来的几天或未来的几小时里将变得十分清楚。埃及自1952年起就一直在这种或那种专制下生存。

但是现在已经很清楚,埃及人像之前的突尼斯人,针对专制和腐败赢得了一个了不起的胜利。这胜利是以自由的名义争取的、是自我授权采取行动的、是追求人类尊严的。

奥巴马总统在经过犹豫之后,审慎考虑了反民主的穆巴拉克是否有可能释放民主(从现在局势看这问题是不切实际的想法),奥巴马总统必须让美国的影响力投入工作,保证一个崭新的社会出现于埃及,这新社会配得上人民对自由的热望,这新社会的人民值得拥有一个能代表他们的政府。作为曾经的阿拉伯世界振动 中心,作为一个与以色列达成和平的国家,埃及能再次在这一地区承担起关键角色。

当然也有以下这些危险:权力真空,新形式的极权主义,伊斯兰极端主义。曾有观点认为阿拉伯世界只有专制者才能制约宗教狂热,这种在两恶中非此即彼的观点已经呈现颓势。穆斯林兄弟会(它并不狂热)可以如同其他民主国家的宗教党派和机构那样,成为埃及社会的构成部分。

在军方声明发布前的几小时,我遇到一个42岁的投资银行家,他毕业于哈佛商学院,以前在高盛公司供职,现在在伦敦有好的工作,在伦敦南肯辛顿 South Kensington有很好的住处。他从电视上看了1月25日的大抗议,就扔下一切事物,回国投入埃及的自由事业。他说这是要么行动要么闭嘴的事业。有很多像他这样的人此时回到了祖国,这些专业人士代表着埃及的潜力,他们也发动怒火了。总是被一个老人随意支配,他们已经感到无法忍受。这位银行家星期三这样写给我:“真是个讽刺,西方国家花了几十亿到埃及,通过非政府组织,政府间协助,试图帮助提升我国的教育,提高公民责任感,创造公民社会价值,推进业主权益,推进人权;但是他们从未认识到他们真正该做的是给帮助我们埃及人获得自由,在一天一夜间你已经看到了转变—-我们自己能做好上述事务,为我们自己、靠我们自己,只要我们感到真正获得了公民选举权。”

这场革命的价值是令人震惊的,这价值是由拥有感替代无能为力感带来的,并且这变化是突然发生的。开罗这些天推搡、挤压、无序达到顶峰,现在人们排队进入解放广场。甚至广场上出现了一些收集有机废物的垃圾桶!

我跟一个24岁的职业人士帕里汗·阿拉姆(Perihane Allam)谈了话,她被局势的改变震惊了。性骚扰曾是开罗的大问题。“男人在街上总是对我动手动脚,说些脏话”,她说,这段时间在解放广场根本没有上述这些事了,开罗城其它地方也一样没有了这些丑恶现象。尊严以各种形式出现,人们超越了阶级、宗教的划分,一起自豪的认同“我是埃及人”。

这事件很容易被传奇化。这冲动的时刻不可能保持永久。贫穷和文盲将不会随着良好愿望的爆发而消失。但有几个原因深深打动我使我愿意赌埃及的民主 化是可行的。不像伊拉克,埃及是一个单一民族国家—-也是世界最古老的民族—-没有什么大的民族裂隙。民主转型是从底层发动的,不像伊拉克是被施加外部影响而发生民主转型。埃及有一个大的高端职业人士阶层,他们为埃及的悠久遗产而自豪,耻于所有一切都被穆巴拉克统治,誓言将祖国带入现代世界。

对于穆斯林兄弟会而言,它已经迅速适应了在这场起义中互相妥协(译者:而不是采取极端行动),它曾长期是该国唯一的反对力量,可是它仅仅是作为一个称职的幽灵而存在,对抗着穆巴拉克的宣传武器库(译者:意思是穆斯林兄弟会的影响并不很大,只是对穆巴拉克的宣传势力有干扰作用)。过去,如果你有强烈宗教信念,或者你憎恨这个政权,你唯一可去之处是穆斯林兄弟会。现在,如果允许成立其他可靠的反对党,这些反对党将争相拉拢这些持不同政见人群作为其选举票仓。

穆斯林兄弟会支持者广场上曾无数次拥抱着不戴面纱妇女作为掩护,向穆巴拉克的雇佣匪徒扔石头。这种在流血中时兴起来的渗透作用,将信教埃及人和世俗埃及人团结到一起。开罗大学科学教授汉尼·艾尔侯赛尼(Hany el-Hosseiny)告诉我,他与一位穆斯林兄弟会高层人物交谈过,这位高层表示深信,他想为埃及寻求的社会正是西方式的民主社会。这事件的后续发展还有待观察,但有一点很清楚,1979年诞生于伊朗的伊斯兰旋风对解放广场的人们来说感觉像个古老的故事。

那位投资银行家正与三个生意人朋友做些组织工作,把瓦伊尔·高尼姆发布的各种讯息刻录成CD到全国分发,精炼各种讯息然后以各种形式散播出去。

他这样写给我:“很多人不具名的做这些事—-像给集体意识提供精神食粮。为什么?这事件最要紧的是关于结果和行动—由谁来做并不重要。这个集体意识已经形成并将继续形成,每个人都已或大或小的方式做某种贡献,所有这些都导向着伟大事件的发生”

西方世界对这事件有些疲倦了,而阿拉伯世界正在苏醒。西方世界不能这样倦怠下去,倦怠将导致看不见伟大事件,疏于支持这个伟大事件。

来源:纽约时报(2011年2月10日)

Egypt’s Victory of Values

By ROGER COHEN

Published: February 10, 2011

CAIRO — As I write this from a 9th-floor apartment overlooking a packed Tahrir Square on Thursday evening, an immense cheer has gone up. The Egyptian armed forces, issuing what they call Communiqué Number One, have declared that the demands of the Egyptian people will be met. There was no sign of the man who has long been their commander in chief, Hosni Mubarak. He now appears to be leaving office after 30 years of repressive rule.

“Mission accomplished,” tweeted Wael Ghonim, the young Google executive whose organizing powers and shattering interview after 12 days in detention were an important galvanizing force. Later, he said it was important to await further clarification from the army.

The square below me is a great illuminated sea of people circling the tent city that grew up in its heart over the past couple of weeks. The Egyptians gathered here, young and old, secular and religious, meant it when they said they would not leave until Mubarak left.

What the statement from the military means, how the people’s demand for freedom will be satisfied, will only become clear in the coming hours and days. Egypt has lived under one form or other of dictatorship since 1952.

But it is already clear that Egyptians, like Tunisians before them, have won an extraordinary victory over despotism and corruption in the name of freedom, self-empowerment and human dignity.

This is a seismic event in a long-dormant Arab world, reflecting at last the modernizing urges of the region’s overwhelmingly young populations. They are questing, Facebook- and Twitter-empowered, to become citizens rather than cowed subjects; they have learned that the utopias proposed by fanaticism are empty.

President Barack Obama, after his hesitations, after entertaining the unworkable idea that the anti-democrat Mubarak could somehow deliver democracy, must now put all America’s influence to work to try to ensure that a society worthy of these people’s aspirations for freedom and representative government emerges in Egypt. Once the vibrant hub of the Arab world, a country at peace with Israel, Egypt can assume once again a pivotal role in the region.

There are dangers, of course — of a vacuum, of a new form of authoritarianism, of Islamist extremism. But the tired binary view of the Arab world where only despots can hold off fanaticism is exhausted. The Muslim Brotherhood, no fanatics, can be part of the fabric of Egyptian society, like religious parties and organizations in other democracies.

A few hours before the army’s announcement, I had met a 42-year-old investment banker, Harvard Business School, ex-Goldman, with a good job in London and a nice place in South Kensington. He watched the big Jan. 25 protest on TV, dropped everything, got a leave, and came out here to devote his energy to Egyptian freedom. It was a case, he says, of put up or shut up. There are plenty like him, professionals fired up with their country’s potential, sick of being told what to do by an old man. He wrote this to me Wednesday:

“It’s ironic, the West spent billions on Egypt through NGOs, government assistance, trying to help improve our education, improve the sense of civic responsibility, create civic society values, ownership, citizenship, human rights; but they never realized that all they really needed to do was give us our freedom and in literally a day and a night you saw the transformation — we would do all these things for ourselves, by ourselves if we felt enfranchised.”

The revolution in values is startling. It’s been brought on by a sudden sense of ownership in the place of powerlessness. Cairo was the place of pushing and shoving and shouting and disorder par excellence. Now long lines form to enter Tahrir Square. There are even separate garbage cans in the square for organic waste!

I spoke to a 24-year-old professional, Perihane Allam. She was struck by the change in attitudes. Sexual harassment has been a big issue in Cairo. “Men were always hitting on me in the street, saying stuff,” she said. None of that in Tahrir Square, she told me, or elsewhere in the city these days. Dignity is transformative. So is the discovery of an Egyptian identity cutting across class and religious lines.

It’s easy to romanticize. This heady moment cannot last forever. Poverty and illiteracy will not vanish in a burst of goodwill. But Egypt strikes me as a good bet for a viable democracy for several reasons. Unlike Iraq, it is a unified nation state — the world’s oldest — with no big ethnic fault lines. Transformation is being born from the bottom up, unlike in Iraq, where it was imposed. There is a large educated and professional class, proud of Egypt’s heritage, shamed by what it has become under Mubarak, determined to bring the nation into the modern world.

As for the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been adapting fast to the give-and-take of this uprising, it has long been the only source of opposition, sustained just enough to make it a credible specter in Mubarak’s propaganda arsenal. If you were religious, or if you hated the regime, that’s where you went. Now, if other credible opposition parties are allowed to form, they will compete for that vote.

There have been lots of scenes in the square of Brotherhood supporters embracing the unveiled women hurling rocks at Mubarak’s goons. A kind of osmosis — fashioned in shed blood — has brought together secular and religious Egyptians. Hany el-Hosseiny, a science professor at Cairo University, told me he’s been talking to a senior Brotherhood figure who expressed the conviction that Western democracy was sufficient for the society he seeks. That remains to be seen. What is clear here is that the cyclone of Islamism born in Iran in 1979 feels like ancient history to the people of Tahrir.

The investment banker is busy organizing with three businessmen friends, burning CDs of Wael Ghonim to distribute around the country, refining the message, getting it out by any means.

He writes me: “Many people are doing this anonymously — like feeding into the zeitgeist of the group consciousness. Why? Because it’s about the outcome and the actions — not the people. It’s like this group consciousness (will) has been formed and everyone in their own little or big way is finding their way to contribute, leading to huge things.”

The West is tired and the Arab world is awakening. The West must not be so tired as to fail to see — and back — this “huge thing.”

You can follow Roger Cohen on Twitter at twitter.com/nytimescohen.

 

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