The courage of the Egyptian protesters – even in the face of extreme police brutality – is obviously a large part of why the Egyptians succeeded in kicking Mubarak out of office.
Indeed, I think that the Egyptians adopted the tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., to great effect. They were peaceful in the face of murder and brutality by Mubarak’s thugs, which discredited Mubarak in the eyes of the world.
Had the protesters fought back, the regime would have successfully used that as an excuse to crack down and brutally break up the protest movement. The world would have just averted its eyes, and all would have been lost.
As I wrote last week:
This is just like when the British police attacked the non-violent protesters led by Gandhi, or the police in towns in the South of the United States attacked the peaceful protesters led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
But it is important to acknowledge that Mubarak didn’t actually agree to leave until the Egyptian people started striking.
Before the strikes, Mubarak said he would not run for reelection in September, but would hang on until then.
Egyptians started a nationwide strike only two days ago … 48 hours later, Mubarak is gone.
While the regime and the military paid lip service to “hearing” the protesters and agreeing to meet their demands, it wasn’t until the people started hurting the powers-that-be in their wallets – through strikes – that anything actually changed.
This shows that protests are not enough anymore. Not in Egypt … not in the West.
People throughout the world living in tyrannical conditions need to engage in strikes and other active (but peaceful) forms of civil disobedience which hit the tyrants and their supporters in their pocketbook before we can take our countries back.
As Karl Denninger writes today:
All persons in all nations should be aware of the fundamental fact that their government, no matter how oppressive, no matter how ugly, no matter how allegedly-free or representative (or not) exists only because you rise from your bed each day and go to work.
The day you stop, along with a sizable fraction of your neighbors and friends, and instead wave signs and demand change, thereby shutting down the engine of commerce is the day you remove through peaceful and lawful means the fuel that the government requires to operate.
Our “protests” in Washington and elsewhere fail to provide results because the “or else” has not been provided along with the protest. We come, we wave signs, and the next day we go home and go to work. If instead any sizable fraction of the population … were to appear, wave signs, and go on strike until and unless the change demanded was made… [then we would win.]
And see George Orwell’s insights into violent revolution and technology.