LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Let's celebrate Egypt!

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What happened in Egypt since Jan. 5 is absolutely incredible. It counters just about everything we Americans believe about the Arab World!

The peaceful overthrow of a 30-year-old oppressive dictatorship should be cause for celebration on its own.

The fact this is happening in the Middle East and the protesters are demanding a democracy much like our own -- should be cause for exceptional celebration in the West. In many ways, the Egyptians are doing exactly what our forefathers did 235 years ago! We should be dancing in the streets right along with the Egyptians.

Instead, I hear fear that Muslim brotherhood might take over -- that the extremists will use this opportunity to launch further attacks on the U.S. and Israel, etc. It truly dismays me to hear talk-show hosts and politicians suggest the Egyptian protesters hate Americans and want to kill us.

There are commentators and opponents who suggest the Obama administration should have known this was coming instead of being surprised by it. They suggest that somehow the U.S. should have or does have something to say about the future of Egypt. I'm sorry, but except for supporting the will of the Egyptian people we have no right attempting to influence the future of Egypt.

For the past 30 years, I would like to have seen this and previous administrations support the rights of the Egyptian citizens to express themselves and to have a say in their government. Instead we supported a dictator -- we support and have supported a number of dictators around the world.

We apparently support Israel's refusal to make peace with the Palestinians -- Israel is still the biggest recipient of U.S. aid. We cite what we call "valid" reasons for our actions -- maintaining a "stable" Middle East and protecting Israel. What about the rights of 85 million Egyptian citizens?

We are fighting two wars -- one was to overthrow a dictator and supposedly bring democracy to a nation. The result is the loss of thousands of American lives; tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan lives; taking our country into debt by hundreds of billions of dollars and with little promise of either peace or democracy in either country.

This should be a lesson that real power is in the hands of the common man. I hope we've learned a lesson and change our policies. Let's celebrate Egypt!

Lanny Ptacek
Walla Walla

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