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SOS from an Egyptian blogger

The author's real name is being withheld because Egypt's government has recently jailed Egyptian bloggers whose opinions differ from its policies. His writings can be found at www.sandmonkey.org.

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As I write this, I am watching Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak give his speech at the World Economic Forum, being held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The usually pro-US Mubarak has just delivered what can only be described as a fiery anti-US speech, criticizing the American push for democratic reforms in Egypt. He informed the world that he was confident his government was "on the right path" when it comes to democratic reforms, but he cautioned that changes should be gradual to avoid "chaos and setbacks."

This guy gets funnier every single year he stays in power, I swear.

Mr. Mubarak has every right to be angry. During the month of May alone the US State Department has criticized Egypt three times for its treatment of protesters. The Egyptian police have broken up several peaceful demonstrations, held in support of two pro-reform judges who questioned the legitimacy of Egypt's 2005 parliamentary elections. Protesters were brutally beaten, and then thrown in jail for an indefinite period of time for shouting slogans that "defame the government" and "insult the president in public."

How dare they peacefully protest and exercise their freedom of speech in such an irresponsible way? And how dare Washington criticize Mubarak for his response? As Mubarak would say, this is clearly a security issue, and one that needs to be handled firmly. After all, those protesters are no better than "street thugs," who "terrorize" Egypt's streets and need to be dealt with immediately, as Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said in a recent press conference.

Peaceful protests = thuggery and terrorism. Got that, Egyptian protesters?

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