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Protests in Egypt come down to a demand for dignity

Protesters in Egypt demand they be treated with dignity -- given a real voice in a real democracy. Mubarak's plans to stay in power until elections months from now is an insult to the Egyptian people, as is today's return to state-sponsored violence. Mubarak must resign immediately.

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Anti-Mubarak protesters in Egypt voice their demands in various ways, and one of them is a cry for dignity. They want their leaders to treat them with respect. They want a say, and more than that, they want to be able to participate in their own future.

It’s a sentiment common to revolutions past, from Ukraine, to Germany, to South Africa, to the Philippines, where demonstrators demanded “people power.” What dignity requires is real democracy, not the window dressing type that so many autocrats try.

For Egyptians to be treated with dignity means that Hosni Mubarak must step aside immediately and leave behind a caretaker government acceptable to opposition leaders such as Mohamed ElBaradei, who has a broad opposition coalition behind him.

The Obama administration, too, must go beyond condemning violence and requesting change “now,” to publicly calling for President Mubarak’s immediate resignation.

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