The Lessons of Egypt

Egypt is literally thousands of miles from the Bronx and it is so different historically and culturally that you would think that the events recently taking place there have little to do with what’s happening here.  Yet if you take a closer look, you see that the issues behind what is taking place come pretty close to the issues that are buzzing here in the Bronx right now.

The issues fueling the fires in Egypt are power and decision-making.  More to the point, the issues are who is in power and whose interests do they represent?  I don’t know whether or not Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi, truly represented the people of Egypt, but by all accounts, he was democratically elected, and his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, does have a very strong base among the Egyptian people.  There is also no doubt that there was throughout Egypt considerable dissatisfaction with President Morsi and his policies.  So the question is when Egypt’s military, citing that dissatisfaction while ignoring the President’s democratic election and his support, declared its rebellion and ousted him from office, was the military truly representing the people?

The deadly crackdown against those not willing to accept the military’s coup, the military’s quick naming of former dictator Mubarek politicians and its disregard for the rule of law all seem to indicate that this most recent coup was not about the best interest of the people of Egypt, but about preserving the power and privileged status of the military and of those permanent government officials who will do its bidding.

The people of the Bronx are for the most part in the same position.  They have very few elected officials that are representing or working in their interest.  Most Bronx elected officials are part of the permanent government who are more interested in lining their pockets with cash, creating family dynasties, ego tripping and/or keeping themselves in power by rewarding supporters with favors and grants usually at the expense of community needs.  Political corruption and lack of respect for the communities of the Bronx is so great that many people, especially our young people, have become apathetic about local politics or politicians making it even easier for those who care least about the community to stay in power.

The upcoming elections: the September primaries (and possible mayoral runoff ) and the general election in November, provide an opportunity to say no to political business as usual in the Bronx.  It’s our time to say no to lack of respect for our communities and to political corruption and graft.  It’s an opportunity to put an end to the families who think that their political position can be passed down father to son or mother to daughter.

Let’s show that we have learned the lessons of Egypt.  We know who is corrupt and who is not representing our best interests.  We know who and which families have been in office too long. We know that we need, and want a Bronx better than it is today.  Our democratic revolution started with the election of Bronx Supreme court judge Fernando Tapia on both of his campaigns for judge and continued with last year’s prophetic run by Maxi Rivera in the South Bronx.  Let’s build and move it this year.