“suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away”

Ryan Witt (Examiner): On June 9th 2009 President Obama gave a speech in Cairo calling for, among other things, democratic reforms in the Arab world … no one at the time dreamed that 18 months later the people of Egypt would be demonstrating in the streets of Cairo to demand the end of an autocratic regime.

Below one can see the relevant portion of President Obama’s Cairo speech, which can be read in an entirely different light given the events of the last week. In many ways the Egyptian people seemed to have answered President Obama’s call.

… I have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

…this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away … we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.

….no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”

The Cairo Speech (October 2009):

Check BWD’s The Only Adult In The Room, she has a link to a video of Lawrence O’Donnell & Brian Williams discussing this connection: here

The BBC and Salon have useful ‘Questions and Answers’ features on Egypt – worth a look

26 Responses to ““suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away””

  1. 1 Tally
    February 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

    This is all I’ve been thinking about since this started to go down, but thought, “if I say anything, everyone will just call me a fangurl™”.

    I feel vindicated now that someone has put it into print.

    THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE. Not with bombs, or invasions, but IDEAS. Brilliant ones, spoken with truth, and sincerity.

    So, to all of Obama’s critics on both sides of the aisle: WATCH AND LEARN. Maybe you too can one day grow up to be a Jedi Master of Hope & Change.

    Now please have this nice sippy cup of STFU.

    • February 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Hey Tally,

      BWD has a link to Lawrence O’Donnell & Brian Williams discussing this connection:


      So you are not alone!!

      • 3 Dorothy Rissman
        February 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

        We were discussing this at BWD’s site. A lot of us love the relationship of the President’s speech and what is now happening in Egypt, but damn, Richard Engles and Brian Jennings just have to punch the President in their reporting about Egypt. They suggest that PBO helped create the protesting in Egypt with his rousing speech, but now the President is not realllly supporting the people.

        Do these idiot have no subtly at all. Everything has to be either you are with us, or you are against us.
        I am seething.

        • February 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

          Hi Dorothy. That struck me too, there has been so much idiotic reporting on this situation, these people are utterly clueless about how delicate and dangerous it is. Would they prefer a Bush-like approach? Like, I dunno, bombing Egypt? Needless to say, President Obama can’t win. Can you imagine the MSM’s reaction if he waded in with jack boots, resulting in the Muslim Brotherhood taking over? Ha, yeah, they’d love that! I trust the President implicitly in his handling of this situation, the world is blessed that he – and not a Gung-ho Republican – is in power at this time.

          • 5 Dorothy Rissman
            February 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm

            Thanks Chipsticks.

            Just saw this on Andrew Sullivan-

            Reuters reports that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will make a televised address tonight. Citing a report from Al Arabiya, the Arab satellite channel, the news agency says that Mr. Mubarak plans to announce that he will not run in the presidential election scheduled for later this year. The Times has not yet been able to confirm this report but we will bring you more when we have it.

            Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy tweets:

            Mubarak said to address nation to say not seeking another term – the BenAli template and Tunisians still kicked him out.

            • 6 Theo67
              February 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm

              I think that the President is probably negotiating for a country to take Mr. Mubarak and offer him asylum, so some of these things are probably in the conditions. I have no facts to support my thinking, just thinking out loud.

              • 7 Dorothy Rissman
                February 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

                Well Theo, it certainly makes sense. My goodness, this event is tragic, but at the same time, it is thrilling. So far my favorite part is that very few citizens have been injured.

    • 8 EDP4BHO
      February 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      I’m there with you. I entered this a few days ago:

      “I was going to write something lengthy but couldn’t form my thoughts, so I will just suggest that they want an “Obama”. Strange that these countries endured their autocracies until now, isn’t it? I don’t think I am being presumptuous, and countries have had their uprisings, but just seems coincidental to have about three going on at the same time in that region….Tunisia, the Sudan, and now Egypt.”

      Oh, and can we just imagine the nut jobs blaming the president for this bit of irony?

      • 9 Theo67
        February 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

        And the Chinese are desperately limiting news and discussion on this topic.

        • 10 majii
          February 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

          I read that in Israel Netanyahu has also forbidden anyone in the government to speak on the subject of what is going on in Egypt. I think this is a very smart move on the part of Netanyahu because it avoids having misconceptions develop that could damage Israel’s relationship with Egypt. I read about the limited access that the Chinese have to what is going on in Egypt. I also read that some are finding ways around the government’s efforts to suppress the information. This is why I love young people! Some of them will find a way to access information and share it with the others!

  2. 11 Fred
    February 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

    The President will be proven years from now if those who bashes him on a daily basis can be honest with themselves to be a visionary 😀

    we saw it Iran last year (I bet there will be another uprising pretty soon) and now Tunisia and Egypt.

  3. 13 FireUpInCA
    February 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

    And on it goes:

    “Jordan’s King Dismisses Cabinet
    Published: February 1, 2011

    AMMAN, Jordan — King Abdullah II of Jordan fired his government in a surprise move on Tuesday, in the face of a wave of demands of public accountability sweeping the Arab world and bringing throngs of demonstrators to the streets of Egypt.

    The Jordanian news agency Petra announced that after recent protests in Jordan itself, the king had dismissed Prime Minister Samir Rifai and replaced him with Marouf al-Bakhit, a former general and ambassador to Israel and Turkey. He is widely viewed as clean of corruption.

    The official announcement said Mr. Bakhit would have the task of “taking practical, swift and tangible steps to start a real political reform process, in line with the king’s version of comprehensive reform, modernization and development.” It added that the king asked Mr. Bakhit and the new cabinet to “bolster democracy” and proceed “with nation building that opens the scope for broad accomplishment to all dear sons or our country and secure them the safe and dignified life they deserve.”

    Jordan is a highly literate and largely stable country, with well-developed security and intelligence operations. But it has a fundamental vulnerability in the large number of Palestinians here. Refugees arrived in large numbers from the West Bank and Jerusalem after the war in 1967, and more arrived from Kuwait after President Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded in 1991. They and their descendants make up more than half the country’s population of six million.

    Recent demonstrations in Jordan were the first serious challenge to the decade-old rule of King Abdullah, a crucial American ally in the region who is contending with his country’s worst economic crisis in years.

    Last Friday, thousands took to the streets in the capital, Amman, as well as several other cities shouting, “We want change.”


    “We want change.” Sounds familiar, so I can relate.

      • 15 Dorothy Rissman
        February 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm

        Another reason from Andrew Sullivan as to why Egypt is so politically difficult.

        Based on a startling 2008 Gallup poll that found a whopping 64 percent of Egyptians in favor of making Sharia law into the exclusive source of their legal code, one can certainly understand concerns about the potential radicalization of the most populous Arab country.

        Murbarka gone, Sharia in? What a choice for the people. Women in particular.

  4. February 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Boo-ya..!! 🙂

    RT @Silbendrechsler: Al Jazeera Live-Stream from #Egypt: http://bit.ly/g1sJTg #jan25

  5. 17 Lovepolitics2008
    February 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    That speech in Cairo was just… magnificent. An extraordiary blend of honesty, realism, wisdom AND idealism. I just can’t begin to imagine how much patience, resilience and faith President Obama must have, to accept the long and tortuous journey he’s travelling while he tries his best towards “closing the gap” between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

    • 20 Theo67
      February 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      Your sippy cup is really busy today. You might need them to graduate to a liter bottle! 🙂

      • 21 tally
        February 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

        But cry babies can’t handle adult-sized beverage containers.


        • 22 Sue in Minnesota
          February 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm

          I love your wit Tally. I truly believe wit is indicative of great intellect.

          • 23 tally
            February 1, 2011 at 5:08 pm

            Thanks Sue!


            Actually, that wit was forced upon me. You don’t get through seven years working at Disneyland, then another 5 doing tech support for kid’s software without it. People who have none end up arming themselves and joining the CryBabyParty™. (See the ex-half-governor of AK.)


  6. 24 barb
    February 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    President Obama is a man who doesn’t see what IS but what can BE. That is why so many can’t understand him. He is light years ahead of them. I belief that his multicultural upbring and having been exposed to the compassion of his mother and openness to all human’s without prejudice and actually living with people of different beliefs as a child had a great impact on who he is today. He gets his smile and sense of humor from his grandfather and pragmatism from his grandmother.
    He has the intelligence to synthesize all those factors. We are so blessed to have him. He is planting mustardseeds all over the world.

    • 25 tally
      February 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      YES. Exactly! Well said.

    • 26 VC prezOfan2
      February 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      Barb, I would tweak your first sentence a little and say the President doesn’t ‘sweat’ what is, he strives for what CAB BE. IMO he has to see the problems/inequalities(what IS) in order to offer a better solution (what can BE). I give him unlimited kudos for moving forward calmly when others are rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off. By the time they all catch up to him with their measly acknowledgment of the wisdom of his decisions, he’s dealing with another crisis. An impressive feature of his government, to me, is that he seems to have exerted a calming influence on all the top players in his administration whom we see in the press. A case in point, IMO SOS Clinton has never looked so confident and calmly resolute in her opinions as she has since taking her place in the Obama admin. We are indeed blessed to have him in control in times like these!

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