Tuesday, April 08, 2008

zimbabwe and egypt

On the day of Egypt's municipal elections, the excellent Development blog Hii Dunia raises some interesting questions about the West's current preoccupation with Zimbabwe. In Egypt the increasingly authoritarian Hosni Mumarek has all but prevented any significant opposition from standing against him (the Muslim Brotherhood has reported that 800 members have been arrested and thousands more intimidated and harassed in an organised crackdown in recent weeks to prevent them registering as candidates). Yet the West, which only a few years ago was obsessed with intervention in the Middle East, stands back and watches, terrified to upset the status quo.

As Hii Dunia puts it:

"It is important that the maximum amount of sustained yet transparent pressure be put on those involved in the Zimbabwe election to ensure a fair result, but the world must work much harder in ensuring that this same pressure towards good governance be applied to all states, fully democratic, emerging democratic, developed, developing or otherwise as a vital platform from which the lives of their respective peoples can be made better."
That's not to say the two situations are matched in their respective severity - but if the international community is able to exert enough pressure on Mugabe to force him from an office he has no mandate to hold, it must use that as a springboard to developing a more consistent, ethical policy towards the larger world.

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