Tyrants Are Not Our Friends
Last month, an upset apple cart led to political revolution.
On December 17, Tunisian government agents tried to confiscate Mohamed Bouazizi’s livelihood. When he refused to hand over his produce, he was slapped by a female inspector and then beaten by two of her colleagues, who took his scale. When he went to the municipal building to get his property back, he was beaten again.
Later that day in the public square, Bouazizi doused himself with lighter fluid and set himself on fire. He died weeks later, but not before demonstrations erupted in his home town and spread throughout Tunisia.
Tunisians had long labored under the repressive dictatorship of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who repressed both political speech and commerce. No longer. He’s been ousted.
So do our leaders celebrate with the Tunisian people? No. The New York Times reports that Ben Ali was “an important ally of the United States.” He’s now in exile in Saudi Arabia, another dictatorship allied with the United States.
Protest has spread further, most notably to Egypt, yet another repressive government supported by America’s State Department . . . and taxpayers.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassures us that, “the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.”
That response? To imprison and torture bloggers and opposition political leaders.
Our most effective aid to Africa would be to stop subsidizing repressive regimes and pretending that slavery is freedom.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.