After decades of existing under a dictatorship regime, Egyptian people are standing up and demanding change. Demonstrations have spread around the entire country since Tuesday, Jan. 25, when people first began going to Liberty Square in downtown Cairo. Egyptian communities around the world, in major cities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and other European countries, as well as Arab nations such as Jordan, have shown support. Around the world, people are encouraging the Egyptian people to stand up for their rights of freedom and justice under a democratic system, with a new constitution.

The Egyptian government has shut down the Internet and cut off the communications and telephones in the entire country. No one can communicate; the country is isolated from the rest of the world. And sadly, the Egyptian authority banned Aljazeera from broadcasting and has withdrawn it from the Nilesat satellite; it has cut off its broadcasting signals and revoked its license.

The Egyptian people are no longer accepting the status quo under Emergency Law. They want a new government with absolute reforms. They are no longer silent and accepting. They have lost their fear.
"The Egyptian people are no longer accepting the status quo under Emergency Law."
Despite the stories, reports and analyses that have been written about the Egyptians' uprising, the main point is still absent or not covered well. For decades, the U.S. government aided Egypt annually with more than $1.3 billion for military and training purposes; however, no actual reform has been done. More than half of Egypt's population lives on less than $2 daily, which, according to the United Nations, is under the poverty line. While this annual military support makes Egypt a power in the region, at the same time, people in Egypt can hardly find a job, and more than 30 percent are unemployed.

U.S. citizens should question their government about the huge amount of money ($30 billion over 30 years, according to State Department figures) that has been spent over the years supporting a regime with no achievements to benefit its citizens.

The response of the U.S. government toward the present Egyptian situation has been misleading and conflicting.

When the demonstrations began in Egypt, Vice President Joe Biden declared that the Egyptian President is "not a dictator," neglecting the fact that Mubarak has been in power since 1981. In 1981, Mubarak installed the "Emergency Law," which means that the people are not allowed to do anything without permission from the government. The government can arrest anybody without any trial.

However, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that people in Egypt have a right to demonstrate, and that the government should do the reform now!

In response to the Iranian election of last year, the Obama Administration demanded from the Iranian government, and from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself, for more transparency, and a recount of the voting and election process. There is no call for Mubarak himself as a president to reform, only a call for his government to reform. As the senior U.S. officials said, "The United States is being very careful not to be too tough on the Egyptian leader directly."
"The response of the U.S. government toward the present Egyptian situation has been misleading and conflicting."
The only political party in Egypt is the National Democratic Party. Last November, the party had won the parliament with more than 95 percent of the vote. People in Egypt knew this election was a fraud. And this fraud of "democracy" has happened since Mubarak took power after the assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Mubarak signed the Emergency Law in 1981, and it has been effective until now.

For three decades, Egyptian President Mubarak has led the country without any actual poverty reform. Mubarak has maintained his friendship with the United States and other Arab leaders in the region, but he has neglected his peoples' needs and therefore has lost his people's respect. As a result, people in Egypt erupted, exploded and became angered about their president and his political regime.

The Egyptian demonstrations are similar to recent events in Tunisia in that they are led by the people, especially the youth, whose dignity has been destroyed and who have suffered for years. They cannot wait for reform and pledges anymore. They have been waiting for a long time, but nothing has happened, except corruption.

The young have one thing in common: they don't want their president. They want an actual election process with a new constitution cutting off the Emergency Law that has held the country hostage for 30 years.

Anas Alahmed can be reached at aalahmed@umail.iu.edu.