"At a minimum, you deserve religious freedom. " Amber Pawlik

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Congratulations, Egyptians, on ousting a Dictatorial Leader. Now Set up a Free Government. A Republic, not a Democracy

Congratulations, Egyptians, on ousting a dictatorial leader. Now that you've had this success in tearing down tyranny, it is time to build liberty. This means declaring that each of you, as citizens, have rights. The first and foremost right to demand is the right to religious freedom.

Western leaders and media keep calling for you to have "democracy." They say they want Egypt to decide its own fate, without any influence from others. They treat the entire country of Egypt as if it is their neighbor across the street. One wouldn't tell their neighbor how to live, so they also wouldn't tell all of Egypt how to set up a government. The thinking in this is extremely flawed.  

It is fitting that 150 years ago this week, the Battle of Gettysburg in the U.S. Civil War was won. In the Civil War, the Confederates in the south wanted to secede from the Union in order to "decide their own fate." The problem is the "will of the people" in the south was to enslave part of their population. Had the south been granted "democracy," no doubt the majority of people would have voted to enslave a minority. This is the inherent problem with democracy.

If you favor freedom—I am speaking to you, Western leaders, media, Republicans, everyone who claims they want freedom—then recognize that freedom means a constitutionally-bound government.

Dear Egyptians: you deserve freedom. At a minimum, each and every one of you deserves the right to religious freedom. Unlike under the former Muslim Brotherhood, each individual should be able to choose what religion they want to be. Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists, and any others should not be turned into criminals. To any Westerner who advocates for democracy in Egypt, instead of rights, if an Islamic government is voted in and persecutes religious minorities, their blood is on your hands.

But the prominent Western leader, Barack Obama, originally helped put the Muslim Brotherhood government in place. It is clear what his favored form of government is. Egyptians, if you want freedom, it has to come from you.

Although I am one of many who previously supported military interventionism to bring freedom to other countries, I have come to see that this is a terrible idea. If a country is to have freedom, they have to want it. Why? Because freedom isn't free. Most free countries started after a revolution, kicking tyrants out, and then afterwards put into place a strong, stable government, grounded in a deep knowledge of what rights are, that preserved freedom. This is a tall order, especially for a place like Egypt. If there is to be freedom of speech, any time someone speaks out against Islam—say by drawing a cartoon of Mohammed—the government needs to protect this person's rights. It requires strong men, with guns, who are on the good and moral side to fight any bad men. If no such men exist, freedom will not prevail.

So, Egyptians, it is now up to you. Do you want to decide your fate based on what the collective says or what you as an individual want?

Amber Pawlik
July 4, 2013

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