A picture is worth a thousand words it is said and these three still pictures of the recent demonstrations in Egypt say plenty. They are emblematic of all that is broken in our part of the world: The insolence and brutality of those in power, the absence of freedom of speech, the absence of freedom of assembly and the absence of the rule of law.
Above all, the photographs show the utter contempt with which rulers deal with their citizenry. To the rulers, citizens are pawns, not breathing, living individuals but a protoplasmic mass that can be trimmed, cut, disposed off and sacrificed at the convenience of the rulers. Apologists for these regimes claim that we Middle Easterners are like unruly children in need of paternalistic authoritarian regimes. Trouble is, implicit in a paternalistic relationship is the presence of a certain affinity between the ruler father figure and the ruled. No such affinity exists. This is more akin to an abusive family relationship where the child is slapped even before they open their mouth.
As offensive as these images are, they represent the tip of the iceberg. If this is what the regime, without a hint of shame or embarrassment, is willing to do to its people in public, just imagine what happens when the cameras are not present. I am not singling out Egypt; at least in Cairo, there were enough journalists to actually capture the images. No such demonstration would be allowed to even start in Syria, except of course, if the intention is to burn down a foreign embassy.
These images not only offend me but they also anger me and trigger a schizophrenic personality shift in me from a cautious believer in gradual change from within to one who wants to see someone, ANYONE, come in guns blazing to get the bums out. But then I see Iraq.