[Sayma-Discuss] FW: AFSC statement on Promoting Peace and Democracy in Egypt

Free Polazzo freepolazzo at comcast.net
Fri Feb 4 15:21:07 JEST 2011

In case you haven't received this yet.   Free 

I, along with Charles Schade are attending the AFSC Corporation Meeting in
Philadelphia in March as your representatives.   Please write to myself or
Charles if you want us to carry any concerns/praise/messages to the powers
that be at the AFSC.




Dear Corporation and Board Members,

As of this morning the AFSC web site has posted a new statement on Promoting
Peace and Democracy in Egypt.  Our staff in the Middle East continue to
monitor the situation and have been very helpful in working with those of us
in the US to have a fuller understanding of these rapidly  unfolding events.
Please share the link with anyone you feel would be interested.


I have also pasted in the text of the statement below.

Please continue to hold in the Light the people of the Egypt and all of
those caught up in the recent wave of demonstrations.

Yours in peace and service,


Shan Cretin
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Promoting Peace and Democracy in Egypt

Throughout its history, the American Friends Service Committee has supported
people experiencing oppression as they struggle nonviolently to realize
their basic rights and to transform unjust social and political systems.  As
popular efforts to achieve democratic change advance in Egypt, we are
compelled to lift our voice in support of human rights and nonviolence.  We
speak from our Quaker values and our experience working in the Middle East
and worldwide.

In our work with community groups and youth in the Middle East we have
observed an intense desire for political change.  We see this desire
reflected in the current demands being made by Egyptian protestors, often
led by youth, for the establishment of a genuinely participatory democratic
system.  These young protestors are saying "enough" to a ruling elite whose
grip on power has been maintained through political repression and severe
civil and human rights abuses, including torture.  The Egyptian government
should listen to its citizens and institute immediate political reforms.

These young protestors have shown a remarkable commitment to exercising
nonviolent discipline, distributing leaflets that call on demonstrators to
avoid confrontations with government forces, working to stop looting and
community violence, and organizing assistance for those injured.

We are appalled by recent deliberate attacks against demonstrators in Tahrir
Square and elsewhere. The government of Egypt is failing in its duty to
protect the demonstrators. Worse still, reports from international media,
human rights groups, and US government spokespeople indicate that Egyptian
government forces are involved in perpetrating attacks against the
demonstrators. We reject all forms of violence and call upon all parties to
renounce violence and to protect the rights of people to peacefully protest
and express their opinions.

As we focus on Egypt, we must also keep in mind the interconnectedness
between events in Egypt and events in the rest of the region and the wider
world.  For example, the AFSC staff in the region is acutely aware of the
political and humanitarian effects on our program partners in Gaza.  Gaza
residents have increasingly come to rely on Egypt for access to goods and
services as a result of the international community's continuing political
isolation of the Hamas-led authority and the Israeli siege on the Gaza
Strip.  The recent closure of the Egypt-Gaza border is exacerbating the
hardships already faced by people in Gaza, cutting off their access to
family and health services and driving up prices for many basic commodities.

Given the history of US support for the Egyptian government, the US
government bears some responsibility for the current situation.  AFSC
therefore calls on the US government to:

 *   Make every effort to persuade the Egyptian government to end violence,
and to begin without delay a transition to participatory democracy.
 *   Respect the will of the Egyptian people as they call for change, and,
if a change in government occurs, to remain in dialogue with whomever the
people of Egypt choose as their representatives.
 *   Change its foreign policy so that future US actions are aligned with
and support aspirations for democracy and justice. The US government can
take a step in the right direction by ending the practice of military aid.

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