02.11.11

Schiff Introduces Resolution Expressing Solidarity with the People of Egypt As they Begin their Democratic Transition

Washington, DC – Today, after President Mubarak stepped down, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced a House Resolution expressing solidarity with the people of Egypt as they begin their democratic transition.  Rep. Schiff released the following statement, and the resolution is attached:

“It is impossible to watch the images coming from Egypt of huge numbers of ordinary Egyptians – young and old, secular and religious, men and women, rich and poor – and not be deeply moved by their struggle to bring democracy and human rights to one of the world’s great civilizations.

“Ultimately, the Egyptian people control their political destiny, but the stakes are high for the United States as well. If Egypt succeeds in building a functioning, credible democracy in the heart of the Arab world, it could lead to a new era for hundreds of millions of people. However, if Egypt’s young, educated and underemployed protestors fail in their bid to replace the current regime with one that is democratic and accountable to the people, it could further destabilize and radicalize the Middle East.

“We need to do everything that we can to support the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people in this pivotal hour.  We have a moral obligation to support Egypt’s broad-based, organic democratic revolution. This resolution will make it clear to the Egyptian people that the United States House of Representatives stands with them now and shares their hopes for a freer, more prosperous Egypt.”

Rep. Schiff serves on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the Nation’s intelligence activities, as well as the State Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee, which plays a central role in the formation and execution of U.S. foreign policy.
 

RESOLUTION

Expressing solidarity with the people of Egypt in their democratic aspirations as they begin a new chapter in their country’s proud history.

Whereas on January 14, 2011, after weeks of demonstrations over rising food costs and high unemployment, the people of Tunisia drove out President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power;

Whereas the lack of a political opposition and an independent media in Tunisia had resulted in a lack of governmental accountability and fostered the growth of corruption, cronyism, and unresponsiveness to the needs of Tunisia’s young and increasingly well-educated population;

Whereas similar conditions exist throughout much of the Arab Middle East resulting in high youth unemployment, poor economic performance, and brutal treatment of ordinary citizens by their security services; Whereas the revolution in Tunisia was facilitated by the use of social media internally and its ideals and images were transmitted around the world on the Internet and television;

Whereas on the evening of January 25, 2011, President Barack Obama told the Nation in his State of the Union address that ‘‘the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.’’;

Whereas young Egyptian democracy activists, inspired by the events in Tunisia and harboring the same fervent desire for democracy, opportunity, and an end to corruption in their own country, used social media to organize a ‘‘Day of Rage’’ on January 25, 2011;

Whereas the size of the demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and elsewhere were the largest seen in Egypt in decades and continued to grow in the ensuing days despite the widespread use of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, clubs by security services, and hundreds of deaths and many thousands wounded;

Whereas the Egyptian security services ‘‘shut down’’ mobile phone and Internet service in a futile attempt to prevent organizers from arranging further protests;

Whereas on January 28, 2011, after 24 protestors were killed and more than 1,000 wounded by the police and progovernment thugs in 1 day, the Egyptian army took up positions in the streets of Cairo;

Whereas the Egyptian army pledged not to fire on protestors and called their grievances ‘‘legitimate’’;

Whereas on February 1, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak announced that he would not seek another term and would resign from the presidency following the election for his successor in September and that his newly-appointed Vice President, Omar Suleiman, would open a dialogue with the full range of those in opposition to his regime;

Whereas on February 5, 2011, and February 6, 2011, the demonstrators met with Vice President Suleiman and Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to discuss a political transition and to reiterate their central demand that President Mubarak step down in order to begin the process of building a new Egypt and to ensure an electoral process free from manipulation;

Whereas on February 6, 2011, President Barack Obama stated that ‘‘the Egyptian people want freedom, they want free and fair elections, they want a representative government, they want a responsive government’’;

Whereas Egyptian workers demonstrated their solidarity with the protestors on February 8, 2011, when they began strikes across Egypt;

Whereas in a speech on February 10, 2011, that was widely expected to be his resignation, President Mubarak told Egyptians that he would remain in office, while delegating some of his powers to Vice President Suleiman and beginning a process of national dialogue and reform;

Whereas the people of Egypt did not believe that the transition to a new government could begin as long as President Mubarak remained in office and vowed to continue their demonstrations;

Whereas President Barack Obama issued a statement saying that after President Mubarak’s February 10, 2011, speech, ‘‘too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy.’’; and

Whereas President Mubarak resigned as President of Egypt on February 11, 2011, and relinquished control to the Egyptian army: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) stands in solidarity with the people of Egypt in their democratic aspirations and as they begin a new chapter in their country’s proud history;

(2) condemns the use of violence against unarmed protestors by the Egyptian security services and hired gangs of thugs, urges the release of any peaceful protestors who remain in custody, and calls for an end to the imposition of emergency or martial law;

(3) deplores the targeted beatings and arrests of Egyptian and international journalists, as well as human rights and democracy advocates;

(4) expresses its gratitude to the Egyptian army for their restraint and for remembering that their mission is to safeguard the people of Egypt; and

(5) calls upon the Government of Egypt and the political opposition to work together to transition Egypt to a credible democracy with respect for universal rights, including minority rights, and a new era for the Egyptian people.