Obama’s Embracing Al-Sisi and Endorsing Human Rights Violations
by Dr. Hatem Bazian
Oct 03, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Dr. Hatem Bazian
Oct 03, 2014 12:00 am
Waldorf Astoria in New York has been the seen for many conferences, parties, weddings and memorable film shots, however, September 25th, 2014 at the hotel will be remembered for President Obama's administration public embrace of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the newly "elected" president of Egypt. The United Nations' General Assembly 69th session in New York served as a perfect foil for President Obama and key US leaders to begin the public and diplomatic cuddle of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and affirming the long-standing relationship and vital American and I would say Israeli interests in Egypt.
While meetings with US and world leaders' were important; however just as critical has been a media strategy situating al-Sisi as the bulwark in the region for the fight against ISIS and terrorism in general. Published as "a first interview with a foreign media," the Associated Press had a long interview with al-Sisi published on September 21st, 2014, days before the UN General Assembly session and intended to preempt any possible negative coverage during the visit.
In retrospect, the US and European campaign to embrace al-Sisi has been underway for quite sometime and can be dated to the pre Coup period and for sure afterward. Immediately after the military Coup, American and European leaders and diplomats while expressing rhetorical support for democracy, nevertheless moved swiftly to engage al-Sisi, the Coup plotters and the generals.
A concerted walkout should have been the response at the UN General Assembly when al-Sisi strode triumphantly to the podium to address the world while blood dripping from his hands and thousands of prisoners anguish in darkened dungeons. What we expected is unequivocal calls for the release of president Morsi, freeing all political prisoners, clear and unambiguous press freedom, open democratic process and more critically removing the military from any role in politics and economy.
American and European leaders' have made double standards and hypocritical foreign policy a customary practice and embracing al-Sisi into the war crimes, torture, prison and military industrial complexes, and not to forget drones country club is a norm rather than an exception. The next time a US and European delegation comes to the Middle East lecturing about democracy, human rights and "civilized" norms a picture of al-Sisi with President Obama should be presented in response. Universal human rights, freedom and dignity are not the exclusive dominion of one group or region; rather a global standard should apply to all regardless of immediate political expediency. Egyptian blood is worthy of attention, value and concern: a profound stain is on all who celebrated al-Sisi's image crafting tour in the US and UN but least we forget he is welcomed among friends, equals and partners!