Mowahid Shah Looks at Egypt and Beyond
By Delinda C. Hanley
As President Hosni Mubarak fled Cairo, American University Prof. Akbar Ahmed invited Mowahid Hussain Shah, attorney, writer, and policy analyst, to his DC classroom on Feb. 11 to discuss the “Implications of the Uprising in Egypt and Beyond.”
“What is happening is a watershed event,” Shah said. “It wasn’t brought about by guns. The uprising was spearheaded by young people who felt suffocated.”
He asked his student audience just who is remembered throughout history. “It is Moses, not the Pharaoh. It is Jesus, not the Romans,” Shah said. When moral power is unleashed, despots fall. “A revolution of human dignity is spreading, and the epicenter is Egypt,” he stated.
So many think tanks, which cost millions of dollars, were caught off balance by recent events, noted Shah. “Scholars didn’t anticipate this. They may be book smart but they are not wise,” he said. “They meet with elites and don’t talk to the common people.”
These revolutions are rattling the American, Arab and Israeli establishments, according to Shah. Americans are distrusted in the Middle East because we lost our moral compass, he argued, we have supported despots. If we would just show moral leadership and resolve the Palestinian problem we still have the capacity to self-correct, he said.
As for the East-West relationship, Shah said, “We are handcuffed to each other, not necessarily voluntarily. It’s not necessarily a pleasant union. We have a common destiny. We’ll either sink or swim – together.”