Letter: Egyptian uprising sows seeds of hope
Despite having lived under emergency laws for more than 30 years, civil society movements there are strong and there are over 20 well-organised political parties. Whilst there is some support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptians do not want to create an Islamic state and 70 per cent expressed concern at the rise of Islamic extremism in a 2010 poll by the Pew Research Centre.
Egypt also has an exceptional potential leader in the shape of Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who commands respect at home and abroad and who could represent a unifying leader.
Indeed, ElBaradei's call for a boycott of last December's parliamentary elections not only brought many groups together but the boycott itself was also the final nail in the coffin of Mubarak's claim to legitimacy.
The emergence of a genuine non-aligned democracy in Egypt might give Western governments cause for concern. After all they have propped up Mubarak for three decades and in return Mubarak has helped safeguard their regional interests. But rather than hedge their bets with non-committal statements calling for avoidance of bloodshed, western leaders must recognise the tide of history and come out in support of the Egyptian revolution.
Thirty years ago, Anwar Sadat, the heroic Egyptian leader who restored the nation's self-belief in the October War of 1973, was publicly gunned down by Islamic assassins.
His crime was the noble gesture of visiting Israel to promote a lasting peace and his killers belonged to Gamma Al-Islamiyya, one of the groups behind the present unrest.
Some forty other groups, including all the usual suspects in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood, aim to turn Egypt into an Iranian-style fundamentalist state.
If, as seems increasingly likely, an extremist regime does take over this ancient land, it will revoke the peace treaty with Israel and the lights will go out across the Arab world.
DR JOHN CAMERON
St Andrews, Fife
Once again the situation in Tunisia and Egypt is being referred to as a "Descent into Anarchy". The word anarchy has two Greek derivatives; "an", meaning without, and "archy", giving the meaning without rulers. Anything added to this definition is opinion and speculation.
What you have in these countries is a power vacuum, and people who want one form of authoritarian leadership replaced with another. Since when was this anarchism?
It is violent capitalists fighting violent capitalists in order to replace one with the other.Why are the media becoming increasingly unable to tell a story how it is, without recourse to misuse of language?
Are the powers that be so terrified of the concept of anarchy as a viable alternative to the lawlessness, violence and exploitation that is (pseudo) capitalism?