Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Solidarity with the Egyptian revolution

Were it not for social media, most outside the Middle East who don’t read Arabic would not hear the voices of the Egyptian revolution or of the other Arab uprisings. We would witness the elemental force of rebellion but not hear the cacophony & conflict of ideas propelling these movements forward--& sometimes backwards.

Channeled by media into Islamophobic conclusions, this can lead observers to believe these historic upheavals are inchoate & amorphous, guided by fury alone & not by conflicting ideas & class forces. That’s why the oppressed & rebellious must always speak for themselves--lest they be misinterpreted.

The LA Times in its report on Mubarak’s pending release from jail informs us that millions of Egyptians are now rallying around the military in its campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Where they get that information no one knows since the military is still shooting up the streets of Egypt from caravans of armored vehicles in what is called the “bloodiest internal conflict in its modern history.” It’s likely most Egyptians are holed up in their homes so as not to be mistaken as a member of the MB & mowed down in a strafe of bullets.

There’s no question some Egyptians remain confused about the treacherous character of the military; it’s likely the least democratic forces hope the military will rid politics of the MB. But it stretches credulity to the absurd & insults the political intelligence of the Egyptian people to say they have forgotten 60 years of military tyranny, the prisons & mass incarcerations of dissidents, the torture chambers & virginity tests in military prisons, the hundreds murdered in the Egyptian uprising to depose Mubarak, the women assaulted by undercover agents in Tahrir Square, the concrete walls built all over Cairo to prevent public protest, the pitched battles in the streets against soldiers mounted on camels & tanks.

We may not yet hear the voices of revolution; we certainly won’t hear them in the media. But we can be sure there are millions of Egyptians & Arab revolutionists in other countries who are horrified & outraged at the violence against the Muslim Brotherhood. In Egypt, we can be sure that revolutionists who fought street battles last fall against the MB stand with them today against the military. There are unconfirmed reports that indeed thousands of Egyptians marched in solidarity with the MB against the violence.

The military regime, including under Morsi’s presidency, was unwilling to prosecute Hosni Mubarak for crimes against the Egyptian people. Today they are on the threshold of releasing him from prison & allowing him to retire to his swanky chalet bought by the blood of martyrs. It is inconceivable this would not be viewed as an affront to the revolution & to those who gave their lives for human freedom.

It needn’t be said that bloodbaths & martial law drain psychic & revolutionary energies & take a toll on insurgency--even those as massive as the Egyptian revolution. Time is needed to recoup, assess, rethink, regroup. The tear gas & trauma have to dissipate before fury again pokes its head outdoors to assert “This is not what we meant; this is not what we meant at all!” In that time, our solidarity can take up the breach as we continue to demand “Hands off the Muslim Brotherhood, hands off Egypt, no US aid to Egypt.”

This brief interview with a 12-year-old Egyptian boy is worth reposting to remind us of the powerful ideas inspiring millions to stand against the military fortress of Egypt & its allies in the Pentagon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXtDflT38AQ

(Photo from Giza of MB member armed with a stick being bullied by a cop is by Imad Abdul Rahman/AP)

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