August 18, 2013
Robert Fisk on the Cairo Unrest for the Independent (UK)

The Egyptian crucible has broken. The “unity” of Egypt – that all-embracing, patriotic, essential glue that has bound the nation together since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952 and the rule of Nasser – has melted amid the massacres, gun battles and fury of yesterday’s suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood. A hundred dead – 200, 300 “martyrs” – makes no difference to the outcome: for millions of Egyptians, the path of democracy has been torn up amid live fire and brutality. What Muslim seeking a state based on his or her religion will ever trust the ballot box again? (Note from Andrew:  I would raise the question of whether we actually defend the idea that those supporting state ties to religion should ever be tolerated in power)

This is the real story of today’s bloodbath. Who can be surprised that some Muslim Brotherhood supporters were wielding Kalashnikovs on the streets of Cairo? Or that supporters of the army and its “interim government” – in middle-class areas of the capital, no less – have seized their weapons or produced their own and started shooting back. This is not Brotherhood vs army, though that is how our Western statesmen will mendaciously try to portray this tragedy. Today’s violence has created a cruel division within Egyptian society that will take years to heal; between leftists and secularists and Christian Copts and Sunni Muslim villagers, between people and police, between Brotherhood and army. That is why Mohamed el-Baradei resigned tonight. The burning of churches was an inevitable corollary of this terrible business.

In Algeria in 1992, in Cairo in 2013 – and who knows what happens in Tunisia in the coming weeks and months? – Muslims who won power, fairly and democratically through the common vote, have been hurled from power. And who can forget our vicious siege of Gaza when Palestinians voted – again democratically – for Hamas? No matter how many mistakes the Brotherhood made in Egypt – no matter how promiscuous or fatuous their rule – the democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the army. It was a coup, and John McCain was right to use that word.

The Brotherhood, of course, should long ago have curbed its amour propre and tried to keep within the shell of the pseudo-democracy that the army permitted in Egypt – not because it was fair or acceptable or just, but because the alternative was bound to be a return to clandestinity, to midnight arrests and torture and martyrdom. This has been the historical role of the Brotherhood – with periods of shameful collaboration with British occupiers and Egyptian military dictators – and a return to the darkness suggests only two outcomes: that the Brotherhood will be extinguished in violence, or will succeed at some far distant date – heaven spare Egypt such a fate – in creating an Islamist autocracy.

The pundits went about their poisonous work today before the first corpse was in its grave. Can Egypt avoid a civil war? Will the “terrorist” Brotherhood be wiped out by the loyal army? What about those who demonstrated before Morsi’s overthrow? Tony Blair was only one of those who talked of impending “chaos” in bestowing their support on General Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi. Every violent incident in Sinai, every gun in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood will now be used to persuade the world that the organisation – far from being a poorly armed but well-organised Islamist movement – was the right arm of al-Qa’ida.

History may take a different view. It will certainly be hard to explain how many thousands – yes, perhaps millions – of educated, liberal Egyptians continued to give their wholehearted support to the general who spent much time after the overthrow of Mubarak justifying the army’s virginity tests of female protesters in Tahrir Square. Al-Sisi will come under much scrutiny in the coming days; he was always reputedly sympathetic to the Brotherhood, although this idea may have been provoked by his wife’s wearing of the niqab. And many of the middle-class intellectuals who have thrown their support behind the army will have to squeeze their consciences into a bottle to accommodate future events.

Could Nobel Prize-holder and nuclear expert Mohamed el-Baradei, the most famous personality – in Western eyes, but not in Egyptian - in the ‘interim government’, whose social outlook and integrity looked frighteningly at odds with ‘his’ government’s actions today, have stayed in power? Of course not. He had to go, for he never intended such an outcome to his political power gamble when he agreed to prop up the army’s choice of ministers after last month’s coup.  But the coterie of writers and artists who insisted on regarding the coup as just another stage in the revolution of 2011 will - after the blood and el-Baradei’s resignation – have to use some pretty anguished linguistics to escape moral blame for these events.

Stand by, of course, for the usual jargon questions. Does this mean the end of political Islam? For the moment, certainly; the Brotherhood is in no mood to try any more experiments in democracy – a refusal which is the immediate danger in Egypt. For without freedom, there is violence. Will Egypt turn into another Syria? Unlikely. Egypt is neither a sectarian state – it never has been, even with 10 per cent of its people Christian – nor an inherently violent one. It never experienced the savagery of Algerian uprisings against the French, or Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian insurgencies against both the British and the French. But ghosts aplenty will hang their heads in shame today; that great revolutionary lawyer of the 1919 rising, for example, Saad Zaghloul. And General Muhammad Neguib whose 1952 revolutionary tracts read so much like the demands of the people of Tahrir in 2011.

But yes, something died in Egypt today. Not the revolution, for across the Arab world the integrity of ownership – of people demanding that they, not their leaders, own their own country – remains, however bloodstained. Innocence died, of course, as it does after every revolution. No, what expired today was the idea that Egypt was the everlasting mother of the Arab nation, the nationalist ideal, the purity of history in which Egypt regarded all her people as her children. For the Brotherhood victims today – along with the police and pro-government supporters – were also children of Egypt. And no one said so. They had become the “terrorists”, the enemy of the people. That is Egypt’s new heritage.

November 27, 2012
thepeoplesrecord:

This is Tahrir Square in Cairo right now: occupied, lively & packed with protesters. 
Anti-Morsi demonstrators filled the Square last night after a decree issued on Thursday expanded his powers and shielded his decisions from any sort of judicial review until the election of a new parliament expected in the first half of 2013.
“We don’t want a dictatorship again. The Mubarak regime was a dictatorship. We had a revolution to have justice and freedom,” 32-year-old Ahmed Husseini said in Cairo.
Click here to watch a livestream of Tahrir.

thepeoplesrecord:

This is Tahrir Square in Cairo right now: occupied, lively & packed with protesters. 

Anti-Morsi demonstrators filled the Square last night after a decree issued on Thursday expanded his powers and shielded his decisions from any sort of judicial review until the election of a new parliament expected in the first half of 2013.

“We don’t want a dictatorship again. The Mubarak regime was a dictatorship. We had a revolution to have justice and freedom,” 32-year-old Ahmed Husseini said in Cairo.

Click here to watch a livestream of Tahrir.

(Source: thepeoplesrecord, via anarcho-queer)

December 15, 2011
An Egyptian military court has sentenced a blogger who criticised the army to two years in prison, after he went on a hunger strike to protest an initial three-year sentence.

Human rights in the Military Junta’s Egypt.  The jury is still, at best, out, and and worst, very clear that little to nothing has changed at the top.

December 7, 2011
Egypt bloggers and journalists face assault


In the course of her arrest, security forces broke columnist Mona Eltahawy’s left arm and right hand [Photo: Twitter]

The last tweets from Egyptian columnist and activist Mona Eltahawy in the early hours of November 24 paint a scene of escalating chaos.

First, shortly after midnight, Eltahawy, positioned across the street from the American University in Cairo - less than a five minute walk from Tahrir Square - described the confusion in the area [sic]:

Can’t believe it. A cacaphony sirens, horns, flashing ambulance lights.

Then, shortly thereafter, she continued the narrative she’d been weaving via tweets on her Android phone:

Pitch black, only flashing ambulance lights and air thick with gas

 But then, Eltahawy went silent for three hours or so. And then, a final tweet, via a phone that was not her own,

Beaten arrested in interior ministry

She sent out a tweet around eight hours later announcing that she had been freed and posting a photo her injured right hand, and almost immediately started issuing a rapid-fire, blistering series of tweets detailing being groped, blindfolded and being “subjected to the worse sexual assault ever”.

Magdy Abdel Hamid, head of the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, said that the current crackdowns on journalists, bloggers and even doctors who are treating injuries at Tahrir Square are consequences of “living in the second round of the revolution”.

"The military council are fighting against Egyptian people … they want to send a message for Egyptian people, that we are returning stronger, more tough than in the past," Abdel Hamid said.

"But on the other side, the Egyptian people answered them - we have more courage and we are ready to stand against you. We will not go back."

A spokesman for the interior ministry could not be reached for a response.

Multiple arrests

Eltahawy’s detention - which almost immediately got the #freemona tag on Twitter - has served to further anger activists who want the ruling military council to relinquish power.

After all, she is only one on a long list of bloggers, activists and journalists to be detained in the latest round of protests in Egypt.

Blogger Maged Butter, after his release from jail [Photo: Twitter]

Jehane Noujaim, a journalist and filmmaker, called a colleague to say she had been arrested for filming protests in Tahrir Square on Tuesday, while Maher Iskandar, a photographer for the Youm7 newspaper, was shot in leg while documenting clashes in Cairo that started on November 18.

Since then at least 38 protester have been killed and over 3,000 have been injured.

Maged Butter, a blogger who was with Eltahawy on the night she was detained, was also arrested. He has not posted any updates on Twitter.

Photos of Butter, looking bloodied and battered, have been posted by fellow bloggers and activists. One photo shows him with a dazed expression and a gash on his skull, receiving medical help.

Butter was witness to the Maspero killings in October, when clashes between protesters and security forces turned violent, resulting in at least 26 deaths.

Butter Wrote a testimony on a site dedicated to gathering witness reports of that night, describing how people in civilian garb were throwing stones at the protesters and beating them with stick.

Reporters Without Borders and The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have been collecting information about the steady stream of assaults and arrests targeting journalists in Egypt - 10 at one go around Tahrir Square on Sunday, six more in Alexandria and more.

"People are taking tremendous risks," Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the Middle East and North Africa programme co-ordinator for CPJ, said of the journalists and bloggers chronicling what is happening on the streets of Egyptian cities.

"The number of deaths of injuries over the past few days attests to that."

Tactics unchanged

Concerned that the pattern of suppressing free speech will continue in Egypt, Abdel Dayem said the tactics employed by security forces cracking down on journalists have not changed since Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

Even some of the targets, such as blogger Alaa Abdelfatah, who was arrested in 2006 and was arrested again in October and remains incarcerated.

Arresting and mistreating civilians is not an effective tactic, Abdel Dayem said, referring to the tactic of arresting and mistreating civilians and silencing them as a losing ”cat and mouse game with one cat very big, very brutal, very heavy-handed cat and a million mice”.

Furthermore, as with Eltahawy, who started sharing her experience post-haste, in the case of Abdelfattah, who actually managed to write a piece for publication while in prison, it is clear that when activists, bloggers and journalists survive, the first thing they do is document what they witnesses.

Indeed, journalists and citizens in general have not only been emboldened, they have succeeded in expanding the margin for free expression out of the authorities’ grip. And they are not going to give it up easily.

(http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/11/201111249364150217.html)

November 19, 2011
A letter sent to friends and family RE events in Tahrir

Presumably this won’t be covered halfway decently in the shit US media.  As such..

Yesterday, the protesters in Tahrir square returned to occupy their square en masse (More than 11,000) over a constitutional provision being passed by the ruling Junta which would give the military generals (who, remember, were the power behind Mubarak, are currently running the “transitional government,” and would like to see their power continue unattenuated) .

As the Guardian pointed out yesterday (relying heavily on Jazeera journalists, since many of theirs at the Cairo office have been detained for “some reason,”

The demonstration, dubbed the “Friday of One Demand,” was called in response to a document of “supraconstitutional” principles floated by the government that declares the military the guardian of “constitutional legitimacy”, suggesting the armed forces could have the final word on major policies even after a civilian parliament and president are elected.

Anan Zuhairi, a 26-year-old doctor, told Bilal she was not with any party or political movement but that she joined the protest because “nothing has been resolved since the revolution”.

“Nothing we revolted for has happened. Emergency law is still not canceled. People are being taken out of their homes. Our demands have remained the same except they’ve become more,” she said. ”We just want democracy and freedom. The people with opinions are all in prisons.”

The two main demands of the protesters were to prevent the imposition of the government’s document and to set a date for the presidential elections, Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros said

I posted a full workup of that article yesterday, it can be found HERE.

Today, the egyptian military (unsurprisingly), decided to clear the square.  Reports mention a “Constant flow” of teargas, and that live ammunition fire has been heard and reported throughout the evening. 

Check this, particularly for the video: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/11/20111119161556860447.html

The GUardian’s analysis is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/19/egypt-violent-clashes-cairo-injured

Importantly, they report: A military police car which at one point approached the centre of the unrest was chased away by protesters, another sign of public support for the junta apparently waning. “Ordinary people are making a stronger link than ever between the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) and the hated troops of the interior ministry,” added el-Hamalawy. “The police and the Scaf are revealing their true colours with this brutal attack on Egyptians. They have succeeded in only one thing today, and that is mobilising even more of Egyptian society against them.”

As Jazeera reminds us: "These are the same police who will ostensibly be protecting the integrity of the elections, which are just days away… certainly not a very good sign for what is to come."

We at Occupy WallSt wouldn’t be here without the inspiration that came out of Athens and Cairo.  When I was last in the city in August, the square was occupied by crowd control police, not dissimilarly to the scenes at zucotti park just a few days ago.

Some other pictures that came across my desk today are here:

http://tumblr.com/ZiWeSyC8EkLD

Hope the weekend is treating everyone well.

November 18, 2011
Tens of thousands protest in Egypt

The demonstration, dubbed the “Friday of One Demand,” was called in response to a document of “supraconstitutional” principles floated by the government that declares the military the guardian of “constitutional legitimacy”, suggesting the armed forces could have the final word on major policies even after a civilian parliament and president are elected.

Anan Zuhairi, a 26-year-old doctor, told Bilal she was not with any party or political movement but that she joined the protest because “nothing has been resolved since the revolution”.

"Nothing we revolted for has happened. Emergency law is still not canceled. People are being taken out of their homes. Our demands have remained the same except they’ve become more," she said. "We just want democracy and freedom. The people with opinions are all in prisons."

The two main demands of the protesters were to prevent the imposition of the government’s document and to set a date for the presidential elections, Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros said

November 17, 2011
This is the most important thing that has ever been said about something I’ve been a part of…

I don’t know if you know who Asmaa Mahfouz is.  But she, and two of her friends (the SHE in this is quite significant in a place like Egypt) started some protests in Tahrir Square, Cairo, in January, that eventually became something absolutely exceptional.  Sje os 26 years old.  After the revolution, she was arrested by the Egyptian military which is currently in power, after calling the generals a “council of dogs.”  She was tried in military court, publicly flogged, released on bail for just over 3 grand, and two weeks later flew to New York to visit us at Occupy.

Yesterday, she wrote a peice for the Guardian (I can’t help but smile when other educated people pick my venue of choice) which is quite significant.  If only for the fact that for someone who has been through what Mahfouz has been through to identify with our work, which pales in comparison in terms of personal risk, is stunning.  She writes:

The kinship between the pro-democracy activists in Egypt and Occupy Wall Street is real. United, we can make freedom prevail

  •  

 

Movements today are truly global. They work in symbiosis, learning from and imitating each others’ strategies. Occupy Wall StreetMany occupiers took inspiration from our Tahrir Square; now, the Occupy movement across the United States is inspiring us in Egypt.”

When I and other young people took over Tahrir Square to protestdecades of corrupt, undemocratic rule, we were focused on bringing change to our beloved country, Egypt. We knew about activists working against other repressive Arab regimes, but we never imagined that we were starting a worldwide movement. But when I visited Occupy Wall Street, I could see that the world has changed. I instantly recognised the same spirit of spontaneous revolt against governments that neglect the needs of the large mass of their people in favor of small elites.

Seeing these strong and determined activists fills me with optimism that we can build a global movement for freedom. We hope that others around the world will take inspiration from the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement to peacefully rise up and demand their rights. Because of these movements, the dream of a freer, fairer and more democratic world now seems much more within reach.

While she stops there in terms of Occupy WallSt.  Her message could not be any more critical.

Attacks on Coptic Christians have increased, with the police offering little protection and with state media fanning the flames. When Copts peacefully protested outside of the Maspera state television building, security forces opened fire with live ammunition and ran demonstrators down with armored personnel carriers. They killed 27 and injured hundreds more. When Muslim activists came to the Copts’ defense, the regime reacted harshly. The military recently extended the imprisonment of blogger Alaa Abd el-Fattah due to his outspoken criticism of the military for the Maspera massacre. We are grateful for activists around the world that have stood in solidarity with us and demanded Alaa’s immediate release.

We are excited that worldwide representatives from the Occupy movement hope to visit Tahrir Square in late November to show solidarity. This is a critical moment for us, and it is vital for the global Occupy movement to literally stand in solidarity with Egypt in the global grassroots movement towards more democratic societies.

Not only can these groups help to draw both practical and symbolic attention to current struggles, but they can also start a mutual dialogue on the ways that the Arab Spring and Occupy movements can work together in the coming months. It is a long road towards freedom, but our transnational activist coalitions have the potential to change local as well as foreign policies, if we work together.

We always knew that wealthy and corrupt elites would fight hard to preserve their privileges, and our country has a long history of undemocratic institutions. With encouragement and inspiration from freedom-loving people around the world, however, we are confident that we can prevail.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/15/from-tahrir-square-to-liberty-plaza

October 29, 2011

I love Cairo. I loved it before the revolution.  I love it after.  And.  My fucking god.  Really.  REALLY?!  The military is still executing people.  And they have the compassion to care about……

Oakland?!

Personal favorite:  ”From Tahrir to Oakland to the USA: One Case, One Goal: Social Justice for All.  FUCK POLICE.”

"Social Justice is a Human Right.  FUCK THE POLICE."

Ahhh, the general sentiment.

I can’t stop crying.  The Middle East is a magical place.

Horreyah.

theoceanisawake:

As they vowed earlier this week to do, Egyptian pro-democracy protesters marched from Tahrir square to the U.S. Embassy today to march in support of Occupy Oakland—and against the type of police brutality witnessed in Oakland on Tuesday night, and commonly experienced in Egypt.”


the common humanity of absolutely everyone

(pictures from here, kinda cool solidarity letter here)

(via browngurlwfro)

August 1, 2011
Egyptian army retakes Tahrir Square

Units smash tents and make arrests as Egypt prepares for trial of former ruler Hosni Mubarak

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