- Hopefully beneath celebratory euphoria, Egyptians know
ousting Mubarak was simple, especially since Washington long wanted him
out. Covertly with Egypt's military, it facilitated long-planned regime
purging for with new faces under old policies. In other words, have everything
change but stay the same, a common imperial bait and switch con.
- As a result, the real liberating struggle continues against
long odds for success because Washington, Egypt's military, Israel, Western
powers, and big money will do everything to prevent it. The usual scheme
was hatched - a facade of change that may or may not work, and will be
months, maybe years, to know.
- For now, however, Al Jazeera headlined, "Post-Mubarak
era dawns on Egypt....just four weeks after Tunisians toppled their....ruler."
Or did they? Their struggle also continues against comparable long odds.
People throughout the region face them against powerful dark forces, representing
imperial/monied interests, not theirs.
- Al Jazeera, however, reported:
- "Egyptians have woken to a new dawn after 30 years
of rule under Hosni Mubarak." All night celebration preceded it. "Fireworks
lit the night sky, cars honed under swathes of read, white and black Egyptian
flags and people hoisted children above their heads. Some took souvenir
pictures with smiling soldiers atop their tanks city streets," unaware
that military commanders are enemies, not allies, a reality they'll confront
ahead and should prepare.
- For now, opposition figure Ayman Nour called February
11 "the greatest day in Egyptian history. This nation has been born
again. These people have been born again, and this is a new Egypt."
- Al Jazeera correspondents said street euphoria was "indescribable,"
"an explosion of emotion," quoting one pro-democracy campaigner,
Dina Magdi, saying:
- "I have waited, I have worked all my adult life
to see the power of the people come to the fore and show itself. I am speechless.
The moment is not only about Mubarak stepping down, it is also about people's
power to bring about the change that no one....thought possible."
- Supportive Media Reports
- Euphoria also characterized most US media reports. Notably,
however, unless Washington plans war or wants foreign adversaries denigrated,
rarely ever are overseas events covered, especially uprisings against purported
allies. Yet, for days, Egypt's was main-featured on television and in print,
including unheard of anti-regime views, meaning official Washington supported
them against an out-of-favor leader.
- American (and Western) media reports manipulate public
opinion on official foreign and domestic policies. Their managed news unabashedly
supports monied interests, imperial wars, and police state laws, while
paying scant attention to corporate lawlessness, eroding democracy, sham
elections, government and corporate corruption, civil liberties and human
rights concerns, rule of law issues, a growing wealth gap, unmet human
needs, and increasing poverty, hunger, homelessness and despair for growing
millions globally, including at home besides countries like Egypt.
- As a result, had Mubarak been in favor, spotty coverage
would have called protesters agitators, rabble-rousers, insurgents, terrorists
and jihadists, never pro-democracy heros.
- On February 11, Nation magazine's Katrina vanden Heuvel
headlined, "Triumph in Egypt," saying:
- "After eighteen days of protest, Mubarak's nearly
thirty-year reign over Egypt was brought to a triumphant close today. Ousted
by the people, Egyptian protesters stood strong, exhibiting nothing short
of sheer jubilation as the news broke."
- New York Times writer David Kirkpatrick headlined, "Egypt
Erupts in Jubiliation as Mubarak Steps Down," saying:
- Egypt's revolution "overturn(ed) the established
order of the Arab world. (Mubarak) was toppled by a radically new force
in regional politics - a largely secular, nonviolent, youth-led democracy
movement that brought Egypt's liberal and Islamist opposition groups together
for the first time under its banner....Mr. Mubarak's fall removed a bulwark
of American foreign policy in the region."
- In fact, he became a major obstacle to Washington's Greater
Middle East Project (renamed the New Middle East) and had to go. Notably,
the day Cairo protests erupted, January 25, key Egyptian military commanders,
including Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, were in Washington.
For years, State Department and Pentagon officials wanted him out because
he opposed key US policies, including Iran's nuclear program and Bush's
2003 Iraq war.
- Egypt's New Leader
- Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi is new head of
state as chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt,
ruling with its Supreme Constitutional Council - effective February 11.
He also served as Minister of Defense, Military Production, Deputy Prime
Minister, Commander of the Presidential Guard, and chief of the Operations
Authority of the Armed Forces.
- He's a powerful old regime stalwart closely aligned with
Washington, though US diplomats call him "aged and change-resistant....
"Charming and courtly, he is nonetheless mired in a post-Camp David
military paradigm that has served his cohorts' narrow interests for the
last three decades. (He's also) opposed both economic and political reform
that he perceives as eroding central government power."
- Whether he'll cooperate or conflict with Washington
remains to be seen. If not, he'll go next, the same anti- Mubarak process
resurrected against him and others less than fully compliant.
- Earlier, he participated in Egypt's 1956, 1967 and 1973
wars as well as in America's Gulf War "coalition." As part of
Egypt's old guard, he'll most likely become president, installed, of course
by military coup d' etat.
- His mission: preserving the status quo, serving global
monied interests, supporting Washington's imperial agenda, and making few
substantive constitutional and other old order changes, including little
in the way of jobs, independent unions, higher wages, and other essential
services - social, economic and political.
- Why expect them from a man who led a military, not populist,
coup against a sitting ruler, no matter how corrupt, illegitimate and ruthless!
They're both cut from the same mold, representing power, not popular interests.
- As a result perhaps, on February 12, Reuters headlined,
"Egypt protest leaders vow to protect their revolution," saying:
- In two overnight communiques, core organizers "demanded
the dissolution of the cabinet Mubarak appointed on January 29 and the
suspension of the parliament elected in a rigged poll late last year."
- They also want "a transitional five-member presidential
council made up of four civilians and one military person to prepare for
an election to take place within nine months, and (a) body to draft a new
- Moreover, they demand media and (professional) syndicates
freedom, military and emergency courts abolished, free formation of political
parties, and since protests began, immediately ending Egypt's Emergency
Law, enacted in 1981. Surprisingly, however, it wasn't in either communique
though clearly a top priority.
- Pharmicist Ghada Elmasalmy told Reuters:
- "The army is with us but it must realize our demands.
Half revolutions kill nations. Now we know our place. Whenever there is
injustice, we will come to Tahrir Square."
- According to Al Arabiya television, army officials will
soon dismiss Mubarak's cabinet and suspend parliament. In addition, the
Constitutional Court head will join the military council and participate
in Egypt's governance.
- One protester, Mohammed Farrag, spoke for others saying:
- "(W)e will not give up on Egypt as a civilian state,
not a military state. If things move away from our demands, we will go
into the street again, even if we have to die as martyrs."
- Hopefully, he and others mean it because doing it again
will prove urgent. Otherwise, all is lost and nothing gained beyond substituting
one strongman for another, backed by the full might of Egypt's military,
armed and financed by Washington.
- Nonetheless, Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, its main opposition
group, called Mubarak's ouster a "historic victory," America
and Israel the main losers. Whether true, however, remains to be seen.
For sure, it's too soon to tell or know how far Egypt's people power can
go before bucking stiff resistance sure to come.
- "The victory scored by this revolution is in the
first place directed against the United States," said Brotherhood
members, "which so far sponsored the toppled regime, and wanted it
as a strong ally and defender of the Zionist entity and an enemy of the
Arab jihad and resistance movements."
- Other Regional Protests
- On February 1, Jordan's King fired his government after
protests over high fuel and food prices, slowed political reforms, high
unemployment and poverty levels, as well as other economic and social issues.
Nonetheless, Jordanians want more, including new Prime Minister Marouf
al-Bakhit's resignation. In addition, members of its Farmers Union tossed
tomato crates onto the Karak-Aqaba highway over low prices paid them.
- Tunisians ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali with
no resolution so far. As a result, they're demanding all his cronies ousted,
including interim Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi. They also want attention
given deep social needs, including jobs, higher wages, and right to unionize.
Hundreds rallied in Tunis, calling themselves a "Caravan of Liberation,"
one man saying "We have come to bring down the rest of the dictatorship."
In addition, civil servants and primary school teachers aren't working,
instead protesting against interim officials representing old policies.
- In Rabat, Morocco, hundreds of protesters demanded badly
needed public sector jobs to help alleviate high unemployment. They also
want social inequality and government corruption issues addressed.
- Similar anger riled protesters in Algeria, Yemen and
elsewhere over unaffordable food and fuel prices as well as shocking levels
of extreme poverty, unemployment and state repression.
- Occupied Iraq is now affected, demonstrations occurring
in numerous cities across the country. Earlier, Hamza protesters stormed
government buildings and a police station over political corruption, repressive
occupation, and shortages of power, food and jobs. The UAE's The National
quoted organizer Abu Ali saying:
- "There will be a revolution of the hungry and jobless
in Iraq, just as there was in Egypt. It was a march by the unemployed,
by those who have lost hope and who see (Prime Minister) Nouri al Maliki
and the new government becoming another dictatorship."
- On February 10, protests occurred in Baghdad, Basra,
Mosul, Karbala, Diwaniyah, Kut, Ramadi, Samawah and Amara. In Sadr City,
they were over public corruption, poverty, unemployment, and lack of social
services. In Karbala, a sign said:
- "We have nothing. We need everything. Solution:
Set ourselves on fire," referring to Tunisia's Mohammed Bouazizi,
an unemployed graduate working as a vegetable seller who self-immolated
in protest over police confiscating his merchandise for operating without
a permit he couldn't get.
- Najaf farmers demanded help they haven't gotten. Basra
protesters want changes in food ration policies leaving families unable
to afford high prices. Others in Baghdad called for ending judicial corruption
and prisoner abuse, including torture in Iraqi prisons. In Karbala, the
lawyers' guild head mocked inadequate funds replacing rations for cooking
oil, rice, flour and sugar.
- Near Baghdad's Green Zone, placards read, "Where
are your electoral promises, food rations and basic services?" Others
said "Tahrir Square Two." Reuters reported that:
- "Almost eight years after the US-led invasion, Iraq's
infrastructure remains severely damaged. The country suffers a chronic
water shortage, electricity supply is intermittent and sewage collects
in the streets."
- Iraqis also suffer from extreme levels of unemployment,
poverty, epidemic-like illnesses, massive environmental contamination,
repressive security forces, and pervasive levels of desperation and dispair.
- On February 12, Al Jazeera reported clashes between Algerian
security forces and pro-democracy protesters in Algiers, demanding democratic
reforms, jobs, and regime change. Thousands breached a security cordon
joining others in May First Square. Earlier, police closed all city entrances
and arrested hundreds.
- AFP said, "Large quantities of tear gas grenades
had been imported. Anti-riot vehicles were seen parked not far from the
square where (a February 12) rally is scheduled to begin....and police
in uniform patrolled surrounding streets."
- Hundreds more protested around the country, including
in Annaba, Sidi Ammar and Raffour. Moreover, in recent weeks, about 20
people tried setting themselves ablaze. Three succeeded and died.
- Al Jazeera also said thousands protested in Yemen's capital,
Sanaa, demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down. AP reported government
forces beating them and arresting at least 10. Unconfirmed accounts also
said police used live fire, killing at least one demonstrator. Like elsewhere
in the region, millions are deeply impoverished. Many also face chronic
hunger, living on less than $2 a day.
- A Final Comment
- Globally with rare exceptions, including at home, democracy
endangers entrenched power. As a result, subverting eruptions are crucial,
allowing only controllable facades under anti-populist leaders - how America's
- As a result, it's fake. Mock elections pretend to be
real. The process is kabuki theater run by political consultants and PR
wizards, supported by major media misreporting, featuring horse race issues,
not real ones. Everything is pre-scripted. Secrecy and back room deals
substitute for a free, fair and open process. Party bosses choose candidates.
Big money owns them. Key outcomes are predetermined, and cheated voters
get the best democracy deep pockets can buy.
- Egypt can expect the same thing, carefully scripted pretense,
not democratic change Washington and Egypt's military won't tolerate. Unless
millions demand better and fight for it, they'll get old wine in new bottles,
again cheated like for 30 years under Mubarak. Forewarned is forearmed.
Hopefully savvy protesters understand and plan well their next move.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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