- Before and after Mubarak was ousted, Egypt's military
arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and disappeared thousands, a practice continuing
to ruthlessly stay in power and prevent change.
- Moreover, thousands arrested are being tried in military
courts, denying them due process or judicial fairness. Allowed only court-appointed
counsel, attorneys get minutes with clients to review charges before presenting
their case in proceedings.
- In addition, multiple defendants are tried simultaneously.
Ten thousand or more were sentenced in recent months, some to death, and
lawyers can't appeal. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) attorney
Adel Ramadan said nothing under Mubarak was like this. The ruling junta
is much more extreme, cracking down ruthlessly against challenges to its
- The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
issued a July 4 press release, stating "its utter and complete rejection
of trying civilians before military courts, especially those arrested for
using their legitimate right to expression."
- Many activists were tried and convicted, including Michael
Nabil, sentenced to three years in military prison for posting, "Army
and people, never hand in hand." Another activist, Amr elBeheiry,
got five years for demonstrating in Tahrir Square.
- ANHRI said military proceedings "lack the bare minimum
of fair trial standards....It is not an overstatement to say that (Egypt's)
judiciary (isn't) the only sector that has not witnessed any changes after
- On June 29, Amnesty International (AI) Cairo representatives
witnessed security forces attacking demonstrators, "firing tear gas
randomly, beating protesters with sticks and firing shotguns." As
a result, many hundreds were hurt, AI saying:
- "This heavy-handed response is reminiscent of the
violence in January and is a chilling reminder of" what protesters
face. Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's former defense
minister, now heads the military junta's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,
ruling as a de facto head of state/dictator.
- Mubarak may be gone, but nothing changed. In fact, things
now are worse, including extreme brutality and severe repression, exceeding
what went on earlier. As a result, angry Egyptians are reacting.
- On July 1, tens of thousands rallied in Cairo, responding
to earlier in the week crackdowns against protesters. Security forces attacked
them with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire. According to eye-witnesses,
hundreds were injured and several or more died.
- Called the "Friday of Retribution," crowds
also turned out in Alexandria, Suez, and elsewhere, protesting for rights
demanded but not achieved. Many want a second revolution that works this
time. Months after Mubarak's ouster, nothing changed.
- Strikes also continue for wage, benefits, ending corruption,
and other demands not met. Thousands of striking Suez Canal workers cut
off Port Tawfik district electricity, saying they'll stay out as long as
it takes, despite harsh military reprisals.
- Quena governorate health workers also struck for permanent
contracts, steady jobs, and higher wages in a nation plagued by high unemployment,
poverty pay and sharply rising food, energy and other prices.
- In early July, 3,000 Nagaa Hammadi Sugar Factory workers
struck, demanding higher wages, a monthly bonus, hazardous pay, better
working conditions, and permanent employment. At the same time, the Swiss
Company for Stainless Steel Sinks walked out with similar grievances.
- Notably, Washington backs brutal junta rule, including
violence against growing public opposition to prevent a "second revolution."
So does National Association for Change leader Mohamad ElBaradei, saying
he regards the military as the main guarantor of Egypt's "incipient
democracy," when, in fact, none exists, isn't planned, and won't be
tolerated by junta generals, top Obama administration officials, or himself,
based on his offensive comment and others earlier.
- From around March to July 7, Al Jazeera reported little
about Egyptian discontent, strikes, street protests and brutal security
force crackdowns, including the mass July 1 street protests and a million
or more coming out on July 8.
- Late in the day Friday, it finally noticed, saying:
- "Thousands (not hundreds of thousands) have flooded
(Tahri) and other rallying points across the country to demand immediate
reforms and swifter prosecution of former (Mubarak) officials...."
- Earlier in the day, China Xinhua News Agency's CNC World
TV, its new international news channel, said:
- A July 8 mass Tahrir Square protest is planned, "aimed
at spurring faster reforms and swift punishment of allies of the toppled
President....Tens of thousands have already pitched (tents) in the square
(for) a demonstration (called) 'The Revolution First.' "
- Grievances include lack of change and security force
violence, one demonstrator saying:
- "I demand justice for our martyrs who were killed
during the revolution. Justice is the basis of any sovereignty; it's the
foundation of the country."
- Another demanded "retaliation and trials of the
traitors and murderers who killed out martyrs and wronged us, including
those ministers who have just been acquitted."
- On July 8, a million or more are expected in Cairo's
Tahrir as well as many others across Egypt.
- Around mid-day July 8, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians
were reported heading for Tahrir, the Italian news agency AGI saying:
- "Five months after the toppling of Mubarak, thousands
of protesters have once again gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square....for
another day of protest dubbed the 'Friday of Punishment and Perseverance.'....One
million people are expected" to participate.
- As of mid-day July 8 EDT, The New York Times reported
nothing, but the New York Daily Times headlined, "Thousands in Tahrir
Square ahead of mass rallies," saying:
- "Dozens of tents were pitched in the middle of the
square" ahead of the mass protest planned "to express mounting
frustration with....the slow pace of reform."
- Fridays after prayers, mass protests again express public
anger for lack of change. Moreover, popular calls recently for a "second
revolution" characterize growing outrage across Egypt, specifically
- A Suez protester spoke for others saying "one wasn't
enough." Another said, "I can now tell you the revolution is
not over. Everything is as it is, only the heads have been hunted but the
body is still corrupt." Workers said "Next, we will take action
against the strategic waterway." So will others elsewhere across the
country, doing what they have to for change.
- Egypt's again on the boil. In fact, since Mubarak's February
11 ouster, it restlessly subsided to a simmer, ready to again erupt if
promised spring didn't bloom. The same determination is palpable elsewhere
in the region, across Europe and elsewhere.
- It highlights trends watcher Gerald Celente's belief
that, "When people lose everything and have nothing else to lose,
they lose it."
- Given political indifference to popular needs and demands,
it may erupt anywhere, even among apathetic Americans, prioritizing bread
and circus considerations over grassroots activism against Washington's
contempt for their interests.
- Sooner or later perhaps popular anger will finally boil
over and bite. Pray it happens soon before planet earth goes up in flames,
taking freedoms with it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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