- Last February, euphoric celebrations followed Mubarak's
ouster. Across the Middle East and North Africa, people rejoiced.
- Activist Saed Karazon told AFP:
- "What happened in Egypt is not only for the Egyptian
people, it is for all Arabs. The whole Arab world is going to change."
- A month earlier, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia
for Saudi Arabia following weeks of violent protests. A Tunis student said,
"It's wonderful. Two dictators have fallen in less than a month."
- In Cairo, Egyptians waved flags, held banners, and chanted,
"Yesterday Tunisia. Today Egypt, and tomorrow Yemenis will break their
- In fact, Yemeni and Bahraini "chains" brutalize
street protesters daily - arresting, detaining, torturing and shooting
- Through mid-November, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights
said 1,500 are imprisoned, 40 killed, 180 lawlessly sentenced by military
tribunals, and 90 journalists targeted for doing their job.
- On November 7, Yemen Examiner.com's Jane Novak headlined,
"Yemen: one thousand protesters in prison, many tortured," saying:
- The Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms
(HOOD) said over 1,000 protesters "disappeared" incommunicado
- HOOD Executive Director Abdul Rahman Barman said:
- "(T)he number of imprisoned youths is on the rise,
and the world must stand against the government for the sake of humanity.
These youths are being tortured and attacked fiercely. Some leave government
custody with their minds lost from the torture."
- Washington and key NATO partners say nothing about daily
Yemeni and Bahrini atrocities, as well as others committed regularly by
despotic Arab League allies.
- At the same time, they rail against Syria and Iran. Wanting
regime change, they replicated Libya's model in Syrian cities. Perhaps
Iran's next. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus.
- They also support Egypt's military junta stranglehold
on power, enforcing it by brute force. More on that below.
- Since last winter, uprisings occurred in a dozen or more
Middle East/North African countries. So far, Arab Spring hasn't arrived.
Sustained struggle continues.
- At issue is jobs, decent pay, better social services,
ending corruption and repression, as well as liberating democratic change
in a part of the world where poverty, unemployment and despotism reflect
daily life for tens of millions.
- Since military junta power replaced Mubarak, thousands
were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, and/or denied due process
and judicial fairness in military tribunal trials.
- Mubarak's gone but nothing changed. In fact, things got
worse, including extreme brutality against protesters demanding change.
- Despite upcoming November parliamentary elections, democracy's
nowhere in sight. Military junta power's entrenched under the hated emergency
law, making political opposition illegal.
- Thousands renewed efforts to replace it. In recent weeks,
new Tahrir Square demonstrations "reclaim(ed) the revolution."
Anger rages against General Mohammed Tantawi's led Supreme Council of the
Armed Forces (SCAF).
- People want power handed over to civilian rule. "Down
with the rule of the military," some chanted. Others said, "We
are the people. We are the red line."
- Railroad worker Mohamed Abdel Azeem said, "We don't
need a guardian to tell us how to write our constitution. The army is the
people's institution, and (we) have the right to supervise it." Still
others shouted, "Down, down with military rule."
- On November 18, tens of thousands rallied on the "Friday
of One Demand." Egyptians responded to SCAF's "supraconstitutional"
principles, declaring junta power the guardian of "constitutional
- They give military officials final say on policy, even
after civilian parliamentarians (including a junta appointed prime minister)
and president are elected under a process many fear will be rigged to include
only SCAF favorites, or at least a strong majority.
- Liberal and conservative political groups alike, including
the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), expressed outrage, describing what they call
a power grab. MB's Yasir Hamida said:
- "My demand is that the document be cancelled. Enough.
We are tired now. We thank the army, but it's time to transfer power and
let parliament start organizing a constitution and get ready for a civilian
- On November 18, New York Times writer David Kirkpatrick
headlined, "Egypt Islamists Demand the End of Military Rule,"
- Anger followed "the military council spell(ing)
out for the first time its intention to preserve a decisive role for itself
in Egyptian politics far into the future, elevating itself above civilian
control and imposing rules," giving itself final say on policy.
- According to Notre Dame Professor Emad Shahin:
- "Each side is drawing a line in the sand over its
future role in the political process." Egypt's military wants to retain
power. Islamists and secularists want it checked.
- Religious school teacher Mohamed Ibrahim said, "The
people didn't sacrifice hundreds of lives in the revolution so that the
military would jump over their will. If they can do that, what is the point
of parliamentary elections?"
- On November 28, parliamentary elections will begin.
First, lower house People's Assembly members will be chosen in three phases.
The upper house Shura Council will follow.
- The manipulated process will last six months. A constitution
will then be drafted, followed in 2013 by presidential elections.
- The junta's 22-article "charter of principles"
preempts civilian rule. It lets newly elected parliamentarians select only
20 of the 100-member panel appointed to draft Egypt's new constitution.
- Others will be chosen by generals, junta connected judges
and academic officials, and business representatives. In other words, everything
will change but stay the same.
- Notably, SCAF will retain power to propose and veto legislation,
convene and adjourn parliament, appoint and replace the prime minister
and cabinet members, keep its military budget secret, and have exclusive
say on all military-related matters.
- Last May, the London Guardian examined "The new
Egypt: 100 days on." One article featured Human Rights Watch researcher
Heba Morayef, saying "Torture and imprisonment of Egypt protesters
still rife." At a time, people want change, they're getting more of
- On November 18, Guardian writer Jack Shenker headlined,
"Egyptians return to Tahrir Square to protest against military junta,"
- Rage was visible in Cairo, Alexandria, "as well
as other towns in the Nile delta and upper Egypt." Ten months after
Mubarak's ouster, people remain at square one, and nothing's planned to
- Providing billions of dollars in military aid, Washington
says nothing about generals retaining power nor SCAF atrocities to grave
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive
Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central
time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy