January 30, 2011

Democratic Days in Egypt

Filed under: Civil Disobedience, Freedom, Mainstream Media — Tags: — Russ @ 6:34 am


The protestors are gathering for another day on the democratic offensive.
Yesterday was marked by the people’s continued defiance and command of the streets, continued military forbearance, and in many cases their amity and even cooperation with the protestors. The police have set up perimeters at places like the Interior Ministry where they’ve used murderous force against the people trying to enter their own property. Dozens have been killed so far at the MOI, and hundreds overall. I was wrong in thinking Mubarak couldn’t hang on for another day, although that was based on the idea that the military won’t want to sit there in suspense forever. Everyone still thinks the generals are managing his ouster, but he’s probably being intransigent.
Instead, Mubarak’s new gambit has been to unleash a horde of plain-clothes police criminals. These are “thugs” in a precise Egyptian parlance: police cadres who vandalize, loot, and mug, pretending to be protestors. They’re trying to trick the army into attacking the people.
Instead the troops have acting in an aggressively Gandhiesque way in some places. Where the police were firing on the crowd at the Interior Ministry, some soldiers drove their APCs in front of the crowd as moving shields, though they refused the people’s plea to open fire on the killers.
The army also called upon the people to defend their own and public property. So, in the same way they’ve so masterfully self-organized everything else, the people have organized their own checkpoints and armed patrols. They’ve thwarted and apprehended many of the police thugs.
So the confrontation is still at a climax, and the people vow that they’ll keep fighting at least until Mubarak and his goons (including the cronies he just installed as his “new” government) are gone.
Meanwhile the governments of the world seem helpless to do anything but mouth platitudes. It’s especially gratifying to see how tongue-tied this has left the MSM. Everything I read from them sounds dazed. It’s obvious that faced with this surge of democracy, they’re unable to tell any of their standard lies, nor do they feel free to express their normal contempt for the people. Just like Obama and Clinton, they can only spout words about “democracy” and the “right to protest” and claim to hope there’s minimal government violence. But they sure sound lame saying such things, as their heart isn’t in it. 
We know that none of them believe any of this, and they sure hate having to say it, but what else can they do? As we knew, these media hacks and government nabobs are just cowardly bullies deep down. Faced with the vibrant defiance, resistance, and self-assertion of a self-confident people, these “elites” are at a complete loss. This is a lesson all peoples everywhere must take to heart. We have the strength, while they have nothing but their bullying posture and their inner cowardice and meanness. They’re nothing.
As Egypt is proving, the autonomous people are everything, and have the potential to become anything they wish. 


  1. Russ,

    It looks like the despicable shills in the MSM must have received new talking points today from their billionaire masters who have been trying to figure out some way to spin this. Yesterday, faced with the overwhelmingly peaceful and non-violent protests, they floated out a trial balloon that the US was actually backing the uprising.

    Apparently that didn’t fly and so today it looks like the right-wing billionaires are working on a new strategy and are instructing their media shills to emphasize _looting and chaos_ which according to them has overtaken the country.

    And so, right on cue, Drudge, CNN and others are leading with stories about looting and chaos, such as “Egypt vigilantes defend homes as police disappear” which is now on Drudge, etc

    It’s despicable but that’s the US media for you.

    It’s almost certain that much of the looting is being sponsored by government thugs in an effort to delegitimise the protestors, and we can only hope that the protestors will be able to counter this vicious strategy and find new ways of fighting back. I’m optimistic that the people are not going to give up, and will do everything possible to try and bring down Mubarek and his goon squad. All we can do is hope they succeed in their revolution, despite the shameful and, as far as I can tell, _near total_, lack of support from world leaders or the Western media.

    Comment by Frank Lavarre — January 30, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    • That’s the media goal all right. The people are fighting back, though. They’ve organized directly against the thugs (with what’s arguably military encouragement).

      The free media (al Jazeera, the blogosphere etc.) quickly got the thug story right. I haven’t toured the MSM yet to gauge how much they’re trying to smear the people and the thugs together, but I believe you that they are.

      Comment by Russ — January 30, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  2. It seems like there’s a dual-track attempt by the two kinds of elitists to place this democratic uprising into an elitist frame.

    Conservatives want to claim “Islamists” are manipulating the demonstrations.

    Meanwhile “progressives” are jumping all over that stupid cable to try to say the US is manipulating it.

    When I first read that cable I thought, “I must not understand it, because everyone’s making such a big stink about it, but it looks like nothing to me. They sent some guy to an activist convention, the kind of thing they do all the time with everybody, a guy they themselves evidently weren’t impressed with. WOW!!! Stop the presses!”

    But I think I figured it out: Liberals, even the best of them, are still elitists, and so they have a problem understanding or feeling with a truly democratic surge. They need to find some kind of elitist frame within which to place it. So they grasp at even such a pathetic nothingburger as that cable.

    Comment by Russ — January 30, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    • “Liberals, even the best of them, are still elitists, and so they have a problem understanding or feeling with a truly democratic surge.”

      I think you’ve got it, Russ. What’s happening in Egypt simply doesn’t fit into the liberal elitists’ view of the world, so they have to try and get control of this narrative somehow, figure out how to spin it, otherwise more and more people will understand that their rhetoric is empty and they stand for nothing. And that cannot happen soon enough, in my opinion.

      Although I rarely check the zerohedge blog anymore, this morning they have an interesting article, entitled _As Egyptian Anger Swells, Will America (And Its Regional Interests) Be Targeted Next: “They Are Attacking Us With American Weapons”_

      Here’s an excerpt:

      ElBaradei told US network CBS from Cairo. “You are losing credibility by the day. On one hand you’re talking about democracy, rule of law and human rights, and on the other hand you’re lending still your support to a dictator that continues to oppress his people…”

      Comment by Frank Lavarre — January 30, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

      • A little while ago I clicked on an article headlined something like “There’s No Comparison Between Egypt and the Berlin Wall” expecting the worst.

        Instead I was pleasantly surprised to find that the reason there was no comparison was that in 1989 the people of Eastern Europe could plausibly (wrongly, as we know today) look to the US as a supporter and moral champion, while today the US is on the side of tyranny and paid for those tanks.

        That was at AOL News of all places.

        (Maybe I should stop saying “of all places”; they also run pieces by Abigail Field. They’re better than the NYT, for example.)

        Comment by Russ — January 30, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

      • http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/01/29/cairo-is-not-berlin-folly-of-mistaking-egypt-for-the-former-eas/

        On the other hand, the main headline blares: “Chaos! Looting!”

        So it’s not good either.

        Comment by Russ — January 30, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  3. The US armed the Shah of Iran. Today, those weapons on are in the hands of those who hate the US.

    The US armed Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction, no need to tell you how that story ended.

    The US armed the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Today, they are called Al-Qaeda.

    The US gave the Egyptian Government $2.5 billion, last year alone, to buy weapons from US military contractors. By this time next year, those weapons will still be in the hands of the Egyptian military, and they will be used to control Muslim radicals, or, if not, they could end up in the hands of the Muslim radicals, themselves . Neither the enlisted military men, nor the Muslim Brotherhood are great fans of the Americans or Israelis.

    Egypt already has a larger air force than does Israel. Do not expect the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement to hold. The millions of under 25 year old Muslim males, with little or no economic future, will unite transnationally against their oppressors and against those who have financed their oppressors.

    Obama has agreed to sell $60 billion worth of weapons to the Saudis. Saudi Arabia is filled with madrassas that teach “death to America”. The students who attend these madrassas will someday overthrow the Saudi Royal family. When they do, they will have all the oil, all the money and all the weapons they need to be formidable foes of the US.

    US Presidents and their State Dept. Officials are always saying that they want democracy in the Middle East. They will finally get their democracies. Those new democratic governments will be armed, and their new leaders will not forget that the US Government armed and financially supported brutal dictatorships (such as the ones in imploding Tunisia and Yemen) that ruled them with fists of iron.

    More that anything else, the revolution that’s coming will be a world wide demographic one. The millions of young Chinese factory workers, enduring working conditions that include only two meals a day, 100 degree factory temperatures with 99% humidity, may also feel the need to rebel someday. In the US, the young and destitute are already taking part in bloody rebellions. Their political parties have names like the Bloods, Crips, MS13, Latin Kings and the white Simon City Royals, who helped create the Folks Nation along with Black Gangster Disciples. Someday, gang networks like Folk Nation, and rival People Nation, will be driven more by demographics than by race. For a peak into America’s future, check out the power the Mexican drug lord culture has over the Mexican populace.

    Here is one of the biggest reasons that young Americans have no futures:

    Comment by black swan — January 30, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    • I thought I had seen the last of that hideous image, maybe the worst I’ve ever seen.

      Rebellions can become as violent as the criminals force them to become, so some of those things may happen.

      Of course, nobody intends “Death to America” with greater ferocity and viciousness than Obama and the filth in that video.

      Comment by Russ — January 30, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  4. The preferred candidate of the Western hedge funds is poised to take over. If this is a victory, tell me what is defeat. Real revolutions are still decades away…

    Comment by nilys — January 30, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  5. I pray for the success of the Egyptian people against their oppressors and for the restoration of their priceless creative expression and livelihood.

    Having said that sincerely, I cannot imagine how Egyptians can overcome the overwhelming power mounted against them by the head of the hated police, Muburak’s new Vice-President, Omar_Suleiman, who can hardly be thought of as anything other than in charge of the police terror system.

    Comment by LeeAnne — January 30, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

    • The police and the military are not necessarily playing for the same team. Since the time of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian people have worshiped their military. Their police—not so much. Although they have no love for their present military dictator, Mubarak, they do not have mush disdain for Suleiman. Suleiman will probably not take Mubarak’s place, but he will be one of the king makers behind whomever does.

      Because the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood have been anything but brothers in arms, since the early 1950s, the transition towards new Egyptian leadership, replacing Mubarak’s rule, could be messy.

      Comment by black swan — January 30, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

      • The people know who the police are, who directs the police, what the police have been doing to them and where they Suleiman to go aljazeera

        ‘No to Suleiman, no to Shafik’
        By Al Jazeera Staff in

        * Middle East

        on January 30th, 2011.

        CAIRO, EGYPT — The headline of this post was a common banner at tonight’s protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square – a sign that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak hasn’t succeeded in mollifying anti-government demonstrators with two new appointments.

        One enterprising Egyptian actually set up a small kiosk and sold the signs outside the square.

        Mubarak yesterday installed Omar Suleiman, his longtime intelligence chief, as vice president; and former air force commander Ahmed Shafik as prime minister.

        But the move has won him little popular support, as evidenced by the signs at tonight’s rally, or the group of about 25 demonstrators who surrounded a tank outside the Egyptian museum and chanted slogans about the Egyptian intelligence chief. “Suleiman, Suleiman, get on a plane tonight,” was one refrain.

        Suleiman’s appointment as vice president has been described by some as a major step; Egypt hasn’t had a vice president since Mubarak took office, after all.

        But most Egyptians at Sunday’s protest dismissed the appointment as a stunt: Ahmed, a taxi driver from the Medinat Nasr neighbourhood, called him “Mubarak’s right hand”; Osama, a businessman who walked across the bridge from Cairo’s upscale Zamalek district, called him “the big man” behind the regime’s “dirty policies.”

        Comment by LeeAnne — January 30, 2011 @ 11:55 pm

      • I don’t know much about him myself, but the stuff I’ve been reading says the people consider Suleiman another crony and tool of the US; that indeed he may be even more pliable for neoliberalism, if he could achieve Mubarak’s level of power.

        He’s certainly gung ho about the Global War on Terror as a campaign of repression, torture, and disaster capitalism.

        Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 6:02 am

  6. Thank you for reading my comment Russ. Just a few notes on Suleiman I’ve found on the Internet.

    The new vice president, Omar Suleiman, is described as America’s man, and ‘”one of the world’s most powerful spy chiefs”. Foreign Policy magazine ranked him the Middle East’s most powerful intelligence chief, ahead of Mossad chief Meir Dagan.’ Wiki

    and this from truth-out

    … a pattern of gross and systematic human rights abuses against perceived opponents of the regime, including massive detentions without due process, torture on an administrative basis and extrajudicial killings. Targets of government repression have included not just radical Islamists, but leftists, liberal democrats, feminists, gay men, independent-minded scholars, students, trade unionists, Coptic Christians and human rights activists. truth-out

    and some numbers:

    “… the 350,000 strong Central Security Forces CSF organization is an Egyptian Paramilitary force which is responsible for assisting the Egyptian National Police for the security of governmental fixed sites, foreign embassies & missions, riots & crowds control, publicly crowded events, high risk… and Border Guard Forces, with about 337,000 personnel between them, are under the control of the Ministry of Interior
    Ministry of Interior (Egypt) The Ministry of Interior of Egypt is part of the Cabinet of Egypt. It is responsible for policing and Law enforcement in Egypt.”

    Comment by LeeAnne — January 31, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    • He sounds like, not America’s man but the man of the US elites. (Who aren’t America’s either).


      Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen, Mamdouh Habib, was captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure, tortured by Pakistanis. He was then rendered (with an Australian diplomats watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s personal attention. As related by Richard Neville, based on Habib’s memoir:

      Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman…. Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.

      That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:
      To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.

      After Suleiman’s men extracted Habib’s confession, he was transferred back to US custody, where he eventually was imprisoned at Guantanamo. His confession was then used as evidence in his Guantanamo trial.

      Clearly, the elevation of Suleiman, with the acceptance of the US, is not a move in the direction of democratizing the country.

      Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

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