Inside the Egyptian Revolution


Inside the Egyptian Revolution

An Interview with Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

By Angie Tibbs, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice / December 5th, 2011

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat joining the Egyptian protests in February 2011

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat, medical doctor and journalist (Pyramidion) was one of  hundreds of thousands Egyptians occupying Tahrir Square  in late January/early February of 2011.   Ten months later Egyptian people are once again back on the streets despite a deadly crackdown by security forces.  I interviewed Dr. Ezzat via e-mail about the revolution then and now
Angie Tibbs:  Dr. Ezzat, let’s start at the beginning.  In January 2011 hundreds of thousands of Egyptians began their Tahrir Square occupation; you were on the ground there as a journalist and as a medical doctor. Would you recreate the mood of the of the demonstrators, and, in fact, of the country?

Ashraf EzzatEgyptians still refer to those 18 days (January 25- February 11) as the glorious days of the revolution. Those days will undoubtedly carve their place in the modern history of Egypt. And contrary to what the mainstream media concluded, the Tahrir Square saga that captured the world may have been called for by some activists using the internet social media, but it was mainly fueled and triggered by …

Three Americans Arrested in Occupy Tahrir Square


The latest clashes between Egyptian police and protesters in Tahrir square have been raging since last Saturday

The state television in Egypt aired pictures of three American students who, according to Egypt interior ministry sources, were arrested by the police last Monday on rioting charges.

The American students are facing accusations of participating in Cairo riots and throwing Rocks &Molotov cocktail bottles at the Egyptian police forces near Tahrir square in downtown Cairo.

The TV report didn’t mention the names of the three Americans, but the American embassy in Cairo has confirmed the news of their detention. The trio, studying at the American University in Cairo, have been named as Derrik Sweeney and Gregory Porter, both 19 years old, and Luke Gates, 21.( Watch the video of CBS news coverage interviewing their families in the United States)

It seems the three American teens sympathized with the Egyptian protesters in their latest standoff with the police forces they decided to show some support and give them a hand to occupy Tahrir square!

OWS To Send Delegation to Egypt


On Nov. 11, the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly agreed to send a delegation of twenty members to Egypt to participate in monitoring, in a symbolic way, the first post-Mubarak parliamentary election due to take place on November 28th.

Lately, a group of Egyptian activists have visited OWS in a show of solidarity to the movement which a lot of the participating American youths envision as a revolution in the making.

In a meeting of the think tank at OWS on Nov.12, the group discussed who will be sent to Egypt by the end of the month.

Occupy Wall Street and The Tahrir Lesson


“Every success story is also a story of great failure.”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Tahrir square saga

What took place in Egypt Tahrir square last February is proving, as days go by, to be a decisive turning point in the psychology of the silent masses around the world.

What made this Tahrir revolution so influential is that we were not told about it, we did not read about it days or years later in some newspaper or history book, we didn’t watch a 30 seconds-clip of it on the TV news, rather we watched the whole uprising as it unfolded during 18 consecutive days live and uncensored.

In other words, we, the huddled masses, the silent majority, saw for ourselves that people, if united in their aspirations and vision, could break the long chain of sinful obedience.  

As the world follows the current New Yorkers sit-in and their anti-corporate greed rallies in Wall Street as well as in many other American cities, we find it hard for any scholar or observer of socio-political affairs to skip the link, or rather the impact the Tahrir square phenomena had, not only on “Occupy Wall Street” but around the world.

It is not hard to connect the dots as we recollect what happened in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Spain and Israel ever since the millions of Egyptians made good on the famous motto “the street is ours”

But every success story is also a story of great failure.

Occupy Wall Street protests

Engulfed by the naïve impulse of mass culture and mesmerized by the system apparently bending to their demands the thousands of Egyptians who occupied Tahrir square for almost three weeks prematurely evacuated the place without delegating a committee to speak on their behalf and without choosing some leadership to represent them and carry on the political struggle necessary for the full realization of their demands.

This is where the tahrir saga went wrong and the reason why their revolution has been unabashedly hijacked. We hope the American youths currently steering “occupy Wall Street” have learned the Tahrir square lesson and that they will take the necessary precautions not to let their uprising get hijacked.

Beware, the old hawks are watching.

‘I Am Not Moving: Occupy Wall Street’ – Short Film

Edited by Corey Ogilvie

Dedicated to the People, Shot by the People, For the People who are breaking the chain of obedience.

Segments of speeches made by the US President and Secretary of State, as they discuss present-day social unrest in the Middle East, professionally and beautifully edited with scenes of recent police brutality in Lower Manhattan, drawing a powerful observation about the hypocrisy and corruption of US foreign and domestic policy.

In Post- Mubarak Egypt, Waterboarding is Kid Stuff


“There was much more to this unique Tahrir square phenomenon than just bread and butter, … there were popular demands to restore a lost dignity.”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

The Egyptian Revolution and the epic story of Tahrir square

There are a few academic definitions of “Revolution”… but they all come down to one sentence “Dramatic change in a relatively short period of time”

It could take some time to change the political system of a country; it could take some time to draft a new constitution, elect a new parliament, even a new president … but it will definitely take so many years to get rid of the culture of fear when you have been living for so long in a police state.

It is understandable that criminals usually need rehabilitation, but what is not conceivable is when you find a situation where police officers need to be rehabilitated and retrained to properly serve and protect the people according to a code of ethics that is universally agreed upon.

Torture, was the only department the regimes of the Arab dictators excelled at. When Mr. Bush, the White House criminal launched his stupid crusade, better known as the war on terror, he used to send abducted suspects of the so called al-Qaeda over to Morocco, Egypt and Jordan for innovative techniques of questioning that made waterboarding looked benign.

The Egyptians revolted not against Mubarak per se, rather they protested against living in a police state that acted, not according to the order of law, but under the emergency law, where every suspect is guilty until proven otherwise. And in the mean time he is most likely to be humiliated like never before in his life and stripped of his dignity and pride. And if he was to get out of his imprisonment again, he will likely to walk out as a human wreck.

Of course there were social and economic grievances behind the Egyptian revolution, but there was much more to this unique Tahrir square phenomenon than just bread and butter, … there were popular demands to restore a lost dignity.

The honeymoon between the Egyptian military and the protesters did not last long

The honeymoon between the Egyptian military and the protesters did not last long. Tahrir Square, which had been the scene of jubilant celebrations, soon turned into a battlefield, as the army moved to violently disperse activists, beating them with clubs and electric rods – even firing live ammunition – leading to many casualties.

 Hundreds were dragged away to trucks and thrown in prison. Between January 28 and August 29, almost 12,000 civilians were tried in military tribunals, far more than Mubarak managed in 30 years of dictatorship. Torture by police and military personnel remains widespread with hundreds of cases involving beatings, electrocution, and sexual assault reported.

A video was released lately revealing army and police officers torturing citizens in Kurdi police station in the governorate of Dakahlia (lying north east of Cairo)

The video showed three half naked citizens bound and blindfolded and the officers stepping on them with their shoes. The video then shows an officer form the Special Forces electrocuted the citizens behind on their ears with taser guns, making them scream while they were being interrogated.

The video showed some familiar officers who appeared during the Egyptian January 25 Revolution, from the army, police and the Special Forces.

It is worth mentioning that the two suspects, being tortured in the video, were caught red handed robbing and looting … but I don’t think this fact could make this whole mockery of human rights and legal procedures less reprehensible.  

The Egyptian police/military forces might as well have saved themselves the trouble and bombarded the two men at the crime scene by some drone attacks, as Obama did with this Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

But then again, the Awlaki case is no comparison to this Egyptian police misconduct, I mean the suspects were at least brought in for questioning. We have to give the Egyptian police credit for that.

Sean Penn takes part in Egypt’s Tahrir demo


“Two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn makes surprise appearance at today’s Tahrir Square protest”

 

Ahram Online, Friday 30 Sep 2011

Sean Penn & Egyptian actor, Khalid el-Nabawy joining the protests in Tahrir square

US film star and Oscar winner Sean Penn has joined today’s demonstration in Tahrir Square, staged to protest recent unpopular moves by Egypt’s ruling military council.

“The world is inspired by the call for freedom by the courageous revolution of Egypt,” Penn, waving an Egyptian flag, told Ahram Online from the square. “There are still struggles forward, there are constitutional issues, there [needs to be] a transition of power from the military to the people.”

Penn arrived in the square shortly after noon with Egyptian actor Khaled El-Nabawy. The two actors toured the iconic landmark before heading to the nearby Egyptian Museum.

The American actor added that he had joined today’s protest in order to show “solidarity with our brave Egyptian brothers; we are here to support their freedom.”

El-Nabawy said he had personally invited Penn to Egypt in hopes of reenergizing the country’s flagging tourism industry, which has struggled to bounce back following the recent revolution. El-Nabawy said that such visits by high-profile personalities would show that Egypt remained a “safe and beautiful country.”

Penn, a two-time Academy Award winner for his roles in ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Milk,’ is also an outspoken critic of US policy in the Middle East.

Egyptian Becomes Hero after Removing Israeli Flag from Embassy


‘Ahmad A-Shahat says he ‘insisted on climbing on the roof and take down the flag of the Zionist entity because that was one of the goals of the revolution – to depose Mubarak and all his friends, among them the Zionist entity’

 

Ahmed Shahat

“When I went up the steps of the embassy, I thought of the blood of the Egyptian victims,” that was how Ahmad A-Shahat described his “act of heroism,” which won the support of the masses in Egypt – taking down the Israeli flag from  the building (approx. 20 floors) that contains the israeli embassy in Cairo

The unknown Egyptian managed to climb on the embassy’s roof on Saturday, switch the Israeli flag with the Egyptian one to the cheers of thousands, and then burn the Israeli flag.

A-Shahat’s star was quick to rise: “I insisted on climbing on the roof and take down the flag of the Zionist entity because that was one of the goals of the revolution – to depose Mubarak and all his friends, among them the Zionist entity,” he told Al-Jazeera.

“If we want to take down Mubarak, we must take down all his allies and especially the Zionists in Egypt. They had many investments during Mubarak’s era. We must expel them and their investments if we want to eradicate Mubarak’s regime,” A-Shahat said after coming down from the roof.

A-Shahat said he had succeeded in climbing on the roof by taking advantage of a swap between the security patrols. As expected, he also became a hit on Facebook and several glorifying fan pages have already been established in his honor.

The young Egyptian also linked his actions to events on the border on Thursday, when six Egyptian soldiers were killed, saying that it was “the simple reaction to what Israel did to Egyptian soldiers in Sinai.” He expressed hope that his actions would be repeated by “a billion Arabs.”

The incident on the border stirred a diplomatic crisis between Tel Aviv and Cairo. Egypt’s cabinet said on Sunday that an Israeli statement expressing regret for the border deaths was not enough, but it stopped short of saying if it would recall its Tel Aviv envoy.

Special thanks to The Ugly Truth website

Mubarak In The Cage For The Wrong Charges


“Mubarak is a sellout, he has betrayed his country and his people and he should have appeared before a supreme court and charged with crimes of high treason”

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Mubarak lying on a hospital bed behind the wire mesh of the defendants' cage in a Cairo court.

 In Egypt, the land of the pharaohs as it is known around the world, and the nation that has been ruled for almost its entire long history by semi-god kings, caliphs, sultans, khedives and autocratic presidents the appearance of Hosni Mubarak, the lately ousted president in a Cairo court to face criminal charges is undoubtedly a historic event and a precedent that casts an extremely important shadow on the modern history of Egypt and the whole Middle East as well.

 This is not an every day event not only in Egypt, but in the whole Arabic and Muslim world.

Political dissent is anti-Islamic

 

Political upheavals and opposition to the ruler is something that is unheard of and moreover considered as an outlawed value in the ultra-conservative Islamic jurisprudence, as The Koranic verse clearly states, “O you believers, obey God, obey the prophet and obey those in charge among you”

Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Alaa, appearing in the defendants' cage

May be that is one of the reasons, amongst other deeply entrenched negative cultural and social traditions, why Arabic and Muslim nations in particular have amazingly endured for centuries under the tyranny, exploitation and deception of corrupt to the bone colonization and dictatorship disguised under the cloak of religion.

Throughout the centuries all it took for any debauched Caliph or king, who reigned over some Muslim subordinates, to safeguard his throne is to quote some verses of the holy Koran on addressing his people and publicly attend the Friday prayers while holding a copy of the Koran in one hand and a Misbaha –Muslim rosary beads- in the other.

It is so simple a scheme and yet it worked like magic. It is called playing the religious and striking a guaranteed chord amongst the Muslim naïve public opinion.

And that is why Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, stuck to this robust tradition and followed their shrewd lawyer’s advice as they appeared in the courtroom, each clutching a noticeably large copy of Koran. The Mubarak family as they were approaching the end of their corrupt game made sure they struck the same religious chord for the public once again.

The Egyptian revolution is so unique and inspiring yet it entails a lot of hard to grasp contradictions.

The Islamists take over Tahrir Square

 

Tahrir Square in Cairo in February,2011

Thousands of middle class, internet-savvy and secular youths have planned and courageously sparked this glorious uprising which kept growing bigger and stronger over the memorable 18 days of the Egyptian uprising that led to the stepping down of Mubarak, yet we have lately found the Islamist factions in the country trying to hijack the struggle of those secular and politically cultured youth and drive this Egyptian uprising into the road of the Islamic state.

The whole world is now appalled by the brutality of the Syrian regime in crushing down the protests all over Syria. Well, this was the same appalling situation those secular and brave Egyptian youths faced when they took to the streets and confronted the brutal crack-down of the Egyptian police security forces while calling for change, freedom and social justice.

As the whole world was closely watching the deadly confrontations between the peaceful protesters and the security forces and as the millions were swarming the iconic Tahrir square nobody spotted any Islamist rallies or factions contributing to the demonstrations as if Egypt had none of them … but how could they have participated when their disturbed understanding of Islam forbid them from opposing the ruler- even if he was stinking corrupt.

Tahrir Square in Cairo, July, 2011

Last Friday, the same Tahrir square was packed with Islamists, Muslim brothers and Salafists, calling for a Muslim state, as if the predominant majority of the Egyptians didn’t adhere to moderate Islam and ignoring that 20% of the population followed Christianity and as if the nearly one thousand of young Egyptians who died on the streets during the uprising had sacrificed their lives solely for this absurd purpose.

The uprising that started with glorious and inspiring street chants for freedom and equality have disappointingly ended up with Islamist factions crawling out of their hideouts and claiming the right to apply Sharia law and to do away with the secular and democratic government.

History tells us about revolutions, they all start with high hopes and sparkling moments of human will and aspirations for a better tomorrow but it also tells us how they end up in despair, eyes filled with tears and broken dreams.

Why Egyptians wanted the regime down?

 

Pro-democracy protester tearing down a Mubarak's street poster.

The Egyptians revolted against the dictatorship of Mubarak, against decades of watching the country sabotaged and decaying on daily basis, against lack of freedoms and equality, against inadequacy that prevailed from the school classrooms to the police stations and from hospital wards to courtrooms, against negligence that swept through Egypt’s fields, factories and universities.

Egyptians revolted against Mubarak because the land of the abundant river Nile has joined the club of the countries’ most likely to face thirst in the coming decades due to bad management of the river Nile file.

Egyptians ousted Mubarak for he is simply a sellout, a president who violated his presidential oath; he abandoned the country’s strategic interests and instead looked after his own. And those are the charges he was supposed to be facing in court.

Wrong indictment

 

During his reign Egypt has witnessed one of its most incompetent administrations. Mubarak severed Egypt’s relations with its African neighbors following a failed assassination in Ethiopia 1995, neglected the project of the pan-Arabic economical and political unity and cared only to serve the interests of his Zionist friends in Tel Aviv.

During Mubarak’s reign Egypt has considerably lost its pivotal political role on the African, Arabic and Middle-Eastern level.

When you topple a dictator like that and you finally put him on public trial you don’t prosecute him on charges of facilitating the murder of peaceful protesters and accepting bribes in a land-swap deal. … This is simply a joke.

Egypt, during Mubarak’s rule, ranked high, next to corruption, in the world records of end stage renal failure, pediatric cancer, chronic hepatitis C and road accidents as 23ooo Egyptians died on the road every year.

I’m not trying to underestimate the precious lives nearly one thousand youths have willingly sacrificed to gear up this revolution and keep it going but I’m simply stating the fact that those noble and fine young Egyptians died for a bigger cause, they gave their lives away so that Egypt would change and have more freedoms.

Those martyrs of the revolution, as the Egyptians like to call them, wanted to see an end to the corruption and tyranny that nearly crippled and impoverished the country for decades.

And when it is time to put the man, who is primarily responsible for this corruption and tyranny, on trial it makes no sense to charge him with profiteering and illegal land swap deals.

Trial of Louis XVI before the national convention in 1792

If we are to classify what is currently taking place in Egypt as a revolution, then revolutionary measures and steps need to be promptly and seriously implemented.

Mubarak has betrayed his country and his people and he should have appeared before a supreme court and charged with crimes of high treason. Just like the French people charged Louis XVI and ordered his execution in 1792 before the national convention.

The charges that Mubarak is being prosecuted for is going to be an easy cake for his cunning lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, who very well knew his way around a corrupt judicial ststem and who got his fame by defending the infamous Israeli spy Azzam Azzam back in 1997.

This is definitely going to be a long trial with many surprises Mubarak’s shrewd lawyer has up his sleeve.

What if Mubarak was to be acquitted on the basis of any flawed technicality in the lawsuit or due to lack of concrete evidence? What if he got a lightened sentence with suspended imposition, what would happen then, how could the angry and frustrated people of Egypt be placated? How could the martyrs of freedom be vindicated?

… Yes, the world has witnessed Mubarak in the cage last wednesday but he was charged with absolutely the wrong crimes and appearing definitely before the wrong court.

Egypt: Picking Up The Remains of a Revolution


Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 “On February 11, Mubarak, the head of the corrupt regime in Egypt stepped down … but the regime itself stayed very much in its place”

 “Could Mubarak’s impending death be a game changer in the Egyptian revolution?”

 

 Things are not always what they seem  …

Thousands of Egyptian protesters came back to Tahrir Square once again on July 8, calling for faster reforms

The Egyptian revolution lasted for amazing 18 days. The president was forced to step down. The power was restored to the people. The mass crowd cheered and screamed in jubilation. Everybody returned home happy.

Dictatorship was overthrown and democracy has finally won and freedom prevailed… The revolution has come to a happy ending.

A wonderful and thrilling story, but unfortunately far from true or over…

Five months ago the whole world was captured by the incredible scenes of millions of Egyptians pouring into Tahrir square literally seizing and taking control of the square, not by force but through peaceful demonstrations and refusing to leave the place before they have toppled the dictator, Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for almost 30 long years.

Throughout those 30 years, like in any dictatorship ruled by one party, Egypt has witnessed one of its most corrupt and darkest eras. And as the political corruption was infiltrating all aspects of life the deterioration symptoms began to clearly manifest itself on the socio-economic life in the country.

Mubarak rule ignored everything that related to the human rights and the development of the people in Egypt, his party known as the National Democratic Party –NDP- did not care much for the welfare of the Egyptians, their education or their health care and even neglected the historic and strategic file of the river Nile.

The National Zionist Party of Mubarak

 

Hosni Mubarak

Following a failed assassination attempt on his life back in 1995 that took place in Ethiopia, Mubarak decided to turn his back on Egypt’s African neighboring countries especially Ethiopia, thus sacrificing the used to be close ties with the countries of the Nile basin, jeopardizing the coordination and cooperation with those countries regarding the water shares of the Nile, seriously endangering Egypt’s strategic depth and national security and conveniently leaving this strategic play ground for Israel to step in and make use of the vacancy Mubarak left.

This was not the only political concession Mubarak offered to Israel, for he strongly supported the Israeli side in the blockade on Gaza and moreover he kept the whole peninsula of Sinai – the Asian part of Egypt adjoining Israel- devoid of any population development and almost a barren land ready to be grabbed back by an abrupt Israeli attack at any time.

Being a military man, a former vice-president and surviving 6 assassination attempts, Mubarak knew for a fact that surviving as a head of a regime in the most volatile Middle Eastern spot had to rely on international support by the United States and the satisfaction of Israel but most importantly on an ironclad and loyal national security apparatus that would tighten his grip on the country.

There he was, Hosni Mubarak, the strong dictator who reigned over Egypt and turned its revenues into the pockets of his family and his inner circle of high officials and businessmen and who, after 30 long years in power, decided to bequeath all the reign, splendor and power to his son Gamal, in an unprecedented and most provocative move that enraged the Egyptians and drove them to revolt against his rule.

Mubarak simply turned Egypt into a crippled with corruption Middle Eastern nation that looked more Zionist than Arabic, he turned it into a police state with security forces especially trained and heavily equipped solely to serve and protect the president and his men and in doing so he spared no expense … And those are the exact crimes Mubarak and his regime should be prosecuted for, not for profiteering or money laundering – accusations that any inexperienced young lawyer could refute, compromise on the lawsuit and easily get him off the hook.

Egyptian police turning paranoid due to excessive power

 

Egyptians revolting against a police state.

During Mubarak’s reign and empowered by the unlimited authorities and power granted to the police and state security apparatus, Egyptian police officers began to feel they were above everybody and even above the law itself.

Over the years and as his power was growing all the time the police officer in Egypt became like the one everybody answered to while he practically answered to no one.

The Egyptian police and state security had absolute control over everything in the country starting from deciding on the size of the illegal drugs market and the scale of reported crimes, the where and when to play the sectarian tension card between Muslims and Christians, clearing government appointments and parliament nominations and finally rigging the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Intoxicated with brutal dominance, operating militias of thugs all over the country and brainwashed with myth of superiority the Egyptian police officer turned over the last decades into a semi-god with sadistic and paranoid inclinations characterized by mere despise to the people in the street whom he viewed as dispensable and parasitic creatures.

That might explain the inhuman brutality of the security forces crackdown on protesters, not only in Egypt but as the whole world has seen it take place in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and of course Syria where president Assad, while on his way to hit bottom, decided to give the Americans and the French a flavor of this brutality in a desperate attempt to deflect the world attention away from the uprising in Syria.

The Arab spring has clearly shown that the only thing that united the Arab regimes, beside their psychosis, is their common security perspective and the emergency plans backed up with similar conspiracy therories that they kept in case their regimes were threatened.

Round 2, People vs. security forces

 

On February 11, Mubarak, the head of the corrupt regime in Egypt stepped down … but the regime itself stayed very much in its place.

On February 11, the military supreme council took over the rule in the country but the inner circle of the old regime with its high officials and governors kept their influential positions.

On February 11, the dictator was forced to leave but he left behind an army of corrupt police and state security apparatus which couldn’t see losing the battle to some mob of parasites craving for more freedom and dignity.

Egypt police forces after five months of playing the truce card and reconciliation with the people came back on June 29, reloaded with new ammunitions and a lust for vengeance and clashed with the protesters calling for more and faster reforms injuring hundreds, amongst them were the families of those who died in the revolution.

In these clashes the police force displayed beyond any doubt the most sickening and shameful act any police forces could show toward the people they are supposed to serve and protect. But the most significant indicator in these ugly clashes is the fact that the police forces and the whole state security strategy in Egypt was very much acting in the same old way.

The counter-revolution and Buying time for a dying dictator

 

According to political science, revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.

Toppling the head of the regime without an overhaul job of the authoritative institutions of the country especially the security apparatus would certainly fall short of achieving the required revolutionary change and would embolden the guards of the old regime to fight back this wind of change with a counter-revolution and that exactly what happened and that is precisely where the Egyptian revolution went wrong.

The Egyptian revolution was not followed by a revolutionary political concept nor a revolutionary command, rather an interim government that is directed by the military generals who are obviously buying time for Mubarak and postponing his trial hoping that he would pass away as the former president and not as the convicted dictator, especially that he experienced frequent heart attacks lately and now is admitted to the intensive care unit and attached to a mechanical ventilator all the time and his impending death could very well be a game changer in the Egyptian revolution.

One of Cairo churches, in Imbaba district, set on fire in May, 2011

The scenario of the counter-revolution depended primarily on driving the country into chaos and extremism.

so it was time to open the gates of the prisons and let the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative groups of Salafis and jihad out and to even celebrate some of them who murdered the late president Sadat by interviewing them on the most viewed TV talk shows in the country and ironically ask their opinion of the future of post-Mubarak Egypt.

It was time to play the sectarian violence card and to have a couple of churches demolished or even burned down to the ground to push the society to the perilous terrain of civil war.

It was time, in the absence of police forces, to let the militias of thugs on the loose to spread terror and insecurity on the Egyptian street.

It was even time to sway the public opinion and divert the attention away from the uprising by shedding the light on yet another Israeli spy who has recently been captured after spending days and nights with the Egyptian revolutionary youths In Tahrir square chanting with them “ down with Mubarak” ..!!

It was time to play all the dirty cards and play all the dirty games to make the people feel more insecure and to make them regret what they did topple the strong president who regardless of his corruption kept them safe and secure.

Mubarak / Tantawy, a composite photo for the ousted president and the head of the Egyptian military council.

A wicked scenario and it almost worked hadn’t it been for the millions of Egyptians who refused to be dragged back to the dark abyss of Mubarak days once again and who decided on July 8, to go back to Tahrir square, where all this whole thing started and say no the counter-revolution, say no to the slow trials of Mubarak and his gang, say no to the acquittal of police officers and high officials responsible for the killing of almost one thousand innocent protesters and say no to the generals of the military who are running the country close to the way Mubarak did.

… Those 18 days of mass protests in Tahrir square will always remain the most magical and spontaneous moments in the modern history of Egypt … Nevertheless those glamorous days should have winded up quite differently, the millions who packed up the square should have chosen a leader or delegated a committee to speak on their behalf.

This is undoubtedly a grassroots revolution … but it is in desperate need now for some leadership that could pick up the remains of the revolution and put it back on the right track again and face the major challenges of starting over with a new concept for security, citizenship, human rights and constitution in the country.
The revolution needs a leadership that could actualize a new revolutionary concept for a new and truly democratic Egypt.

Israeli Embassy in Cairo Under Siege


“ Just when the Palestinians in Gaza thought they were facing this new Israeli attacks alone and with their backs against the wall, they found out they forgot, over the years, that they had brothers in Egypt who are willing not only to accompany them in their struggle against Israel but to protect their backs as well”

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

Egyptians marching to the Israeli embassy in cairo, protesting over Israeli strikes of Gaza

On this very day, April 8th since 41 years the Israeli air force struck the village of Bahr el-Baqar – an Egyptian small village near Suez Canal. The raid resulted in the total destruction of an elementary school full of school children.  Five bombs and 2 air-to-ground missiles struck the single-floor school. Of the 130 school children who attended the school, 46 were killed, and over 50 wounded, many of them maimed for life. The school itself was completely demolished.

That tragic day marked the first encounter of the Egyptian people with the brutality and the indiscriminate aggression of the Israelis that targeted the innocent and unarmed civilians. This air raid demolished not only the school building but also the remains of any hopes for Israel to be seen as a friendly neighbor state.

From then on Israel was the absolute enemy in the eyes of every average Egyptian.

This terrorist attack on the innocent Egyptian school children has been deeply engraved in the memory of all Egyptians. And to make sure that no one forgot what Israel had done on that day, Egyptians made April 8th a mourning day for the killed school children of Bahr el-Bakar and to be commemorated every year for the last 41 years.
Only this year it was rather different.

Egypt-Israel relations in the last 40 years

Egypt has just emerged from its worldwide celebrated revolution which managed to topple the long lasting in power dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

So many things happened in Egypt since the Israeli raid on April 8th, 1970.

  • - Egypt retaliated against years of Israeli military aggression and political arrogance in the glorious October war 1973 against Israel.
  • - President Sadat signed – on an individual initiative- a peace treaty with Israel 1979 (based on Camp David accords) that never managed to naturalize relations between Egyptians and Israelis.
  • - Mubarak ruled  Egypt since 1980 and began a long era of not only observing the terms of the peace treaty but to acting as the closest friend of Israel and the White House in the Middle East.
  • - Mubarak, through his corrupt reign, helped Israel  tighten its shameful siege on Gaza and  even supplied Tel Aviv with the natural gas they needed for power and electricity production with prices well under the world rates. (enriching himself in the process)  But his most appreciated contribution to the Zionist regime in Israel was the complete Egyptian withdrawal from actively participating in the key issues of the Arab- Israeli conflict.

Gaza under fire again

Lately, the unrest began to resurface again at the border line between Gaza and Israel. On Friday April 8th Five Palestinians have been killed and around 45 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip following an offer of a ceasefire from Hamas after a surge in cross-border violence that was dramatically reduced by Israel and sold to the world as the usual “selective” Palestinian attack, by their most primitive handmade rockets, on a school bus – an area of specialty long mastered by the Israelis since Bahr el-Bakar school massacre.

Thus began another expected scenario of disproportionate Israeli attacks on the civilians and children in Gaza with the civilized world muted and turning a blind eye as usual.

The world has grown numb and painfully insensitive to the crimes of Israel against the Arab Palestinians in Gaza and the west bank.

And with judge Richard Goldstone bowing out and going back on his indictment of the Israeli crimes committed during the war on Gaza 2009; the world seems like a barren place for the Palestinians devoid of any free voices left to stand up against the Israeli insolence.

And just when the Palestinians in Gaza thought they were facing this new Israeli attacks alone and with their backs against the wall, they found out they forgot, over the years, that they had brothers in Egypt who are willing not only to accompany them in their struggle against Israel but to protect their backs as well.

Embassy under siege

On the very same day of April 8th and as Egyptians were protesting in Tahrir square demanding that Mubarak and his inner circle of aids to be put on trial and as the news of the Israeli attacks on Gaza made its way to the square at the heart of Cairo, thousands immediately took to the district where the Israeli embassy in Cairo is located.

Egyptians held back – by the military forces- from advancing into the building where the embassy lies practically surrounded the embassy in what seemed like a gigantic human shield. The angry protesters held flags of both Egypt and Palestine and raised big posters of al Aqsa mosque- temple mount in Jerusalem.

On a live coverage by Aljazeera of the march to the Israeli embassy- that somehow failed to make it to the news headlines- some of the protesters expressed their anger at the recent unjust Israeli attacks on Gaza and they made it clear they expected nothing less than the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador out of Egypt and taking the Israeli flag off the embassy building.

Some of the protesters went far as to demand the immediate end to the siege imposed on Gaza from the Egyptian side and a freeze of the Egyptian supply of natural gas to Israel.  But the most daring request came by many protesters who called for a public referendum to allow the Egyptian people to have their say about the peace treaty president Sadat had signed 30 years ago.

Amidst that overwhelming atmosphere of antagonism to Israel and its unacceptable and inhuman war of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians the Israeli embassy at the top floor of the building on the other side of the Nile opposite to Tahrir square found no other option than to dim out the lights and keep its staff hiding inside.

While the Egyptian crowd down in the streets were still swelling in great numbers around the embassy with the intensity of their enthusiasm rising high as they chanted for eternal solidarity with Palestinians the Israeli embassy’s lights were almost turned off with the Israeli flag kept as unapparent and way out of sight as possible.

On this April 8th night, and on the very same day that witnessed the massacre of Bahr el-Bakar the Israeli embassy with all the Israeli diplomatic mission in Cairo seemed under siege.

It must have been a terrible night for the Israeli diplomats in Cairo but at least they have experienced, even it was for few hours how it feels to be vulnerable, threatened and under relentless siege.

This public display of the Egyptian anger and dissatisfaction with the Israeli aggressive policy against the Palestinians may pass unreported by the main stream media but never unnoticed by the analysts of the Arab- Israeli conflict especially in the post-Mubarak era in Egypt, for what happened on that night of April 8th, 2011 might well depict the scene of the coming Egyptian-Israeli state of affairs.

On this day of commemoration, May the souls of innocent Egyptian and Palestinian children, massacred by the Israeli criminal forces, rest in peace.

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