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.

What Bibi Didn’t Say in Congress Speech


Netanyahu addressing a joint meeting of the American Congress

“I intend to speak the unvarnished truth because now more than ever what we need is peace” Netanyahu said before he twisted the truth in his speech to the American Congress.

 

“Demographic changes … this is may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks”

 

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

 

Something about Netanyahu’s eloquent speech lately to a joint meeting of Congress, which has been interrupted by 29 standing ovations, sounded familiar to me. I don’t mean Netanyahu’s words but the response of his high caliber audience; it seems as if I have seen it before.

As an Egyptian who is not so keen on following much of the American congressional sessions, if any, still this extraordinary joint session of the American Congress with all that public display of candid acquiescence to everything Bibi said, or even thought, reminded me of the similarly eloquent speeches Mubarak used to deliver at the Egyptian parliament for well over 30 years of sordid dictatorship.

And also as an Egyptian I could attest to the fact that the televised sessions of the former president speeches to the Egyptian parliament members ranked high, not on the most viewed political videos but on the funniest ones.

For 30 long years Mubarak has been ranting about his relentless efforts to build a strong democracy where freedoms and the rule of law would be respected where in fact he was sincerely engaged in doing the exact opposite. But still his full house audience of apparently attentive parliamentarians kept on showing their frantic applause and repeated standing ovations to every one of his deceiving talks.

Of course Mubarak has been lying all along and he knew it and may be enjoyed it too, but what about those flocks of parliamentarians and politicians, how could we explain their attitude? Were they lied to, intimated or just hypnotized by the power of the presidential office?

The post- Mubarak probes proved beyond any reasonable doubt that 90% of those then incumbent high statesmen knew for a fact that Mubarak was the scum of the earth and they cheered for him only in gratitude for letting them keep their jobs and for the slim chance they would join in for a tiny slice of the ripped off cake. Oh yes, and the remaining 10% were just plain fools who just happened to hop in for the ride.

Shared values and interests

Haredi, ultra-Orthodox Jews

Going over Bibi’s landmark speech to the congress and trying to recapitulate the main points he stressed in his long speech, the first thing that strikes me as enigmatic and hard to grasp is his assertion that the relation between Israel, or the so called the Jewish state, and the United States is so strong because it is rooted in shared values and interests.

And every time I listen to this assertion, which usually pops up whenever Israel needs another big favor of Uncle Sam, being a foreigner I wonder, what on earth those shared values and interests might be. Are they so exclusively Israeli-American that no other nation on planet earth could hope to subscribe to?

In his speech, the Israeli Prime minister set out by stressing his country’s stand as a democratic “friend of America” in the Middle East, but largely ruled out touching on the issues that are important to Palestinians and their history.

In the warm arms of the US Congress, he somehow managed to get away with alleging that Jewish settlers – living in illegal settlements – in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not occupiers, that the West Bank (using the biblical designation, Judea and Samaria) is not occupied territory, that a united Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and that Israel should be recognized as “a Jewish state”.

Netanyahu reiterated the same old Israeli-Zionist jazz we have been listening to for years, boasting about the Jew’s historical and spiritual claims to the land.

But were all the senators and congressmen attending the speech aware that modern historians and archeologists had refuted the Biblical narrative of ancient Israelites and their stories of exodus, conquest and a magnificent unified kingdom. In other words, most of the ancient Israelite Biblical history is now more close to being a mere myth than a historical fact that cannot, or better yet shouldn’t be counted upon as historical evidence.

Were they aware, when Netanyahu spoke of giving up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland, that the Palestinians are more likely to be the true descendants of the ancestral Israelites than those Ashkenazi and Haredi – orthodox- Jews who are in fact immigrants, who fled Eastern and Western Europe following the horrors of the WWII, and whose ancestors just happened to adhere or convert to Judaism centuries ago?

When Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress that Israel is prepared to make “painful compromises” for peace with the Palestinians, including the handover of land they seek for a state, had it crossed the minds of his esteemed audience that the land Mr. Netanyahu was most kind and generously willing to hand over is not Jewish land in the first place under any international law, no matter how biased or manipulated it could get.

Repeating a message he has delivered consistently during his visit to Washington, Netanyahu said “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967 narrow lines because they don’t take into account certain demographic changes that have taken place on the ground over the last 44 years.

Demographic threat, in other words Palestinian Arabs

“Demographic changes” … this is may be the most concrete point Netanyahu has come to mention in his whole speech and could very well be the name of the Israeli next game of forestalling any possible agreements in the Mideast talks.

In 1996, Israel’s population was 5.7 million people; today, that number is 7.75 million. Today, there are 1.59 million Palestinian Arabs in Israel, compared to 1.03 million in 1996.

In my opinion, while the historical, spiritual and political Zionist claims to the disputed land of Palestine are liable to be questioned, doubted or even refuted by professional academics and scholars, demographic changes remain the one robust reality on the ground that defy neglect or negating.

Over the last 6 decades Israel has not only succeeded in actualizing the Zionist’s dream of establishing a statehood for the Jews from all over the world, or the invention of the Jewish people, as the prestigious historian, Shlomo Sand put it, but also managed to turn it into a demographic reality.

while he was getting his, God knows how many, enthusiastic applause and standing ovation for branding Hamas as the Palestinian version of al Qaeda Netanyahu was thrilled the Zionist-controlled main stream media had managed, throughout the last decade, to downplay the world wide accusations pointing the finger at Mossad and its covert role in 9/11 and his own statements of how good it was for Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman

Advising or rather, patronizing Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader to break his pact with Hamas, Netanyahu somehow disregarded the fact that he himself had made a political bond with Yisrael Beiteinu, the right-Zionist party that advocates kicking out, or to put it mildly, the transfer of 1948 Palestinian Arabs out of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and moreover appointed its leader, Avigdor Lieberman as his deputy and foreign minister who has been called by western and Israeli media as “neo-fascist, a certified gangster and anti-Arab virulent racist”

It doesn’t make much sense for Netanyahu to order Abbas to break up with Hamas while his coalition government is currently harboring hard-line extremists from both Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties who are deemed not only as anti-Arabs but whose highest spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef publicly advocates that Arabs should perish and be wiped off the face of the earth- a virulent hatred that Netanyahu usually dismisses while focusing on the long time israeli propaganda of “ we want peace, but unfortunately there is no one to talk to from the other side”. A pretext that Tel Aviv is bound to fully exploit after the late Palestinian reconciliation deal.

And as Netanyahu was keen to draw the attention to the Israeli demographic reality he never mentioned how a society deeply rooted in modern and civilized American values spoke of the Arabs and Palestinians in particular.

“If Obama wants to know who the true unacceptable partners for peace are, all he has to do is get an English transcript of discussions from the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and read how members from the political right call Arabs “animals” and make all manner of racist slurs against Palestinians” says Aljazeera opinion writer, Lamis Andoni.

 

And if the world cares to find out who is the intransigent party that is persistently hindering all the declared peace talks and the secret ones as well, all we have to do is to examine the “Palestine papers” leaked by aljazeera that revealed tons of documents exposing generous and extremely painful concessions offered by the Palestinian authority which had been turned down by the Israeli side in the most degrading and humiliating manner.

Over the last 20 years, and as the demographic changes Bibi mentioned has been in the making more kindergartens and primary schools were increasingly in demand. And with the ultra-orthodox Shas party running almost 30% of those primary schools one can imagine the kind of hate speech that is being indoctrinated to Israel kids. As a matter of fact the anti-Arab rhetoric in those primary schools has been so obvious and huge it became a rich material for the Israeli popular comic TV shows.

And since Comedy has to be based on truth, those shows are regarded as a funny way of being serious about Israel’s controversial policies and practices.

In his memorable speech to the congress and as he took the stage Netanyahu kept a long legacy of depicting Israel as the utopia of the Middle East alive.

 

Israeli Demographic changes manifested by non-stop new settelments

As he was elaborating on the long list of values Israel shared with the United States Netanyahu refrained from depicting the other side of Israel with a whole set of its other genuine values, such as segregation, blockade, covert operations and military expansion, that Israel cared to share only with its Mossad and Zionist ideologues.

Touching on any of those unpleasant issues could have carried the risk of tarnishing the glittering utopian image of Israel he was sketching before a joint assembly of American statesmen 90% of whom knew who Netanyahu really was and what he stood for and the remaining 10% just happened to be invited for the free Zionist ride on the Israeli-American campaign to block the UN vote aiming to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state due next September where Israel and America will yet to stand  isolated once more against the will of the free world, but what does it matter, after all that what friends who share the same values and interests, are for.

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.

Related Articles:

- ARAB UPRISINGS: Time-Out For Israel Is Over

DR. ASHRAF EZZAT: Power to The People of Historic Egypt


Egypt goes back in history thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians didn’t only build enduring wonders like the obelisks and temples but they also established a lingering centralized government with the king dominating and ruling like God over a highly organized society.

via DR. ASHRAF EZZAT: Power to The People of Historic Egypt.