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Report from the Frontlines in Egypt

2nd February, 2011 - Posted by Tex Dworkin - 5 Comments

Egyptian protesters have poured into the streets this week calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down by Friday, the people’s deadline. Global Exchange stands in solidarity with the people of Egypt, and we’re calling on the US Government to support the peaceful and immediate end to the Mubarak regime.

Global Exchange Co-Founder Medea Benjamin has been in Cairo for the past week. She was supposed to pass through Egypt to join her CODEPINK colleagues in leading a delegation to Gaza, traveling through the Sinai to get to Gaza’s southern border. But the Rafa crossing into Gaza was closed, and their delegation was unable to leave Cairo, so instead they have been caught up in the breath-taking people’s movement that is sweeping Egypt. The activists will stay in Cairo until they can safely make their way to Gaza, where they intend to continue their delegation for peace.

Medea has been emailing updates when she can. Since her earlier post This is What a Revolution Looks Like, things have changed quite a bit, as illustrated in a message she sent this afternoon:

It’s crazy here. We are holed up listening to the street fighting outside. All hell has broken loose. SOOOO sad. I think of just yesterday, when people were so euphoric. This was planned by Mubarak’s people, who are a bunch of horrible thugs. They are fomenting violence to justify keeping this dictator in power. It makes me so angry to think of how our governments have supported this system for so many years, and how many more people will die just to bring democracy to their country.

I saw a friend who is a professor at the American University in Cairo. He had a big gash in his head. “Please, help us tell the world what is happening. Tell them how we were viciously attacked,” he said. “Tell them we will die here if we have to, but we will NOT turn back.”

I couldn’t believe that after today’s attacks, there were still women in the square who planned to spend the night. A group of young women ran up to us and started hugging and kissing us. “You don’t know what your presence means to us,” one of the students said. “Please tell Obama that we need him to do more to push Mubarak to go NOW, before more of us get killed.”

When CODEPINK was in Cairo for the Gaza Freedom March last year, we led and participated in small, peaceful protests that were set upon by hundreds of riot police at the behest of repressive Mubarak regime. But now there has been a seismic shift. There are not 50 people rallying in Cairo, but hundreds of thousands protesting across the nation. Dozens have been killed; hundreds have been wounded. But the Egyptian people will not be turned back. They feel their power and are determined to seize the moment.

From Medea’s press release today:
Egyptians have been excited to see their message of solidarity from the American people. Many Egyptian protesters are carrying signs that say “My address is Tahrir square until Mubarak leaves” and they are holding firm. The activists also report that many Egyptian youth seem ecstatic that President Obama has acknowledged their voice in Egypt’s political affairs but they want him to put more pressure on Mubarak to step down. Women are in the streets and have played a major role in the grassroots movement for democracy in Egypt.  Today, as violence towards peaceful demonstrators escalates, the activists said rumors have circulated that the pro-Mubarak agitators are paid supporters of the dictator.

Now is the time for Americans to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people, push for free and fair elections immediately to prevent future corruption and violence and support true democracy and freedom in Egypt.

The Time is Now to Show Your Support!
As Medea makes clear, “Now is the time that the Egyptian people need our solidarity. Don’t let there be one more “Made in the USA” teargas canister hurled at these people. Don’t let there be one more U.S. bullet or U.S. weapon aimed at them. The Egyptian people are writing a beautiful chapter in the history of nonviolent revolutions. Let’s show them we are on their side.”

Here are ways you can stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people:

  • Protest and March in solidarity with the Egyptian and Tunisian people; Join the International Day of Mobilization in San Francisco, Sat. Feb. 5th 2011, 1 pm at the U.N. Plaza, Market and 8th, San Francisco, CA. More info on Facebook. Protest in front of Egyptian embassies — Click here to find an Embassy of Egypt near you.
  • Spread the Word — with information blockades and unprecedented efforts by the regime to cut off access to social media, we need to work together to ensure that the Egyptian people’s voices are heard. Blog, tweet, and share share share!
  • Call on the US government to end military aid to the Mubarak regime.
  • Sign Avaaz’s statement of solidarity and let the people of Egypt know they are not alone.

For Egypt updates, check back here on our People to People blog.

5 Responses to “Report from the Frontlines in Egypt”

  • Kirsten Moller Kirsten

    Thanks Medea — It is so important to hear from and see the faces of people willing to stake so much for change.

  • I’ve heard many Egyptians say that they want their dictator President Mubarak ousted, but then again, I’ve heard just as many Egyptians say that they want Mubarak to stay in power b/c they’re afraid that if their leader goes, that Egypt will turn into another Iraq, full of fear and beheadings. What is the Truth? I want what is best for the Egyptian people:)

  • Bob Biggs

    We will stand in solidarity for the people of Egypt. I will be joining my friends and family in San Francisco, Friday February 5th at 1 PM at the United Nations building to show our support. Thanks Media for again taking a firm stand and being so dedicated and involved in Human Rights. Obama will hear us.

  • I am sure there is fear as well as exhilaration in Egypt these days. In the end, it is only for the Egyptian people to determine how to manage their collective lives, and I believe that the best method we know for that is by holding free and general elections. I do hope that the courage and determination shown by the people on the streets will help build a strong democracy in Egypt. we need to do all we can to help support such a transition.

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