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Halftime in Egypt

11th February, 2011 - Posted by Ted Lewis - 5 Comments

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The Egyptian Revolution is not a sporting event. Hundreds have been killed and thousands injured by police and regime inspired thugs in the 18 days it has taken for a non-violent mass movement to build into a powerful force able to oust a dictator closely linked to U.S. interests. Yet in the celebratory moment following his resignation, it is important to remember that even as Mubarak hands power to the military, the movement that expelled him faces new challenges and deserves our ongoing attention and support. This is not over.

The protesters, who have inspired observers around the world with their bravery, determination, and sheer numbers, know that the brutal and kleptocractic regime Mubarak represented, will not simply melt away. Low ranking, often conscripted soldiers and some officers have shown sympathy and cautious support for the anti-Mubarak demonstrators, but the views of high command are harder to decipher. And as freedom loving Iranians, Romanians, Nicaraguans, Russians, Mexicans and others know, pushing out a hated figure or political party is no guarantee of peace, democracy, human rights, or an end to repression.

In the days to come we are likely to see efforts to douse the revolutionary spirits that have been transforming Egypt and inspiring supporters around the globe. Egypt under Mubarak was a strategic cornerstone for American and Israeli interests in the region. A realignment of Egyptian policy driven by popular –democratic– sentiment in Egypt would undermine the cozy, U.S. led real politic that has held sway in the Middle East for decades. Powerful interests will be at work trying to divide and contain the mass movement and its leadership.

The great drama of the Egyptian revolution will continue. Demonstrators and movement leaders are likely to face excruciating pressure to curtail their mobilization as well as to accept partial measures that leave power and class structures intact and do not undermine tacit Egyptian support for Israeli military domination of occupied Palestine and surrounding region.

In the U.S., the hysterical right has already begun an Islamaphobic scare campaign promoting the idea that radical Islamists are lying in wait to turn Egypt into another Iran. In this article, “Why Egypt Will Not Turn Into Another Iran,” Professor Stephen Zunes demolishes those arguments.

Stand with the People of Egypt

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

5 Responses to “Halftime in Egypt”

  • I am worried that this is but a short respite and the dictator stepped down to allow his henchmen to pick off the demonstrators a few at a time in the delusion that this will shut them up and the statis quo will remain and the USA and EU is once again complicade in these macinations September is a long way off….but at lest Switziland has frozen the accounts.

  • PrintHead

    Hope you will consider organizing Reality Tours to Tunisia and/or Egypt this summer. In addition to the lessons we can learn from ongoing experience & example of popular movements there, the economies of both nations depend heavily on tourism, which has obviously fallen off drastically. Was moved to hear a Tunisian tour guide, now out of work, say on Al Jazeera English that if workers in his sector now suffer economically, “maybe this is our sacrifice, our contribution to building a new Tunisia.”

  • Global Exchange Reality Tour trip to Egypt is happening and info is up on our website here: http://www.globalexchange.org/tours/by-country?field_country_nid=121

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