Egypt

The Egyptian people’s revolution has entered a new phase after the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak on February 11. The first reaction to Mubarak’s resignation after 18 days of continuous protests was one of celebration. Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising, turned into the scene of a giant party for days afterwards in celebration of the exit of Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for three decades. Undoubtedly, the widespread feeling was that it was time to begin building a “new Egypt”.
Venezuelan foreign ministry official statement The president and commander-in-chief of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in the name of the Venezuelan people, applauds the genuine lesson of political and democratic maturity that the courageous Egyptian people have brought before the eyes of the world.
Over the decades that have marked the tenure of Egypt's “President for Life” Hosni Mubarak, there has been one consistent nexus for anger, organisation and practical experience in the ancient art of street fighting: the country's soccer clubs. During the current pro-democracy uprising, the most organised, militant fan clubs, also known as the “ultras”, have put those years of experience to ample use.
The attempt by Hosni Mubarak’s regime to stop anti-government protests by shutting down the internet and mobile phone services failed to stop the popular uprising that forced the dictator out on February 11. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Egypt on January 25 demanding political reform and an end to police brutality. When 24 hours passed and they hadn’t dispersed, Mubarak shut down access to media and telecommunications.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Munich Security Conference Plenary Session on February 5, said the US had always stood for the principle “free people govern themselves best”. This, she said, is “not simply a matter of idealism, it is a strategic necessity”. A cursory look at events — past and present — demonstrates the exact opposite to be true.
A joyous night in Cairo on February 11. What bliss to be alive, to be an Egyptian and an Arab. In Tahrir Square, they chanted: “Egypt is free” and “We won!” The removal of Mubarak alone (and getting the bulk of his US$40 billion loot back for the national treasury), without any other reforms, would itself be experienced in the region and in Egypt as a huge political triumph. It will set new forces into motion. A nation that has witnessed miracles of mass mobilisations and a huge rise in popular political consciousness will not be easy to crush, as Tunisia demonstrates.
Two articles are posted below on the historic toppling of United States-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt — and on the continuing struggle of the Egyptian people for economic, social and political change. For more coverage, see * * * `We will take five minutes and celebrate, then start building our new Egypt!’ By Jane Slaughter February 12 —
“We will not be silenced,” shouts an Egyptian protester in one of the many videos posted on YouTube of the uprising against the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship that began on January 25. “Whether you are a Muslim, whether you are a Christian or whether you are an atheist, you will demand your goddamn rights! And we will have our rights, one way or another, we will never be silenced!” This statement sums up the immense change sweeping Egypt. This change is driven by a powerful mass movement that put millions of people on the streets across Egypt on February 4.
Regardless of the outcomes of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, and regardless of whether protests for democracy in Yemen, Jordan and other Arab countries grow into similar uprisings, the Middle East has fundamentally changed. The people have lost their fear. Spearheaded by youth, millions of ordinary people have thrown off their fear of state violence and taken to the streets to oppose poverty, state violence and corruption. Their demands have been for freedom of speech, democratic and accountable government and economic justice.
Four hundred people braved very warm weather to gather at the State Library of Victoria on February 4 to show solidarity with the recent democracy protests in Egypt. Mohamed Elmasri from the Federation of Australian Muslims and Youth told the rally that the peaceful protesters in Egypt were defiant in the face of the extreme violence from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Nazeem Haussain of the Islamic Council of Victoria also defended the Egyptian protesters.
The popular uprising which has swept Egypt over the past two weeks, inspired by the revolt which drove the Tunisian dictator from power in mid-January, is the expression of a people’s power movement in the Arab world which has been 40 years in the making. I have been waiting for this for a long time. I lived in Cairo for six months in the first half of 1967, until the so-called Six Day War forced my family to leave Egypt for Britain. My father was a meteorological scientist working through the United Nations with the Eqyptian agriculture department for a time.
All those scenes from Cairo of mass demonstrations look like the perfect expression of the big society. So we can only assume British PM David Cameron wants us to try something similar here. It would certainly encourage more people to take an interest in politics. Instead of complaining that kids show no interest in the political process when they are asked to study details of local government boundary changes, teachers could say: "Today we're going to find out how new governments are formed" and get the class to stand on a tank in Trafalgar Square. * * *
After as many as 2 million people took over Tahrir Square and the streets of Cairo, with millions more across Egypt, on February 1 to demand on end to the US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, the regime responded with a violent assault on protesters continuing to occupy the square. Below are two eyewitness reports from US-based progressive media outlet on the events. See also:
List of protests in support of Egyptian democracy movement, against Western support for regime Melbourne: Friday February 4, 5.30pm State Library to march to the Parliament House Brisbane: Friday February 4, 5pm Brisbane Square (top of Queen St mall, outside Casino) Adelaide: Speakout: Friday February 4 2.30PM Parliament House North Tce Adelaide Rally: Saturday February 12, 11am
Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro said on February 1 that not even the support of the United States will be able to save the Egyptian government. Likewise, he pointed out that for the first time the world is simultaneously facing three problems: climate crises, food crises and political crises. * * * Reflections by Fidel Castro: Mubarak's fate is sealed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fate is sealed, not even the support of the United States will be able to save his government.

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