Friday, November 25, 2011

The First Four Days



For regular video updates check out Mosireen's YouTube page. 

Ammunition Being Used Against Us

This is an excellent post by @bakhunin rounding up everything we know about the various weaponry that has been used on unarmed protestors in Tahrir Square since November 19th.

READ IT HERE

And HERE is a collection of photographs and information about the different types of tear gas being used against us. Tweet @tg_id for more.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Statement of Solidarity by Occupy London

New statement issued by Occupy London and the Bank of Ideas tonight;

"We, Occupy London, send our solidarity to the revolutionaries in all of Egypt's Tahrir Squares, and support their demands.

We denounce the killing of peaceful protesters by unaccountable and undemocratic military Junta and Egyptian police.

Long live the revolution"

There will be a march from St Pauls to the Egyptian Embassy on Saturday, the 26th of November. Assembly point at Noon.

Occupy London had issued a statement of solidarity denouncing any support to the military on the 3rd of November in response to bloggers' arrests.
http://en.nomiltrials.com/2011/11/statement-of-solidarity-from-occupy.html

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Solidarity with Egypt. Protstests all around the world

As the death toll in Tahrir rises the number of people who join the square to fight for their rights increase, and numerous protests are erupting all over the country in Portsaid, Suez, Alexndria, Tanta, Damietta, and other places.

There are ten million Egyptians around the world. Make sure your voices are heard. And for all those around the world who believe in justice, dignity and representation, here is where you can show solidarity. Denounce the illegitimate, undemocratic military junta, and demand that your government does not support them until they step down from power and hand over to a civilian transitional government.

PS - A million person march has been called for Tuesday, the 22nd of Nov in Egypt at 4pm. It would be helpful if the call is responded to abroad, at the same time, or at 4pm - whatever time you're at. Another one is now being called for Friday the 25th of November.

London, Sunday the 20th - Friday 25th, 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the Egyptian Embassy
http://www.facebook.com/events/132162413560088/

London, Saturday the 26th, March through Edgeware Road to the Embassy, 12:00 - 3:00 pm
http://www.facebook.com/events/132162413560088/#!/events/124100994367794/

London, Saturday the 26th, Occupy London March for Egypt, assembly at ST Paul's steps at 12:00 noon.

Sweden, Monday the 21st of November, 4:00 - 6:00 pm, at the Egyptian Embassy
http://www.facebook.com/events/291947014172336/?mid=53468

Montreal, Monday the 21st of November - 21st of December, 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the Atrium
http://www.facebook.com/groups/180637455361331/180642218694188/?notif_t=group_activity#!/events/279155768792664/

Berlin, Tuesday the 22nd, at 5pm, before the Egyptian Embassy.Stauffenbergstrasse 6-7, 10785

Lebanon, Tuesday the 22nd at 6pm, before the Egytpian Embassy.
http://www.facebook.com/events/267979443254522/

San francisco, Tuesday the 22nd at 5:30, Herman Plaza.
http://www.facebook.com/events/131866870255189/?mid=534

Washington DC, Tuesday the 22nd at 8 pm, at the White house.
http://www.facebook.com/events/204935456247383/?mid=534

Montreal, Tuesday the 22nd, at 5-7pm in front of the Egyptian Consulate,
https://www.facebook.com/events/279155768792664/

Norway, Oslo, Tuesday the 22nd, at 4pm in front of the Egyptian Embassy

Germany, Duesseldorf, on Tuesday the 22nd, at 6pm, Martin Luther Platz
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=258974444134812

Jordan, Wednesday the 23rd, from 6:00 - 8:00 infront of the Egyptian Embassy
http://www.facebook.com/events/180424038714784/

Sweden, Wednesday the 23rd from 5:00 - 6:00 infront of the Egyptian Embassy
http://www.facebook.com/events/291947014172336/

Houston, Texas. Friday the 25th, from 2:00 - 5:00 pm infront of the Egyptian Embassy
http://www.facebook.com/events/240418229354792/

Tunisia, Friday the 25th, at 10 am, at the Egyptian Embassy
http://www.facebook.com/events/132162413560088/?ref=ts#!/events/162242153873221/

Los Angeles, Friday the 25th, 2:00-5:00 pm, infront of the federal building on Wilshire Blvd.
via @Dalia Fadel

New York, Friday the 25th, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, at the Egyptian consulate.
http://www.facebook.com/events/234868259913423/

Ottowa, Friday the 25th, 3:00-6:00 pm, at the Egyptian Embassy
http://www.facebook.com/events/200022343409869/

Washington DC, Friday the 25th, 6:00-7:30 infront of the Military defense office
http://www.facebook.com/events/162918647139201/

Zurich, Saturday the 26th of November, at 2:00 pm, Helvetia Platz to Bürkliplatz
https://www.facebook.com/events/177226092371635/

Germany, Saturday the 26th of November, 3:00 - 6:00 pm
Berlin :https://www.facebook.com/events/191979577554422/
Duesseldorf : https://www.facebook.com/events/220990647974904/ Frankfurt :https://www.facebook.com/events/109011242547504/
Tuebingen :https://www.facebook.com/events/280259198684924/
Hamburg :https://www.facebook.com/events/263909396993753/

Holland, Saturday the 26th at the Egyptian Embassy, 2:00 - 5:00 pm
http://www.facebook.com/groups/righttovote/?ref=ts#!/events/221173604622927/

New York City, Protest at the UN Headquarters. Sunday 3:30-6:00 pm
http://www.facebook.com/groups/180637455361331/180642218694188/?notif_t=group_activity#!/events/140484059388616/

Toronoto, Saturday the 19th of November, at Dundas Square
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=196109837132306&fb_source=message

Australia, Sydney, Saturday the 26th of November, at 1 pm, Consulate General of Egypt, 241 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
http://www.facebook.com/events/263824230331661/

Tweet your protest with #OccupyEgyptemb

Tahrir Now


We'll be back at our computers soon. For now, we're all in Tahrir. Some videos will also be posted up on Mosireen's website.





Saturday, November 19, 2011

Alaa Abd el Fattah: The Hostage State

Arabic version in al Shorouk 19 November 2011

When [Turkish Prime Minister Rejep] Erdogan was visiting Egypt there was a joke on the net that said that the Islamists, the Secularists and the Military all liked the Turkish model and saw in it the realization of their ambitions. None of them understood Turkey, her history or her political realities.

Today many of us express jealousy of Tunis, particularly after the success of the Founding Council elections – and I’m afraid this too may be based on a mistaken reading of the Tunisian model.

It’s certain that the Military and their disciples don’t like the Tunisian model, not because it will produce “the Constitution First”, or because it has delivered a big victory for the Islamists. These are details – the important thing in Tunis is that an elected authority will take over all powers and start on a real transitional phase.

In the beginning the Tunisians argued over the powers of the Founding Council. Then the people and the political forces managed to impose their will so that the Council will not just formulate the Constitution but will become the Legislator. Then there was fierce debate about the Executive – resolved just before the elections: the Founding Council will elect a temporary president who will form a government.

And so the Tunisians will not write their Constitution until after representatives of the people take control of all power. And even though the main function of the Founding Council is to formulate the Constitution, the publicity of most election lists concentrated on the legislative and executive programmes of the candidates and the parties. Tunis solved the problem of the revolution that did not seize power. As for us, we’re still drowning in it – and the Selmy Document is nothing if not evidence of the depth of our crisis in the handing over of power.

There has been a lot of talk about Articles 9 and 10 because of what they reveal of the intentions of the military. But the more serious are the Articles appended to the document; one which gives the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) the right to object to any draft constitution, and one which gives SCAF the right to form an alternative Council if the Parliamentary Council fails to agree a Constitution within 6 months.

What this means is that the Egyptian State is held hostage; if Parliament does not do what it’s told and formulate a Constitution quickly – whatever the circumstances and the disagreements – and despite the expected interference of the military and the Remnants (the Fuloul), and if the people don’t do what they’re told and vote to ratify the Constitution – whatever their reservations about it, the Military will not release the State. In fact, I think that if we vote “No” and refuse to accept the Constitution,  SCAF could punish us by dissolving Parliament, (on the pretext that rejecting the Constitution means withdrawing legitimacy) and then we will see a frank military coup – for SCAF has a history of interpreting referenda as though they were a vote for legitimacy.

The problem of the hostage State does not stop at the Selmy document; for even if the document is withdrawn but there’s no handover of power we will remain in the same predicament. We’ve seen how easy it is to push our political parties and elites into violent polarization and how hard it is bring them together – and the Constitution is a massively polarizing  issue. SCAF, in its Constitutional Declaration, authorized itself to decide when work on the new Constitution would begin, even though the referendum gave Parliament 6y months. SCAF will use this authority to accelerate the start of argument and disagreement over the Constitution and use this, in turn, to delay handing over legislative power.

We will not be able to object, for the State is hostage: if the Constitution is delayed Presidential elections are delayed and military rule extended. But as soon as work on the Constitution starts the polarization will start, parliament and the parties will be pulled into it, and we can forget any legislative reforms or any real control on the performance of the military or the government.

Like Tunis, our revolution did not seize power, and like Tunis the counter-revolution and the remnants of the old regime have taken the State hostage.

It’s time to admit that Egypt is like Tunis; that a revolution without a central command, a revolution that embraces profoundly differing currents which have no broad mass base to ease the resolving of these differences – will not seize power except through elections. Negotiating with SCAF will not resolve this, and attempts to find common ground before the elections will not work.

If we accept that Egypt is like Tunis, we should do what Tunis did: we pull together and press for full power to be invested in the first elected body; the legitimacy of the representatives of the people should cancel every other legitimacy.

In Tunis they electing a Founding Council to formulate the Constitution, but they also gave it the Legislative and Executive powers. In Egypt we shall elect a Parliament: one of the organisations of legislative power. We should follow Tunis and not wait for the Shura Council or the Presidential elections. We should return to the streets of the revolution and not leave them until the State is freed and all authority is invested in parliament once it’s elected.

Think about it: the Constitution cannot be formulated freely in the shadow of SCAF – even if we resist meddling attempts like the Selmy document. The presence of SCAF in its present role interferes with all balances. For example, the debate around whether we should have a Parliamentary Democracy or a Presidential System is altered drastically by the presence or absence of a Military Council with wide powers. And our politicians proved, in the scandal of their signing of the Anan document, that they don’t have the craft necessary to negotiate over hostages.

Let’s postpone the arguments over the Constitution, let’s pull our lines together, and form a Government of National Rescue with a new Minister of Defence as soon as parliament is elected. This way the role of SCAF is terminated and a new transitional phase begins, led by the elected representatives of the people. Then we can argue about the Constitution as much as we want.

Alaa Abd El Fattah
November 19th
Tora Investigative Prison


******

Thursday, November 17, 2011

European Parliament Passes Resolution Against Military Trials

Press release

Strasbourg, November 17th 2011

MEPs demand immediate end of military trials in Egypt



Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) today joined the voices of numerous Egyptians who made a clear and urgent appeal to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The resolution of the European Parliament asks to: "Immediately lift the emergency laws, stop the military trials of civilians today and release all political prisoners to prove you are not the Mubarak regime in disguise." The European Parliament today unanimously condemned the increasingly repressive behavior by Egypt's military rulers and urgently called upon the SCAF to show unconditional respect for the Egyptians' fundamental rights and freedoms.



The European Parliament pays special attention to the cases of prominent activist Alaa Abd El Fattah and blogger Maikel Nabil. "These two men are the symbols of what has become a systematic all-out intimidation campaign by the military against against free speech and other human rights of citizens", Schaake said. The Parliament also supports the repeated call by Egyptians for an independent investigation into the 'Maspero violence', which to date has not started. MEPs urged the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to be more outspoken in conveying the Parliament's concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt and the increasingly repressive SCAF. MEPs welcomed the decision by the SCAF to allow international observers to witness the upcoming parliamentary elections but also asked for proper election observation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Press Conference Today

At 6pm, the Journalists Syndicate, Cairo.

#NoMilTrials map of regular locations.

Ahdaf Soueif: To Work



Back to the issue of Alaa – Alaa Abd el-Fattah whose imprisonment on remand against charges related to the events of 9 October the Military Prosecutor decided to renew for a further 15 days  even though it’s perfectly clear that he intends to stay in Cairo; to be there for the birth of his son, and to face the charges against him when they are presented through a civil court –

Back to the issue of Alaa – and here’s one more effect of the unpleasant stage we’re passing through: it keeps lobbing you problems that force your attention towards them and away from your essential project: the country’s essential project, so you go round in circles, repeating yourself, while time passes and events race past you. Take for example the No to Military Trials for Civilians campaign; if we count the young people who are and have been involved with it, and work out the amount of thought and time and effort that they’ve put into it - imagine if all that thought and tme and effort had gone into one of the projects that that actually place us at the beginning of the road towards achieving some of the revolution’s goals – imagine how far we would now be along that road. This is not even taking into account the waste of time and energy of the young people unjustly imprisoned, and the time, energy and resources of their families so burdened now with procedure and visits and expenditure – but this is where we are: those in power attack, and to respond or evade we have to leave our main road and veer into alleyways of their creation.

Never mind. What this requires is a doubling of our efforts, and that we work together, as we worked in the Midan – as one living body, each part of which knows its job and excels at it. This, actually, is what Alaa reminds us of when he writes:

“One of the worst things about this imprisonment is that it holds you up. Time in jail passes really slowly and my main feeling is boredom. Outside I race after time hunting for an extra hour so I can get things done.”

So what “things” are they that Alaa wants to get done, that he feels his imprisonment is holding up? Are they his personal affairs?  His career, perhaps, as a distinguished programmer? Making a bit of money, maybe? Polishing himself in the media so he can land himself a position in the new Egypt? Alaa is frank and transparent (qualities which probably helped to land him in jail) and he tells us in his next sentence:

“I’m worried that the initiatives of the revolution that I was going to take part in may be affected. Luckily the revolution doesn’t rest on one person so I’m going to depend on those who’re showing solidarity with me to take my place.”

This sentence alone exhibits much of what we value in the character and attitude of this young man who is accused of sabotage and the theft of army weapons. I detail them here, not to praise him, but to remind us that this character and these attitudes are precisely the spirit of the revolution of 25 January, the spirit we all took on in those inspired 18 days with which we were blessed in the Midan:
  1. Altruism: he is occupied with public rather than private affairs; with the project – the initiatives of the revolution. This is a central feature of Alaa’s attitude. Had he given precedence to his personal interests (such as being present when his son is born, for example) perhaps he would not have refused to deal with the Military Prosecutor. His refusal was meant to ward off the threat that this exceptional judiciary process holds for every one of us; his civilian compatriots.

  1. Modesty: Much of what Alaa mentions from his jail are initiatives that he, or he and Manal, started. But he sees them – genuinely – as initiatives in which he would have “participated”.

  1. Communalism: the sense of oneself as part of a larger whole, part of a living organism, interacting within itself, one part making up for another when necessary.

  1. Confidence in the effectiveness of others and their ability to work and achieve.

  1. Empowerment: this confidence in others, this entrusting them with responsibility, in itself empowers and enables them.

  1. Commitment. Here he is: imprisoned, removed from the field of action, but he is anxious, worried about the work. He will not be content to take a short, enforced holiday, but will look for whatever contribution he might still make – in this he resembles his mother, Laila Soueif, who, concerned for her work and for her students, continues to go to her university and carry out her duties while she is on hunger strike.

  1. Optimism: all the above, and indeed, the act of writing itself, points to a deep faith in the usefuleness of action – and that is the heart of optimism.


All these features are features of the revolution, they are what the regime of Hosni Mubarak declared war on and tried to destroy within us. Our young people, our shabab, rose up to defend their spirits against this war, and we rose with them, and these features found their roots in our spirits and blossomed once again: altruism and modesty and communalism and confidence and empowerment and commitment and optimism – we felt them anew in ourselves and in others, so they appeared bright and clear in the people of Egypt in the streets and midans of the country. And we thought they would remain bright and clear in the Egypt of the revolution and we thought – innocently – that they were among what our Armed Forces promised to protect when they announced their belief in the revolution and their intention to protect and protect the people. How sad and terrible that they should become what leads you to the Military Prosecutor and to prison on remand.

But, and here is the genius of paradox: they are also the key to remaining free of prison, that larger prison which we broke out of on the 25th of January, and which the coalitions of old and exhausted forces are trying to drive us back into. And this is why the articles and blogs that Alaa abd el-Fattah is producing from his cell are so important; because with them he reminds us of the actual projects that shape the revolutionary reality; the reality the people demanded and for which they brought down the head – if not yet the whole – of the regime.

Alaa recommends: “We’re planning to revive the “Let’s Write our Constitution” initiative. We need help to complete the initiative’s website quickly and we need volunteers to go into the streets and midans and lanes and villages to collect our people’s responses to simple questions about the Egypt they dream of. We need popular organisations like the independent and the freed unions and the Popular Committees and the young revolutionary movements to take part in this initiative. To issue a People’s Document describing the features of revolutionary Egypt is in my opinion the best resolution to the crisis which the political forces, the elites and the military are embroiling us in in the matter of the Constitution. Who will volunteer? Contact Maha Ma2moun at the Hisham Mubarak Legal Centre to co-ordinate.

If I were free I would support Ta7aluf “al-Thawrah Mustamerrah” (The Revolution Continues Coalition) in the elections. Their lists and candidates are the closest to expressing the revolution. And they’re not going into the elections in search of power but are using election publicity to continue the revolution. Their program is against the rule of the military and adopts social justice and human rights. “The Revolution Continues” is the poorest in terms of funding, so its campaign is completely dependent on volunteers and revolutionary shabab and social media. We need it to win as many seats as possible so that there is real opposition in parliament, and so that there are people there whom we trust to keep an eye on the government and the other political forces. We need them so that we have members who can propose laws for the people; formulated by popular forces and activists, such as laws to establish the freedom of the unions, national health insurance, a minimum wage – or to adopt initiatives such as A Police for the People, the most important and comprehensive plan to reform the Ministry of the Interior.

I had intended to support some good candidates from outside the Coalition – whatever their Parties, like Gamila Ismail, for example.

Supporting the candidates of the revolution is not just by campaigning for them; supporting them also means pressuring them so they don’t forget the concerns of the revolution and don’t stray from their bias - their commitment to the people. Pressure them so that justice and the rights of the martyrs, an end to torture and to military trials, handing over authority and reforming our institutions remain at the heart of their programs and their campaigns.

The People’s Satellite Channel.  This is a tough project, and it will be easy for it to get lost, and easier for it to fall into a trap dominated by well-intentioned Oldies and experts. All the shabab who are interested in media (old and new) should join it and should assert themselves. We need to create the mechanisms to run a truly democratic channel – we need the participation of the workers and the audience before even the broad base of owners. We need a real national media that reaches most homes and can resist both authority and capital.

I don’t need to ask you to go back to the midans on November 18. After the supra-constitutional principles document it’s become clear that the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces – even if it allows us in its own good time to elect a president – does not intend to relinquish power.

These are the things I intended to do at this time. Bat there are thousands of other ways to contribute to the revolution – to its continuation and its success. Join or form People’s Committees to Protect the Revolution in your neighbourhoods and your workplaces and places of study. Work for the No to Military Trials for Civilians campaign. Join in the initiatives to keep popular watch on the elections. Support the independent unions and the workers’ strikes. Organise Tweet Nadwas in your towns. Expose the fuloul and inform people of the transgressions of the military.”

So here we are: concern about Alaa brings us right back to concern about our main project: how do we protect the real gains of the revolution, activate them and develop them? And here is Alaa, generously presenting us with a selection of projects and initiatives we can contribute to. What’s required and wonderful and honourable and dignified is that we should be the revolution, not praise the revolution and use it as a cover for anti-revolutionary actions and intentions.

Two small notes to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces:
  1. Please note that Alaa does not recommend destroying the army or harming it in any way. His recommendations simply support the return of the army to its natural place, away from civilians, defending the country against external enemies.
  2. Note also that I am one of those whom my nephew describes as “Oldies with good intentions”. Did I get upset? Angry? Did I say lock him up? No. I’m proud of him; of his energy and creativity and revolutionary outlook and strength and optimism. And I would be content for my country’s future to be in his hands and those of his comrades, the shabab, to whom he speaks when he says:


“The best way to show solidarity with a political prisoner is to prove to him that he’s not important, and that there are millions out there who are better than him and of more use.”

So let’s go ya shabab: show us some work, and show us some hope. And if you need some Oldies alongside you, we’re right there.

****

Sunday, November 13, 2011

International Day In Defence of the Egyptian Revolution and Against Military Trials of Civilians


On the 12th of November 23 cities around the world witnessed rallies and protests in defence of the Egyptian Revolution, condemning military trials for civilians, in an amazing response to a call-out for solidarity that was issued by No Military Trials for Civilians group earlier this week.


In Budapest:

Photo by Ahmad Gharbeia

Photo by Ahmad Gharbeia
New York:



Düsseldorf :



photos courtesy of Anabel Jujol

Paris :
London:



Frankfurt - Germany:


courtesy of Yosoy Lagato
courtesy of Yosoy Lagato
courtesy of Yosoy Lagato

From Montreal:




By Tamer Saad


Sand Francisco - California:




Oakland - California:

Photo Courtesy of Orv John Orvenger
Photo Courtesy of Orv John Orvenger
Photo Courtesy of Orv John Orvenger
Photo Courtesy of Orv John Orvenger

Via Indymedia Bay Area
Via Indymedia Bay Area




Occupy Oakland Egypt Solidarity March


Saturday, November 12, 2011

English Subtitled Videos about Military Trials for Civilians

Here are several links to videos with English subtitles introducing and addressing the issue of unjust military trials of civilians in Egypt from January 28th till today. Please screen, share, tweet, post and link to freely:

An introduction to the issue of the unjust system of military trials of civilians in Egypt

A quick overview by lawyer Adel Ramadan of differences between military trials and regular civilian trials, and the problems of military trials for civilians.

Five Coptic Christians randomly arrested from the metro station on their way to a protest and sent before a military tribunal.

Testimony from the family of a young man randomly arrested on his way home on January 28th and tried before a military tribunal for "thuggery".

Mohammed Abd El Hady is a minor (16 years-old) arrested from a demonstration in Tahrir Square on March 9th. He is currently serving a sentence in an adult military prison.

Testimonies about torture in the Egyptian Museum at the hands of military police after the clearing of a demonstration in Tahrir Square on March 9th (Courtesy of Al-Masry Al-Youm).

Update: Our new English-language video titled "The Maspero Massacre: What Really Happened" - Around 30 people have already been sentenced through military courts and 30 more, including Alaa Abd El Fattah, are being questioned by the military prosecutor in relation to the events.

Why Occupy in Solidarity?

This piece was originally published on immodestwitness.



Following their letter of solidarity to Occupy protesters, Egyptian activists have called for an international show of support in return for tomorrow (Saturday) in order to defend the gains of this winter’s revolution from being lost to military co-option. I’ve been helping to plan a screening of short films taken by activists and filmmakers in Egypt following the march, modeled after the cinema that was set up in Tahrir Square this summer to do the same. I also posted the flyer for tomorrow’s rally on my Facebook page; it looks like this:

In response, a friend posted the following response: “How does wall st (financial firms and banks) have anything to do with directly supplying bullets and tear gas to anyone? If Wall St shut down would that solve the Egyptian problem? These two issues seem completely separate to me.”
I think this question is more easily asked than answered, in large part because I think that the process is deliberately concealed by its own complexity. This, as in all politics. But I think it’s an important question to ask for a number of reasons and that there are ways in which the connection may not be so tenuous after all. So here are some brief thoughts.
There’s a double-edged sword to the rhetoric of international solidarity: broadly speaking, economic inequality, police brutality, and structural unfreedom are shared underlying determinants in the wave of uprisings and revolutions we’ve been seeing in even just the past year, though nations within the Global South have long understood the interdependence of their claims to postcolonial independence. The extent to which we recognize our shared struggle, then, creates it as such. And given how interlinked the world is under the grip of a centrally-controlled but globally-diffuse system of financialized capital, this is uniquely true of the present moment, and uniquely interlinked with the Global North (as that category shrinks to approximate what Occupy protesters are calling the 1%). That said, recognition through acknowledgement is not enough. People on the left give solidarity a lot of lip service, but the effect is often negligible in the realm of action, or even detrimental to the local voice of endogenous movements.
With that said, let me address why I think these particular issues — Wall Street’s corruption and military repression in Egypt — are specifically related. The Egyptian revolution was not a giant display of anti-Americanism, but a struggle to end Mubarak’s dictatorship and restore political sanity and basic economic parity to a crippled country. However, Wall Wall Street was present because Wall Street has become the center of corrosion of the American economy and the corruption of American politics, which have direct and quite massive effects on Egypt and countries like it. Some examples:
  • Egypt is the second-biggest recipient of US foreign military aid (after Israel – a non-neutral entity in the story), receiving just over 25% of its domestic defense budget from America. This is on top of direct assistance like the “Made in the USA” tear gas canisters and bullets that continue to be used against protesters, and decades of training of Egyptian armed forces. Maybe the poster should read “Washington supports dictatorship in Egypt…” but implicit in the way it’s currently written is the undue influence of Wall Street on Washington and the effective interchangeability of the two today.
  • Why would the US care to arm and train Egypt’s army? Complex answers could be given, but I think it’s fairly evident that America bought Egypt as a strategic regional ‘ally’ long ago (another moment when Palestine was sold out). Consequently, the US propped Mubarak up for the duration of his 30-year dictatorship, praising him endlessly and overlooking rights abuses and absolute political corruption that kept him in place. During this time, it’s uncoincidental that speculation and financialization of the Egyptian economy began to parallel the trends occurring in the US, creating the rise of a super-rich elite in a country with increasing income inequality.
  • Egypt has long been employed to torture American political prisoners under the extraordinary renditions program. Those techniques and facilities have and are being used to torture Egyptian citizens, who are often detained without charge and “tried” in military tribunals, which give harsh penalties often without an actual trial – hence the air quotes.
  • American-dominated global institutions like the IMF and World Bank have employed heavy-handed manipulation of Egypt’s economy via Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) that extend political and economic control over the Global South through exploitative loan schemes whose attached strings end up pulling around the puppets of American/European neoliberalism, including Hosni Mubarak.
  • Cronyism in the Middle East has opened up vast markets, and for more than oil. The transformational rise of wealth in the GCC nations, for example, reveals the financial and geographic spaces up for grab to the Western-controlled force of homogenizing capitalism. This is not a specific commentary on Egypt, but reveals the stakes that are at play for banks and investment firms specifically in the instruction of US policy in the Middle East, which again has been disastrous to the quality of daily living experienced by the laboring classes of the region.
So WashingtonsBlog is right to say that “Vice President Biden’s attempt to defend President Mubarak by saying he’s ‘not a dictator‘ is like Nixon saying ‘I am not a crook.’” From that site: