Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Addicted to freedom

Millions of people in the streets of Cairo and of all the main cities of Egypt and the Egyptian regime plays it dumb. In his speech yesterday, Mubarak sounded as if he did not realize what was going on. Commentators on Al Jazeera explained this by saying that he was suffering from a psychological condition common to dictators worldwide which made him believe his own lies, especially when he tells he never wanted power. I think he is just blatantly lying, and that he does not believe a single word he utters, but it is neither here nor there. Mubarak sounded as if he was paternalistically scolding the protestors. He told them he will not seek power after September and asked them to go back home to their empty larders and hungry families in orderly fashion. The brouhaha that ensued could be heard in the four corners of the Arab World. What stupidity! What sheer patronization! The response from the streets was overwhelming: out now!

Meanwhile, two events are noteworthy: one, the US position which has apparently shifted. Now the US says it wants Mubarak out too. It does not want to bring the regime down yet, but it has given up on Mubarak. Well who wouldn't? I mean his sons fled to London long ago and his business associates are in Dubai. But the US is seeking to ingratiate itself with the people, so that it can push for a new "democratic" regime in which "democracy" has two intertwined goals: allow for uninterrupted plundering and control of resources and protect Israel. These are in reality one goal, as Israel serves as the bully who helps the US impose its imperial will.

Meanwhile, the US is considering a number of alternatives, depending on how the dynamics of the protests evolve. If the regime can clamp down, then the infamous Omar Sulayman, head of the mukhabarat and the man behing the Gaza blockade will lead the country towards US-style democracy. If the protests continue to gain strength, then Al Barade`i will be brought into the power game. He has already been positioned among the protestors. But the people of Egypt are not fools. They are automatically suspicious of anybody, of any regime, of any plan, of any politician who is endorsed by the US. This is what the US has done to itself after decades of unconditional support of Israel and of the Zionist project.

Meanwhile, in the streets of Egypt, the regime (possibly with support from the flurry of "advisors" who have flocked to the US embassy) has adopted a new strategy. Hired demonstrators (and there are plenty of those around, specialized in cheering for the leader, whoever this may happen to be) have been unleashed into the street. After Mubarak's speech, they have organized counter-demonstrations that go around chanting slogans of support for the regime, thanking Mubarak for his kindness and requesting an end to the protests. So these are protestors protesting protests, which makes an interesting philosophical case, but a very stupid practical situation. My sense is that the internal security forces are behind that. They are under Sulayman's direct orders and they are the real bad guys in Egypt. They outnumber the army (they are well over a million while the army is in the 600,000 if I remember well). First they sent in the looters, but these were exposed by the citizen who organized themselves to prevent acts of robbery and violence against civilians. So now they are sending political mobs. And these will be neutralized to.

The will of the people of Egypt is unshakable and they know we are all looking up to them. They sense they have taken the Arab World to a historic juncture and that there is no way back. The Arab World will never be the same. We have tasted freedom, and it is addictive. 

1 comment:

rosemerry said...

thanks Rami! I have just discovered your blog through Helena Cobban and will be keeping in touch.