Egypten – en psykologisk revolution

Noget af det mest afgørende, der er sket i Egypten i løbet af de sidste 18-20 dage, er det rent psykologiske: Da det blev klart, at regimet faktisk ikke kunne forhindre de store demonstrationer, trods hårde kampe og en usædvanligt brutal indsats fra det frygtede uropoliti og siden fra regimets betalte bøller, glemte folk ganske enkelt at være bange.

I stedet er de nu vågnet op til et land, som er deres eget, og som de selv må tage ansvaret for, som Al Jazeeras Evan Hill skriver fra Cairo:

In 18 days, revolution uprooted a regime that had ruled the country with ruthless tenacity for 30 years.While the upheaval has opened the door to political and economic reform, its most lasting effect may be the opening of the Egyptian mind.

With the army on the streets and the old order in flames, the wall of cynical humour and pessimism erected by Egyptians as psychic protection against the crushing weight of their corrupt government seemed to split apart and crumble.

Suddenly, anything was possible.

As dawn broke, all-volunteer teams of street sweepers wearing rubber gloves and cotton masks struck out along Cairo’s decrepit boulevards, sweeping dust and debris into trash bags.

Where once it was commonplace to see Cairenes chuck wrappers and used food cartons with abandon, it was now impossible to drop a cigarette butt without a stern reprimand.

In and around Tahrir Square, civilians painted over and scrubbed away anti-government graffiti that peppered every surface, from the walls of the old campus of the American University in Cairo to the armour of parked tanks.

In Abdel Moneim Riad Square, near the Egyptian museum, where pro- and anti-government crowds had hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at each other in deadly combat on February 2, men and women now formed human chains to prevent passersby from smudging the curbs they had just painted in thick black-and-white stripes.

But the effort goes beyond rubbish pick-ups and street sweeping.

What is being suggested in Cairo now is nothing short of a mental house-clearing – a complete overhaul in the way the average Egyptian has learned to do business in a society that has been smothered beneath nepotism and emergency law for decades.

One flyer being distributed on Saturday put it this way:

“Today this country is your country. Do not litter. Don’t drive through traffic lights. Don’t bribe. Don’t forge paperwork. Don’t drive the wrong way. Don’t drive quickly to be cool while putting lives at risk. Don’t enter through the exit door at the metro. Don’t harass women. Don’t say, ‘It’s not my problem.’ Consider God in your work. We have no excuse anymore.”

Link: Egyptian minds are opened

Den egyptiske revolution bør skræmme Vestens regeringer

John Pilger skriver noget, jeg har tænkt i nogle uger nu: Revolutionerne i Tunesien og Egypten giver en solid dosis “anti-orientalisme”.

I stedet for at vise os de arabiske befolkninger som fundamentalt anderledes, som “den anden” i forhold til os her i vesten, viser billederne fra gaderne i Cairo og Alexandria os noget, vi umiddelbart genkender: Mennesker som os selv. Det er blandt andet derfor, de højreorienterede spindoktorer har så travlt med at forsikre, at det ikke vil lykkes og islam vil overtage. De ser et verdenssyn baseret på orientalisme og racisme smuldre, når egypterne træder frem på vore TV-skærme som medmennesker med motiver, der til forveksling ligner vore egne, og de frygter for deres egen fremtid.

Og i den forstand kæmper de unge på Tahrir-pladsen også for vores frihed, som Pilger skriver:

The uprising in Egypt has discredited every western media stereotype about the Arabs. The courage, determination, eloquence and grace of those in Liberation Square contrast with “our” specious fear-mongering, with its al-Qaeda and Iran bogeys and iron-clad assumptions of the “moral leadership of the west”. It is not surprising that the recent source of truth about the imperial abuse of the Middle East, WikiLeaks, is itself subjected to craven and petty abuse in those self-congratulating newspapers that set the limits of elite liberal debate on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps they are worried. Public awareness is rising and bypassing them.

In Washington and London, the regimes are fragile and barely democratic. Having long burned down societies abroad, they are now doing something similar at home, with lies and without a mandate. To their victims, the resistance in Liberation Square must seem an inspiration. “We won’t stop,” said a young Egyptian woman on TV. “We won’t go home.” Try kettling a million people in the centre of London, bent on civil disobedience, and try imagining it could not happen.

Når oprøret har sejret i Egypten (siger jeg med krydsede fingre) kommer tiden måske og forhåbentlig til London, Paris og København. Lad magthaverne frygte. Og læs endelig det hele!

Er legalisering af pot skadelig?

Bill O’Reilly og Fox indkaldte et par “eksperter” for at “dokumentere”, hvor megen skade legaliseringen af marihuana angiveligt har gjort i Amsterdam.

En gut fra Amsterdam fandt sig ikke i det og lavede et svar. Svaret kan du se her, og forklarer måske endda, hvorfor vi også burde legalisere hash her i Danmark.

Via Boing Boing.

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•  Legalisér narkotika!
•  Narkotikapolitik som forbrydelse

It’s alive!

Endelig nogen, der tør tale Roma midt imod:

Under stadig striksere regel-tyrannier baserer det 21. århundredes almisser sig på stok og tvang, på gør-som-vi-siger, indordn dig eller du kan få lov at sulte – i bedste socialdemokratiske tradition naturligvis med absolut lige ret for alle til underkastelse.

Det er i dette landskab af mismod og afmagt, at råbet “Livet tilbage til menneskene” nødvendigvis må gjalde, at sværdet må trækkes af skeden såvel som pennen frigøres fra hylsteret. Danske kvinder, danske mænd – af alle kulturer og observanser – grib livet og stjæl jeres tilværelse tilbage fra de der har røvet den fra jer med løfter om frihed og udvikling – tomme løfter, brudte løfter, løgnagtige løfter.

Livet tilbage til menneskene, menneskene tilbage til livet. Velkommen tilbage til kampen, Morten – det må siges, der er brug for dig.


Philip Pullman om frihedens forsvinden

Philip Pullman, forfatter bl.a. til bøgerne om Det Gyldne Kompas, skriver i The Times om frihedens forsvunden i vore moderne database- og terrorlovstider:

We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness – the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.

We are so fast asleep that we don’t know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another?

The new laws whisper:

We want to watch you day and night

We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you

We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people

We can see you have abandoned modesty

Some of our friends have seen to that

They have arranged for you to find modesty contemptible

In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide

We want you to feel that solitude is frightening and unnatural

We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things

One of the pleasant fantasies that consoles us in our sleep is that we are a sovereign nation, and safe within our borders. This is what the new laws say about that:

We know who our friends are

And when our friends want to have words with one of you

We shall make it easy for them to take you away to a country where you will learn that you have more fingernails than you need

It will be no use bleating that you know of no offence you have committed under British law

It is for us to know what your offence is

Angering our friends is an offence

It is inconceivable to me that a waking nation in the full consciousness of its freedom would have allowed its government to pass such laws as the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the Terrorism Act (2000), the Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001), the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Extension Act (2002), the Criminal Justice Act (2003), the Extradition Act (2003), the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003), the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), the Inquiries Act (2005), the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), not to mention a host of pending legislation such as the Identity Cards Bill, the Coroners and Justice Bill, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.


And those laws say:

Sleep, you stinking cowards

Sweating as you dream of rights and freedoms

Freedom is too hard for you

We shall decide what freedom is

Sleep, you vermin

Sleep, you scum.

Philip Pullman skal holde oplægget til Moden Liberty-konferencen i morgen, som handler om, hvad der egentlig sker med den personlige frihed i disse år. Det lyder, som om han er godt klædt på til opgaven.

Link: Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms