Egypten: Revolutionen fortsætter, men kommer til at vare længe

Den egyptiske journalist og revolutionære socialist Hossam El-Hamalawy forklarer i dette interview, hvorfor han stadig er optimistisk med hensyn til udsigten til at få afsat det diktatoriske regime. Han siger blandt andet, at det er forventeligt, at det hele ikke falder på plads på én gang, og at det uanset udfaldet af det seneste valg let kan tage tre til seks før der sker nogen mærkbar bedring af situationen:

Has this affected the legitimacy of the elections? Of course, it did. I had already taken the position even before the current uprising of boycotting the coming elections because they are happening while the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is still in power. You cannot have clean elections while Mubarak’s generals are still running the show or when the army, together with the police, had just massacred people in Tahrir, and Maspero. They were not even held accountable, and now they are the ones supposedly in charge of supervising the whole process?

More importantly, it’s not about who you vote into this inept parliament. My argument was that even if you elect one hundred percent Revolutionary Socialists in parliament – forget about the Salafis or the Ikhwan – still you will not be able to achieve the goals of the revolution. If you bring a prophet or a saint to be the prime minister today in Egypt, he will still remain a puppet in the hands of SCAF. If you elect a president today, while the situation is still as it is, he will also be a puppet in the hands of SCAF. SCAF are opting for a model which is like the old Turkish model where you get the people enjoying elections, electing civilian politicians in suits, and having civilian cabinets, but with specific red lines that cannot be crossed, and once they are crossed you will get a phone call from the army – or you will get a coup.

The fierce level of confrontations with the police has definitely been unprecedented since January. You can draw parallels between them in terms of police brutality triggering the uprising, in terms of the tactic of occupying the square, in terms of even repeating the same battles on Mohamad Mahmoud Street that were very reminiscent of the 29th of January – the day after the ‘Friday of Anger’ there was a massacre on that street. But there are differences, of course. Not all sections of the population took part in the uprising, unlike January where there was a higher level of participation.

The other qualitative difference is that you were then revolting against Mubarak; now you are revolting against his own army generals. This is a plus, meaning we’ve come a long way. In February or March if you would have chanted against the army generals in a protest you could have been lynched by the people themselves – not by the military police – I mean by the people. Many people believed the lies and the propaganda of the army at the time about them protecting the revolution, or that it’s Tahrir that’s causing all of the instability, but ten months later when you get this full scale uprising basically against the military and a strong occupation that lasted for a few days with the one demand of putting the army generals in jail then you know you’ve come a long way in terms of the consciousness of the people

The uprising didn’t succeed, obviously; we still have the army generals running the country. But it’s not going to be the last uprising, and we have, at least, I would say, from 3 to 6 years of ebbs and flows, of battles to be won and others to be lost. But in general I’m optimistic. I’m not pessimistic about it.

En vigtig konklusion er, at den optimistiske forestilling om, at Mubarak ville gå af, og får vi et overgangsstyre og en hurtig overgang til et frit og demokratisk samfund, trods alt er alt for optimistisk i et land, hvor militæret så at sige har ejet så stor en del af samfundets aktier (modsat Tunesien, hvor det trods problemer er gået noget bedre).

En vigtig detalje er også, at oprøret i januar og februar selvfølgelig ikke kun var det på Tahrir-pladsen – Tahrir har været vigtig, men Mubarak var aldrig blevet væltet, hvis ikke der var udbrudt demonstrationer og strejker over hele landet; og et endegyldigt opgør med militæriktaturet kræver tilsvarende, at oprøret generaliseres og kommer helt ud på arbejdspladserne:

According to a labour organizer friend of mine, you witnessed at least 1,500 industrial actions in February alone, which is the total amount of all industrial actions in 2010. Now, these actions continued in February through March, and went down a little bit in April, May, and June. But then you had September, which was probably the month that had the biggest hit in terms of strikes, where roughly three quarters of a million Egyptians took part in a strike; they were mainly in the public transport sector, the teachers, the doctors, and the sugar refineries. Here we are only mentioning the major blocs, but you opened up the newspaper at the time and all these wildcat strikes were happening everywhere.

We did not witness any strike actions in solidarity with Tahrir in this uprising; it is true that the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, and some independent unions, supported Tahrir and they had their banners there and a symbolic presence there, but they didn’t mobilize full scale. My explanation for this is that, on the one hand, the Independent Federation is still not rooted enough so as to be able to put together a general strike; and number two, the working class is usually the last class to move – it’s very easy for the youth and the radicals to just leave their family or university for a month to go to Tahrir and set up a camp. If you’re a worker and you have four kids and you’re working a 9 to 5, and sometimes even a 9 to 7 job, to put together a strike action is a completely different story. They are usually the last to move, but when they move it’s game over.

The general strike is coming. I have no doubt about this; what you don’t know is what’s going to be the outcome of the general strike. But the ball is in our court – can we push it left or right, that’s what we’ll see. At the moment there are several important protests taking place, mainly in Alexandria. Tomorrow in Cairo there will be a protest in front of the State Council in Dokki on Giza Street – it’s called Magles Al-Dawla – where workers from two privatized factories are going to show up for a court case to demand the re-nationalization of their companies – which they already won, by the way. That’s the other problem: even when you have a strike that reaches victory it never means that the government is going to fulfill its promises. Just pick and choose the name of any company that’s right now on strike and I will tell you that they have been on strike since 2009, or even 2007!

Tahrir Square is for sure the symbol of this revolution but we will not fall into the trap of taking Tahrir as a barometer for how the revolution is progressing or regressing. That’s what we’ve been saying to activists for the past months who have been demoralized. For example, you call for a ‘Million Man Protest’ in Tahrir to denounce military tribunals and only a few hundred show up, so you get demoralized. But at the same time, within the same month, you have 750,000 Egyptians going on strike and, in effect, destroying the emergency law. Even if they didn’t show up at your own protest in Tahrir Square, they effectively broke the emergency law.

Der er mere – meget mere, så læs endelig det hele. El-Hamalawy taler også om den amerikanske og efterhånden internationale Occupy-bevægelse og mener analogt til, hvad der er brug for i Egypten, at bevægelsen kan få stor betydning – men at den er nødt til at nu ud over og væk fra de pladser, de er begyndt med at besætte:

If your movement remains confined to the square than you’re not going to succeed. You have to take this movement from the square to the workplaces and the university campuses. We did not topple Mubarak in Tahrir. Yes, Tahrir was a heroic battle, a heroic sit-in, and a heroic occupation, which will definitely go down in history as one of the most fantastic struggles that happened this century, but at the same time, the regime could have held out; Mubarak could have stayed in power for a much longer time if it wasn’t for the labour strikes that broke out. So, I’m very proud of our colleagues and brothers and sisters who have taken part in the Occupy movement everywhere, but they have to link their struggle to the workplaces. If they don’t bring in the working class – which is a big challenge, and I’m not saying it’s something easy – then this movement is going to die.

Og det kan de, der gerne vil se et vellykket oprør mod de økonomiske kræfter, der i disse år insisterer på at frede bankerne og samfundets rigeste, mens almindelige mennesker får lov at betale prisen, så få lov at tænke over.  A big challenge, and I’m not saying it’s something easy.

Link: The Egyptian Revolution Continues – an Interview with Hossam el-Hamalawy.

Fængslingen af Alaa er et angreb på hele den egyptiske revolution

Den egyptiske forfatter Ahdaf Soueif i The Guardian:

Alaa is a techie, a programmer of note. He and Manal, his wife and colleague, work in developing open-source software platforms and in linguistic exchange. They terminated contracts abroad and flew home to join the revolution. In Tahrir he moved between groups; listening, facilitating, making peace when necessary, defending the square physically when he had to.

He started the TweetNadwa series – the corporeal meetings of the Twitter community. In one of those, in Tahrir, I understood the remarkable role he played. We sat on the ground, a screen displaying rolling tweets, discussing the restructuring of Mubarak’s brutal security apparatus. Comments and questions could only use two minutes. If you liked what you heard you fluttered your raised hand. Passersby stopped and, intrigued, they stayed and contributed. The numbers grew to over a thousand from every background: enabled, together, working out ways forward, and Alaa in the middle, facilitating, directing, articulating, engaged, and passionate. (…)

He was to enter a major confrontation with the military when, on 9 October, a peaceful (mainly Coptic) protest was attacked by the army and, worried, Alaa went looking for his friend, the activist Mina Daniel. He found him in the Coptic hospital, among the dead.

Alaa and his friends then did something remarkable; from the morgue they took on the entire system. In the face of the hospital issuing death certificates from “natural causes” they persuaded the stricken families to demand autopsies. Activist lawyers pressured the public prosecutor to order them. They fetched the coroner and his staff and persuaded them to carry out the autopsies in the presence of physicians whom they trusted. And then they sat them individually with the families to explain the reports to them.

The hospital morgue only had three drawers, so all the while they treated the bodies of their comrades with ice and fans, and they treated the anger, grief and suspicion of the families with tears and embraces and explanations. Thus they foiled the attempt to cause sectarian violence, and to get rid of the evidence of the bodies, and they mobilised the families to demand an investigation.

Og nu er han i fængsel, fængslet af en af de illegitime militærdomstole for at have “opfordret til vold mod militæret”. Soueif skriver: No one believes that the military believe the charges they’ve levelled against Alaa; in attacking this central, charismatic figure they appear to be openly mounting an attack on the very spirit of the revolution.

Det er i alle tilfælde i disse måneder, at det afgøres, om oprøret i Egypten skal ende med at gøre en permanent forskel – eller om militæret med trofast støtte fra Vesten vil fortsætte deres egen udgave af Mubaraks terror.

Tahrir Square: Protest mod politivold i Oakland

Hvis du stadig tror, intet har forandret sig det sidste års tid: Disse billeder er fra Tahrir Square i Kairo, hvor demonstranter viser deres solidaritet med Occupy Wall Street og ofrene for politivold i Oakland, Californien. Almindelige egyptere demonstrerer i solidaritet med almindelige amerikanere, og folk i USA er glade for og stolte af støtten. Det er for tidligt at sige, hvad det ender med at komme til at betyde, men noget er bristet.

As they vowed earlier this week to do, Egyptian pro-democracy protesters marched from Tahrir square to the U.S. Embassy today to march in support of Occupy Oakland—and against police brutality witnessed in Oakland on Tuesday night, and commonly experienced in Egypt.

Above and below, photos from Egyptian blogger Mohammed Maree, who is there at the march live-tweeting. He is a journalist with, a human rights activist, and a veterinarian …

Link: Egyptians march from Tahrir Square to support Oakland protesters.

Danny Glover taler til Occupy Oakland

Tunesien, Egypten, Wisconsin, Grækenland, Spanien – så Wall Street, og nu alle større byer i hele USA. Der er mere oprør i luften, end der har været meget længe.

Og her, Danny Glover:

Activist and filmmaker Danny Glover was among speakers in downtown Oakland on October 15th, at a rally in support of the Occupy Oakland encampment. Frank Ogawa Plaza has been renamed Oscar Grant Plaza, replete with a library, hot organic meals cooked on site, dishes, toilets, and a network of raised walkways to get you around the tent city that blankets the square.

Oprøret breder sig: 50.000 mennesker blokerer det græske parlament

Fra Occupied London:

According to corporate media and blogs, about 50,000 people participated in the rally in Syntagma Square [on May 31, 2011]. Thousands of people still there at the moment. Earlier the rally surrounded the parliament and a lot of demonstrators blockaded the gates. According to corporate media, police hesitated to attack to the people who blockaded the entries out of fear for riots from such a large crowd of people. So several MPs who had been trapped in the parliament had to leave the building from the back door through the national garden, while others had to leave the parliament after midnight, when the gates were not blockaded any more. People who noticed the ‘escaping’ MPs start chanting ‘thieves!’ ‘thieves!’. Earlier, professors of the University of Athens gave public speeches on the Propylea of the university in front of thousands people, supporting the rally of Syntagma. The speakers and the crowd marched from Propylea to Syntagma and merged with the ongoing rally there, while the people’s assembly of Syntagma Sq. carried on for seventh night.

Demonstrationerne i Grækenland er flammet op efter inspiration fra de store demonstrationer i Spanien, fortæller Wikipedia:

As of May 25, 2011, there is a peaceful demonstration in Athens and other major cities, protesting the new austerity measures proposed by the goverment, in the same spirit as the 2011 Spanish protests.[44][45][46] The demonstrations span across most major greek cities, including Athens, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Patras, Volos, Rethymno, Tripoli and Kalamata, some of Greece‘s largest cities.[47][48][49] The demonstration in Athens is coordinated by the Facebook page “Αγανακτισμένοι Στο Σύνταγμα” (Indignants at Syntagma).[50] Currently, it is reported that over 90,000 people have registered at the page,[51] and thousands (reportedly over 30,000)[45] have gathered outside the Greek Parliament in Syntagma square.[52][53] The demonstration in Greece‘s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, is co-ordinated by the facebook page “Αγανακτισμένοι στον Λευκό Πύργο” (Indignants at the White Tower), and over 35,000 people have said they would ‘attend’ the protest.[54] Some of the most popular slogans at the May 25 protest were:

  • Error 404, Democracy was not found.
  • I vote, You vote, He votes, She votes, We vote, You vote, They steal.
  • Greece your turn has come, you have to stop burying your children.[55]
  • Oust! (Greek interjection of a negative nature, meaning “leave”)
  • The maid resisted. What do we do? (Reference to an alleged sex scandal involving former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn)[46]

(…) May 31 marked seven days since the start of the protests, and the University of Athens hosted an anti-government protest with the aid of famous Greek composer and anti-dictatorship fighter Mikis Theodorakis, while the dean of the University was also a key speaker at the event.[86] Once the protest at the university was over, the 10,000 protesters joined forces with the demonstrators already in front of the parliament.[87] The total number of demonstrators was between 25,000 and 50,000[87][88] and the demonstrators had surrounded the Greek parliament, making it impossible for MPs and workers inside the building to come out,[87][88] while 8 MPs were able to escape through the adjacent National Gardens.[88] Later riot police created a passage in order to enable MPs to exit the parliament, but the 1,000 protesters gathered at the side entrance of the parliament condemned all the members of parliament that exited the building.[89]

Wikipedia citerer mest græske kilder, jeg har desværre ikke fundet dækning af gårsdagens blokade af parlamentet på andet end græsk og spansk. Men mon ikke det kommer?