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The workers, middle class, military junta and the permanent revolution

By Hossam el-Hamalawy | 3Arabawy | February 12th, 2011

Since yesterday, and actually earlier, middle class activists have been urging Egyptians to suspend the protests and return to work, in the name of patriotism, singing some of the most ridiculous lullabies about “let’s build new Egypt,” “Let’s work harder than even before,” etc… In case you didn’t know, actually Egyptians are among the hardest working people in the globe already..

Those activists want us to trust Mubarak’s generals with the transition to democracy–the same junta that has provided the backbone of his dictatorship over the past 30 years. And while I believe the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who receive $1.3 billion annually from the US, will eventually engineer the transition to a “civilian” government, I have no doubt it will be a government that will guarantee the continuation of a system that will never touch the army’s privileges, keep the armed forces as the institution that will have the final say in politics (like for example Turkey), guarantee Egypt will continue to follow the US foreign policy whether it’s the undesired peace with the Apartheid State of Israel, safe passage for the US navy in the Suez Canal, the continuation of the Gaza siege and exports of natural gas to Israel at subsidized rates. The “civilian” government is not about cabinet members who do not wear military uniforms. A civilian government means a government that fully represents the Egyptian people’s demands and desires without any intervention from the brass. And I see this as hard to be accomplished or allowed by the junta.

The military has been the ruling institution in this country since 1952. Its leaders are part of the establishment. And while the young officers and soldiers are our allies, we cannot for one second lend our trust and confidence to the generals. Moreover, those army leaders need to be investigated. I want to know more about their involvement in the business sector.

All classes in Egypt took part in the uprising. In Tahrir Square you found sons and daughters of the Egyptian elite, together with the workers, middle class citizens, and the urban poor. Mubarak has managed to alienate all social classes in society including wide section of the bourgeoisie. But remember that it’s only when the mass strikes started three days ago that the regime started crumbling and the army had to force Mubarak to resign because the system was about to collapse.

Some have been surprised that the workers started striking. I really don’t know what to say. This is completely idiotic. The workers have been staging the longest and most sustained strike wave in Egypt’s history since 1946, triggered by the Mahalla strike in December 2006. It’s not the workers’ fault that you were not paying attention to their news. Every single day over the past three years there was a strike in some factory whether it’s in Cairo or the provinces. These strikes were not just economic, they were also political in nature.

From day 1 of our uprising, the working class has been taking part in the protests. Who do you think were the protesters in Mahalla, Suez and Kafr el-Dawwar for example? However, the workers were taking part as “demonstrators” and not necessarily as “workers”– meaning, they were not moving independently. The govt had brought the economy to halt, not the protesters by its curfew, shutting down of banks and business. It was a capitalist strike, aiming at terrorizing the Egyptian people. Only when the govt tried to bring the country back to “normal” on Sunday that workers returned to their factories, discussed the current situation, and started to organize en masse, moving as a block.

The strikes waged by the workers this week were both economic and political fused together. In some of the locations the workers did not list the regime’s fall among their demands, but they used the same slogans as those protesting in Tahrir and in many cases, at least those I managed to learn about and I’m sure there are others, the workers put forward a list of political demands in solidarity with the revolution.

These workers are not going home anytime soon. They started strikes because they couldn’t feed their families anymore. They have been emboldened by Mubarak’s overthrow, and cannot go back to their children and tell them the army has promised to bring them food and their rights in I don’t know how many months. Many of the strikers have already started raising additional demands of establishing free trade unions away from the corrupt, state backed Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions.

Today, I’ve already started receiving news that thousands of Public Transport workers are staging protests in el-Gabal el-Ahmar. The temporary workers at Helwan Steel Mills are also protesting. The Railway technicians continue to bring trains to halt. Thousands at el-Hawamdiya Sugar Factory are protesting and oil workers will start a strike tomorrow over economic demands and also to impeach Minister Sameh Fahmy and halt gas exports to Israel. And more reports are coming from other industrial centers.

At this point, the Tahrir Square occupation is likely to be suspended. But we have to take Tahrir to the factories now. As the revolution proceeds, an inevitable class polarization is to happen. We have to be vigilant. We shouldn’t stop here… We hold the keys to the liberation of the entire region, not just Egypt… Onwards with a permanent revolution that will empower the people of this country with direct democracy from below…

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

The revolution continues after Mubarak’s fall

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 12 February 2011

Yesterday evening, after it was announced that Hosni Mubarak had met the first demand of the revolution and left office, I headed toward the Egyptian embassy in Amman. The joy on the streets was something I had never experienced before.

From all directions people came, pouring out of cars stuck in gridlocked traffic on Zahran Street and into the side street where the embassy sits. They were young and old and families with children. Egyptian laborers — the unacknowledged back bone of much of the Jordanian economy — sang, carried each other on their shoulders and played drums. Egyptian flags waved and signs were held high.

The chants were as varied and lively as the crowd which grew to thousands: “Long Live Egypt!,” “The people overthrew the regime!,” “Who’s next?,” “Tomorrow Abbas!” Some people showered the crowd with sweets, as fireworks burst overhead. Everyone took pictures, recording a moment of victory they felt was made by the Egyptian people on behalf of all of us.

After Tunisia, a second great pillar of oppression has been knocked down, at such great cost to hundreds who gave their lives, and many millions who saw their lives destroyed for so many years. It was a night for joy, and the celebrations continue today.

After the celebrations are over, the revolution too must go on, because it will not be complete until the Egyptian people rebuild their country as they wish it to be.

But standing in the streets of Amman there was no mistaking that the Egyptian revolution will have a profound impact on the whole region. Arab people everywhere now imagine themselves as Tunisians or Egyptians. And every Arab ruler imagines himself as Ben Ali or Mubarak.

The revolution has reawakened a sense of a common destiny for the Arab world many thought had been lost, that seemed naive when our mothers and fathers told us about it from their youth, and that Arab leaders had certainly tried to kill. The Arab dictators, who are as dead inside as Mubarak showed himself to be in his awful televised speeches, thought their peoples’ spirits were dead too. The revolutions have restored a sense of limitless possibility and a desire that change should spread from country to country.

Whatever happens next, the Egyptian revolution will also have a profound effect on the regional balance of power. Undoubtedly the United States, Israel and their allies are already weaker as a result. First they lost Tunisia, and then suffered a severe setback with the collapse of the US-backed Lebanese government of Rafiq Hariri, and now Mubarak and Omar Suleiman, the closest and most enthusiastic collaborators with Israel except perhaps for Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies in Ramallah.

On many minds — especially Israeli and American ones — has been the question of whether a new democratic Egyptian government will tear up the 1979 peace treaty with Israel. That of course, is up to the Egyptian people, although the transitional military government confirmed in its fourth statement Egypt’s adherence to “all international and regional treaties.”

But the treaty is not really the issue. Even if democratic Egypt maintains the treaty, the treaty never required Egypt to join Israeli and American conspiracies against other Arabs. It never required Egypt to become the keystone in an American-led alliance with Israel and Saudi Arabia against an allegedly expansionist Iran. It never required Egypt to adopt and disseminate the vile “Sunni vs. Shia” sectarian rhetoric that was deliberately used to try to shore up this narrative of confrontation. It never required Egypt to participate in Israel’s cruel siege of Gaza or collaborate closely with its intelligence services against Palestinians. It never required Egypt to become a world center of torture for the United States in its so-called “War on Terror.” The treaty did not require Egypt to shoot dead migrants crossing Sinai from other parts of Africa just to spare Israelis from seeing black people in Tel Aviv. No treaty required or requires Egypt to carry on with these and so many more shameful policies that earned Hosni Mubarak and his regime the hatred of millions of Arabs and others far beyond Egypt’s borders.

There is no doubt that the United States will not give up its hegemony in Egypt easily, and will do all it can to frustrate any Egyptian move toward an independent regional policy, using as leverage its deep ties and enormous aid to the Egyptian military that now rules the country. The regional ambitions of the United States remain the main external threat to the success of Egypt’s revolution.

Whatever break or continuity there is with Egypt’s past policies, the calculations have changed for remaining members of the so-called “alliance of moderates,” particularly Saudi Arabia — which allegedly offered to prop Mubarak up financially if the US withdrew its aid — Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

For many years, these regimes, like Egypt, bet their security and survival on a virtually unconditional alliance with the United States: they abandoned all dignified, independent and principled positions and adopted America’s hegemonic aspirations as their own, in exchange for assistance, and what they hoped was a guarantee that the US would come to their rescue if they got in trouble.

What the revolutions demonstrate to all Arab regimes is that the United States cannot rescue you in the end. No amount of “security assistance” (training, tear gas, weapons), financial aid, or intelligence cooperation from the United States or France can withstand a population that has decided it has had enough. These regimes’ room for maneuver has shrunk even if the sorts of uprisings seen in Egypt and Tunisia are not imminent elsewhere.

After the revolutions, people’s expectations have been raised and their tolerance for the old ways diminished. Whether things go on as they have for a few weeks, a few months, or even a few more years in this or that country, the pressures and demands for change will be irresistible. The remaining Arab regimes must now ask not if change will happen but how.

Will regimes that relied for so long on repression, fear and the docility of their people wait for revolution, or will they give up unearned power and undertake real democratization willingly, speedily and honestly? This will require not just a dramatic change of internal policies which regimes may or may not be capable of making voluntarily, but also a deep reexamination of external alliances and commitments that have primarily served Israel, the United States and the regimes at the expense of their people.

Jordan is now a prime case where such a reexamination is urgently due. Regardless of whether or not (and I think almost certainly not) the newly-appointed cabinet will be able to meet public expectations for democratization, fighting corruption, and ending the worst neo-liberal policies that have put so many of the country’s resources and companies in unaccountable private hands, the country’s foreign policy must undergo a full review.

This includes the overly dependent relationship on the United States, relations with Israel, participation in the sham “peace process,” the training of the security forces used by Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank against other Palestinians, and the deeply unpopular involvement in the NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan. Up until now, these matters have all been decided without any regard to public opinion.

And in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas is in a more precarious situation than ever. Its loss of legitimacy is so thorough — especially after the revelations in the Palestine Papers — that it exists only thanks to the protection of the Israeli occupation, US and EU training of its repressive security forces, and massive EU funding to pay the salaries of its bloated bureaucracy.

The PA’s leaders are as dead to the just cause and aspirations for liberation of the Palestinian people for which so much has been sacrificed, as Mubarak was to the Egyptian people’s rights and hopes. No wonder the PA relies more and more on the thuggery and police state tactics so reminiscent of Mubarak and Ben Ali.

The revolutions in the Arab world have lifted our horizons. More people can now see that the liberation of Palestine from Zionist colonialism and US- and EU-funded oppression, to make it a safe, humane place for all who live in it to exist in equality, is not just a utopian slogan but is in our hands if we struggle for it and stick to our principles. Like the people power, against which the Egyptian and Tunisian police states were powerless in the end, Palestinians and their allies (particularly those supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement) have the power to transform reality within the next few years.

In whatever form the revolution continues, the people are saying to their rulers: our countries, our futures, don’t belong to you any more. They belong to us.

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on The revolution continues after Mubarak’s fall

Revolution in Egypt – Divergent Views

Press TV | February 11, 2011

‘Military top brass atop Egypt pyramid’

Interview with Said Zulficar, political analyst, Cairo, Egypt

Egyptians are jubilant over achieving the first step in forcing decades-long dictator Hosni Mubarak out of power, as the military is now in charge.
The following is the transcription of Press TV’s interview with Said Zulficar, a political analyst in the capital Cairo, regarding the latest developments in the crisis-hit country and what might follow.

Press TV: Mr. Zulficar, how are you feeling right now? It must just be an electric time in Cairo at the moment.

Zulficar: Well I was in Tahrir (Liberation) Square when the news came that the president has resigned. I knew that a couple of hours before he had left Cairo and was in Sharm el-Sheikh. I was in front of the television station which was surrounded by several thousand demonstrators and I walked to Tahrir (Liberation) Square when the news came out. Of course there was over joy, jubilation, etc… I still have reservations about this whole thing because although we have the first step or the first necessity demanded by people that the president resigns and leaves but the regime seems still to be in place because the person who is the head of the military council is one of his closest associates. General Tantawi has been minister of defense for more than 25 years and he is a very close friend of President Mubarak. So what has happened is, I think, the military top brass have found out that the president was a liability and that they must put order, they must save the bridges, the opposition and the state and they are taking over.

Now what is [Vice President] Omar Suleiman’s position? No one knows that he remains in his position as vice president. The government of course is going to be changed. But the top brass, all of the members of this military council, [are] all very close hand-picked generals picked by Mubarak over the years. And obviously screened by CIA. So I still have reservations, we’re just starting. We have succeeded in a very important step which is getting rid of Mubarak. But Mubarak for the past five years has not been governing this country. He’s been sitting in Sharm el-Sheikh where he is now; he has been for five years. He hardly ever comes to Cairo. It has been run by General Omar Suleiman who was vice president until a couple of hours ago, may still be. It was run, from security point of view and from a foreign policy point of view by Omar Suleiman. He is a close friend of the Israelis and of the Americans. Nothing has changed.

Press TV: The question I want o pose to you is 18 days, such a short amount of time for such an uprooting revolution that people want. What does this 18 days signify to us? Does it signify that the army possibly in coordination with other powers has implemented a plan B or is that assessment taken from people’s success and their achievement in 18 short days?

Zulficar: My assessment is the fear which is for the populations to be afraid of the regime has changed camps. The people are no longer afraid. They have shown that they can overturn an oppressive government. But fear is in the other camp. And the other camp was not just the regime but the people are supporting the regime, which was the army. I still think that the top brass of the army has not changed that fundamental feeling. They are doing what they call the crisis management. They are in daily, maybe in hourly contact with the Pentagon, these people. They are all hand-picked. So I suspect that the Pentagon has been advising them what to do. That they have to get rid of Mubarak who was a total liability and that they must do some crisis management, which is take over power and try and have certain amounts of reform which I fear might be cosmetic unless the people who are no longer afraid must continue the movement. They must not be demobilized by what happened tonight. They must not demobilize. They must still maintain the aims of the movement. They must maintain the demands which are the dissolution of both houses of the parliament, the abrogation of the emergency law, the establishment of social justice and a normal, legal justice and having a civilian government.

We don’t want a military dictatorship here. We don’t trust this top brass even though they have changed style but they only changed style because they are in fear. They are in fear of popular power.

Press TV: You’re still in touch with what’s going on on the streets. I guess tonight people are going to be just thinking about celebrating and not about politics at all.

Zulficar: Yes, they are celebrating right now with fireworks right now just outside my window. So people are celebrating but I just hope they will not demobilize. This is only the very beginning of a long process. We must be sure that we have civilian rule and not military rule. We must be sure that the remnants of this regime that are still in positions of power do not remain in these positions.

As I said this military committee is handpicked by Mubarak. They are all American stooges basically and they all have relations with Israel. As long as these people run the show we have to be very vigilant. And one last word I have is to give thanks to the Tunisian people who showed us the way. They showed that you could overthrow oppressive, terrible, dictatorial regimes just by people’s power and by specific means by civilian upsurge. The national Intifada which is unheard of in our part of the world. The dictators in all over the Arab world must be shivering now. They must be trembling because their time will come and I am sure people in Washington must be very distraught because their whole so-called new Middle East is falling apart. And people are freeing themselves from the shackles of American imperialism and its Israeli acolyte, Israeli colonialism.

Press TV: I would like to ask your predictions now because you have been on defense over the last couple of weeks. What would be the determining factor for you?

Zulficar: As I said I have reservations about being overjoyed. Of course we have to be overjoyed but as I said Mubarak was not ruling this country over the past five years. It was ruled by Omar Suleiman and people around him. So we have to be very vigilant. We must not lay down our arms. We must not demobilize. I have discovered some young people, the leaders of the April Sixth Movement, Ahmad Maher people like Honein …who just came out of prison. These young people who are their late twenties or early thirties who started this whole Internet revolution through Facebook. They deserve to become ministers in this country. They deserve to have a role and get rid of all these old faces that have been mismanaging for 60 years a country which could have been wealthy, which is now in chaos and in poverty because it has been looted by the people who have been mismanaging and running it, by the family of Hosni Mubarak and wild-cat capitalists that they have around it. We should make sure not to lay down our arms and let the young people take over from these generations of old people that have mismanaged and misruled what used to be ‘the mother of the world.’ Now when you look at it, it is nothing but debris.

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | Comments Off on Revolution in Egypt – Divergent Views

ElBaradei: Soros’s Man in Cairo

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | February 11, 2011

In a February 3 Washington Post op-ed piece titled “Why Obama has to get Egypt right,” George Soros wrote that the U.S. president had “much to gain by moving out in front and siding with the public demand for dignity and democracy.” Notwithstanding the reasonableness of his advice, past experience suggests that the Hungarian-born hedge fund manager has something to gain himself from regime change in Cairo.

In his public memo to the president he helped elect, Soros noted that it was a “hopeful sign” that the Muslim Brotherhood was cooperating with Mohamed ElBaradei, whom he disinterestedly described as “the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run for president.” He neglected to mention, however, that up to ElBaradei’s January 27 return to crisis-torn Egypt, the former IAEA chief had been a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, which Soros, the thirty-fifth richest person in the world, helped create and finance.

The International Crisis Group describes itself as “an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict,” but self-descriptions can often be misleading. “The ICG is a fascinating case study of the way human rights organizations, governments and international corporations work hand in glove these days,” George Szamuely wrote of the influential think tank’s role in the Balkans. “‘Independent’ figures like Soros identify a ‘crisis’ demanding urgent government attention. Governments act on them and then parcel out the lucrative contracts to Soros and his pals.”

One of Soros’s more notorious “pals” is Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed former head of Yukos Oil, who by the age of 32 had amassed assets worth more than $30 billion in the rigged post-Soviet “privatisation” of state-owned property. When the Jewish oligarch was arrested for tax evasion, embezzlement and fraud in 2003, Soros denounced the charges as “political persecution,” called for the expulsion of Russia from the G-8, and urged the West to intervene. Khodorkovsky’s partner in crime, Leonid Nevzlin, fled to Israel before he was found guilty in absentia of ordering the murders of several politicians and businesspeople that got in the way of Yukos’s expansion plans. Like Soros and Khodorkovsky, Nevzlin has since attempted to rebrand himself as a “philanthropist.”

Tel Aviv’s concerns about the loss of a friendly dictator next door, however, should be assuaged somewhat by the fact that ElBaradei could collaborate with the considerable number of Israel partisans at ICG. Former U.S. Congressman Stephen Solarz, who helped start the group, was once dubbed “the Israel lobby’s chief legislative tactician on Capitol Hill,” and in 1998 led a group of neoconservatives who urged President Clinton to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Fellow neocon Kenneth Adelman assured Americans in a 2002 Washington Post op-ed that the Israeli-induced invasion of Iraq would be a “cakewalk.” Even more reassuring for nervous Israelis must be the presence of Nahum Barnea, the prominent Israeli columnist who sharply criticised fellow journalists Gideon Levy, Amira Hass and Akiva Eldar for their “mission” of support for the Palestinians.

And among ICG’s elite international list of senior advisers—defined as “former Board Members (to the extent consistent with any other office they may be holding at the time) who maintain an association with Crisis Group, and whose advice and support are called on from time to time”—we find Shlomo Ben-Ami, former foreign minister of Israel; Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel; and Shimon Peres, current president of Israel.

On the face of it, it seems hard to reconcile the substantial pro-Israel presence at ICG with Soros’s claims to be a “non-Zionist.” But things are seldom what they seem with Soros. Two years after the founding of J Street, it emerged that he had given substantial donations to the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby. Not everyone is convinced by J Street’s claims to be a genuine alternative to AIPAC either. As one astute commentator put it, J Street is “little more than a spin-off of the existing Israel Lobby to make it more palatable to the liberal Democrats that make up the Obama Administration.”

Moreover, some of Israel’s most fervent advocates on Capitol Hill have received donations from Soros, who has become “one of the largest political-campaign contributors in American history.” In an interview with a conservative Jewish radio talk show, Senator Charles Schumer said he believed that HaShem (Orthodox Jewish term for “God”) gave him his name—which means “guardian”—so that he could fulfill his “very important” role in the U.S. Senate as a “guardian of Israel.”

Essentially filling the same role in the House of Representatives until 2008 was the late Congressman Tom Lantos, whom a former U.S. diplomat referred to as “the Hungarian-American guardian of Israel’s interests in Congress.” As co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Lantos knowingly deceived his co-chairman and the public about the identity of “Nayirah,” whose incubator atrocity story helped justify American intervention in the 1991 Gulf War. Lantos, who is said to have “shared a common drive for promoting democracy and human rights” with his close friend Soros, also championed the fugitive Nevzlin as an innocent victim of anti-Semitism.

“I hope President Obama will expeditiously support the people of Egypt,” Soros wrote in his Post op-ed. “My foundations are prepared to contribute what they can.” If the Egyptian people have as much sense as they have courage and determination, however, they will tell this self-described “committed advocate of democracy and open society” what to do with his “philanthropy”—and his Nobel laureate.

Maidhc Ó Cathail writes extensively on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East. He also edits The Passionate Attachment blog.

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Israel extends administrative detention of Ayed Dudein for twelfth time

Palestine Information Center – 12/02/2011

NABLUS — Israeli intelligence has extended the period of detention of the longest running Palestinian administrative detainee Ayed Dudein for the twelfth consecutive time since his arrest, the Ahrar center for prisoners studies said.

The Israeli Supreme Court denied appeals submitted by Dudein’s lawyer requesting his release, claiming a ”secret file” was prepared against him and his release was a security concern for Israel, Ahrar center director Fouad Al-Khafsh said.

He has so far not received a fair trial.

In administrative detention since October 2009, Dudein, a father of six who works as assistant director of the Al-Khalil emergency department, has been in and out of Israeli prisons over the past 13 years. He has refused bargains by the Israeli Supreme Court that would have him exiled.

Dudein’s wife Umm Hamza contacted the Ahrar center complaining of years of instability since her husband’s arrest and frequent raids on their home.

Dudein is a prominent figure among Palestinian detainees and is respected by the country’s factions. One of his brothers serving a life sentence has been detained since 1992. His mother passed away two months back, but his detention kept him from bidding her farewell.

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israel extends administrative detention of Ayed Dudein for twelfth time

Nativity Church deportees appeal to UN commissioner

Ma’an – February 12, 2011

GAZA CITY — Palestinians deported from Bethlehem to the Gaza Strip in 2002 after Israeli forces besieged the Nativity Church appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A spokesman for the group Fahmi Kan’an said the local committee of national and Islamist forces handed Navi Pillay a letter from the deportees during her visit to the Gaza Strip.

Kan’an said the letter explained the dire conditions of the Nativity Church deportees both in Gaza and European countries as they entered their 10th year in exile.

On May 10 2002, Israeli forces surrounded the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where Palestinian operatives had taken shelter. The church was placed under siege for 40 days until an agreement was reached in which 26 would be deported to Gaza, and 13 others to six different European countries.

The letter highlighted that Israel had reneged on the agreement, which Kan’an said stipulated that the deportees could return home after two years. The deal was struck between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under European and American supervision.

The deportees also wrote that they had not seen their families for over eight years, and their wives and children were not allowed to join them. Many of their family members had passed away and they had not been able to bid them farewell, they added.

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Nativity Church deportees appeal to UN commissioner

Egyptians vow to continue protests

Press TV – February 12, 2011

One day after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, thousands of protesters have vowed to stay in Cairo’s Liberation Square until their demands are met.

Activists have demanded the release of political prisoners, the lifting of a 30-year-old state of emergency and the disbandment of military court. They say demonstrations will continue until the army accepts the reforms.

Political groups are also calling for the formation of a government led by civilians.

The Muslim Brotherhood says the military should hand over power to a civilian-led government.

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official, Rashad Bayoumi, said a civilian government must run the country until free and fair elections are held.

He also called for a constitution that guarantees freedom and human rights.

Meanwhile, the April 6th Youth movement also called for the formation of a civilian-led presidential council to run the country during the transition period.

The call came after Mubarak handed power over to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, which is headed by Defense Minister Gen. Mohammed Tantawi.

The transition of power to the military comes while Mubarak, Vice President Omar Suleiman and Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq are all former military men. Analysts believe despite the transition Mubarak would still remain in power.

This is while millions of Egyptians have for the past 19 days called for the departure of Mubarak and the establishment of a democratic government.

Experts say the Egyptian revolution may fail to bring about reforms unless the military establishment is taken over by a civilian-led government.

“We have succeeded in a very important step which is getting rid of [President Hosni] Mubarak. But Mubarak for the past five years has not been governing this country. He’s been sitting in Sharm el-Sheikh where he is now,” Zulficar, a political analyst, told Press TV on Friday.

Zulficar added that Mubarak “hardly ever comes to Cairo. It (Egypt) has been run by Vice President General Omar Suleiman who was vice president until a couple of hours ago, may still be. It was run, from security point of view and from a foreign policy point of view by Omar Suleiman. He is a close friend of the Israelis and of the Americans. Nothing has changed.”

He further said that the Egyptian revolution “is only the very beginning of a long process. We must be sure that we have civilian rule and not military rule. We must be sure that the remnants of this regime that are still in positions of power do not remain in these positions.”

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on Egyptians vow to continue protests