Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mubarak's Regime Exposed

Mubarak was considered a "friendly dictator" in the eyes of the West. The contradiction found in that statement begs the question: what type of allies do Western countries choose to deal with?

Many claimed Egypt was a "stable" country simply because it did not declare war on the West, and namely on the state of Israel. However this impression of stability was not echoed by the people of Egypt.

The Egyptian economy was plummeting, unemployment was soaring and poverty was becoming unbearable. Egyptians weren't even allowed to have gatherings of more than a dozen people out for a night on the town. When it came to political views, no one could dare question decisions made in parliament otherwise they would be imprisoned without legal proceedings, or worse, tortured by electrical rods and raped by police apparatus if there was suspicion of activity that would threaten the regime's image.

While some political prisoners have been missing for more than five years without their family knowing of their whereabouts, others have survived the "torture chambers" of the State Security headquarters to tell the tail. One such man, Adel Reda, recalled his nine months detained:
"I saw people's nails being ripped out and people hung from the ceiling by their arms or legs... They would throw our food in sand before giving it to us and splash us with cold water day and night. Sometimes it was so dark you couldn't see your hands."
When asked whether he was ever allowed access to an attorney, Reda raised his hands heavenward and replied: "My lawyer was God."

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, an independent nonprofit organization, puts the number of political prisoners at around 17,000. Official government figures are much lower, an estimated 500.

A Guardian correspondent, Robert Tait, amidst the events of the revolution itself was detained, then later gave a detailed account of what the police were actually capable of doing:
"'Get the electric shocks ready. This lot are to be made to really suffer,' a guard said as a new batch of prisoners were brought in.'Why did you do this to your country?' a jailer screamed as he tormented his victim. 'You are not to speak in here, do you understand?' one prisoner was told. He did not reply. Thump. 'Do you understand?' Still no answer. More thumps. 'Do you understand?' Prisoner: 'Yes, I understand.' Torturer: 'I told you not to speak in here,' followed by a cascade of thumps, kicks, and electric shocks."
During Mubarak's reign, the security forces would go as far as to imprison journalists of private news agencies if there were reports released of Mubarak's admission into hospital because of an illness. This was subsequent to his dramatic illness of March 2010 when people started questioning who his successor would be. The portrayal of his strength and his apparent immortality needed to be upheld at all cost.

The government even wanted to show the world its democratic capabilities by allowing an opposition leader, Ayman Nour, to run for election. The elections were rigged with 90% in favour of Mubarak, and Nour was later imprisoned.

During this regime, the US government sent financial aid to the Mubarak government which averaged just over $2 billion every year since 1979, according to a Congressional Research Service report. That was the year Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel following the Camp David Peace Accords. This US foreign aid is the second largest in the world, only shadowed by the aid to their neighbouring state of Israel.

Military aid alone totalled over $1.3 billion annually in a stream of funding known as Foreign Military Financing, according to the State Department.

With this, the government was able to maintain a stronghold on its people with the elite businessmen of Egypt ruling the country alongside Mubarak.

The US government had kept this dictator as an ally for thirty years knowing that this financial aid was a large contributor to the sustained power that allowed the violation of human rights to continue.

What was obvious, however, was that this "friendly dictator" was no longer wanted by the Egyptians, and there was no price tag the US could offer against a people yearning for their freedom.

When these pro-democracy protesters went to the streets in numbers never seen before, they managed to maintain themselves well. They were out on the streets of Egypt handing out bread to those in need; they had been voluntarily picking up rubbish to keep their streets clean; and they had been self-appointing themselves police to protect the museum as well as religious places of worship.
The utmost care was taken to ensure that their beloved country would not be corrupted by their own revolution. They proved that the notion that revolution could only be carried out with violence was only just a myth.

These are the freedom fighters the West keep writing books on and making movies about, and yet this shining moment in Egyptian history wasn't in their best interest.

Today, while the people of Egypt rejoice, the US and Israel voice their concern about the "stability" of the region now that Mubarak is gone, claiming that "there had been peace because of Mubarak".

If "stability" is the silencing of millions of people so that they can turn a blind eye on the genocide occurring in their neighbouring state of Israel, then "convenience" is perhaps a more suitable word of choice.

But the convenience of one state cannot come at the expense of the livelihood of another.

The essence of democracy has been forgotten by the West. They have forgotten that democracy is for all, regardless of what they prefer for others.

And Egypt wasn't able to sustain itself in those dire circumstances any longer.

[Reference: guardian]
[Reference: mh]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mémoires of the Egyptian Revolution

Dedicated to all the amazing Egyptian men and women behind the peaceful protests.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mubarak steps down

Jubilation in Tahrir Square the moment Mubarak steps down... A moment to be remembered in the history of mankind:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Potential Opposition Leaders

The following list of potential opposition leaders has been comprised based on sources from the Guardian, BBC and Al-Jazzera:

  • El-Baradei (National Association for Change)
  • Israa Abdel-Fattah (April 6 Movement)
  • Essam El Erian (Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Al-Sayed al-Badawi (WAFD Party)
  • Ayman Nour (AL GHAD Party)
  • Abdel-Rahman Youssef (Youth Movement)
  • Amr Moussa (Arab League)

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

    Karim Sabet, had this to say on his blog during the January 25th revolution in Egypt:
    "A large group of the ones organizing them (the protests) yesterday were people in galabeyas and long beards shouting 'Al Jihad fe Sabeel Allah (Jihad in the name of Allah), you have to continue fighting...'

    NO! This is NOT why we were in the streets on Friday being tear gassed and dodging rubber bullets and it is not why we have been going to Tahrir everyday to be heard. The reason why this revolt went through and became successful was because it was not religiously or politically charged. Don’t let the ones who have been watching this unfold in the shadows ride this wave and hijack what you have been fighting for."
    He indirectly mentions that Ekhwan el Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood) have started to hijack the protests, and I couldn't help but reply to his comments.

    The Muslim Brotherhood have been on the government's black-list for many years now trying to protest the very same way the rest of Egypt have been in the past week, and have done so long before January the 25th. They are looked at as "evil Islamists" because that is what the government has portrayed them to be, regarless of how moderate they actually are.

    If the government had any significant authority during these protests, all pro-democracy demonstrators would be considered radical just like they were, and no doubt dealt with in the same way the Muslim Brotherhood were treated.

    There is nothing wrong with an Islamic group fighting for the same cause of freedom. That is the whole point of unity, regardless of what they chant.

    If there are Egyptians today that have resentment against Islamic organisations then they should keep it to themselves. The Egyptian people are one, united under the same banner and believing in the same cause. That is what should be taken at face value rather than concentrating on petty little differences by trying to vent disapproval of people crying for freedom in the name of their own Lord.

    We shouldn't forget what we are doing here, and concentrate on the unifying force that is the Egyptian people of all walks of life, believing in many diverse faiths.

    I'm sure we can all tolerate that... Otherwise what is the point of protesting?

    Why were news reporters being attacked in Egypt?

    Journalists have mainly been targeted by pro-government "protesters" (or thugs if you like).

    There are plenty of articles and comments from the Guardian UK, BBC, Reuters and Al-Jazeera to confirm that the moment the pro-Mubarak group entered the barricade in Tahrir square, they had two targets: firstly, any foreigners carrying cameras and voice recorders and secondly, the peaceful protesters.

    Some of these pro-government "protesters" were detained and found to be in possession of their ID cards that prove that they were in fact the police force that withdrew from the crowds on Friday last week.

    This was not a spontaneous reaction, rather a well drilled, well organised series of attacks targeted specifically at the media and the peaceful protesters.

    There were also reports of the main lights in the square turned off during the night.

    History has shown that these are common protocols when a larger group or organisation is preparing to do a horrific injustice to innocent people without any witnesses from the international community.

    This “horrific injustice” may have just been the subsequent attacks made on the protesters directly after the attacks on journalists during the same assault.

    That failed on two accounts: the pro-Mubarak thugs were not able to force the protestors to retreat, but also that media footage managed to be filtered out and released showing the despicable acts made by the plain-clothed government officials.

    [Image source:]

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    How do we communicate if the Internet goes down?

    This question was actually asked at and I had answered it as I will here with a simple counter question:

    How have human beings been able to communicate for thousands of years before the internet was born?

    I'm sure we all remember how we used to call our friends on a land-line (yes, a term that is slowly being forgotten) and told each other when and where to meet for a specific event. If there was a large number of people attending, we would make sure we kept our paper-based address book close at hand in case there was a phone booth (a what?) near the rendezvous point. All it did was force us to be a little more co-ordinated with our meeting arrangements. If someone was late, they were left behind, it was as simple as that.

    Regarding the convenience of such a technology as the internet, the only difference is that it has made us more flexible in cancelling, postponing or setting a new meeting point... conveniences I'm sure we could live without if we absolutely had to.

    Looking back at the Egyptian protests (which is a perfect example of the new age being forced to live two decades behind its time), the worst mistake that the Mubarak regime did was take that modern form of communication away from the people.
    The only effect that had was to force the people out onto the streets to vent their anger and frustration towards the government directly rather than behind a computer screen.

    [Image source:]