Egypt determined to get it right: Hundreds of thousands protest

Egypt determined to get it right: Hundreds of thousands protest

Cairo : Egypt | Nov 28, 2012 at 3:19 AM PST
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A mass protest against the military in Cairo in April

Tahrir Square is once again filled with protesting Egyptians. The Egyptian Revolution, which triumphed last February in the ouster of 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak, has been revitalized by the masses of the Egyptian people. They are again denouncing and demanding the ouster of yet another US-backed dictator.

The most popular chants shouted during the protests are, “Down, down, Morsi-Mubarak,” and “Morsi you coward, you agent of the Americans.” When they flocked by the millions, for the first time ever, to the polls last spring, the Egyptian masses thought, hoped, and believed that they were taking a revolutionary stance, making an unequivocal revolutionary statement in support of democracy, freedom, justice, and peace in their time and for their children 's children's time.

This new wave of protests have been ever-steadily growing, inexorably mounting to an unknown crescendo -- from the exact moment last Thursday when Morsi declared himself Egypt’s sole power holder. In one fell swoop, he did not bother to consult or confer with anyone, save his fellow Muslim Brotherood brothers and, of course, the generals. Then he summarily usurped and abrogated unto himself all legislative, constitutional, executive and judicial authority and powers; exempted his every future decision and decree from any type of appeal whatsoever.

The people, the masses, rose forthwith, without hesitation; and took to the streets.

Let’s be clear. Morsi’s power grab is fully supported by the United States. America's consent is not tacit or covert or surreptitious. It is as plain as his decrees are draconian. It is no coincidence that this unprovoked, brazen move by the freshman president immediately followed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal "thank you." She (and Obama) thanked him for his forbearance regarding and submission to Washington as the Israelis launched their latest unconscionable and most brutal attack to date against Gaza. Even before that gross injustice, Morsi has stood and continues to stand four-square behind the US’s not-so-secret foray into Syria. But if Morsi survives the current uprising, he will fulfill his role: to clear a path for both the US and Israel into their ultimate objective -- Iran.

Again, the mass protest marches converged in Tahrir Square. All classes of Egyptians were represented, from shopkeepers, laborers, office workers, the unemployed, married and unmarried women, to the intellectuals, artists from the Cairo Opera, and thousands of lawyers and judges. Indeed, the Egyptian judicial system has basically been shut down because the judges and prosecutors have gone on strike against Morsi’s decrees, one of which specifically eliminates judicial review of his decisions. Thus, for any practical purpose, the judiciary has pretty much been rendered moot.

Last night, more than 200,000 protesters gathered in the square and the surrounding streets, with chants of “Irhal, Irhal” (leave, leave) echoing through downtown Cairo.

As befits any dictator from any historical or modern period, Morsi is not taking these protests on the chin. He has sicced his Central Security Forces (CSF) on the masses without mercy and with a vengeance. They first went after the protesters in Simon Bolivar Square directly behind the US Embassy (at whose direction?). The CSF attacked hundreds of youth with tear gas and rubber bullets. The protesters responded by throwing rocks.

Even more hundreds of protesters have been arrested. Over 400 have been injured. So far, three have been killed. Yesterday, Fatehy Gareb, a member of the Socialist Alliance Party suffocated from tear gas. Before that, 18-year-old Ahmed Naguib and 19-year-old Gaber “Jika” Salah, a member of the April 6 Movement, were gunned down by police.

Cairo’s college campuses are, as might be expected, are not sitting this one out, for students are in the thick of things. Students from the three major universities -- Cairo University, Ain Shams and Helwan staged a commemoration of the three slain protesters. “Gaber Jika is dead and the president is responsible,” and “Kill us, no matter what, your tyranny will not affect us,” they chanted. They carried banners demanding: “Down with the supreme guide’s rule.”

And, picking up where the Revolution in February left off, these fresh protests are not limited to Cairo or Tahrir Square. They are happening all over Egypt. Tens of thousands are in the streets of Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura, Aswan, Damietta, Bani Suef, Fayoum, Luxor, Tanta, Zagazig and Mahalla.

These protests were called and organized by various “liberal and pseudo-left” groups, including El-Baradei’s (formerly of the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog unit) Constitution Party, the Nasserite Karama Party led by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi and the liberal Free Egyptians Party founded by billionaire tycoon Naguib Sawiris.

Socialists are apparently spearheading the entire movement, however. The Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the April 6 Youth Movement, Kifaya, the Tagammu’ Party, the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) – all are working side-by-side in the common purpose with the Egyptian masses of finishing the Revolution which they thought they had won last spring.

And so, in just five short months after Morsi’s election, the counterrevolutionary character of his regime and the Mulsin Brotherhood has come to the fore. As my mother used to say, "Time tells off on everybody."

But, perhaps the words of an ordinary Egyptian citizen say it best: “Power has exposed the Brotherhood. We discovered their true face.” So said Laila Salah, a housewife, who voted for Morsi but is now protesting on Tahrir Square. "After Mubarak," Salah declared, vowed, and promised, “Egyptians will no longer accept being ruled by an autocrat.”


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Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir square
Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir square
Herbert Dyer, Jr. is based in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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