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"Gaza Wants to Eat"

The Egyptian Puppet State

by SAM HUSSEINI

Just after midnight I couldn’t sleep. Went out to get a bite to eat or maybe a glass of wine to help me sleep.

See several CodePink people and others with the Gaza Freedom March, say they are going to the French embassy — they had put out an alert:

"As we are writing this hundreds of French delegates are camped outside the French Embassy, pitching tents and sleeping bags on the sidewalk, chanting ‘Palestine Freedom!’ The French Ambassador and his wife are outside negotiating with the delegates and the police and Egyptian authorities. It is a powerful action and the French invite solidarity and support – come wherever you can! This is a critical situation and the police are surrounding the group. Check it out if you can. We will send out an update when possible."

Indeed, it was a powerful action. By the time we got there, the protest was lively, but almost all on the sidewalk in front of the embassy, it had been on the street. A while after we got there, a long line of at least 100 government forces with riot gear appeared across the street. They had helmets and shields and clubs.

They came towards us. But it was not to beat us.

I was I think to keep us confined. Not letting the passing drivers see a vibrant protest.

I began talking to the riot police. In my broken Arabic: "Gaza wants to eat." And then through a French translator: "These people want to get supplies to Gaza. The Egyptian government is stopping them, why?"

A commander came by, told the woman who was translating for me to stop talking to them. Of course, he doesn’t want his men to fully appreciate how the Egyptian state appears to be doing the bidding of Israel.I tried to get him to answer if he really has a government. One of the apparent demands that the Egyptian government on the convoy led by Galloway is that he get permission from Israel.

What does Israel have to do with it?

Egypt has a border with Gaza. If Egypt is a nation state, it should be able to do what it wants with its border. But it is saying that what it does is dependent on Israel. So Egypt is a puppet state, not a nation state.

When the commander went away, most of the soldiers looked dolefully upon me, one pointed to his eye and his heart — after looking in either direction to make sure none of the commanders could see him.

I think a larger opportunity may be here. It’s one thing for a few hundred, or maybe a thousand people from the US and France and such to protest in Cairo. But if Egyptians know what their government is doing and feel safe protesting, will they join us? This is one more reason why the cause of Palestine linked globally to the cause of human freedom, and perhaps how the cause of human freedom is linked to solidarity.

Sharing this, maybe I can sleep for an hour or two.

SAM HUSSEINI’s writings are at www.husseini.org. He founded the web page www.compassroses.org on Feb. 15, 2003.