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 Day 19

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A Photo Essay

Egypt: In the Eye of the Storm

by ANDRE VLTCHEK

They say thousands of people died during and after the 3 July 2013 coup d’ état in Egypt. Semi-official and conservative counts speak of 1,600 victims.

Once again people are disappearing; they are dying. During the protests, snipers have been positioned on the roofs of tall buildings in Cairo and Alexandria. Fear is everywhere.

In the entire region, a big crackdown is underway. Western allies are arresting and murdering the opposition: in Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia…

It is widely believed, at least among those who are still in resistance, that President Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, betrayed the revolution. Then, while popular protests were shaking Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and other parts of the country, the Egyptian military ‘intervened’, performing what was described in the West as ‘bloodless coup’.

At that time, some people rejoiced, even the poor, but only for an extremely short time. Killings began almost immediately, and the tanks took up positions all over the country.

Not only that, the military did not intend to bring the revolution back to a socialist (or to at least some socially-oriented) track – it soon became evident that it began moving the country back, essentially and rapidly, towards the Mubarak regime.

It is of little wonder, as the Egyptian military has been enjoying huge financial and ideological support from the West, for years and decades.

***

This time I spent one week with members of the Egyptian opposition, mainly with the Revolutionary Socialist Organization. I also visited some rallies of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria, one during which, two people lost their lives.

This is clearly an unsettling moment for the country. Just about anything could happen at any moment. Brutal crackdowns from the armed forces are becoming almost a daily routine. Hundreds of people die, each given week.

But the Egyptian people are strong and determined. They are not always ideologically ready (a result of many decades of brainwashing by Mubarak’s regime), but they at least realize that they are poor, cheated, and exploited. Many slum-dwellers, who first supported the military coup, are now turning against the rule of the armed forces. People want, they are demanding, social justice.

In our recent conversation, Noam Chomsky declared that Egypt and other countries in the region are where Latin America was just a few years ago.

In the past, Egypt was moving on a patriotic and socialist path, but the foreign imperialist forces have derailed it.

Now, once again, there is a chance that the process interrupted decades ago, could return. But the regime and its institutions will clearly not go away overnight, or without a brutal fight.

In the end, true revolution may return, and it may triumph. But thousands of Egyptians may have to die in the process, fighting for a better world.

cheering the protesters

Cheering the protesters.

homeless at Tahrir Square in Cairo

Homeless at Tahrir Square in Cairo.

faces of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria

Faces of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria.

endless military institutions

Endless military institutions.

Egyptian wedding during the national  upheaval

Egyptian wedding during the national upheaval.

destroyed building next to Cairo wall

Destroyed building next to Cairo wall.

Cairo street scene

Cairo street scene.

burned down government building in Cairo

Burned down government building in Cairo.

and then they go and die

“..and then they go and die.”

metal rod and the Muslim Brotherhood tough guys in Alexandria

Metal rod and the Muslim Brotherhood tough guys in Alexandria.

middle class dwellings by local standards

Middle class dwellings by local standards.

Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria - and they go!

Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria – and they go!

near Tahrir Square

Near Tahrir Square.

omni-present military

Omni-present military.

outdoor dining

Dining outside.

peaceful city_

A peaceful city?

Recruiting new young members to Revolutionary Socialist Org

Recruiting new young members to Revolutionary Socialist Organization.

street control in Cairo... these days

Street control in Cairo… these days.

that Cairo Wall,  protecting US Embassy

Cairo wall, protecting US Embassy.

young people protesting disappearance of an activist

Young people protesting disappearance of an activist.

what are they affraid of_

What are they afraid of?

Wassim Wagdy one of the leaders of Revolutionary Socialist Org

Wassim Wagdy one of the leaders of Revolutionary Socialist Organization.

walls protecting government buildings

Walls protecting government buildings.

two opposition figures

Two opposition figures.

tough boy from the Muslim Brotherhood

Tough boy from the Muslim Brotherhood.

this used to be metro station

This used to be metro station.

they want Morsi back

They want Morsi back.

the Muslim Brotherhood riot in Alexandria

The Muslim Brotherhood riot in Alexandria.

that day,  two people died...

That day, two people died…

Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His discussion with Noam Chomsky On Western Terrorism is now going to print. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is now re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. He just completed feature documentary “Rwanda Gambit” about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.