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On the Sixth of October, It will be Army Day in Egypt!
It was September 24th and we were marching with the school kids, after schools were out (yes all schools, colleges and universities are demonstrating after classes carrying the R4BIA four-fingers protest sign, every day, although sometimes with unfortunate results for the most vocal who get their ears clipped, and many even get arrested although they are minors ). Then someone next to me pointed to their i-phone, Obama was speaking at the UN, and we heard:-
Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected, but proved unwilling or unable to govern in a way that was fully inclusive…. the interim government that replaced him responded to the desires of millions of Egyptians who believed the revolution had taken a wrong turn…
Obama was obviously talking about the 30th June Anti-Morsi rally which preceded the 3rd July coup and which has been shown to have been a cynical ploy, pumped up into an unreal media fantasy, whose more objective participants have since regretted. But what was astonishing was that this was a legitimately elected president of the United States speaking, about another legitimately elected president, and talking about ‘an interim government replacing him’, because of a certain belief expressed by mobs in the street. He continued:-
Our overriding interest throughout these past few years has been to encourage a government that legitimately reflects the will of the Egyptian people, and recognizes true democracy as requiring a respect for minority rights and the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, and a strong civil society….
…. going forward, the United States will maintain a constructive relationship with the interim government that promotes core interests like the Camp David Accords and counterterrorism…
And this was said as if the Israelis had not themselves flagrantly violated the ‘Accords’! But then who exactly are the terrorists?… Please let us know because we’re thoroughly confused now. Is it us?
If we knew who they were, maybe we could help. Anyway Obama goes on:-
We’ll continue support in areas like education that directly benefit the Egyptian people.
Well, Mr Obama there are 35 million young Egyptians between 10 and 20 years old demonstrating right here, outside their schools, colleges, and universities, many of whose teachers and professors make up part of the 20,000 political detainees in jail (unless they are of the sort who are happy to clip the ears of those carrying the R4BIA protest sign, as in the short clip included above). These young people are indeed getting a thorough education just by listening to you, right now.
It is no secret to any of them that you are quite willing for Egypt to be turned into a militarised Indian reservation, like Gaza and worse. They realise that there is little point in crying: Shame on you President Obama! You owe your position to millions of voters, not just to certain vested interests! We didn’t vote for you obviously, because we are Egyptians, but you still owe your presidency above all to a system of democracy that was put in place over 230 years ago! And above all you owe your Nobel Peace prize to millions upon millions of the oppressed from amongst the African populations of the past!
There will be no attempt to cry out to try to shame you, because the scales have fallen from their eyes ever since you came to Cairo… yes Cairo no less, and you made your speech here on June 4th 2009, when you addressed the whole Muslim world and said:-
… tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.
I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.
And with forked tongue, you said on that day in Cairo:-
America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire
Only to say at this last UN meeting:-
And our approach to Egypt reflects a larger point: The United States will at times work with governments that do not meet, at least in our view, the highest international expectations, but who work with us on our core interests.
Well here is a lesson for you in democracy Mr Obama. After 90 days of continuous peaceful protests and demonstrations, since the 3rd July coup, a random group of demonstrators on one of our marches, of both genders and across the age ranges, none of whom were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, were asked on video the following questions:-
Aren’t you despairing by now, after all this time? Aren’t you tired of continually going out and marching? Aren’t you frightened of what might happen to you, given that the thugs are always about, and the army are now shooting people? How long can you go on like this?
The answers came back invariably that they were hopeful, and not frightened of death or whatever lay in store for them, and that they would go on demonstrating until the very end. Just so that you know – some other protesters were actually outside your doors in New York while you were giving your rotten speech.
So on the 6th October, Sunday, its Army Day. The original date of the revolution, the 25th January 2011, had been Police Day, and we were making a statement about POLICE brutality. Now we’re all going to make a statement about the ARMY. Since we were brutally evicted from our protest camps, we have been demonstrating in a mobile, fluid manner to avoid ambush and casualties.
Now however we are going back to the squares!
All of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership are in jail; even the 86 year old ex-leader was seized at night from his retirement home and bundled into a police van, to suffer in the process a serious, although not fatal, heart attack.
The leadership of the centrist parties is in jail, together with all the most vocal lawyers, journalists, and academics that oppose this coup. We understand that they are in some cases facing the harshest measures. For instance, we understand from the son of Esam Sultan, deputy leader of the centrist al-Wasat party, who is updating his father’s Facebook page that his father is in solitary, and is currently denied water.
All the villages that have traditionally provided the most recruitment for the demonstrations, like Kirdasa and Delga have been attacked and their people besieged so that they can’t get out. All pro-democracy, pro-legitimacy, pro-Morsi media has been shut down, while the pro-coup media now carries continuous and shrill invectives against demonstrators as terrorists worthy of being slaughtered.
After all that, and despite all the killing, the threats and the invectives, the people will all be there on the 6th October: Army Day. See you there! Except don’t come by subway, because the ‘metro youth’ is shutting the system down for the week.
Mohamed Malik (weaver) can be reached at email@example.com.
Mohamad Omar (surgeon), can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also contributing to this report: Badr Mohamad Badr (teacher), Yasser Mahran (lawyer), Ahmad Abdel-Ghafar (businessman), Sayed Khamis (teacher), Mohamad Gheith (pharmacist),others whom we thank have helped in the redaction of this article