Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Egyptian Uprising in the American Media

It has been one week since the Egyptian revolt began, and the mainstream American media has wheeled out many of their standard, self-appointed “experts” to illuminate matters. They attempt to solve the riddle of what could possibly have driven the thoughtless throngs into the proverbial “Arab streets,” while providing their set of contrived scenarios about how things might develop. Even as our “experts” set about to demystify what they themselves have mystified, they are quick to turn to what really matters – the effects these events will have on the United States and our allies. There really are two fields of discussion here. The first deals with a fantastical world of wild imagery, a world where monsters wait in the shadows with plans to lead a retreat from civilization (or worse?), and where heedless masses may unknowingly (or knowingly?) stampede into their arms. This is an encrypted world that must be decoded with the help of experts trained to make sense of the senseless. And the second field is a very rational one – American interests in the region.

It is no wonder then that most Americans are hopelessly in the dark. Middle East “news” in the mainstream is constructed so that people remain in a perpetual state of confusion and fear. A favorite question now being tossed to the experts is “what do Egyptians want?” If their expertise included anything but obfuscation, they might respond, well, what the hell does anyone want? We want to feed our families; we want our children to grow up with the prospect of a decent standard of living; we want to come out of college with some hope of finding a job; we want to have a say in the present and future affairs of our country.  But that is expecting a bit too much of our controlled, corporate media and their favored talking heads. If a serious treatment of the present matter is to be made, it requires a probing analysis of issues that interested parties would rather not be had. And so the cryptologists and fear mongers do their job.

President Mubarak used his own brand of fear mongering as he tried to justify the renewal of the “emergency law” every five years across his three-decade rule. The law allowed him to claim democracy in Egypt while running the country like a giant prison. But as he went on protecting Egyptians from themselves, young people of the Facebook generation managed to pull back the curtain. They revealed to the world that the mighty Wizard who was keeping the whole thing together was a shriveled up old man. And what did the Egyptians do as “order” broke down? They united to protect each other; all segments of society came together to defend their streets and properties, to defend their homeland. Meanwhile America’s favorite stooge, the dictator we call “moderate,” sent his goons out against peaceful demonstrators.

Western governments have been intimately involved in the innumerable injustices wrought on the Egyptian people during the Mubarak years. But who has time to sort through all of that when we have ghoulish “worst-case scenarios” to bandy about? And so we have a character like John Bolton, of Bush administration disrepute, rising from the political graveyard with predictions that in all likelihood “a radical, tightly knit organization like the Muslim Brotherhood will take advantage of the chaos and seize power.” And he quickly directs his prognosticator’s spotlight onto the Christian minority, warning that they have reason to be alarmed. And the chatter goes on and on, as talk of America’s strategic concerns is punctuated with grim potentialities designed to frighten the American people.

In reality, what the political scene in Egypt will look like after the revolution nobody knows. But given the choice between what they have known and the unknown, Egyptians have chosen the latter. This uprising does not belong to a specific segment of the population – and as much as some in the West might like to present it in a sectarian or partisan light, this is an Egyptian uprising. Christians alongside Muslims from all backgrounds and walks of life are participating in the protests, many holding signs featuring the “cross and crescent” that since the 1919 Revolution has symbolized Christian-Muslim national unity.

My own family in Egypt, who are Christian, are gratified by the demonstrations of solidarity between Muslims and Christians in the face of grave circumstances, the rotten fruits of Mubarak’s reign. And if we look to history, we will find that this is hardly surprising.

When Egyptians have risen up and demanded their rights, they have done so as a people. This was the case during the revolution of 1952 as it was during resistance movements to British occupation in 1882 and 1919. Now we are witnessing a revolutionary moment in 2011, and the structure of Western mainstream discourse obscures the obvious.

A long time ago foreign powers, with the United States in the first place, cast their lot with the dictator. Now the Egyptian people are having their say.

JOSHUA FAROUK GEORGY is an Egyptian-American Ph.D. candidate in modern Middle East history at Columbia University.

 

More articles by:
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail