FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Covering the Revolutions

TV showed seemingly interminable telephoto images of protestors against Mubarak’s dictatorship; then, of his thugs disguised as pro-government protestors. Suggesting chaos?

On February 3, the media focused on its own pain: Anderson Cooper got punched; Katie Couric harassed; and camera operators roughed up and prevented from taking pictures. On February 4, the goons hit Al Jazeera and destroyed its property. The Mubarak side intimidated some high profile TV personalities to leave.

The distant fuzzy shots, resembling 1960s Andy Warhol films with rarely changing fuzzy image and poorly informed reporters babbling behind them, threw little light on why Egyptians hit the streets en masse. Despite Dick Cheney’s bleats about Mubarak’s virtues (obedience and a friendly smile), Egyptians saw 30 years of theft, corruption and brutality that more recently merged with Washington-dictated neo liberal economics (low wages and high profits), and dramatic price rises in the cost of food — in part because of climate change. (“World food prices at historic peak in January seventh month running,” says FAO. MERCO PRESS, February 3, 2011)

Like millions in Tunisia, Yemen and Jordan, Egyptians responded to pain and outrage: a tiny rich minority favored by the system engaged in the pleasures and excesses of Saudi princes; the poor suffered hunger.

Ironically, a London tabloid outdid TV presenting both a more amusing and pithier picture than TV “news” On January 31, The Sun’s Rhodri Phillips reported that “the panic-stricken family of President Mubarak has reportedly fled Egypt for the luxurious refuge of their £8.5 million London townhouse.”

The inner clan and its “ninety seven pieces of luggage,” arrived on a private jet to its “six-floor Georgian mansion a stone’s throw from Harrods in Knightsbridge, West London.”

“Egyptian baggage handlers at Heathrow” reported their arrival. According to The Sun, “Mubarak is said to have amassed a £25 billion – other sources estimate as high as $70 billion) fortune for his family since grabbing power in 1981.”

His wife and two oldest sons “have become symbols of excess and corruption in Egypt.” Hosni’s wife, “Half-Welsh Suzanne has even been nicknamed Marie Antoinette after the opulence-loving Queen who lost her head in the French Revolution.”

Thus Britain’s “masses” receive news of an event that threatens to alter the course of geo politics.

Foxy right wing ideologues Frank Gaffney and Glen Beck refer to the events as part of the secret Muslim fanatic, foreign-born Obama’s plot to betray a loyal ally — what’s a little theft compared to loyalty? More importantly, Al Jazeera viewers learned about an unfolding “revolution” spreading through the Arab world.

For 50 plus years Washington has backed ruthless tyrants like Mubarak and Ben Ali in Tunisia. In return, the despots obeyed orders and stole fortunes from the Arab majority – and tortured, imprisoned and executed dissenters.

Then, in Tunisia, a courageous man on fire provoked others to take to the streets: “Enough!” millions chanted. “Time to change!”

The regimes’ goon squads and police, symbols of intimidation, no longer maintain obedience in the face of angry masses pointing to governmental injustice, corruption and perfidy.

Enter the enigmatic military, in charge of almost 1/3 of the Egyptian economy. On February 2, as Barry Lando observed, disciplined gangs of hoodlums somehow passed “through military checkpoints to attack the anti-Mubarak crowds, while the military stood aside, and watched.” (http://barrylando.blogspot.com/2011/02/egytian-army-big-unknown-updated.html)After Mubarak announced he would not run again for the presidency, the top military clique wanted to restore order without its members using force against fellow Egyptians. So, the hooligans got blamed, not the men in uniform, for the bloodshed. But the people stood their ground.

As Lando explains, the military hoi polloi worry “about their own skins.” After Khomeini’s 1979 revolution Iranian generals received their just desserts. Like other third world military elites, Lando reminds us, Egypt’s brass “have also enjoyed a pampered existence …spacious, subsidized condominiums… nurseries, schools and military consumer cooperatives featuring domestic and imported products at discount prices.” Washington rewards Egypt’s military with $1.3 billion — “aid” — that depends on obedience to U.S. policies re Israel.

Last week Yemen and Jordan also erupted. The “spreading” syndrome inflicted Washington. Not good to show millions of angry poor people demanding rights. No sightings of the super rich who rely on the military to protect their wealth and privilege. They watch on TV – from London or New York.

What will Washington do – other than hand wring and emit “democracy” platitudes through press secretaries? Democracy, as the world has learned, is replaced by more serious U.S. concerns: assured oil supplies and Israel. But the White House also knows the majority in the region think Israel and the United States, not Iran, constitute the great threat. (88 percent said Israel, 77 percent the United States, and 10% thought Iran was a threat. Noam Chomsky, “Democracy Now,” February 3)

The U.S. military learned in Vietnam not to fight enemies that fight back. Neither W. Bush nor Obama ingested that lesson; W did destroy the integrity of Iraq as a nation and started war in Afghanistan, which fell into Obama’s lap. If he dumps it — like he’s dumped Ben Ali and Mubarak – he’ll become a target of the Republican hawks. Shudder!

What will the courageous President do if Egyptian and other Arab masses continue to occupy the streets? U.S. puppets look to Washington while its policy “experts” prepare compromise proposals that slimes the status quo under the revolutionary door.

Mubarak has fled, but for “American policy towards Egypt, iy means replacing a dictatorial regime that did what the U.S. told it with a democratic regime that will do what the U.S. tells it.” Josiah Swampoodle (Sam Smith’s Progressive Review Feb 5)

SAUL LANDAU’s new film is WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP. Counterpunch published his BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD

 

More articles by:

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail