FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why No Reporters in Suez?

Finally, the media are giving token recognition to the fact that what is happening in Tahrir Square Cairo has been built on the backs of millions of Egyptian workers who waged 3,000 strikes over the past eight years.  And that the April 6 Youth Movement took its name from one of largest coordinated strikes of several factories and work places in Mahalla, right outside of Cairo in 2008.  When that strike was put down by secret police and military occupation of the factories, the wives and children of the workers demonstrated in Mahalla, also meeting with savage repression.

Since the beginning of current events in Cairo, the reporters have rarely mentioned that at the same time as the uprising in Cairo was taking place, larger gatherings of demonstrators in Suez were under violent attack from police and army.  Apparently there are fewer affluent, bilingual protesters in Suez, and the revolt there is made up of lower-income, working people.  Why haven’t NPR, BBC, Democracy Now, Al Jazeera, and our maverick liberal independent reporters gotten into Suez to interview people participating in these larger, more violently repressed demonstrations of working class protesters?

Today, with the announcement that thousands of workers in Suez were on strike, the liberal media were happy to report this, as though workers have been dormant, and just now decided to give their support to those in Tahrir Square. Of course, no one is reporting from Suez, so the televised attention immediately reverts to the dancing and singing in Tahrir Square,  and reporters’ delight at seeing 1000’s of doctors “in their white coats” and lawyers “in their black robes” joining the festivities.  Tomorrow, Democracy Now reports, professors will march from Cairo University to the square.
And what will be happening to the workers of Suez? Who among the corporate media or the so-called “alternative” press will venture out of their “comfort zone” to discuss with the workers of Suez and Alexandria the demands of the workers there for a decent standard of living and adequate wages, and…well, who knows what more they might be demanding, since hardly anyone interviews them.  Apparently, they are not sitting around with their laptops or ipods, texting, tweeting, and checking out Facebook.

According to Evan Rohar of  Labor Notes  reporting on the Suez workers’ strike, “Egyptian authorities are beefing up security around the canal, claiming that Hamas and Hezbollah plan to dispatch saboteurs to aid the rebellion. Maybe they’re acting on real intelligence, or maybe they’re afraid of what the workers could do for themselves and for their revolution.” (“Suez Canal Strike Could Rattle Egypt’s Regime” 02/10/2011).  Rohar makes the same mistake as many other reporters in stating that the workers demands are “economic” and “not political.”  How can any American alive and aware today say that demands for higher wages, increased benefits, better working conditions, social welfare programs, and the right to organize and protest are not “political” demands.  It is time for the false distinction between what is economic and what is political to end.  The politics of today demand cuts in real wages, elimination of benefits packages, unemployment, and an end to workers organizing and striking.  (See Get Your Wheelbarrows Ready! Capitalism in Crisis)

On Thursday, Mubarak announced again (this is the third time)  to the thousands gathered in Tahrir that he will not resign until September.  If and when Mubarak stands down, or if the Genius of Torture (Mubarak’s good friend and his “Vice President”) takes over, or if the military pulls off the threatened coop, what then? Do you think all these brave, idealistic students and professionals have anything to learn from the millions of workers who have organized 3,000 illegal strikes throughout industries and cities of Egypt over the past decade?

One articulate English-speaking Egyptian man interviewed today by the BBC stated his belief that nothing would really change in Egypt as long as the US and Israel continued to arm, train, and support the Egyptian military. When he accused the foreign media in general of being biased and ignoring these facts, he was quickly interrupted by the BBC reporter who made it clear that she and many of her colleagues would not agree with him.

I would go further and say that as long as the media focus on primarily interviewing professionals in Tahrir Square, and does not link up the actions there with reporting directly from Suez and other areas of Egypt where larger, less jubilant actions have taken place, they are complicit in isolating and dividing what should be a successfully coordinated movement, as is Obama in continuing financial support for the Egyptian military while praising  “Egypt’s young people.” Both are singing the song of “democracy” while avoiding the underlying issues, and ignoring the experience, strength, and knowledge that has been gained through years of activism by unions and working people in Egypt.  Nothing has really changed, and the truth remains THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED.

MARY LYNN CRAMER has degrees in the history of economic thought and clinical social work , as well as over two decades of experience as a bilingual clinical social worker. For the past five years, she has been deeply involved in “economic field research” among elderly women and men dependent upon social security, Medicare, and food stamps, living in subsidized housing projects. She can be reached at: mllynn2@yahoo.com

More articles by:

Mary Lynn Cramer, MA, MSW, LICSW has degrees in the history of economic thought and clinical social work , as well as over two decades of experience as a bilingual child and family psychotherapist. For the past five years, she has been deeply involved in “economic field research” among elderly women and men dependent upon social security, Medicare, and food stamps, living in subsidized housing projects. She can be reached at: mllynn2@yahoo.com

December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
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 F. Duggan
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
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail