Skip

Meanwhile in Egypt... "The people want the end of the field marshal!"
November 21, 2011 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Protesters in Cairo have re-occupied Tahrir square. As the military brutally suppresses protests with live ammunition and tear gas that has left at least 33 dead and two thousand injured, Egypt's interim cabinet has offered its resignation a week before elections were due to begin. Telegraph liveblog | Al Jazeera liveblog
posted by dustyasymptotes (48 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
So is there a good summary of what has happened in Egypt in the last few months? How did we get back here?
posted by wierdo at 6:09 PM on November 21, 2011


wierdo: AFAIK the short version is that the Egyptian military controls quite a bit of the business that goes on in Egypt, and mid to high ranking officers reap significant wealth from this. These army officers were willing to sacrifice Mubarak in order to preserve business as usual, which is why the Army didn't move in on Tahrir square the first time around. However they have been trying to assert control ahead of elections that might actually threaten their position and privileges. The Egyptian public weren't willing to play "meet the new boss" and went out in the streets, leading to the clashes as the army now sees the movement as a direct threat.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:16 PM on November 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


People on the ground tweeting in English: Catherina, sandmonkey, Mia Jankowicz, Anjali Kamat, Sharif Kouddous.

Explainer: Egypt goes to the polls (from Al Jazeera and their generally informative Spotlight Egypt page.)
posted by dustyasymptotes at 6:20 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is like one of those games where you realize that what you thought was the first ending was fake.

Now you have to face the real, much nastier end boss.
posted by shivohum at 6:29 PM on November 21, 2011 [11 favorites]




I wonder if this will change the minds of the people who keep heaping scorn on anyone who draws parallels between OWS and Egypt. A month ago drawing that comparison was a good way to get accused of being hysterical and having no sense of proportion or perspective. I hope those people re-join the conversation and talk about whether they still feel the same way.
posted by chaff at 6:48 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


33 people have been killed in these protest while none are known killed in OWS protest.

This is not an acquittal of US authorities but a condemnation of Egyptian ones.
posted by Anything at 6:53 PM on November 21, 2011


From the perspective of the outsider, what we're seeing is the common man protesting against entrenched power bases, injustice and inequality. We're seeing photographs of students, far more peaceful than elsewhere, face the authorities, usually dressed far more securely. Perhaps some of the colours in these photographs are different and the architecture a little odd, but little else feels different from the waves of change we've seen slowly sweeping the world for the past year. Imho only.
posted by infini at 6:54 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


protests
posted by Anything at 6:55 PM on November 21, 2011


Today is the tomorrow that was never going to come.
posted by humanfont at 7:02 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


What a time to be alive.
posted by wwwwwhatt at 7:06 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder if this will change the minds of the people who keep heaping scorn on anyone who draws parallels between OWS and Egypt. A month ago drawing that comparison was a good way to get accused of being hysterical and having no sense of proportion or perspective. I hope those people re-join the conversation and talk about whether they still feel the same way.

Because none of the Occupy protests have been handled with live ammunition? Because no one has been killed at any of the Occupy protests? I fail to see how this news changes anything about the Occupy-Egypt comparison, people weren't doubting that Egypt's regime was oppressive or that the people trying to change it weren't placing their lives at risk for something valuable. All this seems to have done is confirm that things in Egypt are worse than they are in the US.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:08 PM on November 21, 2011


If American protesters fought back like Egyptian protesters, there would be fatalities. Peaceful protest is a relative term. I think the goal is to just be the one who is more peaceful than the other side.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:10 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I please ask us not to take this thread into a lengthy debate about brutality in US vs Egypt? I said one comment and for me at least that'll be the last.
posted by Anything at 7:12 PM on November 21, 2011


Anyway, the point is, the Egyptian people decided it was their right to take that square and hold it no matter what the government said. Regardless of the methods, we obviously agree here in the west that that is not the case. We just do it out of health and safety concerns.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:12 PM on November 21, 2011


Has anyone come across analysis of how this could turn out favorably to the public? In the anti-Mubarak rallies they had the support of the army but now the army leadership is the enemy. Knowing very little beyond that, this looks like a far worse situation than the previous one. Are they counting on defectors in the ranks?
posted by Anything at 7:25 PM on November 21, 2011


So is there a good summary of what has happened in Egypt in the last few months? How did we get back here?

The short story is that protestors' demands from February are not being met. I thought that Democracy Now's post-revolution coverage was useful for putting these recent protests in context.

One of the main demands from protestors at the beginning of this year was an end to emergency law in Egypt, which has been an almost permanent fixture since 1967. The only break in emergency law was an 18-month period around 1980; since then it has been in place and continually renewed. The military council has yet to lift emergency law; and I think they might have actually strengthened it after the Israeli embassy in Cairo was bombed.

There was a good segment about post-revolution Egypt on This American Life. The episode discusses a specific military trial of a Tahrir Square protestor; there have been many other military trials with less favorable endings.
posted by compartment at 7:37 PM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Don't stand on a silent platform, fight the war; fuck the norm.
posted by Renoroc at 7:40 PM on November 21, 2011


The interim cabinet offering it's resignation seems on the face of it to be an effort to meet the public's demands - but won't it just delay the elections that were to be held last week? Seems very backhanded to me. Or is there another explanation that looks less like them trying to prevent elections?
posted by harriet vane at 8:21 PM on November 21, 2011


I'm confident the Egyptians are better off now, Anything. If nothing else, they shutdown the SSIS, who regularly tortured dissidents, and gained incredible confidence. Good luck Egypt!
posted by jeffburdges at 8:41 PM on November 21, 2011


Apparently not, according to the BBC,

In a new report, Amnesty said the military council had carried on many of the abusive tactics of the Hosni Mubarak era, including torture of suspects, targeting critics and banning critical media.

"The euphoria of the uprising has been replaced by fears that one repressive rule has simply been replaced with another," Amnesty said.

posted by infini at 8:48 PM on November 21, 2011


33 people have been killed in these protest while none are known killed in OWS protest.

Depending on your definition of life, that may not be true any more. A young woman who was pregnant and pepper-sprayed by Seattle PD last week may have miscarried.
posted by loquacious at 9:04 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


More regarding the elections, written before the most recent protests:
These opposing views are at the heart of an ongoing clash between two narratives on the state of Egypt’s Revolution—a battle that any meaningful discussion of Egypt’s 2011/2012 elections cannot overlook. One narrative, which the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and its supporters have tried to promote through friendly media outlets, alleges that the January 25 Revolution has succeeded—with the help of the Egyptian army—and that the time has come for protest movements to vacate public squares, the streets, and factories, and begin deferring to elite politics: elections, parliaments, and constitution writers. From this perspective, elections are viewed as an important step toward advancing the change that Egyptians have called for during the eighteen-day uprising that toppled Mubarak.

An opposing narrative, advanced by many dissident individuals and groups through demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of contentious political action, posits that the Revolution is far from complete and is under severe attack from the SCAF. Advocates of this latter narrative tell us that the upcoming SCAF-sponsored elections are a step toward normalizing and legitimating a political reality in which Egypt’s military rulers can dominate the current “transition” and dictate its terms in ways that favor their own anti-democratic bureaucratic interests. Thus, proponents of this view fear that these elections will be used to abort rather than advance the revolution, which remains ongoing.
-- Egypt Elections Watch: Use with Caution from Jadaliyya's Elections Watch.

Which is in line with the conclusion at the end of Richard Seymour's article:
The military appears to be producing a situation from which there can be no return. Either they will consolidate their power as a new despotism with a slender democratic facade - and elections are now in doubt - or they will be decisively weakened, and a new alignment of democratic forces will have the initiative. As the revolutionaries of Egypt say, Glory to the martyrs, Victory to the revolution, Power and wealth to the people.
posted by dustyasymptotes at 9:22 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because no one has been killed at any of the Occupy protests?

Just a ruptured spleen and brain damage.
posted by empath at 9:25 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


People have been killed at Occupy from drug overdose and suicide, but not by any police response.
posted by shii at 10:07 PM on November 21, 2011


I wonder how many billions of dollars in US aid since the Camp David peace treaty has gone to the Egyptian armed forces?

From 1979 (the year of the peace agreement) to 1997, Egypt received military aid of US$1.3 billion annually, which also helped modernize the Egyptian military. (wikipedia)

Doing the math, that's very roughly 40 billion or so. And now the army is the entrenched interest that controls the Egyptian economy. Hmm, I wonder if there is any connection there?

And if I remember correctly, the US has also sent a shitload of money to the Pakistan military.

Fuck me. America, your foreign policy totally sucks. Your attention anywhere in the world is like the Midas touch. Who thinks US isolationism would be a net negative?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:24 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


CNN: A thick pall of chemical smoke hung over a crowd in Cairo on Friday afternoon. People ran, covering their noses and mouths to escape yet another volley of tear gas.

The same scene was being played out elsewhere in Cairo, in Alexandria and Suez. And several weeks back, Tunisian police used tear gas to try to quell protests there. It is one of the most common ways to used to disperse protests -- but not everyone runs.

In both Tunisia and Egypt, some protesters stopped to pick up canisters, and posted photographs online. A few inches long, blue and silver, they include warning labels and then a set of initials: CSI, followed by "Made in the U.S.A."

posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:46 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am so incredibly humbled by the risks these people take. They know there's a chance that something horrible may happen to them or a loved one and yet they still turn out time and time again. One protest is impressive; a sequence of them demanding what you know you as a people deserve (and who could doubt that looking at these protests?) - well that's something greater, so much greater.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:47 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]




A broad coalition of revolutionary movements from across the political spectrum, including leftist, liberal and Islamist organisations, also threw their full weight behind the protests. "We confirm our readiness to face all the forces that aim to abort the revolution, reproduce the old regime, or drag the country into chaos and turn the revolution into a military coup," said a joint statement by 37 groups.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest organised political movement, added its voice to the chorus of discontent, accusing Scaf of contradicting 'all human, religious and patriotic values' with their callousness and warning that the revolution that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year was able to rise again.
...

The organisation also announced it was temporarily suspending all electoral activities, but unlike many liberal and leftist parties it has yet to cancel its campaign.
...

William Hague, the British foreign minister, said the violence was of "great concern" but added that the UK would not be taking sides.

The US urged Egypt to go ahead with the elections and called for restraint on all sides. The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said: "The United States continues to believe that these tragic events should not stand in the way of elections.
from new Guardian article.

I started posted more English twitter accounts but realized there were too many so I'v consolidated them in a list.
posted by dustyasymptotes at 11:16 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


But if the previous dictator is gone...
...and the military dictatorship is falling too...
...how will our government control them?!
posted by markkraft at 11:17 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


“I very much support continuing aid. We have provided aid, both for civilian and military purposes, going back many decades now. And it’s been bipartisan; Republicans and Democrats have supported it.

We believe in aid to your military without any conditions, no conditionality."
- Hillary Clinton, Oct. 1 2011

Hillary’s New BBF: Field Marshal Tantawi?
posted by markkraft at 11:48 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


People have been killed at Occupy from drug overdose and suicide, but not by any police response.

Yeah, those drum-circle hippies, smoking the tweeds, getting what they deserve.

Ugh.

Anyway, I was listening to a Canadian radio program tonight and they were interviewing an Egyptian radio journalist who had been shot in the knee with a rubber bullet, run over, and then subject to a tear gas attack — in the middle of the interview. The really scary and creepy thing is how she describes how the military are actively targeting civilians with facial injuries, taking their eyes out — literally. Real medieval shit.

Hopefully the Egyptian people can get their country back. And hopefully the totally disproportionate paramilitary response to OWS doesn't get to this horrible point.

But, hey, it can't happen here, right?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:48 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


People have been killed at Occupy from drug overdose and suicide, but not by any police response.

I plead that you (and everyone) to ask yourself the question if that's the fault of OWS, or the fault of a dispassionate world where access to health care is nearly impossible, and the very real disease of drug addiction being criminalized rather than treated as a health issue. Which brings us back to point A - affordable, accessible health care.

My vote is firmly in the latter.
posted by loquacious at 11:53 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Oops, forgot to add the link for the source of Hillary's quote.)
posted by markkraft at 11:59 PM on November 21, 2011


People have been killed at Occupy from drug overdose and suicide, but not by any police response.
Yeah, those drum-circle hippies, smoking the tweeds, getting what they deserve.


I'm not understanding what provoked this response. There was a death from an overdose last week at occupy vancouver.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:41 AM on November 22, 2011


Zeinobia's Egyptian Chronicals.
posted by nangar at 2:59 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guardian liveblog, including details of three American students who were arrested Monday and are being paraded around on state television.
posted by dustyasymptotes at 1:03 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Juan Cole: Egyptian Revolution 2.0?
posted by homunculus at 2:10 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


A useful-looking summary on the Telegraph website.

Judging by its modest concessions so far, the army may bet it can ride out the unrest because Tahrir has not overflowed and because many Egyptians are exhausted by the turmoil that has savaged an economy, both by disrupting trade and discouraging tourists. Yet analysts question such a calculation.

"There is growing feeling among people that the military is part of the problem, not part of the solution," said Khalil al-Anani, an Egyptian analyst at Durham University in England.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE MILITARY?

If pressure on the generals builds, frustration may grow in the lower ranks of officers, worried that the army's reputation could be indelibly tarnished. That might encourage rebellious elements, although diplomats say the army has so far proved cohesive.

posted by Anything at 2:10 PM on November 22, 2011


The Big Picture: Egypt erupts with fresh protests
posted by homunculus at 2:23 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, dustyasymptotes, for the info on the two ways of looking at the election situation. Much appreciated.
posted by harriet vane at 9:45 PM on November 22, 2011


Mona Eltahawy, who has been consistently awesome, was beaten and sexually assaulted by Cairo security forces.
posted by Anything at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2011






Too bad they didn't torch it, original Tea party style.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:46 AM on November 29, 2011






« Older Michael Mann's "Heat"   |   The Rap Board Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post