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    EGYPT: The real Egyptian revolution is yet to come


    Posts : 31
    Join date : 2010-07-31
    Location : Delhi

    EGYPT: The real Egyptian revolution is yet to come

    Post by Admin on Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:06 am

    [b]Hi Ihrgian
    February 14, 2011
    [b]An article by George Katsiaficas published by the Asian Human Rights Commission
    [b][size=16]EGYPT: The real Egyptian revolution is yet to
    come [/size][/b]
    [i]by George Katsiaficas[/i]

    Around the world, people are enthusiastically greeting the "Egyptian
    Revolution" -- the astonishing victory won by the historic 18-day People Power Uprising. As
    events move more rapidly than anyone can anticipate, not only has Mubarak been deposed,
    his corrupt parliament has been dismissed and new elections promised
    within six months. People's ecstasy in the aftermath of these great
    victories belies the fact that Mubarak’s authoritarian system remains
    intact --nay, strengthened--by the ascension of Suleiman and the military
    to supreme power in Cairo. While the world hails the Egyptian
    "revolution," a more sober assessment of recent events would question
    the accuracy of that label, at least for now.

    If we look at other countries for comparison (and there are many recent
    examples of People Power Uprisings suddenly ending the reign of
    longstanding authoritarian regimes), I am especially struck by parallels
    with Korea's 1987 June Uprising, when for 19 consecutive days, hundreds
    of thousands of people illegally went into the streets and battled tens
    of thousands of riot police to a standstill. On June 29, the military dictatorship
    finally capitulated to the opposition’s demands to hold direct
    presidential elections, thereby ending 26 years of military rule.

    As in Egypt on
    February 11, 2011, the man who made the announcement in Seoul on June 29, 1987
    was none other than the dictatorship’s No. 2 leader. Roh Tae-woo went on to
    become the country’s new president after elections marked by both a
    bitter split between rival progressive candidates and widespread
    allegations of ballot tampering. People’s high expectations and optimism
    after the military was forced to grant elections turned into bitter
    disappointment. Throughout the country, new massive mobilizations were
    organized, during which more than a dozen young people committed suicide
    to spur forward the movement for change.

    Like Suleiman, Roh was a long-time US asset with ties to a list of
    nefarious deeds. In 1996, Roh and his predecessor Chun Doo-hwan were convicted of high
    crimes, sent to prison, and ultimately ordered to return hundreds of
    millions of dollars they had illegally garnered. (Roh eventually
    returned around $300 million; Chun deceitfully pleaded poverty and,
    although thereby dishonored, he absconded with even more than that
    amount of Korea's wealth.)

    Roh was never linked to any direct act of sadism, but Suleiman is known
    to have personally participated in the torture of CIA rendered terrorist
    suspects. As "the CIA's Man in Cairo," he helped design and implement
    the American rendition program through which dozens of suspected
    terrorists were kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured. Suleiman took a
    personal hand in the torture of Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib. In his
    memoirs, Habib recounted one torture session of electric shocks, broken
    fingers and being hung from meat hooks that culminated in being slapped
    so hard that his blindfold flew off -- revealing Suleiman as the
    purveyor of the violence.

    While Habib was innocent, another rendered suspect, Ibn al-Sheikh
    al-Libi, confessed to participation in training anti-US fighters and
    famously asserted under torture that ties existed between al-Queda and
    Saddam's government in Iraq.
    That lie became one of Colin
    Powell's most significant assertions to the UN Security Council
    when the US convinced much of the world to attack Iraq. When al-Libi
    later recanted and threatened to expose his lie, he "committed suicide"
    in a Libyan prison--coincidentally at the same time as Suleiman made his
    first ever visit to Tripoli.

    For his extraordinary efforts on behalf of the US, Suleiman found his
    fortunes rise. Thanks to WikiLeaks, we know today that almost three
    years ago, the US was prepared to elevate him to the top slot in Egypt.
    According to a US diplomatic cable of May 14, 2007, entitled
    "Presidential Succession in Egypt," Suleiman was to be named
    vice-president (as occurred on January 29, 2011).

    The chief of the Egyptian armed forces, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, like Suleiman and
    Mubarak, is a regime insider with long ties to the Pentagon. One U.S.
    Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks noted that, "Tantawi has opposed
    both economic and political reforms that he perceives as eroding central
    government power." While Suleiman and Tantawi are clearly cut from the
    same cloth as Mubarek, my objection is not simply to these men but to
    the system they embody. For a genuine revolution to take place, Suleiman
    and his kind must be driven from power--even punished for their
    crimes--not elevated to the highest levels of government.

    What the masses of Egyptians want is freedom from dictatorship and
    foreign domination. They want the right to participate in their own
    government and to do so freely, with a free press, and in a society
    where civil liberties
    are guaranteed. They want an end to the country's poverty and to take
    back the mountain of wealth stolen by the super-rich.

    As it seems that Korea's democratization might hold possible lessons for
    Egypt, so might the Philippines in 1986. Less than a year after the
    first "People Power
    Revolution" sent long-time dictator Ferdinand Marcos into exile, Corazon Aquino’s new
    government shot to death 21 landless farmers who marched in Manila to
    demand she keep her promises for land reform. The Philippines today is
    plagued by increasing hunger, and more than three million children are
    underweight and underheight. In 1973, students in Thailand overthrew a
    hated military dictatorship after 77 people were gunned down in the
    streets of Bangkok. After a two-year hiatus, one of the most free
    periods in the history of Thailand, the military bloodily reimposed
    dictatorship and killed dozens of students. In Nepal in 1990, fifty
    days of popular protests during which 62 citizens were killed won a
    constitutional monarchy, but within a few years, the royal family again
    seized absolute power. A 19-day People Power Uprising in 2006 ended the
    monarchy altogether, but only after 21 more unarmed civilians had been
    killed by the forces of order.

    No one can anticipate the outcome of what has been set in motion in
    Egypt, but historical antecedents may provide insight into possible
    outcomes. Will the blood of the 300 murdered citizens in Egypt, like the
    hundreds of martyrs of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, water the tree of
    liberty? Or will their sacrifice grease the wheels as US banks and
    global corporations rush to replace "crony capitalism" with ever more
    profitable arenas for wealthy investors?

    Young activists in Cairo remain camped in Tahrir Square--for now at
    least--where they have already had to stand up to the army’s attempt to
    clear them out. Remaining steadfast, they are calling for substantive
    reforms--for a new system and democracy worthy of the name. Even with
    Mubarak gone, so long as his military commanders and chief of
    intelligence remain in power, nothing like a revolution can be said to
    have transpired in Egypt.

    For that to be said, rather than celebrating their victory from high
    positions of power, Suleiman and his buddies should themselves be guests
    in the very prisons where they were previously hosts. The full turning
    of the wheel of justice--a revolution in the true sense of the
    word--demands nothing less. The sites where Suleiman tortured Habib and
    al-Lidi should become public museums open to ordinary Egyptians to sadly
    recount the country's decades of suffering under the US-backed
    dictatorship of Mubarak. Instead, unless the movement continues to
    propel the country forward, Suleiman's torture chambers may be destined
    to be used against young activists whose only crime is to insist upon
    making reality what is today claimed by nearly everyone--a revolution in
    [i]The views shared in this article do not necessarily reflect those
    of the AHRC, and the AHRC takes no responsibility for them.[/i]
    [i][b]About the Author[/b]: George Katsiaficas, whose
    mother was born in Cairo, is a professor of humanities at Wentworth
    Institute of Technology in Boston. He is currently completing Asia’s
    Unknown Uprisings, a study of recent People Power uprisings. [/i]
    # # #
    [i][b]About AHRC[/b]: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional
    non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia,
    documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform
    to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong
    Kong-based group was founded in 1984. [/i] [img(1,1)][/img]

    [b]International Human Rights
    Day 2010 - Download our pre-print PDF version of the annual reports [url=]here[/url].[/b]


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