Seventeen Days That Shook The World

The astonishing Egyptian uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in two-and-a-half weeks of immense popular struggle has sent shock waves reverberating throughout the Middle East, putting Washington’s imperial clients on notice that their days of impunity are now numbered.

Close to two million flooded into Cairo’s Tahir Square. One million assembled in Martyr’s Square in Alexandria. 750,000 gathered in downtown Mansoura. A quarter of a million came together in Suez.

Who were they? A cross-section of modern Egypt: Muslims and Christians and Wafds, women and men, young and old. They were internet surfing youth, trade union organizers, the unemployed, students, professionals, parents, children, politicians, party leaders, Imams and priests, judges and lawyers, former military officers and veterans, farmers, taxi drivers, garbage collectors, actors, teachers, artists, poets, movie directors, journalists, and authors. In a word, everyone.

What moved them to take to the streets? Well, for starters, poverty is endemic and thirty percent of the workforce is chronically unemployed. Well-educated college youth with no prospects sit at cafes all day smoking hookahs while the price of a tomato goes up 400% in 24 hours. Corruption is all-pervasive and the necessities of life are allocated by ransom. One has to pay to get clean water, a roof that won’t cave in, a crappy car that costs double because of duty taxes, to get one’s mail, to pay a bill, to obtain a document, to buy bread, to start a business.

The popular explosion erupted on January 25, “Police Day.” Over the next two-and-a-half weeks fed-up crowds surged through the streets, defying curfew, setting up self-governing popular committees, fending off bullets, beatings, and tear gas, and taking back control of their cities from one of the most brutal dictatorships in the Middle East.

Totally uninterested in compromise or half-measures, they insisted that Mubarak and his dictatorship go without preconditions. The building housing his National Democratic Party, in power since 1978, was burned. Downtown Suez was seized by protesters, where two police stations were also put to the torch. Security forces shot uselessly into the protesting crowds while tanks and armored vehicles patrolled streets suddenly under the control of popular committees. F-16s and military helicopters roamed overhead, but the people had lost their fear and could no longer be controlled. A long dormant Article 3 of Egypt’s Constitution suddenly sprang to life: “Sovereignty is for the people alone who are the source of authority.”

The political earthquake approached a general strike, and was to a great extent the culmination of prolonged labor organization and hundreds of strikes on the part of an army of unionists who have been active for years. The police disappeared early on, while the Egyptian army stood ready to mutiny if ordered to open fire on vast crowds of their fellow Egyptians demanding the ouster of Mubarak’s corrupt and murderous regime.

Official Washington responded with characteristic cynicism, rhetorically embracing the “legitimate demands” of the protesters while trying to save its police state client, whether Mubarak resigned or remained. The last thing Washington wanted was to see U.S. arms turned on Egyptian democracy protesters before a TV audience of billions.

Father Obama, known in Egypt as the “black Bush,” sallied forth with his customary pile of useless platitudes, saying that Egyptians had a right to protest, and that many were decent middle-class people with legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, vice-president Joe Biden added the absurd claim that Mubarak was not a dictator and should not be made to go, since he was a stalwart ally of Washington and Israel, a supporter of the Middle East “peace process,” as well as the “war on terror.” In other words, everyone should just shake hands and have a pleasant chat about how to tweak Egypt’s basically good government. No mention of Human Rights Watch’s report stating that torture was “incredibly entrenched” in the Mubarak administration, nor any admission that Egyptian elections were rigged, that bribery was everywhere and employment nowhere, that Mubarak had run Egypt like a giant prison for 30 years, that he renewed martial law every five years, that he lent crucial assistance to crushing what Israel openly regards as its niggers in Gaza.

The U.S. media were equally clueless, praising the Mubarak regime as Israel’s “only Arab ally” (on the pretext that what’s good for Israel is good for America) and has abetted “U.S. interests.” According to the talking heads, this left Washington “in a bind” because the democratic principles being invoked by militant Egyptians were America’s very own, but they were being used in an effort to topple a key U.S. ally. U.S. official judgment being by definition infallible, the perplexing riddle was how Washington could continue having its murderous client without tarnishing its democratic credentials. Naturally, the obvious fact that the U.S.’s operative values are anything but democratic, that they are in fact murderously authoritarian throughout the Middle East, in service to corporate profit and Greater Israel, remained unthinkable for American pundits, though not for the rest of the world.

The problem for Washington is that real democracy leads quickly to an anti-neoliberal, anti-Israel agenda, as austerity economics (juxtaposed to record corporate profits) and forced displacement of Palestine’s indigenous Arabs have no moral leg to stand on, and vast populations throughout the world are increasingly aware of it.

From Central Asia to North Africa the winds of change are blowing. In Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, the U.S. is struggling. In Iraq, it has handed power to the allies of Iran. In Lebanon, Hizbollah is forming a new government after toppling U.S. ally Saad Hariri. In Palestine, Washington’s client Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have zero credibility. In Yemen, Jordan, and Algeria, U.S. client governments are barely holding on. In Tunisia, a popular revolt brought down president Zine el-Albidine Ben Ali, America’s ally, while touching off the Egyptian rebellion that has just expelled Mubarak.

The beginning of the political isolation of USrael, the roguest state of them all, is finally underway. Do what you can to non-violently help it.

Michael K. Smith is the author of The Madness of King George from Common Courage Press. He co-blogs with Frank Scott at www.legalienate.blogspot.com. Read other articles by Michael.

14 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on February 15th, 2011 at 10:12am #

    The U.S. media were equally clueless, praising the Mubarak regime as Israel’s “only Arab ally” (on the pretext that what’s good for Israel is good for America) and has abetted “U.S. interests.”

    i think that the interests of u.s. supremacists are exact copies of ‘jewish’ and israeli supremacists’ interests.

    and i do not know of a judge, pol, general, cia agent, columnist, pluto, expert in u.s. and elsewhere who’d say otherwise!

    the question is, what r we doing about this? are we gonna once again get 99% support for just that? wld u.s. as always before be politicly unipolic?
    does one think u.s. has a duopolic ‘alien’ and domestic policies? does israel?tnx

  2. Ismail Zayid said on February 15th, 2011 at 12:04pm #

    The 17 -day Egyptian revolution, that shook the world, was a a firm assertion by the Egyptian people to free themselves from Mubarak’s dictatorship and subservience to US and Israeli interests. Vice-President Biden dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s by his statement: “Mubarak was not a dictator and should not be made to go, since he was a stalwart ally of Washington and Israel.”

    The Egyptian people are determined to secure a genuine democracy for their people that is not to conform with the hypocritical operative values of the US ‘democracy’ that are devoted to the service of corporate profit and the diktats of Israel.

  3. hayate said on February 15th, 2011 at 12:45pm #

    Published 13:15 14.02.11, Latest update 13:15 14.02.11

    Thousands flood Cairo square as army struggles to halt rallies

    Thousands of Egyptians flooded back into Tahrir Square on Monday, only hours after military police and soldiers had cleared the last few dozen pro-democracy activists from the area.

    The army had appeared to be in full control of the central Cairo square after they issued an ultimatum to demonstrators to evacuate or face arrest. Tahrir Square has been at the heart of the protests that began on January 25 and within weeks toppled President Hosni Mubarak,

    But hundreds of police in uniform and plainclothes marched through the square to show solidarity with the demonstrators shortly after the military announced that the area had been evacuated.

    The police protesters and the crowds of onlookers around them disrupted traffic which had begun flowing at the weekend.”

    [http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/thousands-flood-cairo-square-as-army-struggles-to-halt-rallies-1.343349]

  4. hayate said on February 15th, 2011 at 12:52pm #

    Egypt presidential hopeful: Peace treaty with Israel is over

    “A leader of Egypt’s secular opposition declared Sunday that the country’s 30-year peace treaty with Israel was “over”, despite assurances by the new military rulers that it would honor the accord in the wake of President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.”

    [http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/egypt-presidential-hopeful-peace-treaty-with-israel-is-over-1.343341]

    The implication is that Egyptian society, both religious and secular, conservative, liberal and radical do not want to see Egypt’s humiliating subservience to israeloamerica continue. It’s unlikely israeloamerica’s current quislings running the country will be able to prevent the people getting what they want, now.

  5. Rehmat said on February 15th, 2011 at 7:19pm #

    Not many people, including the protesters, know the evil people behind the Youth Movements which have spearheaded the street protests against the locally hated regimes. The Alliance of Youth Movement (AYM) was given birth by the US State Department in 2008 an inaugural summit meeting in New York city in 2008. The meeting was attended by members of variety of Jewish thinks, like Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Israel-firsters officials from National Security staff, Department of Homeland Security advisers – and the Jewish-controlled mainstream-media, such as, Google, Facebook, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and MTV. The meeting was attended by actress Whoopi Goldberg, Facebook Co-Founder Dustin Moskovitz and Ben-Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, James K. Glassman. AYM has held annual meetings in Mexico city and London (UK) since then.

    One of the participants at 2008 NY meeting was no other than Asmaaa Mahfouz’s “April 6 Youth Movement” from Egypt. The group campaigned for ElBaradei against former President Hosni Mubarak. Dr. ElBaradei is on the Board of Trustees at George Soros’ Jewish think tank International Crisis Group.

    The Movement.org’s “team” includes co-Founder Jared Cohen (an Islamophobe Zionist Jew), a CFR member, Director of Google Ideas, and a former State Department planning staff member under both Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton. Jared’s other team members are; Jason Leibman, Roman Sunder, Zionist Christian David Nasser from Iran and Obama’s chief blogger, Sam Graham-Felsen.

    Source: Rehmat’s World

  6. hayate said on February 15th, 2011 at 9:17pm #

    Oh dear, one of the special people in the ziofascist propaganda corps (oh, soory, that should be media, right?) got intimidated:

    CBS’s Logan suffered ‘brutal’ attack in Egypt By Michael Calderone

    I initially entertained the foolish thought that this might be a real attack on a journalist, then when reading the article I got to this point:

    “She said Egyptian police also accused her crew of being “Israeli spies” or agents. “We were accused of everything,” she said.”

    [http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thecutline/20110215/bs_yblog_thecutline/cbss-logan-suffered-brutal-attack-in-egypt]

    No doubt she is working for israel and got what she deserved. Probably less than what she deserved, given 60 minutes main role as a ziofascist propaganda disseminator. I’m reminded of a Swiss incident back in the 90′s when 60 minutes set out to cover a demo there and their little plugs ended up getting coated with shaving cream and ridiculed. The Swiss correctly saw the sort of crap these ziofascist plugs would have written about them, so they did the interview correctly. Confiscated the plug’s electronics and used the “reporters” as an artist’s canvas of unconventional “paint”.

    I strongly suspect this ziofascist logan was correctly pre-empted in a similar manner and that her claims of abuse fall under the usual ziofascist “Iraq has wmds” criteria. Significantly, the article does not describe any sexual abuse the sayanim received, just makes a generic claim, unsubstantiated claim. it them ends on this note:

    “The crowd in Tahrir Square during the early days of the protest was overwhelmingly male. But as the protests grew, the crowd resembled a cross-section of Egyptian society, with women and children present at demonstrations. That continued through the celebrations following Mubarak’s resignation, which until this incident, have been largely viewed in a positive light.”

    It’s likely this propaganda will be expanded upon to denounce the Egyptian demos in the future, now that ziofascism, inc. has their new boi in place, as Egyptians do not seem to be fooled by the change of the guard the ziofascists are now claiming has “solved the problems” in Egypt in the Jewish zionist run and operated western corporate media.

  7. hayate said on February 15th, 2011 at 9:27pm #

    Anything this logan sayanim got in Egypt would like have been paled by what she got from the tsa preverts on returning to an ami airport.

    Wait a sec, she’s 60 minutes, part of the “elite” goebbels imitators, the tsa lowlife wouldn’t dare fondle one of their superiors, they probably offered their first born as a lifetime servant, given the direction israel’s american colony is headed.

  8. Deadbeat said on February 16th, 2011 at 12:01am #

    It seems to be that this was exactly what the U.S. reporters who interjected themselves into the Egyptian revolution was looking for — to become the story in order to diminish support and solidarity for the Egyptian people.

  9. Deadbeat said on February 16th, 2011 at 12:04am #

    Here’s another article on this topic …

    Overcoming Israel’s attempts to discredit protest
    [http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/overcoming-israels-attempts-to-discredit-protest/]

  10. mary said on February 16th, 2011 at 1:09am #

    Spot on Hayate amd Deadbeat. ZBC have Logan’s pack of lies in the main headlines on their website.

    15 February 2011 Last updated at 23:55

    Lara Logan of CBS attacked by Egyptian mob in Cairo (headline)

    Lara Logan was reporting from Tahrir Square when she was attacked (photo)

    Continue reading the main story
    Egypt’s Revolution
    Bowen: Bumpy ride
    Strikes test new regime
    Revolution diary
    After Mubarak: Your stories

    A senior CBS correspondent is recovering in hospital in the US after she was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the Egyptian protests, the US network says.

    ………etc etc {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12476771}

    Note the links to their other ‘stories’.

    I see that Logan is on the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists who are referred to twice in the ZBC report above.

    {http://www.cpj.org/about/board-of-directors.php}

  11. Jonas Rand said on February 16th, 2011 at 11:35pm #

    I haven’t been posting here in months, but I have been reading along, and just had to comment here. Rehmat, your attack on the youth movements in Egypt is totally unacceptable and unjustified. First, it was not the AYM or the government figures who created it (nor was it anyone in positions like that) who spearheaded protests in Egypt. I will concede that AYM was created, doubtlessly by rather out-of-touch establishment figures, for the purpose of encouraging the protests in Iran. The establishment figures in question also probably had connections to US intelligence agencies and wanted to undermine the Iranian government. However, the large youth movement in Egypt is the April 6th youth movement, which really is led by Egyptian youths and is totally different from the goals of the state department when forming the AYM. Secondly, insistence on totality (such as calling people evil) almost always leads to bad logic, as it does here. Additionally, why the anti-semitism? How does it prove devious intentions to state that certain people who attended the meeting to form the Alliance of Youth Movements were Jews? Before you dismiss my accusation as being just another regurgitation of the same tool used by Israel to censor and silence its critics (and the Israel lobby often does use that tactic), let me quote from your post:

    “The Alliance of Youth Movement[sic] (AYM) was given birth by the US State Department in 2008 an inaugural summit meeting in New York city in 2008. The meeting was attended by members of variety of Jewish thinks [sic], like Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Israel-firsters officials from National Security staff, Department of Homeland Security advisers – and the Jewish-controlled mainstream-media, such as, Google, Facebook, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and MTV.”

    “…George Soros’ Jewish think tank International Crisis Group…” (keep in mind that this is not at all a “Jewish think tank”, though there is indeed such a thing as a “Jewish think tank”.)

    As for this, Rehmat:
    “One of the participants at 2008 NY meeting was no other than Asmaaa Mahfouz’s ‘April 6 Youth Movement’ from Egypt.”

    They probably attended not because their ideology is in lockstep with the State Department’s, but because they are a youth movement.

    “The group campaigned for ElBaradei against former President Hosni Mubarak. Dr. ElBaradei is on the Board of Trustees at George Soros’ Jewish think tank International Crisis Group.”

    I cannot verify any of the campaign stuff, but even if they campaigned for ElBaradei that does not mean that he is a bad person or that they are. There is no reason to attack them just because they have some associations with Jews, and some very faint connections (if they can be called that) with establishment figures that supported the illegitimate “movement” in Iran.

    “Source: Rehmat’s World”

    Why, who’d have thunk it?

  12. 3bancan said on February 17th, 2011 at 1:34am #

    Jonas Rand said on February 16th, 2011 at 11:35pm #

    I don’t always agree with Rehmat’s comments, but I totally agree with this comment of his.
    Jonas Rand’s squeaking about anti-semitism is just ludicrous – and typical of the chosenites, who just can’t get rid of their tribal mentality…

  13. mary said on February 17th, 2011 at 4:21am #

    Israeli soldiers have killed three Palestinian fishermen along the Gaza-Israeli border, Palestinian medics have said.

    Gaza’s ministry of health said on Thursday that the men were killed overnight in the north of Gaza, near Beit Lahiya, while they were working with their nets on the shore.

    The medics said that the victims were shot by Israeli forces before dawn.

    But the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in a statement said the men were “militants”.

    {http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2011/02/201121775215281864.html}

    A young boy in the Ch 4 film War Child sees his uncles’ fishing boat repeatedly shot at by the Israeli gunships, damaged and then finally destroyed. He remains resolute though.

    Reviewed here. Well worth watching but it will make you weep. {http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/feb/16/true-stories-war-child-review}

  14. Rehmat said on February 17th, 2011 at 10:37am #

    Poor Jonas Rand and his Jewish Hasbara rant.

    YEP – anyone who believes that Wall Street is Jewish OR Congress, Senate and the white House is controlled by Jews and pro-Israel neo-cons OR Israel Lobby (AIPAC) controls US foreign policy OR Jewish Lobby (ADL, AJC, etc.) are the most anti-Christian Jewish fanatics OR 96% of the US mass-media is owned by six Jewish families, etc. etc. – is an anti-Semite and Jew-hater like Rehmat.

    As Gild Atzmon wrote recently: “Shalom doesn’t mean ‘peace’ – rather it means ‘what is good for Jews’.”