Egypt’s dinosaurs are gasping for air
By Mohamed Malik and Mohamad Omar, Counterpunch, Sept 2, 2013
Giza, Egypt–Across Egypt, 27 cities took part in the Friday 30th August demonstrations for the ‘Retrieval of the Revolution’, in numbers that almost matched those of the Second ‘Day of Rage’ 16th August, the day of the massacre at the al-Fath mosque, and actually substantially more those of the 28th January 2011, the crucial and original ‘Day of Rage’ that toppled Mubarak. A full two months after the coup of July 3, after 5 fully fledged massacres, the killing of at least 5000 Egyptians, the wounding of in excess of 10,000, and the detention of possibly anything up to 20,000, even farm workers riding donkeys demonstrated throughout the small villages of Egypt.
After our last dispatch, we found out where our friend Hosam was being held. We weren’t allowed to go and see him. At least that was what we assumed because the mass of other people’s relatives blocking all entrances to the police station weren’t being allowed in. A kind lawyer did weave his way in after offering to help us (for no fee). On coming out of the station, he told us that no charges had been filed, but when he complained, the duty officer immediately entered one of ‘breaking curfew’. This means that whenever and if ever the case comes before a judge, and the judges are currently inundated as you might expect, he should be released because the papers will show that he was arrested before curfew was up.
Since the 16th August when we had to retreat from Ramses street under fire, we have attended daily demonstrations and human chains targeting crucial crossroads, subway stations, bus depots, doorways to major shopping malls, factory entrances, and court rooms moving quickly from one place to the other during the day carrying our ‘Legitimacy’, ‘return Morsi’ and ‘R4BIA’ placards. The ‘R4BIA’ sign which was adopted after the 14th August massacre at the main protest camp at Raba‘a al-Adawiyya, has recently been given major coverage by the massive pro-Legitimacy and pro-Morsi rallies worldwide.
The square and the mosque at Raba‘a al-Adawiyya were named after Raba‘a el-Basri, a woman Sufi mystic sold into slavery in Egypt who has now become the symbol of the new worldwide resistance to oppression. Ramzy Baroud wrote an article on CounterPunch a week ago about her and pointed out that she has become the symbol of ‘Egypt’s class struggle’. Raba‘a means ‘4th’ and is an allusion to the highest circle of consciousness in Sufi lore. The Pythagorean idea that 4 is the number that represents ‘justice’, is encountered again in the philosophical works of the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwan al-Safaa’), a group of philosophers and mathematicians who, like Raba‘a came, from Basra.
The Dinosaur government in Egypt headed up by Egypticorus Rex Sissi has declared the 30th August demonstrations a total failure. Well, they tried their best to make it so, launching the thugs at the protesters once again. Here are galleries of pictures of the army-cum-thug operation against the demo last Friday in Zagazig (Morsi’s home town) – scroll down and view galleries. They couldn’t understand why this was happening because they have killed 1000 Muslim Brothers so far, and imprisoned the entire Muslim Brotherhood leadership, also killing and imprisoning their children in a reintroduction of Mubarak’s Gestapo tactics. After the targeted killing of 16-year old Asma’ el-Beltagi, the daughter of one of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, they arrested Asma’ al-Shawwaf, the daughter of the doctor who ran the emergency hospital at Raba’a al-‘Adawiyya, in moves of pure thunderous Dinosaur-like ignorance, and we are obviously being unfair to dinosaurs. But it doesn’t seem to have a made a difference to the action on the streets.
The demonstrators on Friday tried to make it easy for the Dinosaur brain by shouting all day long: Ehna mish Ikhwan! Ehna mish Ikhwan! (We are not (Muslim) Brothers! We are not Brothers!). But we suppose that if the Dinosaur élite owns the biggest and baddest media, they can shout loudest and make themselves believe what they want.
There is Ahmed Bahgat’s Dream Channel, which defaulted on its loans from the banks over 3 years ago, something that Morsi was pressing the courts to resolve, but the courts being full of Mubarak appointees and Ahmed Bahgat a Mubarak bag man, nothing was done. There is Mohamed al-Amin’s CBC Channel, and the Tahrir Channel owned by fugitive Suleiman Amer, accused of theft of state funds in collusion with ex-minister of agriculture, Yusef Wali. Again, Mubarak appointees in the court would (on the right terms of course) fail to apply a charge onto the Tahrir Channel to seek redress for the state. There is also Sada al-bilad Channel owned by ex-National Demokleptocratic Party Chief, Mohammed Abul-Enein.
Last but not least, the several ONTV channels owned by billionaire Naguib Sawiris who had a personal grudge against Morsi because Morsi demanded that he pay $2.3 billion in back-taxes. Under his family’s insistence, he had settled $1 billion, but there was $1.3 billion to go, and so pouring some $33m into the Tamarrod movement to get rid of Morsi was cheap by comparison.
Now we find those stragglers from the media-dream that was the Tamarrod movement who haven’t yet joined the pro-Legitimacy Morsi campaign are doing so. The constant leakage of support for the Juntasaurus is panicking some of its backers. Sayyed Badawi, the leader of the Wafd party, the oldest liberal party in Egypt, tries to turn anti-American sentiment in Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood and undermine the demonstrations by running a story in its supposedly serious political newspaper that Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Badawi oddly was stopped from taking a local flight to Aswan by the Juntasaurus: perhaps the Wafd front page wasn’t exactly like the memo had said. Of the original ‘National Salvation front’ (NSF) of which Badawi was a member, Amr Moussa is lying low whilst Mohamed el-Baradei has fled to Vienna, having resigned and being threatened with legal action by the Juntasaurus ‘for breach of trust’! We can’t imagine what the breach of trust could possibly be: something like – ‘I said you could kill x number of Muslim Brothers with no collateral damage!’ ‘No you didn’t, you never mentioned a limit!’ We suppose the same lawyer is being used here who is charging Morsi with terrorism for negotiating with Hamas while he was President of Egypt (actually stopping the last potential full-scale assault by Israel in its tracks, if you remember).
The only remaining active player of the NSF is Egosaurus himself, veteran narcissist, and original founder of the ‘Its all me, me – society’, Hamdeeen Sabbahi who is backing Sissi to the hilt.
On the day after the August 14th massacres at the protest camps, 44 churches were torched, and it all quite remarkably stopped as quickly as it had started. Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood were supposed to be behind of all of it. Human Rights Watch were quick to point out that the Brotherhood leadership were very vocal about protecting the churches, but they still implied that the rank and file seemed to be (uncharacteristically) not following orders and may have taken revenge on Christians. I think we can say as Egyptians who know their country that a Muslim brother has never burnt a church, ever – its simply against their religion: there is a hadith (a tradition in the Islamic Sunna) where the Prophet Muhammad specifically asks Muslim to protect Egyptian Copts.
We suppose that all this will become clear as the days go by. One of the vicars of a church in al-Minya said quite clearly that it was the criminal thugs known to and controlled by the police who came to burn his church. This was obvious from the fact that repeated calls to the police for protection solicited no response whatsoever. Now the vicar’s evidence has been corroborated as a series of local criminals have been identified as the perpetrators of some of the acts of arson and arrested according to this August 24 Ministry of Interior Facebook announcement. The communication is from the al-Minya security chief and the men arrested are all unemployed and ‘previously known to the police’ with prior criminal convictions and marked as ‘dangerous’. Since then two more similar announcements have appeared.
Since the coup, Egypt has come to be in a sorry state. Morsi was supposed to have been, according to the mantra played over and over by the Dinosaur satellite TV network, a terrible manager. Clearly their klepto-finances would have been seriously impaired if Morsi had stayed on, and based on what’s good for Sawiris is good for Egypt principle, Morsi had to go. After all, multi-millionaire and ‘Middle East Envoy’ Tony Blair, told Channel 4 News on the 8th July, five days after the coup, that the Egyptian military had the right to intervene because Morsi was such a terrible economic manager.
What Morsi signally failed to do was to recover stolen state funds, although he tried. The UK and Swiss governments, in whose jurisdictions you will find most of the dirty money, told Morsi over and over again that he needed to have court actions successfully completed in Egypt before similar action could start abroad. If you’ve read the article so far, we’ll leave you to conclude on this point.
Morsi actually saved an annualised LE 4 billion in costs from the distribution of necessities to the poor whilst at the same time improving the service. He obtained commitments of $10 billion for the new Suez Canal container terminal, launched 4 major technology-related manufacturing projects with East Asian conglomerates, opened a major set of commercial links with Sudan as the beginning of a new Nile basin industrial corridor, and increased foreign exchange reserves (which had fallen during the original revolution) by $1 billion during his tenure as president. The Juntasaurus government cancelled all of his projects for reasons that could only possibly make sense to the Tyrannosaurus mind, but we suppose it had something to do with the fact that Saudi Arabia and the Emirates (hailing from the time before the Dinosaurs, survivors we think of the Permian extinction) who were funding the coup, want all these projects for themselves.
Now that have a new bunch of ‘technocratosauri’ in charge, the borrowings of the Juntasaurus have been phenomenal, bankruptcies are at an all time high, tourism has collapsed, foreign exchange reserves have dropped dramatically since the coup, despite the supposed aid coming from Saudi Arabia, and are at an all time low.
Part of our campaign of civil disobedience involved drawing all our money out from the banks. Since then, the government has announced that it is freezing part of the deposits of all Egyptians. Oops! Here’s the 26th August announcement from the Facebook page of the President’s press office: [in Arabic)].
That sounds like a Cypriot-type haircut to us… and there will be more to come we’re sure…
Mohamed Malik (weaver) can be reached at [email protected]. Mohamad Omar (surgeon), can be reached at [email protected]). Also contributing to this report: Badr Mohamad Badr (teacher), Yasser Mahran (lawyer), Ahmad Abdel-Ghafar (businessman), Sayed Khamis (teacher), Mohamad Gheith (pharmacist). Others whom we thank have helped in the redaction of this article.