By Feroze Mithiborwala
"MUBARAK MUST GO - THE REGIME MUST GO" - SLOGAN OF THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION
"WE ARE NOT SOMALIA, WE ARE TUNISIA" - SLOGAN OF THE REVOLUTION IN YEMEN
"WE ARE WITNESSING THE TUNISIZATION OF THE ARAB WORLD" – AZMI BISHARA (PALESTINIAN LEADER).
"NOW THERE IS A NEW MIDDLE-EAST. NOT THAT WHICH IS IN THE IMAGE OF AMERICA & ISRAEL, THE "BEASTS" - BUT IN THE IMAGE OF THE PEOPLE"
"THE PEOPLE HAVE TRIUMPHED, EGYPT IS FREE!!
The revolution from Tahrir Square, is reveberating & resonating in every nation of the world. The Tahrir square now occupies the central space in the universe of People's revolutions, more of which are to come.
The fall of Egypt & the end of the Westertn backed brutal dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak, also marks the defeat of the US-Israeli project for the control of the Middle East & North Africa. The popular People’s Revolution currently sweeping the Arab & Muslim nations is committed to the end of dictators & monarchies. The revolution is also a movement against the hegemony & tyranny of Imperialism & Zionism.
Mubarak of Egypt & Ben Ali of Tunisia, both who fled on a Friday (clearly not an auspicious day for US-Israeli backed dictators & monarchs) were not only brutal despots but also collaborators & supported by the US, Israel & EU as ‘moderates’. Their time was up & finally when more than 80,000 People laid siege to Mubarak's Palace, he fled. The 11th of February also marks the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of the Iranian People & this again is an astounding coincidence. In the morning we watched President Ahmadinejad addressing milions of Iranians at the Azadi Square, where he spoke of the New Middle East, without the Israeli-US hegemons & late that very night, Mubarak's regime had fallen. That was as more than 1 million People continued to defend the Tahrir Square & millions across Egypt took to the streets, occupied government buildings, laid siege to the TV station, marched into police stations, closed down factories & basically brought the entire structure of the hated regime to its knees. Mubarak had to surrender & flee for his life.
Despite Mubarak’s cruel record, where he used brute force of his police apparatus for torture & imprisonment, Joe Biden (Vice-President, USA) refused to call him a dictator, even though free elections have not been held in Egypt for over 3 decades. Similarly Hillary Clinton tried to reduce the revolution as a call for certain reforms, thus desperately attempting to deflect the core demands of the People that called for an end to US backed dictatorships. Obama also tried to address the People in a similar manner, taking the cue from Hillary. Also the next time, Obama should be more careful in his selection of the Arab capital to make his speeches on democracy, as Cairo was definitely the wrong choice when he chose to address the Arab & Muslim world in 2009.
Israel was far more clear, as well as honest & said that Mubarak was indispensable & should deploy his security apparatus & resort to brute force to quell the unrest. The Israeli leadership stated that democracy in the Arab & Muslim natoions was a threat to Israeli security. Huckabee, a senior Republican & a fanatical Christian Zionist stated that the impact on Israel would be detrimental to its interests. Israel is terrified that a referendum on the hated Israel-Egypt treaty, that guaranteed the supremacy of Israel in the region, will be rejected by the People. Israel is today bereft of friends with only Jordan & the Abu Mazen led decrepit Palestine Authority, increasing seen as a collaborator with the Occupation. The Israeli Knesset also called for an investigation for the failure of it's much vaunted intelligence apparatus in not being aware of the coming revolution.
Earlier the Saudi King Abdullah had condemned the millions of democratic protesters & openly sided with Mubarak. similar statements emanated from Jorda, UAE & Yemen. Needless to say they are next on the list of the dominoes. Israel & the Saudi regime will now draw closer to counter the rapidly changing strategic scenario.
The revolution has also challenged certain anti-Arab & Islamophobic narratives. It was generally assumed that Arab & Muslim nations are anti-democratic & incapable of democratic aspirations & extremely violent. But the truth is there for all to see. This was a calssical non-violent uprising of the masses. Unlike the uprisings in Eastern Europe, against Soviet dictatorship, where the West with its agencies & funds played a critical role in supporting the people both morally & financially, the revolutions in Tunisia & Egypt are entirely indigenous.
Also though the revolution lacks a leader, as has been the criticism, it does not lack a collective leadership. The Youth of Egypt have played a central role in spearheading the revolution both with their sheer energy, leadership & courage against all odds. The other important factor was the growing harmony & bonhomie between the Muslims & the Christian of Egypt. The Christians guarded their Muslim bretheren as they bowed to offer their Namaaz. They were also soon to discover that the terror attacks on the Coptic Churches were the handiwork of Mubarak's intelligence agencies, much like in India. The political parties have been united for decades in their resistance to the Mubarak regime & thus their already existed a well coordinated political leadership. The working classes played a stellar role in the entire revolution & gave it that edge of militancy to combat the violence of the Mubarak vigilantes, brick for brick, until Mubarak's goons finally retreated, even as the Army watched on. The fact that more than 15 million People took to the streets all across Egypt on the last day also indicates the level of spontaniety & political consciousness amongst the masses that was just waiting to erupt. It was the rage of the people that we were witnessing.
The democratic revolution that started from Tunisia, when a young educated hawker Muhammad Buoazizi immolated himself due to grinding poverty & sustained indignity. This ignited a process that has led to the revolution sweeping the Arab & Muslim masses. It spread like wildfire & the people demanded an end to the rule of Ben Ali, a US-Israeli backed dictator, who soon fled to Saudi Arabia. In Tunisia it has been led by the educated Middle-class, whilst in Egypt, it has been the impoverished working-classes. There is an alliance between the Islamists, Trade Unions, People’s Movements, Intellectuals, Professionals, Youth & Students. Then the protests began to spread to Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Bahrain & Egypt & the flames soon reached Saudi Arabia.
All the dictators & monarchs are now frightened & terrorized after having terrorized their people.
Egypt is the key US-Israeli ally & receives the second largest amount of aid after Israel, to the tune of $1.5 Billion. Of this 2/3rd’s is directed towards weaponry & training for the police & the army. Mubarak’s rule has pauperised the masses & the levels of inflation & unemployment are unprecedented, whilst the Mubarak’s regime is totally corrupt & violent & heeds no dissent. Mubarak’s support for the Israeli siege of Gaza & betrayal of the Palestinian cause & pan-Arabism, also fuelled hatred for his regime.
The protests gathered momentum on every subsequent Friday & after the prayers, tens of thousands would begin to stream out the Mosques & take to the streets. They began to brave the batons, tear-gas, rubber bullets & the water-cannons that were unleashed against an unarmed civilian population. All internet, mobile & communication channels were cut off. Journalists were barred from entering certain towns & cities. The protests broke out all across the country from Cairo to Alexandria to Suez to Ismailia to Mansoura & it carried on to the towns & villages. After initially attacking the people, the police were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers that took to the streets, even though curfew was declared, the people refused to vacate the liberated areas. Soon the people began to take over the centres of power. They marched to the presidential palace & laid siege.
Yes, siege to the man who was complicit in the Israeli siege of Gaza. The Arab monarchs & dictators looked on as the Apartheid Wall imprisoned the West Bank, looked on as the houses were demolished in Jerusalem, looked on when the Settlements continued to to built across Occupied Palestine, looked on as Palestinian women & children were bombed during the war on Gaza, looked on when the "Right to Return" was being betrayed, looked on when mosques & churches were demolished, looked on when Sharon & Netanyahu laid claim to all of Jerusalem and look on as the threat of destruction of the Masjid-i-Aqsa & the Dome of the Rock are only a matter of time. It was this central issue, of daily ignominy, sorrow, pain & helplessness, that has turned into a rage, a rage that will only be quelled when justice & freedom have been achieved.
Till then the Revolution will carry on across the towns, cities, villages, streets, in the factories, schools, colleges & the fields across the Arab & Muslim world.
Then the people began to take over the ruling party offices, police stations that were centres of torture & corruption, the TV station, a centre of lies & propaganda & even entered army compounds. They also captured police vehicles. The Tahrir or Liberation Square, the political nerve centre in Cairo, was reclaimed by the people. Then Mubarak sent in the army, but the people refused to be coerced or withdraw from the spaces they had captured & liberated. Soon there were reports of police joining the protesters & refusing to fire on the crowds.
Solidarity protests began to break out across the world, even right outside the White House, where people chanted slogans for Mubarak to Go, slogans that Obama & Hillary & Biden could not hear.
The fall of Egypt is the most strategically important loss for the US & Israel. Now the entire edifice of the US occupation of the region is collapsing. The US complicity in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia & interventions in Lebanon, have all exposed the hypocrisy of the West. The duplicity of the US-EU-Israeli nexus on Iran has been there for all to see.
Thus now there is a new Middle-East. Not that which was in the image of America & Israel, the "Beasts", but in the image of the People. The masses have brought about “Regime Change” & are fighting for a Democracy & a Multi-Party system, with Freedom of Expression & Dissent, an economic system free of corruption & that empowers the poor, for free education, health-care & housing. From the debris & the ashes of decades of military regimes will now emerge an Egypt that is modern, secular & committed to a multi-party democracy & committed to social & economic justice for the masses. Crucially, the government will also redefine its relationship with the West & extend its full solidarity & support to the cause of Palestine & to ending the hegemony of the Imperial-Zionist project for the region & for all the world. Egypt will go back to her Non-Aligned roots. This is not the Middle-East that either Obama, Bush or Netanyahu wanted.
More importantly, now the new Middle-East is witnessing the unraveling of the US-Israeli Project for global hegemony. In Lebanon, there is finally a nationalist government, backed by the Hezbollah led alliance. Lebanon is also a model for Arab Sunni-Shia-Christian unity. After Israel, having lost the US backed war to Hezbollah (2006) & its allies is far more weakened as a military power. And now Egypt & Jordan that border Palestine-Israel are also witnessing revolutions that will in bring governments that are opposed to the imperialist & Zionist hegemony of the region. The strengthening alliance between Iran, Turkey & Syria are also openly challenging the US role across the Middle-East. Protests are due to break out in Saudi Arabia, as that will be the last major state in the US sphere of influence. In Iraq, the nationalist forces, will call for the total withdrawal of all US forces & bases from across their country & increase the unity of the Iraqi people.
Though the key is PALESTINE!! It is the daily violence & wars, indignity & torture of the Palestinians that continues to anger the masses. Till Palestine is liberated, this struggle will carry on. Till then there will be no respite for the US-Israel & their allies & collaborators.
Protests are breaking out across the Arab & Muslim world & the agenda is freedom & liberation from US backed dictatorships & monarchs. They too are committed to the values of democracy & an egalitarian order & thus the entire Islamophobic debate is collapsing.
In this context, the alliance of the Indian elite with the US-Israeli Imperial corporate interests will be detrimental for our short & long term interests. As the US-Israeli Empire collapses, as it is clearly in a state of free-fall, all those who are still part of the sinking Titanic are doomed.
The Indian people need to be warned & the nation rescued before it is too late. But we have faith in the nation of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad & Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, we will go back to our roots & with the other nations, continue the relentless struggle for the freedom & emancipation of humanity.