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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Abjol Miah: "The time is up for the modern Pharoahs!"

For 30 years Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt with an iron grip. His dictatorship, backed by the United States, Britain and the West in general, has concluded a “peace” agreement with Israel which has meant that the Palestinian people of Gaza have suffered the most terrible siege for years. Mubarak had 1.2 million police ruthlessly suppressing dissent with members of the political opposition arrested, tortured and sometimes murdered.

Now it is over. Mubarak is, in the words of Mohammed ElBaradei, a dead man walking. The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Mubarak to go. The foreign minister of Sweden has declared the era of Mubarak is over. Support for his regime in the West is melting away.

Why has this seemingly impregnable cornerstone of United States imperialism in the Middle East crumbled so quickly? The answer lies in events in Tunisia along the North African coast. On December 28, just before the new year, Mohamed Bouazizi burned himself to death in protest against police harassment which was preventing him from earning the minimum he needed to stay alive.

Tunisia has long been a tourist destination for the Europeans but the regime was a horribly corrupt dictatorship under the venal Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. His rule was also enforced by a brutal police force. But within days of the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, massive protests showed the emperor no longer had any clothes. Ben Ali fled the country, taking as much of his pilfered wealth as possible. 

The wonders of modern communication, and particularly the brave journalists of Al Jazeera, showed the Tunisian revolution around the world and the message came over loud and clear to the Egyptian people - you can get rid of your dictator too. And so it was that just ten days ago, mass protests erupted across Egypt against the despotic thief and murderer Hosni Mubarak. 

The police responded with terrible brutality with the death toll from the protests now some 350 and rising. But the police were fought to a standstill such were the numbers beginning to rise against Mubarak and they retreated to their barracks. Then on Tuesday more than a million people gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) square in the heart of Cairo and hundreds of thousands more in Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura and other cities across Egypt. The message was one - Mubarak must go and he must go now.

Mubarak declared on Tuesday evening he would not stand in the Presidential elections in September which Mubarak was intending to rig, just as he has rigged previous elections which have given him and almost 100% vote from the Egyptian people. 
But this announcement was denounced as a trick by the protestors and they have been proved right. For on Wednesday, pro-Mubarak thugs, many of them plain clothes policemen and paid for by the super-rich who have done so well out of the Mubarak regime, attacked protestors over many hours. More than a thousand protestors have been injured and some martyrs have lost their lives at the hands of these fascist thugs.

Some say Mubarak is trying to foment anarchy in order to persuade many that life will be worse without him. We have to be clear that the massive demonstrations for him to go have been completely peaceful until Mubarak’s paid thugs attacked. So far the pro-democracy protestors have stood their ground. It may be that the mobilisation of these thugs shows his weakness as he cannot deploy the police and the army has said will not shoot the pro-democracy protestors.

Israel is clearly quaking and its mouthpiece Tony Blair, the so-called Middle East peace envoy, has repeated ad nauseam that there needs to be an “orderly” transition. This transition, he demands, must ensure the Muslim Brotherhood, the best organised and most popular of the opposition groups whose members have faced continuous harassment and imprisonment by the Mubarak regime, is marginalised and kept out of power. Blair, the butcher of Iraq, now seeks to impose on the people of Egypt his and Israel’s choice of government. What a disgrace. This "peace" envoy should be arraigned at the International Court of Justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Israel, Blair, the United States and others, are seeking to dictate to the Egyptian people whom they should choose in elections, something they have done ever since the death of Gamel Abdal Nasser. Fortunately the more they seek to do this, the more the people of Egypt will ignore them if at last they secure free and fair elections. For the Egyptian masses know that Egypt has been the greatest recipient of US aid after Israel, almost all of it going to the army, whilst half the Egyptian population struggles to survive on less than a dollar a day.

The priority now is that the old regime is swept away and the Egyptian people themselves, and without any outside interference, establish a real democracy in which they can elect a government that will truly represent them, redistribute wealth to the less well off and support the Palestinian people.

The fall of Mubarak will change the entire situation in the Arab world. Egypt is the beating heart of the Arab world. If the Egyptian people bring down Mubarak, which is inevitable now, and the Mubarak regime, the lesson will be drawn by all of the Arab people that they too can bring down the tyrant kings and presidents who act as the puppets of Israel and United States imperialism. 

And this in turn will dramatically change the situation for the Palestinian people, suffering as they continue to do, from brutal oppression by the state of Israel. If a government of the people comes to power in Egypt, the gates of Rafah will come tumbling down and the siege of Gaza will be over. American imperialism will have suffered a huge defeat, parallel to the defeat in the Vietnam war. Israel will be massively weakened.

The Egyptian revolution is now under threat. It must either go forward and remove not only Mubarak but the whole regime he constructed round his dictatorship or it will be drowned in blood by the counter-revolution. The next couple of days are crucial. On Friday after prayers there will, I hope, be a huge march which will go to the seat of power, the Presidential Palace and finally force Mubarak to leave office.

Egypt has many educated people as well as appalling poverty. Now is the time for bold leadership to bring down the dictatorship and bring in a new era of democracy in which the humiliation of the Arab and Muslim peoples by Western imperialism, Israel and their puppets begins to be reversed.

Abjol Miah
National Respect Chair