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Egyptian Military Officers Defecting to Protesters

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Posted on Nov 26, 2011
The Guardian

Maj. Tamer Samir Badr looks out on Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Ten months after Mubarak’s fall, Egyptians are risking imprisonment and death in Tahrir Square once again to demand an end to military rule and the election of a civilian government. Some members of the military, disgusted by the murder of their fellow citizens, are standing with them.

“I want the people to know there are army officers who are with them,” Maj. Tamer Samir Badr told The Guardian while seated near an open window overlooking the square. “My feelings came to a head last week. I saw people dying and the army gave the orders for us to just stand and watch. ... I’m supposed to die for these people, not them die for me. Now I’m ready to die in the square, and I’m not afraid of anything.”

Scores of protesters have been killed since tens of thousands of Egyptians returned to the streets in recent days. The military’s generals remain unwilling to cede power and instead named 78-year-old Mubarak-era Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri to step in and form a new cabinet. The protesters, however, reject Ganzouri’s appointment.—ARK

The Guardian:

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, November 29, 2011 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Dear truedigger3:

Thank you for your kind and eloquent reply. Yes.  Abolishing the
military of Israel applies too. Short of that, cutting off US
military aid to Israel would also be on the agenda. 

Point taken. Perhaps the Egyptians are not voting for democracy,
just the right of a civilian government. 

But I’ll stand by my prediction:  As long as Egypt is saturated with
weapons of individual destruction, it will remain an impoverished
country led by the corrupt and the vicious.

Likewise, as long as the world is seething with weapons, no country
can hope to attain lasting peace and prosperity. 

Have a nice, warm day, wherever you may be. 


Zing

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By ardee, November 29, 2011 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, November 28 at 5:29 am

Michael, seriously, you need help. I sincerely hope you seek some.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

My concern with you is not whether you support abortion or not, but that you not buy a gun at the nearest gun-show, load it and shoot a policeman just because you think it is your patriotic/religious duty to close abortion clinics.

Such terrible accusations that you Leftists make. That ends the equal rights concept pretty effectively. Nice.

Ok, fine, you win. Now I have a hope for you. i hope that you dont buy a gun at the nearest gun-show, load it and shoot a policeman because you think it is your Communist/Anarcist Revolutionary duty to close down our free society.

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By truedigger3, November 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Re: By D.R. Zing, November 28 at 3:02 pm

D.R. Zing wrote:
“Egypt doesn’t have a chance in hell of becoming a reasonable democracy of any sort, flawed or
otherwise, until its military is abolished ...”
——————————————————————-
D.R. Zing,
Is abolishing the army apply to the Israeli army too? Idiot!!
Who told you that the Egyptians want Democracy?? They are wise enough not to want a mirage that does not exist in the world. What an idiot you are?

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By truedigger3, November 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

“Egypt doesn’t have a chance in hell of becoming a reasonable democracy of any sort, flawed or
otherwise, until its military is abolished ...“or otherwise converted to
civilian use.

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By gerard, November 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Michael—My concern with the police is not whether they agree with your unarmed abortion-clinic-closing activity or not, but that they not come at you armed with paramilitary equipment and fracture your skull or rupture your spleen or squirt nonlethal poison in your face. My concern with you is not whether you support abortion or not, but that you not buy a gun at the nearest gun-show, load it and shoot a policeman just because you think it is your patriotic/religious duty to close abortion clinics.
Surely there is more than enough shooting and squirting to go ‘round!

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, November 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Hmm. While the discussions below are very interesting, I’d like to do
something radical and not debate whether or not the militarized
police of the United States are indeed violently militarized.

From what I can find on the web, the United States provides $1.3
annually in military aid to Egypt.  My understanding is the money is
to keep the peace with Israel, as negotiated in the 1979 Egypt–Israel
Peace Treaty at Camp David. 

Everyone with me so far?  Now imagine if James Madison, Benjamin
Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, et al had been writing the
constitution and protesting in the city square, while inside the halls
of government George Washington was in charge of a massive military
that was being funded by his good friend King George III. 

George Washington may have been a dignified, honorable man, but had he
been in charge of such an army, the constitution as we know it would
not exist and neither would America as we know it.  We would still
be a colony of Britain and the military would still be running
the place (stop your snickering; you know what I mean).

The fact is George Washington had to go begging for an army during
the revolutionary war and it’s the only way American democracy—flawed
as it is with genocide, slavery, sexism and aristocracy—ever got off
the ground. 

To point that in the direction of Egypt:  Egypt doesn’t have a chance
in hell of becoming a reasonable democracy of any sort, flawed or
otherwise, until its military is abolished or otherwise converted to
civilian use. 

This is just something we never came to grips with during the 20th
Century and it’s still haunting us today: Modern military hardware
makes all countries ungovernable and renders all forms of democracy
a farce. 

Hitler is always held up as the worst example of an asshole gone
wild—and indeed he is—but the fact is the military hardware
of Hitler’s era was never brought under control, never secured,
never destroyed. Far from it. 

Military hardware is now a major profit center.

Rifles from World War II are still killing people all over the world. 
Landmines are viewed as vital to our national security, and the right
of governments and businesses to sell military hardware to our allies
is never questioned. 

Except weapons know no loyalties.  Just because we sell an assault rifle
to a friend doesn’t mean it won’t be used to kill women and children. 
Doesn’t men it won’t be held to a man’s head as his wife and children
are raped.  Doesn’t mean it won’t be held to a woman’s head as her
husband is butchered before her eyes. 

And this is an area where Democrats and Republicans and the television
news media (excluding PBS and it’s POV series) are not doing a
godamn thing. They’re sitting on their fucking asses like a bunch of
vile, venal, disease ridden scum bags and letting all these weapons be
sold. There are simply no serious debates in the United States about
stopping the global sales of small arms for military use. 

It is despicable. It is reprehensible. It is insane. 

So, do I sincerely wish the Arab spring would make it?  Yes.  Do I
sincerely wish the people of Egypt would get the peace and democracy
they are protesting for? Yes. Do I think they will get it? No. 

Not unless Egypt renegotiates the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty and says: 
We no longer you want your guns.  We want roads, schools, education,
food, and micro-loans—millions of them—for small businesses. You
can keep your multinational corporations, however, and the military
hardware that protects them.

So, yeah, this issue is related to Occupy Wall Street, an unspoken
yet implicit demand:  Stop the war machine. Stop fighting wars for
corporations. Stop selling guns for profit.

And, if I may raise an old refrain that still rings true: “Give peace a chance.”

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 28, 2011 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

ardee, the Supreme Court wont let us near the abortion clinic. Its been that way for years. Catch up to the times, man.

We have not shut down an abortion clinic, the violent police would not allow us close enough to do it. But thanks to you ardee, we now have the right to Occupy the clinic.


Thank you ardee for supporting our sancrosanct right to close down an abortion mill for one day, just like you guys closed down an entire port for a day.

True, Planned Parenthood clinics might do many other things, just like a city port. Medicines and supplies arrive at ports. all sort of things happen at ports.  the Occupation happens anyway. For the greater good. Free speech!

But as you said ardeee, it is “democracy in action” to peacefully shut down a port or an abortion clinic for one day, and the police shouldnt interfere with either case because its free speech.

And thanks to you gerard, the police will not force us out, they havbe to support us instead. Those police who agree with our cause can help us close the Planned Parenthood clinic.

thank you gerard and ardee! Thank you for granting me the same protest rights that you Leftists have.

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By ardee, November 28, 2011 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

Poor Joan of Arc, to be returned to us in the guise of a paranoid schizophrenic tea bagger, oh the sadness:

Now please listen to me, gerard. If protestors from my side tried to occupy a Planned parenthood abortion clinic, and we managed to co-opt the police, so we have “that proverbial ‘thin blue line’ moving among the demonstrators rather than against us” and they would then allow us to peacefully occupy planned parenthood abortion clinics indefinitely,even assisting us, would that be ok?

Is there anyone who has not seen protestors in front of Planned Parenthood clinics (clinics, by the by, that are NOT abortion clinics but FULL SERVICE women’s health clinics)? Is there anyone not familiar with Michael’s fellow lunatics carrying assault rifles at Tea Party protests and being free to do so?

Is there anyone who finds Ozark rational? I thought not.

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By gerard, November 27, 2011 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael:  The police are already co-opted—by money, by anxiety and by an institutionalized belief in violence.  Do you think for one moment that they would throw tear-gas cannisters at unarmed students, spray them in the face, drag them by the hair, and rupture their spleens with clubs poked into their solar plexuses (is that a word?) if they weren’t paid, armed and ordered to do it?
  Furthermore, not everyone can be bought, misled and hood-winked forever, thank God. Could be, it’s about to become “morning in America.”

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By Textynn, November 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everyone that loves their children will ,at some point, join the 99%.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

gerard, you asked me to listen and i have. If your point is that police should use appropriate methods, and not be armed any more than necessary, ok i agree.

I read the article since you made much of it. I assume you agree with it? But it seems that your article about the police involves something beyond merely appropriate police methods. I quote from “Can There Be Solidarity Between Movement Activists and Police Officers?” by Randall Amster:

In this sense, the orchestrated battlegrounds of the 1 percent can become common ground for all of the 99 percent. In the not-too-distant future, we may even come to find that proverbial “thin blue line” moving among the demonstrators rather than againstthem.

That is the old ‘co-opt the police’ theme.

Now please listen to me, gerard. If protestors from my side tried to occupy a Planned parenthood abortion clinic, and we managed to co-opt the police, so we have “that proverbial ‘thin blue line’ moving among the demonstrators rather than against us” and they would then allow us to peacefully occupy planned parenthood abortion clinics indefinitely,even assisting us, would that be ok?

No it wouldnt. In that case you would be complaining that the police should enforce the rules and remove our occupation, because the police should not take sides in political direct action even if they agree with the goal.  And you would be right to complain. I would complain even against my own cause! yes, we should not co-opt the police. The police are not there to help me win political battles. They should impartially enforce the law and make sure everyone follows the rules equally.

Now for the crux of the matter. If you can see why the police need to enforce the rules against me, why cant you agree that they should do the same against you? You seem to think that your cause is so holy that rules ought not apply to you? I dont understand at all how you coulod maintain such a double standard.

So yes, I support the ‘less violent’ police that you request. But it seems that you ask for more than that. You want to co-opt the police. That is unacceptable. Do you understand me?

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By gerard, November 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Michael, please see:  “Can There Be Solidarity Between Movement Activists and Police Officers?”
Randall Amster, New. Clear. Vision at Truthout.org.

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By Erik, November 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t bother with Michael; he’s either a troll, or unsaveable.

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By ardee, November 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael asks for polite discourse and then posts this sort of absolute crap:

The truth is that there were about 100 cities where every day the Occupiers arranged some sort of confrontation with the police, yet most of the time the police were able to act professionally and correctly endure or defuse the confrontation.

The truth is that Michael apparently has no knowledge of the truth.

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By gerard, November 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Michael, for heaven’s sake, listen once!  I’m defending the police by explaining how their training impinges on their common sense—a characteristic limitation of militarism.
  What on earth do you think all that frightful
“equipment” they carry, does to them?  What is it for?  And when they have it, are they more or less apt to use it? If they didn’t have it, would they be less frightened, less kind-hearted, less mixed up inside, less able to control the situation/ Why do they “need” it, and why to people with money buy it and people who make it, make it?  What is it within our human feelings that makes it legal for armed
men to fire weapons against their unarmed brothers, sisters, cousins, children. What does it do to you to be feared and dreaded?
  Also your statement “...the Occupiers arranged some sort of confrontation with the police”—is truly indicative of your bias, as though the very appearance of the police and their equipment does not “anticipate” confrontation, and in that sense “pre-arrange” it?  Don’t you realize that the heavier the equipment, the stronger the indication of expectation (hope,  desire, acceptance—albeit more or less unconscious) of violence to come, which will require its use?
  If you can manage to turn off your “automatic” switch, and move outside your charmed circle ...

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 26, 2011 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

It is important not to paint an over-simplified black-and-white view of the situation of these “public officers” because many of them will inevitably have mixed feelings and eventually turn aside from the violence they are asked to commit.

It is also important not to paint a black and white picture of what the “public officers” were asked to commit.

You make it sound as if the police everywhere have orders to beat up the Occupiers. The truth is that there were about 100 cities where every day the Occupiers arranged some sort of confrontation with the police, yet most of the time the police were able to act professionally and correctly endure or defuse the confrontation. 

That was (very roughly)700 confrontations a week, and maybe once a week some police in one town overreacted or went beyond what was called for. That one event in 700 is what Occupy of course draws attention to, and thats ok. Thats fair game. But stop acting like it was the norm. Stop acting like the police were always asked to do violence.

I really wish you would refrain from such black and white view of the situation.

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By gerard, November 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

This kind of re-thinking is not unique to Egypt. As was admitted by police early in New York, an unknown number of them personally recognized that they are part of the 99%.  It is important not to paint an over-simplified black-and-white view of the situation of these “public officers” because many of them will inevitably have mixed feelings and eventually turn aside from the violence they are asked to commit.
  As change goes on into the future, lines of communication probably ought to be kept as open as possible to acknowledge and admit some degree of shifting loyalties. Nonviolence counts on the ability of the “other side” to rethink its stand favoring violence and to change in ways not characteristic of rigid militarism.

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By rumblingspire, November 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Pretty Things…Balloon is Burning
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y3xrZ_ZJIg

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