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Egypt’s Youth Will Not Be Silenced

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Posted on Feb 8, 2011

By Amy Goodman

“In memoriam, Christoph Probst, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl” reads the banner at the top of Kareem Amer’s popular Egyptian dissident blog. “Beheaded on Feb. 22, 1943, for daring to say no to Hitler, and yes to freedom and justice for all.” The young blogger’s banner recalls the courageous group of anti-Nazi pamphleteers who called themselves the White Rose Collective. They secretly produced and distributed six pamphlets denouncing Nazi atrocities, proclaiming, in one, “We will not be silent.” Sophie and her brother Hans Scholl were captured by the Nazis, tried, convicted and beheaded.

Kareem Amer, who spent four years in prison in Egypt for his blogging, has disappeared off the streets of Cairo after leaving Tahrir Square with a friend, according to cyberdissidents.org. The group assumes Amer is now among the hundreds of journalists and human rights activists snatched by the regime of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, and has launched a campaign to demand his release.

Amer disappeared just before Wael Ghonim was released. Ghonim is a 30-year-old Google executive who helped administer a Facebook page instrumental to organizing the Jan. 25 protests in Egypt. The page, called “We are all Khaled Said,” is named in memory of a young man killed by police in Alexandria in June 2010. A photo of Khaled Said’s corpse appeared on the Internet, his face savagely beaten. Ghonim traveled to Egypt to participate in the protests, and was arrested and secretly held by the Egyptian government for 12 days. He was interviewed on Egyptian TV channel Dream 2 upon his release. He broke down and cried on camera when shown the photos of many who had been killed so far in the protests. Ghonim said: “I’m not a hero. I was only using the keyboard, on the Internet. I never put my life in danger. The real heroes are the ones on the ground.”

Ghonim’s release swelled the crowds in Tahrir Square, still demanding an end to Mubarak’s 30-year regime. Tahrir, which means “liberation” in Arabic, is the heart and soul of the pro-democracy movement in Egypt, but it is not the only place where spirited, defiant people gather. As this is written, a new encampment is being established outside the Egyptian Parliament. Six thousand workers are reportedly striking at the Suez Canal. As the entrenched dictatorship claimed to be making concessions, its shock troops unleashed a wave of violence, intimidation, arrest and murder.

Egypt’s burgeoning youth population is driving the revolution. The April 6 Youth Movement was formed last year to support textile strikers in the Egyptian city of Mahalla. One of the founders of the movement, Asmaa Mahfouz, who has just turned 26, posted a video to Facebook Jan. 18, days after the Tunisian revolution forced the ouster of that country’s dictator. She said:

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“Four Egyptians have set themselves on fire to protest humiliation and hunger and poverty and degradation they had to live with for 30 years. Four Egyptians have set themselves on fire thinking maybe we can have a revolution like Tunisia, maybe we can have freedom, justice, honor and human dignity…. I’m making this video to give you one simple message: We want to go down to Tahrir Square on Jan. 25. If we still have honor and want to live in dignity on this land, we have to go down on Jan. 25.”

Her call to action was another spark. From the Internet, people began organizing in the neighborhoods, bridging the digital divide with printed fliers and word of mouth. Following Jan. 25, the epic first day of protest, she posted another video message: “What we learned yesterday is that power belongs to the people, not to the thugs. Power is in unity, not in division. Yesterday, we truly lived the best moments of our lives.”

The first week of protests breached what many are calling “the fear barrier.” Since the government-backed violence of Jan. 28, according to Human Rights Watch, at least 302 people have been killed in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.

President Barack Obama continues to insist that the U.S. can’t choose the leader of Egypt, but that the people of Egypt must. That is true. But the Obama administration continues to supply the Mubarak regime with economic and military aid. The “Made in U.S.A” stamped on the tear gas canisters used against protesters in Tahrir Square enraged the people there. In the past 30 years, the U.S. has spent tens of billions of dollars to shore up the Mubarak regime. It is time to turn off the cash and weapons spigot now.
 
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

(c) 2011 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, February 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

Wiki-Leaks revealed that the “democracy movement” in Egypt had been
organized and led by the efforts of one “operative,” who reported to
certain “officials” of the US GOV on how good a job he had done. He
also predicted that he and the movement would be successful in
outing Mubarek. 

What he did not report, was that Mubarek is being ousted because he
is his own dictator, and responds less to DC than the dictators in
DC are pleased with.

The billions will not stop, and the money spigot will be opened even
more. The self-styled dictator, Mubarek, similar to Sadaam Hussein,
will be replaced with a DC-approved dictator, since Mubarek did not
fall into a trap similar to Hussein´s attack on Kuwait. Mubarek
could have remained, had he agreed to support full-scale
infiltration of Iran with spies and mercenaries. In which case,
agents of the USGov would not have initiated the current “uprising”. 

And the university academic-types and thousands of students think
they are bringing about “democracy” to Egypt? 
Are they in for a surprise !!!

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lOst_sOuls_rembrd's avatar

By lOst_sOuls_rembrd, February 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Anna,

“Enough of the Hitler analogies….”

I beg to differ.  It is vital for the world/each Country to remember it’s fallen heroes.  Perhaps one would not think that Asmaa Mahfouz is a hero, but she is.  They all are.

It truly amazes me that my people here in the USA think they are powerless.  We need to remember the people hitting the streets in this Country because of civil liberties.  We protested the Vietnam war.

Remembering history is imperative so as not to repeat it.

Thanks Ms. Goodman for your work, here w/your piece and daily on DemocracyNow!

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markulyseas's avatar

By markulyseas, February 10, 2011 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

The rape of Egypt by Hosni Mubarak, and the predictable aftermath.

What is happening in Cairo is endemic in countries where regimes are supported by the US of A. Mr. Hosni Mubarak and his cronies have systematically raped Egyptians metamorphicaly and literally in terms of human rights, civil rights, women’s rights and financially i.e. by stealing the nation’s wealth. Incidentally, Hosni Mubarak, his wife Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak and his two sons, (Gamal and Alaa), have amassed over 40 billion dollars in assets/cash in the U.S.A, and banks in Switzerland and Britain.

Now where has this money come from?

The ordinary working class citizens of this ancient land have been repressed by the machinations of a semi-benign police state supported by USA, a country that has historically fiddled in the affairs of other countries while ironically priding itself on freedom of speech and the first amendment; and, strangely enough by Israel, a Jewish State. In fact it is rumored that Israel does not want to see Mubarak go and further has been surreptitiously protecting him for they apparently prefer to support this malignancy because it suits their Machiavellian strategy i.e. dividing the Arab nations. Obviously this is a hangover from the Yom Kippur war of 1973 (Arab-Israeli War/Ramadan War/ October War).

The sudden surge in demonstrations and the proceeding violence is a long delayed backlash that should have come much earlier. And this is fuelled by sentiments stirred up by the Brotherhood and other vested interests. Mr. Karl Marx was right when he said that religion is the opium of the masses. What we are witnessing is the volatile concoction of culture spiced by religion which will predictably free citizens from State control but enslave them to the prevailing religious leaders’ biddings.

Many Arab rulers have been known to ‘run’ their countries reminiscent of medieval feudal States. A quick reference to the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Haile Selassie and the aftermath of their inglorious exit is ample proof of the path Egyptians will inevitably tread in the coming months. Finally when the dust settles the Brotherhood will settle in and as time ticks on one despot will be replaced by another in a form probably palatable to the ordinary people for they cannot argue with their self appointed religious leaders whose sole agenda is to use Islam as a tool to subjugate the people by perverted representation of this Great religion.

We have no one to blame but the USA and its allies for deliberately supporting Hosni Mubarak even though he and his accomplices have looted their own country.

The emotive images of blood, sweat and tears of ordinary unarmed, innocent Egyptians displayed on TV screens worldwide will finally come to naught for in the grand scheme of things, freedom will be but a fleeting glimpse of truth till organized religion takes the reins.

May God bless the unfortunate people of Egypt.

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By adams, February 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Amy Goodman.

The White Rose is by Inge Scholl, published by Wesleyan University Press,
translated by Arthur R. Schultz, in case people are interested in reading
the book.

There was the movie: Sophie Scholl that people can look up also.

We all need to stand up for freedom.

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By AnnaCatherine, February 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s time we stopped the “Hitler” analogies. The Egyptian people are making their own history. They should be allowed their moment in time. Most of the protestors are young and don’t remember Hitler. So can we please move on. The movement is gaining strength and they will not settle for ‘half a loaf’. I have great admiration for the people of Egypt and for the journalists reporting. Al Jazeera has had great coverage. The reluctance to push Mubarak a little harder puzzles me. The continuance of government raises other questions. Is he expected to live forever? I can understand why the people won’t accept his appointment. It will be the same old thing. In two weeks Mubarak would be back. I wish Obama would let this play out, however unsettling it is. Israel also has to understand that things change and they can’t expect to control Egypt forever. I wish the Egyptians well.

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, February 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

gerard
Enroll in History of the World 101

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By ger, February 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The White Rose , published by Wesleyan Univ. Press, by Inge Scholl,
translated by Arthur Shultz. Also, there was a movie made called Sophie.
We must all stand up for freedom.

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By sophrosyne, February 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amy is right.  Obama is a total phony.  We briefly thought we had a different kind of president.  He is really nothing more than Bush warmed over.

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By gerard, February 9, 2011 at 1:34 am Link to this comment

Suggestion:  As a nation we are completely clueless as to what nonviolent social change is or how to do it.  We are trained to accept violence as inevitable. We are “hooked” on individualism, which tends to weaken, even prevent, community understanding, sharing and action.
  If we wish to understand nonviolence, we could well begin at the local level, taking on some local project, working with friends and neighbors, studying the history of nonviolent resistance and conciliatory behavior as it has been sometimes practiced successfully in the past.
  Local communities might be the training ground for a kind of national political/economic reformation.  It’s an idea. It’s very clear the country needs healing.

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