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Welcome Back to the Egyptian Revolution

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Posted on Jul 8, 2011
AP / Amr Nabil

Thousands of Egyptians gather Friday at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the focal point of the Egyptian uprising.

By Lauren Unger-Geoffroy

Enough, doubters.

“One hand” still holds.

This morning before dawn, the tents and blockades were up: The people had been gathering since the previous night, preparing for a long stay. As the sun rose, there was a moment when the Muslim Brotherhood arrived with a truck of materials to build their stage—a big crowd blocked them and put up obstacles to prevent their access. We were worried, saying “the people want no religious agendas,” but after long discussions between several groups the Muslim Brotherhood was allowed in and put up their stage. It is the biggest of the four big platforms in the square, but it is not a problem. They are keeping their promise to not rally for their own agenda, and the people are not particularly reacting to their presence. So far, there is only a good feeling around them. They are only urging unity and peaceful construction.

All political movements were invited to participate, including the Salafi youth movement, which received permission to take part in the protests.

People from the Muslim Brotherhood Youth Revolution Coalition, April 6 Youth Movement and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party were passing out a questionnaire today about participants’ reasons for coming and their evaluation of the military’s performance and opinions of today’s protest, which, finally, has come to be called “Friday of the Revolution First” (instead of the other name previously circulating: “Friday of Persistence”).

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Square, Site wide
There are many issues and demands and divisions, but the agreement in this demonstration was that there would be no diversifying issues, no partisanship, in order to unify demands and slogans. No violence or controversy would be allowed in the square. The recent conflicts have proved that the old regime and its old techniques of division are still there.

The people are united in demanding: the quick prosecution of Mubarak, his hated former Minister of the Interior Habib Al-Adly, a number of other officials accused of corruption, and those responsible for the killing of the revolution’s martyrs; civilian trials for civilians; dismissing the Minister of Interior Maj. Gen. Mansour el-Issawi and dissolving all governmental institutions among the remnants of the former regime and the National Democratic Party (whose office was bombed in February on the ground floor of my building); minimum and maximum wage; justice.

Some conflict was anticipated today—the Egyptian Ministry of Health canceled doctors’ vacations in all hospitals. Forty ambulances and three camp clinics are prepared at Tahrir Square and all over Egypt’s main squares.

The 25 members of the Egyptian Museum Youth are protecting the Egyptian Museum, along with the administration and military. But, happily, they have been unnecessary today. Once again the amazing organic organization of the civilians happened without a glitch; the printed signs and graphics are almost totally nonpartisan, and the crowd will not allow anyone to provoke discord. The people chant slogans of Egyptian pride and unity together. There are as yet no “thugs” to be seen.

Friends and activists and plugged-in Egyptians began tweeting and SMS-ing feverishly again after the last week’s conflicts with allies of the old regime in the protests. Among rallying messages, suggestions about tear-gas protection techniques and pre-admonishing the usual opportunist butt-grabbing, was the now familiar rumbling tone of pack adrenaline.

“I will be in the square, and I will do everything to protect our people so we find again our peace and unity and shared love of Egypt, because i missed you so much since then, Egyptians, my brothers and sisters,” my friend Ahmed tweeted last night, expressing the common feeling. We missed each other and that sense of belonging to a great people—great and beautiful and pure—that we had found and had given us our pride.

We have struggled against losing the cohesion and our steam to natural friction and resistance, the entropy of things falling apart and falling back into the old inertia of least resistance. But we have proved that we will not have our power and victory stolen away. We are still here and conscious. And not willing to give up the responsibility for our own future again. We will not let our revolution be hijacked.

After four weeks outside of Egypt, returning to sweep the dust out of my home and twist the wires back to get my telephone and Internet working again, I plunge back into the dusty, hot, passionate heart of the people.

A couple of young Salafi activists stopped by yesterday with my friend Mohamed. A dead, dusty mouse fell off someone’s shoe sole as the person took them off before entering.  Though the streets are arguably a fraction cleaner, they are still mostly dirt, and I saw this as a sign to remind my Western readers to not judge this country’s values and interests on the basis of their own cultural criteria. Try to make the leap of understanding.

This is not your G-8 country inheriting a bad economy after a mandate change. This is not a mindlessly submissive mass following a fanatically misogynist dogma, or a materialistic value system. This is a deeply rich culture based on emotions, and a pervasive sense of moral duty, cultural identity, having a new high spike in its globally epochal history, full of unifying religio-ethnic ritual and cohesion.

There are 2 million people in Tahrir Square now. The sun is going down and the air is cooling, the people are starting to move a bit more. I have come here to write this, and I will return tonight if I can. Many are staying in a sit-in, as in the 18 days.

It is true that all numbers and information here are imprecise and everything is unpredictable, but one thing is sure, that here the populace practice brotherly love and salam aleikoum. Egypt is the center of the Arab Spring—it is not the head, or the legs or the arms or the body. It is the big beating, passionate, emotional, pure, but undisciplined heart.

Through my open window, a coolish twilight breeze carries a call to prayer and a verse of the Quran amid the honking car horns. A friend calls from the square; I hear heated voices in the background and then multiple voices quickly calming a conflict. “All still good?” I ask. He says, “Yes, but we have to keep on it. There’s 2 million and more coming in, and you know how people get hot at night when it gets cool.”

Insha’allah this night it will stay cool.

May the good people perservere.

Besmallah.

More later.


New and Improved Comments

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Alan Lunn's avatar

By Alan Lunn, July 12, 2011 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Does anyone share my sense of irony in the Arab Spring?
We spent over a trillion and counting on the two Bush
wars to supposedly install democracy; we are losing our
democracy in America to an increasingly right-wing
oligarchy; and millions of us don’t even understand
what we are losing or who we are losing it to. Is this
a democratic shift in the world? Could the Arab youth
get there before us? Damn straight.

Corporatopia video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=Ar0_zA6xTco

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By tedmurphy41, July 12, 2011 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

If these Egyptian revolutionaries take their eyes off the prize, all the gains made can be very easily taken away from them by various unscrupulous forces, whose only aim is a return to the status quo, with a good number of these groups being of a covert nature.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Lisa Simeone, July 11 at 8:28 am
=============================
And how about Agonist? Sean P. Kelly’s site…

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

By Lisa Simeone, July 11 at 8:28 am Link to this
comment
We will occupy our own version of Tahrir Square
beginning October
6th in Washington, DC.  And we, too, won’t move until
the
warmongers who run this country pay heed.  Join us:

http://october2011.org/pledge
=================================
Lisa, have you posted this at Ian’s blog? I don’t
recall seeing it; I post as the Celsius version of
Fahrenheit 451. Cheers.

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By Lisa Simeone, July 11, 2011 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

We will occupy our own version of Tahrir Square beginning October
6th in Washington, DC.  And we, too, won’t move until the
warmongers who run this country pay heed.  Join us:

http://october2011.org/pledge

Report this

By Kevin Zeese, July 11, 2011 at 5:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good to see the Egyptian people finding areas of unity to continue their revolution.  They have accomplished a lot already, ridding themselves of the Mubarak Regime, now they take the next steps—holding the Mubarak Regime accountable and remove the military regime. Of course, there will be challenges, but they are moving forward.

Can we generate this kind of movement in the U.S.  We desperately need it.  We live in a mirage democracy, have sophisticated propagandistic media misleading us, a massive security state and a wealth divide that matches the worst countries.  Americans are getting ripped off every day and more and more realize it.  Will enough realize it to do something.  We’re trying—see http://www.October2011.org—and want people involved in helping to make it a reality.

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By ardee, July 11, 2011 at 3:04 am Link to this comment

ardee, what it boils down to is how easily you accept from another Leftist the sort of talk you would laugh at from me.

OzarkMichael, what it boils down to ,in my opinion, is that I seek to deflate hyperbole, regardless of the source thereof.

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By glider, July 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

Amazing,  I guess these people do not get enough of our MSM.  Feed them some FOX, CNN, and Bloomberg 24/7 and they won’t care about such foolish notions as demanding a just government.

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By Morpheus, July 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

The is a good start. But like the west, Egypt will run into the limitations of democracy. If you are an American, you have to Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

FIGHT THE CAUSE - NOT THE SYMPTOM
We don’t have to live like this anymore.

“Spread the News”

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

elmasri, July 9 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

everyone here is so concerned with Sharia law and how
it will corrupt a true
democracy…....

How many of you here even know what Sharia law truly
is? the exact “law” part of
Sharia law. Get educated about it first then come
back and voice an opinion.
===============================
A voice of reason; thanks.
You must remember; the U.S. political parties
encourage reactive behavior because it makes it
easier to wage the neo-crusades across the M.E.; not
to mention manipulation at home.
For the most part, my newly adopted country (I’m a
U.S. expat) seems to deal well with their Muslim
population in a predominately Buddhist citizenry.
In fairness, it must be acknowledged that before the
9/11 catastrophe, Muslims were very well integrated
in the general U.S. population.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, July 10, 2011 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

ardee, i saw the section of the article about the Muslim Brotherhood. I have read every one of the author’s dispatches with interest and care. I would like to believe that her opinion of the situation is correct, but I think she is a little starry eyed.

Unlike the author(and apparently ardee), i dont extrapolate a long term political agreement from this momentary unity against the common enemy. I wonder about long range goals and when the new power is put in place it might not be what she hopes.

There are some very hopeful things she says, which, if you heard it from a tea party person, you would ridicule for its lack of reality. There are also some rather faith-based statements wich coming from someone like me you would mock.

ardee, what it boils down to is how easily you accept from another Leftist the sort of talk you would laugh at from me.

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By ardee, July 10, 2011 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

My concern is that Islam cannot carry off the balancing act between influence of the state vs implementation of Sharia Law which creates a theocracy. That has been my concern from day one of the Arab Spring. I dont claim to know the answers for certain, but I do know that Egypt’s answer to those questions will determine the outcome.

While Ozark Michael raises a legitimate concern I think he avoids the legitimate answer in the article above. That the Muslim Brotherhood had to give assurances of a secular agenda prior to being allowed to set up their stage should go a ways to allaying his fears.

P.S. perhaps he meant “Egypt cannot carry off…” rather than “Islam”? I trust he is not simply using the typical right wing tactic of smearing an entire region and their religious beliefs because of the actions of a tiny minority of religious fanatics. Wouldn’t that be the same as smearing the GOP because of the words of the relatively small minority of far right nut jobs, Tea Party know nothings and anti-abortion violence?


To those who might not be aware:
The Brotherhood disavowed violence over a decade ago and is now on the list of AlQaeda enemies. Any group on that list has to be OK by me.

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By elmasri, July 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

everyone here is so concerned with Sharia law and how it will corrupt a true
democracy…....

How many of you here even know what Sharia law truly is? the exact “law” part of
Sharia law. Get educated about it first then come back and voice an opinion.

Right now all you “Sharia Law Worriers” are just playing into the hands of the
people who architected this entire “revolution”, the same people who will make
certain that an islamist regime gets into power, the same people who will launch
a western media blitz making us fear the “rise of islam” so they can attack the
remaining unoccupied countries of the middle east, the same people who have
been sucking this country dry for over a hundred years.

Do your research and you will see that Sharia Law is the only thing that can
create a true democracy. Of course you will all scream and holler at this
statement like you have been programmed to. Take it from a kid who went to
Catholic school. The powers that be fear Sharia law for a reason….

Study real hard and you might one day figure it out or you can just continue to
read truthdig and think you are smarter than the rest of the sheeple.

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By Cliff Carson, July 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

“We will not let our revolution be hijacked”.  Lauren Unger-Geoffroy

That is why the re-gathering.  There are those who would hijack what the Egyptian People have wrought.  They would once again seek to install a pro western dictator.

Why is it that every Dictator the USA helps install becomes a murdering thug?  Or maybe it is that the installed Dictator is a murdering thug when installed and our MSM only realizes that when the Dictator becomes too much of a liability to his installers?

Maybe Moses needs to visit some Western Empire builders and speak those famous words to the Empire Warlords “Let my people go”.

The Egyptian Revolution will end only when the REAL people of Egypt are in control of their Government.

Why did the Pro-Western Mubarak ban the Muslim Brotherhood?  Because he served his Masters in lands where the sun sets, not the Egyptian people.

We Americans need to clean house in our on country.  We have a criminal Government and we need to ban them thru use of the ballot box.

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By gerard, July 9, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael:  You say: “My concern is that Islam cannot carry off the balancing act between influence of the state vs implementation of Sharia Law which creates a theocracy.” That is a valid concern which is on a lot of people’s minds.  My assumption is a kind of “so far so good,” but it will take time and go through different steps in different places.
  The same kind of imponderable question occurs here in the US when the radical Christian right flexes its muscles in government.  Pressures of the “information age” are pushing on all orthodoxies, including Communist China, and all the “juries” are still “out.”  Orthodoxies tend to “die hard” partly because in many places people are so psychologically and socially insecure that orthodoxies serve them as life-savers in rough seas.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, July 9, 2011 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

You didn’t really believe that a relatively bloodless
insurrection was going to succeed in Egypt.  Egypt since
Nasser has been a military controlled country.  Mubarak
was a front for this military oligarchy.  Change will
come, but very very very slowly.  Like Turkey, the
military will keep a watchful eye on things.

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By JingoUSA, July 9, 2011 at 7:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That’s how you do it, a standing army of protesters.

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By balkas, July 9, 2011 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

btw, i have some good and bad news forya?!

i am not afraid of any motherf…r. that’s good
news. bad news is, i am afraid of every
fatherf…r.
i am also selfhater and selfshamer. that’s not so
good, is it?

but good news is, i am not a selfhating jew! tnx
fro ur smart ear! no, not ever for an eyeroll!

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, July 9, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

From the article:

This is not your G-8 country inheriting a bad economy after a mandate change. This is not a mindlessly submissive mass following a fanatically misogynist dogma, or a materialistic value system. This is a deeply rich culture based on emotions, and a pervasive sense of moral duty, cultural identity, having a new high spike in its globally epochal history, full of unifying religio-ethnic ritual and cohesion.

She is saying that Egypt is preserving its culture, restoring its culture, using that culture… to fulfill a vision of society and create a better government.

Apparently they dont have much of true political Left like we do here. The Left judges the culture. The Left undermines those special qualities, discards many, destroys some. The French Revolution is a good example.

But if Loren Unger-Geoffroy is correct, then we have to say that Egypt is having a conservative revolution, not unlike our own 230 years ago.

However, the danger of a conservative revolution is that the religion in question has to support not only the revolution, but then the religious doctrine and the people’s understanding of that doctrine has to be compatable with the form of government hoped for.

Here is the great question about Islam in Egypt: Can Islam(in Egypt) restrain itself to merely influence the state without replacing the state? Can Islam in its essence(it basic nature) promote freedom for all?

Such questions ought to be asked, and no one here bothers to ask. I recall folks like Lafayette calling my concerns about the Arab Spring as “a waste of time” or something like that. Those of you here who dismiss such questions are foolish. Those of you are Leftists are not only being foolish, but also hypocritical if you do not ask the questions. One begins to gain the impression that you dont care what happens as long as the West is diminished by it.

My concern is that Islam cannot carry off the balancing act between influence of the state vs implementation of Sharia Law which creates a theocracy. That has been my concern from day one of the Arab Spring. I dont claim to know the answers for certain, but I do know that Egypt’s answer to those questions will determine the outcome.

As for the Leftists here who complain that the USA does not have the religio/cultural unity that demands change, you are hypocrites of the highest order.

Report this

By balkas, July 9, 2011 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

it wld be better for egyptians to set up a political party which wld stand for an econo-military-
political equality and then vote for it.

so, how’s one gonna win over cia, judges, higher army/police echelons, ‘educators’, clergy in u.s
for building equality, cessation of warfare, lesser use of ‘goods’, etc.?

i say only via a political party; in egypt or anywhere else. if we do not form a party of our own,
we can expect with certainty that world supremacists, led by u.s supremacists [fascists/nazis]
wld not ever allow any rule from the street anywhere in the world.

for our elucidation, cuba is governed by a party that stands antipodally to the one in u.s and
cuban and that may be the only reason why cuban way of living had remained the same.

u.s ruling class calls that “poverty”. but i see that most cubans call and deem it “wealth”. in
add’n, by using/wasting much less than the sybaritic class of life, cubans are helping stave off
an unavoidable catastrophy for the [mostly] darkies of the world. tnx bozhidar balkas vancouver

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By Jeseppi Trade Wildfeather, July 9, 2011 at 5:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This for me is the kernel of the message that I will post on my bathroom mirror and memorize: “We have struggled against losing the cohesion and our steam to natural friction and resistance, the entropy of things falling apart and falling back into the old inertia of least resistance. But we have proved that we will not have our power and victory stolen away. We are still here and conscious. And not willing to give up the responsibility for our own future again. We will not let our revolution be hijacked.”

Report this

By TDoff, July 9, 2011 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Hmmmm. Maybe, if we all gathered at the D.C. mall, and peacefully, non-violently, began dismantling the Pentagon, the DOJ, the SCOTUS, the J. Edgar building, the DHS headquarters, the Capitol, the White House, et.al., and used the salvaged blocks and marble to construct a new, giant Pyramid, in homage to our Egyptian brothers and sisters, who are showing US the way, and declared the new Pyramid the ‘Tomb of the Destroyed American Dream, 1776-2011’, we could begin again.

And do it right this time.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 9, 2011 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

50 or 60 years of Qutb’s violent advocacy haven’t gotten as much change as a few months of dedicated non-violent civil disobedience.

They are demanding justice for those that corrupted and damaged their nation. Where’s the demand for justice for those that damaged and corrupted OUR nation? Where’s the outrage that they are back, getting 8 figure bonuses yet again?

They are also determined not to let the coalition break down over petty in-fighting, or be distracted by non-Egyptian issues (like they were weeks ago as Palestinian/Israeli issues distracted them from Egypt).  We can’t even get the Left to agree on whether ANY Democrats are still better than ALL Republicans!

We are spoiled.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, July 9, 2011 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

We in the US need to do this on the mall in front of the capitol.

Congress, SCOTUS and the President will get the jest of it when the guillotines start being erected.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., July 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Egypt is now who we look to for direction?
I wonder what it would take to get the U.S. citizens to exercise their rights/responsibility to protest en
masse; until the government acquiesces?
Nah, not in America. Pity…

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By gerard, July 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

What more could anyone ask?  Selah!

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