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Dispatches From Cairo: Return of the Revolution

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Posted on Nov 22, 2011
AP / Tara Todras-Whitehill

A protester throws a gas canister toward Egyptian riot police during clashes in downtown Cairo on Sunday.

By Lauren Unger-Geoffroy

(Page 3)

Concessions have begun. The junta is attempting to appease the protesters and stem the violence by offering concessions—including imposing a long-awaited “treachery law” barring former members of Mubarak’s now-disbanded ruling party from running in the parliamentary elections, which are now less than a week away if they take place. But these actions are too little, too late for the people, who are ready for war. This news appeared only to galvanize resistance, as did the later announcement of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s proposed resignation.

Egypt’s youths are determined and geared up for the good war. They can be heroes and warriors, they are ready to sacrifice, ready for martyrdom and burned and torn flesh, they will go to a field hospital and then straight back to the struggle. A friend of mine says, “They used to dream of cars, houses and leaving the country; now they dream of standing in Tahrir.” The vast majority of the victims of anti-revolutionary violence have been between 19 and 27 years old.

The silent majority is not sure, but it consists of good and generous people, and the shocking videos of the protesters beaten and killed in Tahrir earned huge sympathy. Many people are sending medical supplies, and several pharmacies are providing discounts and free delivery to Tahrir field hospitals. Hundreds are sending camping blankets, food and drink.

There are protests in 14 cities in Egypt now, including Ismailia on the Suez Canal and the strategically important town of al-Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula. In Egypt’s second-largest city, the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, thousands are in the streets crying “God is great! There is no god but God!” Injuries and deaths are occurring in many places.

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I must travel to the United States, and I hate to leave even for a week. I hate to leave this country burning.

I am afraid to leave my people, who would help me as I would help them in any need.

I also am afraid that if I fall sick in the U.S.—perhaps from having breathed military-grade tear gas—how will I be able to get medical help? I have no insurance. I can’t afford to go to an American hospital. If I fell down, would people rush to carry me to get care?

As we huddled around some burning garbage Monday night to keep warm, a man and woman came and doled out plastic cups of delicious lentil soup and rough brown circles of Balady bread covered with ashes. Two of the young men standing with us seemed younger than the 19 and 21 years they claimed. They were talking about how Allah loves martyrs and they will die here. I pray they will be disappointed and the blood will stop.

I should note that all the ATMs are intact and not a single shop has been looted in downtown Cairo despite the hundreds of thousands of poor people running through the streets with no police presence. This is Egypt.


New and Improved Comments

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By ardee, November 27, 2011 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, November 26 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Re:By ardee, November 25 at 7:02 pm

ardee,

I am baffled and perplexed about your sudden infatuation with the Muslim Brotherhood??!! What give?

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered, huh? My “infatuation” as you call it, is with truth and accuracy of reporting. The Muslim Brotherhood, which did indeed begin as an organisation which espoused violence as solution, is a great example, one which you seem dedicated to distorting. They grew and changed their position to one that is dedicated to working within the system to effect their goals. This is very important as that is what we both want, is it not?

Your purported proximity to events is not an arbiter of factuality by the by and what you posit as fact is ,in reality, your own opinion and guesswork of what will occur in the future.

I hope I have made myself clear.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Gee drbhelthi, you are so far ahead of the Egyptians!  You ought
to contact the journalist and let her know what a font of insight
you have about them.  You could even go on the televised media
in Cairo who also haven’t a clue and straighten them out and tell
them just how unmuddled you and your unconfirmed many are by
what is the “real” situation.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, November 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

@shenonymous
“They do not know what is going on themselves and are as baffled as is the rest of the world.”

Many of us in “the rest of the world” are not baffled, and have known what was going on since prior to the alleged “outbreak” in Egypt.  It is obvious to me that some Truthdiggers have had personal experience in the area of discussion. 

Some of us observe similar “undertakings” in Islam provinces in China.  Coup d´tat via “Islam subversives” will be attempted, since nice talk from “Americans” is recognized by Chinese authority to be “nice talk,” somewhat faster than the American citizenry recognizes it.  How long it will take the Chinese to sort out some of the US, or US-bribed spooks, as Iran did, remains to be seen.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 26, 2011 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, November 26 at 5:51 am – It is surprising for such
an alert mind to not see that politics makes strange bedfellows. 
When alliances are seen propitious, by both sides, well…they form.

What is the clear lesson of what is happening in Egypt is that an
anarchic reaction to oppression that does not structure itself into
some organized coherence leads to absolute confusion. But, while
it is nearly impossible to have a plan ahead of time when a
spontaneous call to protest of the magnitude happening in Tahrir
Square, it is not without consequences that the discontent of the
people, as in Egypt, with the situation of an unwanted military-run
government has called out some fairly mindless but passionate
youngsters who are as chickens running around with their heads
cut off offering their bodies and lives to a cause that is unarticulated. 
Listening to Egyptian journalist, Ethar El Katatney, this a.m., she
describes the absolute chaos that is happening in the Square, and how
confused are the Egyptian people.  They do not know what is going on
themselves and are as baffled as is the rest of the world.  I think what is
happening in Egypt is a warning to all protests that are not directed by
some firm aim and organization.

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By truedigger3, November 26, 2011 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Re: By drbhelthi, November 25 at 11:55 pm

drbhelthi wrote
““They will try first by peaceful means and deceit, and if they fail they will resort to arms and terrorism.”

The question arises, did the GHWBushSr entourage copy them, or did they copy the GHWBushSr entourage ?”
—————————————————————————-
drbhelthi,
I don’t know, however, there is a long history of dealings between the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The CIA, during the Cold War, found the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist groups very useful since these groups are fiercely anticommunism because the communists are atheist and don’t believe in “God”!!.
Actually the Muslim Brotherhood is a creation of British Intelligence. The British created the Muslim Brotherhood, in 1928, as a counter balance to a strong nationalist secular movement strugling for independence in Egypt. Also, the British knew that the Brotherhood, and its affiliations in the rest of the Middle East, will be useful in combating any possible spread of communism in Egypt and the Middle East.

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By truedigger3, November 26, 2011 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Re: By OzarkMichael, November 25 at 8:22 pm

OzarkMichael,
Your long history of blindly adopting the extremism of the Christian Right views, is a source of your poor judgement and tunnel vision.
You sound like a broken record in bringing your extreme Christian Right views to any discussion and looking at any situation as a Left and Right situation, no matter what the discussion was about.
Besides your extreme Christian Righ views are very alarming and worrisome.

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By truedigger3, November 26, 2011 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Re:By ardee, November 25 at 7:02 pm

ardee,

I am baffled and perplexed about your sudden infatuation with the Muslim Brotherhood??!! What give?
I told you about my background and you are still insisting on opining and pontificating thousands of miles away from Egypt!
What happened to you? You were not like that!.
Just couple of weeks ago, you picked unnecessary protracted fight with anarcassie without any justification!
I remember you as a poster with lot of commonsense and good judgement.
I suspect the medicines and painkillers you are taking after your hip operation is affecting your judgement. I hope this phase passes quickly and that former ardee returns to us.

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By ardee, November 26, 2011 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, November 25 at 8:22 pm

Mores the point, Ozark, that your fanaticism refuses to allow you to see , understand and deal with points that easily refute your extremist Tea Party garbage.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, November 26, 2011 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

“They will try first by peaceful means and deceit, and if they fail they
will resort to arms and terrorism.”

The question arises, did the GHWBushSr entourage copy them, or did
they copy the GHWBushSr entourage ?

The sentence is an excellent description of current USGOV activity.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

truedigger, you will find that ardee doesnt actually make any points or offer any substance. He can be rude with anyone who disagrees with him and thats about it.

Discussing any concerns with ardee has been a waste of time. Shame really, there was a time when he would at least try.

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By ardee, November 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, November 25 at 9:39 am

but the fact remain that the Muslim Brotherhood is striving to create an autocratic theocratic repressive Islamist regime in Egypt. They will try first by peaceful means and deceit, and if they fail they will resort to arms and terrorism.


Why? Because you say they will, that’s why. You should use your crystal ball to better effect.

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By truedigger3, November 25, 2011 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Re:By ardee, November 25 at 8:46 am

adree,
There is no battle of egos here and shame on you to accuse me of lying. I am not lying!!.
The problem is that your sources of information are malacious and are not truthful. Do I have to tell you about msm, El-Jazeera and BBC.
My aim was not to win against you but to enlighten you and readers about the facts.
El-Quaeda have a lot of Islamic groups and individuals in their “death list”, whether this published list is accurate or not I don’t know, but the fact remain that the Muslim Brotherhood is striving to create an autocratic theocratic repressive Islamist regime in Egypt. They will try first by peaceful means and deceit, and if they fail they will resort to arms and terrorism. Go back to the history of Ageria in the nineties!!
Do some research and don’t take what the media or politicians say at its face value!!!
Did you ever ask your self why ardent Zionists who denigrated and hated everything Muslim are now jumping up and down and hollering in support of the Muslim Brotherhood?
If you are not still convinced, then so be it and I will not cry about it, and as they say TIME WILL TELL.

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By ardee, November 25, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, November 24 at 9:45 am

I simply think you are lying.

Oh, and the fact remains that AlQaeda has placed the Muslim Brotherhood on their enemies list, a fact you pointedly ignored in your rush to prove yourself such an “expert” on the subject.

Should the aims of the Brotherhood be as you claim, and yes, they ONCE were such, it might seem to a truthful and sincere person that AlQaeda would embrace them and their goals.

The real point here, despite your “expertize on all things Egyptian” is that the Brotherhood is dedicated to peaceful and political processes to achieve its goals.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

The tenacity of the protesters in Egypt shows that authoritarianism
will be challenged, and eventually defeated.  The Yemeni Saleh
ostensibly has been removed by the people, such is the power of
the people.  Vlast’ naroda! Vot kvlasti naroda!.  And again 40 or more
are dead and thousands injured by the government military and police
forces.  The people will have their way.  Before the Arab Spring it had
taken centuries, now it will take only days, weeks, and months.  It
cannot be stopped.

Report this

By truedigger3, November 24, 2011 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Re: By ardee, November 24 at 5:00 am

ardee wrote:
“Gee, another in a series of mis-characterizations of the Muslim Brotherhood, go figure!
When that group eschewed violence in favor of working politically for change it earned them the enmity of AlQaeda who put them on its enemies list.
The demonstrations in Tahir Square, are, to any with even limited reading comprehension skills, about the refusal of the military tribunal to give up its “temporary” power in favor of free elections of a parliamentary style government.”
————————————————————————-
ardee,

What basis of knowledge or life experience in Egypt, do you have that allow you to opine and write such nonsense??!!.
Did you have contacts with diverse groups of Egyptians or did you live or are you living in Egypt and know the language??
I lived and worked in Egypt several years ago, for several years and I learned Arabic fairly well to the extent that I can read Egyptian newspapers on the Web.
So, I know what I am talking about and you don’t!
This uprising is planed and instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis radical Muslims to take over power and establish a theocratic Islamic State where there no freedom but autocratic rule, with strict dress code and coduct, where women and non Muslim Egyptians will be treated as a second class citizens.
So,this uprising is not about “Democracy”, which most Egyptians don’t give a shit about. What most Egyptians want is the return of stability and security and the economy to start moving again and generate jobs.
What do you know about the long violent history of the Brotherhood and its current opportunistic tactics to obtain power?!. 
So, you believe what the newspapers write and what politicans and opportunistic groups say and promise??!! How naive is that?
It is obvious that, you are seeing what you are looking for and not what is REALLY out there and you fell victim to you wishful thinking.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, November 24, 2011 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

The return of the revolution?  What revolution ?

Formerly, a home-grown dictator murdered people who wanted to depose him, but also performed enough maintenance on Egypt, so that tourists could safely visit and enjoy the culture and weather.  Currently, an oligarchy of U.S.Army-trained, soldier-dictators are murdering people who want to depose their oligarchy, which oligarchy does not know how to maintain the country.

An interesting switch of dictators, under Hillary Clinton´s guise of “democracy.” Similar to the “democracy” imposed on Libya, at which Hillary Clinton laughs.  This time, dictators who take their orders from the Pentagon.  I fail to discern any improvement, that was initiated by CIA-types, also employed by Google as marketing experts.  Removing the home-grown dictator to install CIA/USArmy types with an umbilical chord to the Pentagon/Homeland Security is improvement?  Looks to me like Egypt is becoming an extension of the U.S. Homeland Security fraud, similar to Libya, however, less drastic, more slowly.

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By Biju Negi, November 24, 2011 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As long as the people and protesters remain non-
violent, the rulers cannot do anything or win.
But the moment the protesters turn violent, it will
give the rulers all the excuse to then tighten their
grip on the country. Remember, no one can be more
violent than the state.

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By ardee, November 24, 2011 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

Gee, another in a series of mis-characterizations of the Muslim Brotherhood, go figure!

When that group eschewed violence in favor of working politically for change it earned them the enmity of AlQaeda who put them on its enemies list.

The demonstrations in Tahir Square, are, to any with even limited reading comprehension skills, about the refusal of the military tribunal to give up its “temporary” power in favor of free elections of a parliamentary style government.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

truedigger said:

You are opining about a situation and groups you don’t know anything about them.
What do you really know about the long history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and their methods,tactics, beliefs and aims??.  What do you know about the Salafis, who are a relatively more recent but more numerous, more radical and closed minded than Brotherhood??!!

When i mentioned these potential problems at the onset of Arab Spring, I dont remember you backing me up. You are a little too late and a little too loud today. 

Also, Lauren’s report does acknowledge the problem. Early on she didnt do that. I for one note the improvement and encourage further dipatches from her.

I think when someone does a good job, and begins to see the problems more clearly, they ought to be commended.

Lauren Unger-Geoffroy is trying to navigate these problems. I think improvement should be appreciated.

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By truedigger3, November 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Re: By OzarkMichael, November 23 at 12:45 pm

“the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis were not there for conflict but to campaign”
———————————————————-

That misleading nonsense is believed by OzarkMichael who is as usual opens the pie hole in his face and shower us with his drivel!!
Of course the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis will talk sweet to sedate the idiots and gullibles!


OzarkMichael,

You are opining about a situation and groups you don’t know anything about them.
What do you really know about the long history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and their methods,tactics, beliefs and aims??.  What do you know about the Salafis, who are a relatively more recent but more numerous, more radical and closed minded than Brotherhood??!!.
What do you know about the real situation inside Egypt right now??!
Please shut that pie hole, otherwise you are showing the whole world your ignorance and chronic fixation about reverting each discussion, about no matter what, to Right and Left, which is amusing.

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By OzarkMichael, November 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

I think Lauren Unger-Geoffroy did a good job. She admitted the tension between religious and liberal revolutionary:

Some of the few liberals present the first day said “this should not be a religious revolution, this is a popular revolution,” and were ready for tension; however, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis were not there for conflict but to campaign and reject the extraconstitutional rights being claimed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and to urge that presidential elections be held before the proposed July 2013 date.

This would be akin to the American Christian right being at the front of a revolution here. If you arent ok with that, you shouldnt be ok with this either.

But as in all things, there is both bad and good in it. Yes its a cause for concern, but we dont know that it will turn out bad.

I think this was one of her better dispatches, i was appreciative of the discussion about the minority(Christians) in Egypt.

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By truedigger3, November 23, 2011 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

This is a very misleading untrue picture of what is happening in Egypt right now.
This is not a popular revolution but is a radical Islamist uprising insitigated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis radical Islamist groups.
The Muslim Brotherhood which is very well financed and orgainized had hijacked the original revolution of 25 January. They started this current unrest to force the military out and take over power. They have some support but mostly from uneducated ignorant peopel who get deceived very easily by religious slogans.
Egypt is around 90 millions and the people in Tahrir Square are about 100 thousand, so what is going on is not a true representation of what is happenig in Egypt and what the Egyptian people really wants.
Most Egyptians want the Military to stay because they know if Islamists took over the country will descend into chaos and anarchy since the army is only force holding the country together right now.
There are several Islamist groups who have different religious opinions and this wll lead to future conflicts and bloodshed.
Most Egyptians don’t give ashit about “Democracy” right now. All what the average Egyptian wants right now is return to stability and security in the streets and the Economy to start moving again.
Since the revolution of 25 January and the Economy is almost at stand still. Armed robberies and hooliganism and muggings are common and there is a rise in kidnapping and rape and all that was unheard of in Egypt before. Egypt and Cairo were among the safest places in the whole world.
Egypt now is in mortal danger if the Islamists manage to topple the Military ruling council.
Some if the fatalities happened by outside snipers in roofs who wanted to frame the police and inflame the feelings of the demonstrators.
Some of the fatalities happened when the demonstrators attacked, with fire bombs, spolice stations and the ministry of the interior which is in charge of Egypt’s police forces.

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By balkas, November 23, 2011 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

sorry, folks, i expected just such an outcome. and
i still say that by far better a method to exact
changes for better is thru a political party and
eventually electing some honest people to office.
this is true for u.s protests. in the end you must
come to congress, judiciary, and W.H.

that’s the only occupation that wld ever matter.
tnx

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By ardee, November 23, 2011 at 4:00 am Link to this comment

This is an example for all to learn from. The Egyptian army, after protecting the protestors in Tahir Square prior to the overthrow of Mubarak and being rewarded for their civic responsibility by being given the temporary responsibility for running the nation, have been corrupted by that power.

The military tribunal is now unwilling to cede that power back to the people from whom it came in the first place. The responsibility of the people to cherish their power and to never cede it to any group is the lesson here.

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Not One More!'s avatar

By Not One More!, November 23, 2011 at 12:38 am Link to this comment

They got rid of the dictator, but not the dictatorship.

US has the same problem, some thought getting rid of Bush was the end of their problems. We still see oppression and use of force against non violent protesters here in the US, while everything that people disliked about Bush continues under Obama.

Now we have the Occupy Wall Street. The concern is that they will be co-opted or worse yet, having themselves to be used by the democratic party to attract back the people who voted for Obama and who realized they were betrayed.

The only way any change will occur is if the concerns of the bottom 25% of the population are addressed, because then everyone will benefit.

Voting for the democratic party (or republican) is giving your consent. Vote third party.

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By waytoomanybottlesofrum, November 22, 2011 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a wonderful account of the lived experience of revolution.

It’s nothing like the worn-out cliches about revolution that have been popular in the U.S., which always function as cautionary tales to dissuade enthusiasm. The author recognizes that there is indeed a time and place for revolution, and it shows in this piece.

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