By Hesham Bahari
February 11, 2011
The Egyptian people have been oppressed for over 30 years of a mafia-like regime that represents one of today's most vicious repressive apparatus. The Egyptian people, which just a month ago, no political observer would have thought was capable of raising the minimum if not a historic revolution, has risen. Sixty thousand Facebook members kicked off what became a watershed event in Egyptian history.
In the power game three main groups where involved: First,a regime based on nepotism, corruption and repression, and who for three decades has been the main guarantor of Israel's security, second, an army whose seniors have benefited from cooperation with the U.S. and that in four decades has benefited from tremendous economic benefits, and third,a popular uprising that since January 25th grows both in width and depth for each day that passes by.
Judging by President Mubarak's second speech to the people, followed by his deputy Omar Soli's, we believe that the regime will not step down. And how could it do so on such short notice, when it comes to first secure his retreat, and their economic interests. Mubarak's fortune is estimated at between 40 and 70 billion dollars, a sum that could make Egypt debt-free, and kick off a development that changes the country's requirements for good. And then we only talk about Mubarak's wealth. Mubarak is only the spearhead of a wide range of families and business groups that have benefited from the corruption and economic lawlessness that has prevailed in Egypt the last 30 years.
Many commentators now fear the worst. Army came out with an initial communique a few hours before Mubarak's speech. The army spokesman reiterated the army's promise to the people, to protect it and ensure that its legitimate demands are met. But words can have different interpretations. The army leadership is immersed in the regime's corruption, and will not go away on a sudden transition to democracy in the country.
But the army does not consist only of the generals. A number of officers have already left their weapons down and joined the demonstrators in Tahrir Square. One of them, Sergeant Ahmad Shuman, wondered before Jazeera's camera what the vice president has actually done for the good of Egypt. "Has he been against torture in our police stations? Does he have prevented the wealth from leaving the country? "Sergeant Shuman, was followed by several others from the army's lower ranks. Will the army be large enough in numbers tomorrow? The pressure on the military, which stands at Tahrir Square, is unbearable. The Egyptian Army is an extension of the Egyptian people. It is a conscript army and not an army of professionals, and there are very few families in the country that has not been a member of the Army. The Egyptian army is a community within a community, with strong historical and emotional links to the people, not least because of all the war and the sacrifices that Egypt has been experiencing ever since 1948. The reason why the generals did not dare to go out openly against the people's aspirations is that they know that a large part of their foot soldiers have already taken sides, against the regime.
The regime has played a few cards on hand now, besides the army called "neutrality" in this historic struggle, for power. Its repressive apparatus has lost its grip over the people. Police stations and police cars around the country have been destroyed. The people have taken the law into their own hands and created militias to defend their neighborhoods and villages. A return to the old system is unthinkable, they want the regime to remain in office until the president's term runs out, that is about 200 days. It is the time they need to ensure their economic interests, keep money out of the country and destroying the archives that might be incriminating in a future power plays. What we see today is not a struggle between political entities, but between a mafia who refuses to give up their power and a people who refuse to give up their rights.
April Sixth-group that kicked off the biggest protests ever seen in Egypt as early as 2005 in Mahalla, an industrial city in the Delta, has been one of the throbbing hearts of this revolution. In a documentary on AlJazeera last night we got to see the group's members in action and learn a bit about their philosophy and tactics. The documentary, which takes place during the first days of the revolution shows how the organized protest marches and even how the 15 members of the group was arrested by the secret police. Their spokesman, Ahmad Maher, talks about the importance of having ahimsa, non-violence, as the motto and guiding principle of the revolution to succeed. It was also what we've seen applied during the first days of the revolution, and who got more and more people to join the Tahrir Square. The best and cleanest in the Egyptian civil society is today face to face with the worst and ugliest.
On the journalists' union the chairman was thrown physically out of the premises. 50 journalists of Al-Ahram, the official government agency, have signed a petition demanding the president's resignation, hundreds of television workers have been demonstrating, demanding an end to censorship. (According to Egyptian television a few hundred marched in Alexandria and a dozen in the Suez, January 25, 2011!) The revolution is a fact and the regime is trying to buy time. The lack of intelligence and with his customary greed the regime is trying to play off an already fragmented army against the people. But the people of Egypt have never been more united. We can only pray that Friday will not be a bloody one.
Source : Arab Nyheter Stockholm