‘Down, Down Mubarak!’

Mohamed ElBaradei is heading back to Egypt despite direct threats against his life. He said this to Newsweek:

When Egypt had parliamentary elections only two months ago, they were completely rigged. The party of President Hosni Mubarak left the opposition with only 3 percent of the seats. Imagine that. And the American government said that it was “dismayed.” Well, frankly, I was dismayed that all it could say is that it was dismayed. The word was hardly adequate to express the way the Egyptian people felt.

Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”. I was flabbergasted—and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government.

If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer. People were absolutely disappointed in the way you reacted to Egypt’s last election. You reaffirmed their belief that you are applying a double standard for your friends, and siding with an authoritarian regime just because you think it represents your interests. We are staring at social disintegration, economic stagnation, political repression, and we do not hear anything from you, the Americans, or for that matter from the Europeans.

So when you say the Egyptian government is looking for ways to respond to the needs of the Egyptian people, I feel like saying, “Well, it’s too late!” This isn’t even good realpolitik. We have seen what happened in Tunisia, and before that in Iran. That should teach people there is no stability except when you have government freely chosen by its own people.

Al Ahram reports:

Downtown Cairo looked like a war zone Wednesday.

Police in both plain clothes and formal security uniforms were present by the thousands. Riot police were seen sleeping on, and manning, the 6 October and 15 May bridges – the main ones connecting main streets of the city — since last night. Hundreds of people gathered in several streets downtown chanting “People want the government down”, “Copts and Muslims don’t want this system”, and, “Bread, freedom, human integrity.” They were chased and beaten fiercely, many of them also dragged off by force – by thugs and state security agents.

Reporting on today’s demonstrations, Time noted:

Everywhere, the message was the same: “The people want the fall of the regime,” the protesters chanted as they marched over broken glass. On the Corniche, Cairo’s busy road along the Nile, protesters stopped traffic, setting a dumpster on fire and chanting “Down, Down Mubarak!” Moments later, they scattered after a charge by over a dozen plainclothes thugs, armed with sticks and knives, who chased them in between cars and onto a nearby bridge.

Throughout the evening, TIME’s Cairo reporter continued to hear reports of an impeding rally in the center of the city. And at around 11 p.m., a group of protesters attacked the Foreign Ministry, ransacking an outside office, before being pushed back.

The government released statements on Tuesday and Wednesday that sought to place much of the blame for Tuesday’s protest on Egypt’s largest opposition group, the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Activists who actually participated in the demonstrations say the allegation is bogus. “They’re trying to play the same old cards — by threatening the West and the United States that when this regime leaves power, the Muslim Brotherhood will take over. This is absolutely not true,” says Shadi Taha, a member of the liberal Tomorrow Party, whose leader Ayman Nour — a darling of the Bush administration — was on the street on Tuesday. “What we witnessed yesterday was that more than 90% of those people who took to the streets… it was probably their first time to demonstrate. We used to call them the silent majority — the majority that is not involved in politics, who have never been involved in politics, and who definitely are not involved in the Muslim Brotherhood.”

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5 thoughts on “‘Down, Down Mubarak!’

  1. Norman

    Either this is a hoax, or the powers to be are in for a rough sled, if not a violent overthrow. The U.S. should get its collective head out of the sand and realize that it should pull back, stay out of the fight, let the people in the country settle things, one way or another.

  2. Rachel

    Down , Down Mubarak.

    I dedicated this poem written by a famous poet Bhuwan Thapaliya to the people of Egypt. Down, Down Mubarak. The world is with you brave people of Egypt. Dont surrender to the repression.

    Suppression, I accept not
    by Bhuwan Thapaliya

    I came
    into this world
    not like the river
    but like a drop of water
    and will soon evaporate
    I came
    into this world
    not like the river
    but like a drop of water
    and will soon evaporate

    I am only
    a drop of water
    in the majestic ocean
    of nature

    I yearn
    to create
    a vigorous ripple
    of freedom,
    in the eternity of the water

    For I am a man
    of eternal freedom,
    and suppression
    I accept not …
    I will not accept it

    The living God
    within me urges
    me to be free, and to
    march on the road
    of freedom sans any dread

    My heart,
    like Einstein,
    thinks in another dimension
    unknown and unknowable …
    even to my own mind

    And like Goethe,
    looks at things
    in a different manner,
    different than those thinkers
    bestowed with pristine minds

    the gift of God,
    is the inherent right
    of every individual
    in this compressed world

    I will fight
    till the end
    to free the masses
    from the grip of suppression
    and ignite the lamp of freedom

    I will free the masses
    or die in the attempt
    but I will never
    live to see
    the naked dance of repression

    I am not afraid
    of those suppressors,
    nor am I afraid of the death
    that they are planning for me;
    they can kill me but not freedom forever

    My blood boils
    whenever I see the strong ones
    pulverising the lean, and my heart cries
    whenever I see the starving pauper
    in the abattoir of the prosperous butcher

    For me
    a red rose is a red rose
    it is not white
    just because they call it white
    to disguise the ignorant

    They can
    conquer Everest
    but not my spirit
    they can stagnate the river
    but not my impetus

    They can
    take my
    sight away
    but not
    my vision of freedom

    They can
    cut my
    tongue into pieces
    but not
    my voice of freedom

    They can
    stab me with the
    dagger of despotism
    but not impede
    the blood of freedom

    I know
    the road to freedom
    is blocked with obstacles
    but obstacles cause no despair
    if they are encountered with hope

    We must act now
    and not merely
    just look away
    when our freedom
    is threatened from within

    it is better
    to perish without freedom
    than to have a yearn for freedom
    but not the valour to harvest it

    Don’t be a coward …

    Be prepared to receive
    bullets to your chest
    because, in the struggle
    of freedom, tolerance
    of suppression is an offence

    Stand up … stand up

    Gather your courage. Come out
    into the field; let’s march hand in
    hand together, right beneath the
    nose of the suppressors, for the
    emancipation of our freedom

    Let us not forget that …

    The ocean is composed of drops
    of water, and all drops possess
    equal potentials, but only, when
    they mix with other drops do
    they form a powerful bond

    So …

    Listen, my oppressed brothers
    listen, my trodden sisters
    listen … listen
    to the natural desire
    of your ceaseless soul

    Do not fear
    trust your soul
    and march ahead
    with a resolute heart
    for the better tomorrow

    And scatter
    the seeds of freedom,
    where does it go?
    it does not matter
    scatter it more with hope

    Welcome the freedom
    welcome it today
    and enjoy it evermore
    but do not use your freedom
    to suppress the people’s soul
    to suppress the people’s soul

    copyright 2010 Bhuwan Thapaliya

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