Freedom lies behind a closed door that can only be broken down by a bleeding Arab fist

Tariq Ali writes:

“Freedom lies behind a door closed shut,” the great Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqi wrote in the last century. “It can only be knocked down with a bleeding fist.” More than that is bleeding in the Arab world at the moment.

The uprisings we are witnessing in Egypt have been a rude awakening for all those who imagined that the despots of the Arab world could be kept in place provided they continued to serve the needs of the West and their harsh methods weren’t aired on CNN and BBC World. But while Western establishments lull themselves to sleep with fairy tales, ordinary citizens, who are defeated and demoralized, mull their revenge.

The French government seriously considered sending its paratroopers to save former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pleading with officials in Washington to delay Hosni Mubarak’s departure from Egypt so that Israel has time to prepare for the likely outcome. Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is even describing the Egyptian dictator as a “force for good.”

The almost 200 pro-democracy citizens who have been killed don’t bother him too much. That’s small beer compared with the tens of thousands dead in Iraq. And a desperate Palestine Liberation Organization is backing Mubarak and repressing solidarity demonstrations in Ramallah on the West Bank.

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6 thoughts on “Freedom lies behind a closed door that can only be broken down by a bleeding Arab fist

  1. delia ruhe

    Based on my hours of continuous reading today, I would have to agree with Tariq Ali. A lot more blood is going to have to flow if a real change is to happen. There is no point in Mubarak leaving if the dictator-in-waiting Suleiman–the man with whom Washington appears to be talking–takes over. There’s a good article at MERIP:

    “With Plan A obsolete, Plan B for the regime and its backers in Washington is to ride out the uprising with their basic authoritarian prerogatives intact. Sulayman and his entourage intend to stage an “orderly, peaceful transition” (to use the Obama administration’s phrase) from the reign of one arbitrary autocrat to another, adorned with the trappings of more liberal democracy. They have offered up Mubarak as a sacrificial lamb, as they did Interior Minister Habib al-‘Adli and before him Ahmad ‘Izz, the ruling-party bigwig and chief crony of Mubarak’s son and presumptive heir Gamal. The army, thus far, is solidly behind them, its protestations of sympathy with the people to the contrary. The wild card, therefore, remains the exuberantly angry crowds in Egypt’s streets, who received Mubarak’s address with scorn. The outcome of their massive uprising hangs in the balance.”

    http://www.merip.org/mero/mero020111.html

  2. DE Teodoru

    Suleiman was the chief criminal torturer on behalf of Mubarab and US. He and Mubarek, should they leave Egypt, face arrest, to be brought before the International Court of Justice so they should be given an opportunity to finish their days peacefully safe at home. Suleiman in the docket would make Wikileaks look like a peanuts! Perhaps here is an opportunity for the Democratic National Party– a gang of thugs, depending on your perspective– to work out an amnesty for themselves and their leaders by redeeming themselves, settling the score in a Muslim manner decided by a joint secular-Islamic court of judges and certified by popular referendum. The longer Suleiman holds Mubarak’s post, the longer it is the old wolf leaving the chicken coup to the most vicious wolf.

    Egyptians turned generous, cool to abuse and insult of the dying old Pharaoh&Co.. Their generosity is truly amazing as they want an end to violence and vengeance. And so it should be. But Mubarak was not alone, serving an entire edifice of blood suckers and these should be held accountable– as the whites were in South Africa– while given a chance to redeem themselves through good deeds towards the poorest and weakest Egyptians they victimized. It is Islamic to make amends as well as to forgive.

    If Israel doesn’t lean forward in helping the young Egyptians– that put their lives on the line demanding a modernist revolution—to build regional modernization, then let it be forever NORED, over and over again, that Israel’s leaders are total hypocritical shysters that deserve no one’s sympathy; for they must think us all “dumb goyim,” demanding that the US attack Ahmadinejad on behalf of the Iranian people in the street and now demanding that the US attack the Egyptian people in the street on behalf Mubarak.

    If everyone in the region devotes him/herself to regional MODERNIZATION SANS FRONTIERES and emphasizes justice for the Middle East’s youth, we may be witnesses to a most startling unprecedented decade. May Allah hear that prayer, for the future is now in the hands of the Muslims, helped by the Jews and Americans, serving as facilitators and guides.

    Lastly, it is incumbent on all of us who so financed the oppression of the Egyptian people and the Israeli mechanized massacre of Arabs, to demand that both the US and Israel ACTIVELY and OPENLY do right by this idealistic surge by Arab youth, putting their lives on the line for exactly what we had invaded to Middle East with shock&awe to impose but failed.

  3. Colm O' Toole

    Personally speaking for me the events of the last week have been an emotional rollarcoaster. Sitting in Europe I’ve been going from excited optimism to depressed pessimism on a daily basis. But in all cases when I thought that the protesters could not continue in the face of this violence and scheming they have returned to the streets triumphant.

    A true revolutionary inspiration of the power of people.

    As Bill Maher said last night “New Rule: When the people of Egypt and Tunisia are finished rising up against the corrupt entrenched money powers that have kept them down for so long… they have to tell us how they did it.”

  4. esteban


    the difference between
    stupidity and foolishness

    one doesn’t know any better
    the other has no excuse

  5. Christopher Hoare

    Outside of Egypt, the enemies of democracy, of society, and of the people have convicted themselves out of their own mouths. In the future we will all better know Tony Blair, Berluscone, Stephen Harper, Sarkosy, Netanyahu, and so many suits in US punditry that it would take hours to list them all, for their hypocritical dismissal of the democracy they claim to espouse.

    The new year of “1848” has already produced great results by its opening of jaded eyes. Remember that the original could boast scant success, but each disappointment led to the underswell of discontent that changed the face of Europe. A new Middle East would presage a New World.

  6. Paloma

    The real sad history in this extraordinary popular uprising in the arab world is the fate of Iraq. The super power USA and its ally Israel destroyed completely this magnific old country. one can say that the “western hordes” put it into ashes. The Iraqi people did not get the chance to deliver themselves from their dictator. Western powers walked into the steps of the dictator with even more oppression and destruction. The oilfields are now in the hands of the anglo-american corporate predators. Nothing for the people. The Iraqi intelligentsia has been murdered by the death squads, supervised by Israel and the USA. See
    http://www.brussellstribunal. org/Seminar/pdf/en/flyer.pdf

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