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Dying for Freedom in Egypt

Looking at the images of people escaping the Al-Fath mosque in Cairo today (Saturday 17.8.2013) under constant police fire, I stare at the terrified faces of those people, some of them injured, many lost friends and relatives in the massacre. I imagine that I see myself there, between them, running down the street.

But you’re not a Muslim Brother, some of you will wonder. But I do stand for principle. My land was not confiscated, but I was demonstrating in the day of the land in March 30, 1976. This is not a problem.

What I ask myself is whether I would dare to go to Rabaa Al-Adawiya while I knew that the army was preparing for a massacre. But, I encourage myself, on October 2, 2000, when we heard that the police shot at our friends in Um Al-Fahm, Nazareth, Arabeh and Sakhnin, killing some of them, we sat in the middle of Al-Jabal Street in Haifa and refused to move, even as the police were approaching to attack us. So, maybe, you could find some people of democratic and leftist principles in Cairo’s streets, ready to die with the Muslim Brothers to defend Egypt’s democracy and to oppose tyranny.

It is time to remember that eternal saying of the struggle for liberty: “If you’re not ready to die for freedom, you don’t deserve to live free”. It doesn’t intend to prevent the right for free life from anybody, no matter how coward or indifferent he or she may be. It comes to express the simple historic fact, that without the bravery and sacrifices of millions of freedom loving people we would all be slaves up to this day and till the end of history.

Basic Values

In these days of division, confusion, wild propaganda and outright terror, you should stick to the most basic values.

For me the killing of protesters is a clear red line. The Egyptian military regime clearly initiated and organized a massive massacre of peaceful demonstrators in order to consolidate its illegally acquired power.

And, by the way, any people that come to cheer up when the army or the police are shooting people in the streets are, to my taste, a despised lynch mob. If there happen to be many of them it is just a sad observation about the fragility of the Human soul – it has nothing to do with revolution, democracy or whatever.

Humanistic values should come first. They are the basic attitude, motivation and moral grounds behind any struggle for freedom and justice. Politics should come at the end of it – as calculated means to achieve goals. But when your politics loses its humanistic moral grounds it becomes a corrupt grab for personal or clique power.

Respect for the other is at the base of all Human values. How can anybody call himself a Democrat, a Liberal, a Leftist, a Socialist, a Revolutionary or pretend to belong to any other tradition that claims to speak for Human Rights and Dignity and support the rule of the army that kills demonstrators in the streets?

Democracy is at the Heart of the Struggle

The martyrs (Shuhada) of Rabeaa Al-Adawiya and all those shot demonstrating in Egypt over the last month and a half are martyrs for democracy. They demonstrated because the elected government of Egypt was removed by a military coup, not in order to promote any special partisan or religious agenda.

Unlike the demonstrators at Morsi’s days in power, they didn’t attack the presidential palace and didn’t constitute any physical threat to the army’s rule. The only threat from the demonstration was their moral claim to restore the democratically elected government. Their presence in the streets called off the army’s bluff as if it represents the Egyptian people. A-Sisi couldn’t stand the power of their words so he decided to drown their voices in the barrage of gunfire and rivers of blood.

Democracy is not a small thing, not a technical detail in the managing of the state apparatus. In all its forms Democracy is intended to represent the sovereignty of the people. The fact that the legitimacy for the state exists only as far as it serves the people. And the fact that the people themselves should decide by whom and how they should be served, not any Patron. Those Socialists that cite Marxism in order to dismiss Bourgeois Democracy ignore the basic fact that the Socialist criticism of it was based on the claim that Socialism will bring more democracy, not less of it.

The Arab Spring, like the Great French Revolution and all the great revolutions over the last 200 years were first and foremost about democracy. The rule of the people over the mechanisms of state power is inseparable from the right of the people to decent lives from all other aspects.

The Arab people will continue to struggle for freedom, democracy and social justice even in the face of the most murderous oppression. When one day democracy will be the only imaginable order of the day, all the tyrants will be seen as a remote nightmare and we will all thank those people that gave their lives in this holy struggle.

Israel

As I write these lines I read in today’s American New York Times:

“The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

“Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.

“When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.”

It is still the same old story. In order to ensure Israel’s superiority in the region, Western powers are ready to support any murderous Arab tyrant… But this doesn’t reduce any millimeter from the value of Arab Democracy – it just says that the Arab will continue to pay a high price in the struggle for freedom and democracy as long as the racist colonization of Palestine continues to be the major aim of imperialist policy in the region.

Previous posts on the Egyptian Revolution

Massacre in Cairo – July 27, 2013

Down with the Coup – July 6, 2013-08-18

On the Constitutional Referendum – December 22, 2012

Welcome President Morsi – June 30, 2012

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