Why the hell should I write about the counter-revolution? I opened this blog in order to write about the revolution, about the people awakening from decades of enslavement and finding their voice, revealing their power, struggling for a better world? And those bastards have a whole pack of media wolves writing for them, all well paid and exercised in praise and flattery…
But writing about the revolution is telling a story. The dedicated writer should bring the story as it is. The murderers, the top brass, those that kidnapped a whole nation to rob it and torture it, are now the heroes of the day. So I ought to give them their share in this blog also.
Every story-teller or movie director will tell you that there is no great story without real bad guys. The Arab Spring was almost lost in the dust after the first bunch of bad guys hurried to run away from the scene. Now they come back, with their ugliest possible distorted faces, General Al-Sisi ordering the shooting of demonstrators all around Egypt and President Assad grinning in friendly TV talk shows while gassing and bombing the children of Syria.
Many of us had the first smile of relief after the Egyptian coup when we heard that the Muhammad Morsi, the first elected president of Egypt, is going to be charged with “conspiring with Hamas”. It is terrifying to see how the military dictatorship in Egypt is waging a war on the encircled Palestinian enclave of Gaza, cutting the tunnels that were its lifelines, but at least we can say it is the devil we know.
Just as I came to write this post, I found Amos Harel’s article in “Ha’aretz” (sorry, but only in Hebrew) titled: “The coup in Egypt renewed the romance between Cairo and Jerusalem”. It tells the story how Israel’s intervention helped the Egyptian generals to achieve US support for their coup. How the top brass in Egypt is eagerly cooperating with Israel to defame the Palestinians as terrorists and to tighten the siege of Gaza. How Israel encourages the military campaign of the Egyptian army against the Bedouin of Sinai and enjoys its fruits. How the newly tightening counter-revolutionary alliance between Egypt’s generals, the Gulf kings and emirs and the king of Jordan is turning the regional balance of power again in Israel’s favor.
The eruption of joy from the Assad bloody regime in Syria at the coup in Egypt and what they saw as the demise of their erstwhile foes, the Muslim Brothers, completes the picture of the forces of evil taking center stage in the region. No wonder the US now declares that it has no intention to topple Assad and that it aims at “political solution” in Syria – probably looking for a Syrian Al-Sisi to take the reign and prevent the Syrian people from winning the liberty fruits of their heroic struggle and endless sacrifices.
They were there all the time
While now the picture becomes clear and simple with the bad guys taking center stage – we should not be simple-minded ourselves. The forces of evil didn’t come from nowhere – they were there all the time.
The current cruelty rivals (and builds upon) the preceding stupidity of the analysis of the crisis in Egypt before the coup by many respected revolutionaries and educated bourgeois commentators.
The main proposition was that after Morsi became president we were witnessing a “power grab” by the Muslim Brothers, and that the popular protest was a result of the “failures” of the Muslim Brother’s government to deliver on its promises.
This type of analysis ignores the main fact that the change of the head of government didn’t change the regime, and that Mubarak’s old oppressive Deep State continued to be the main organized force in the country and kept its holds on most organ of government, first and foremost all the organs of oppression: the army, the police, the security services, etc.
One small example was the strike by the police force for different excuses, intentionally encouraging a surge in crime and lost of personal security. When the Muslim Brothers called on people to organized citizens’ committees to keep order in the street, liberal politicians and media cried foul, warned against the establishment of “party militias” and demanded to keep the monopoly of the state on law enforcement.
The Judiciary played a major role in “constitutionally” sabotaging any attempt at democratization – dissolving the democratically elected parliament and preventing any orderly transfer from the interim period to normalization.
In the elections to the presidency, the representative of the old regime was not far from winning the second round against Morsi. It proved that the revolution didn’t really touch the lives of many Egyptians. It also showed that for much of the petty bourgeoisie the old regime seemed as a lesser evil than the rule of the Muslim Brothers. Most of the political opposition became choir boys for the old regime. Their last attempt at democratic contest was the referendum about the new constitution in December 2012, in which they mastered only 36% of the vote. After this defeat they were determined not to face the vote again – and opened the campaign that led to the military coup.
Always with us
The schism between changing the top of the regime and changing the over base over society and the country as a whole goes with us all over history.
It is only in the last couple of years that the elected president of Turkey can go to sleep pretty sure that he will not awake to the sight of soldiers surrounding his bed. It required the systematic routing of the army from coup plotters over many years to achieve this.
It took another elected president, Hugo Chavez, five years in office before he could lay his (democratically elected) hands on Venezuela’s oil revenues and use them to promote social equality. It was possible only after a mass uprising aborted an army coup and released the captive Chavez, and after a long strike and sabotage campaign enabled the government to restart oil production under a new management.
In the big Russian revolution, after years of civil war and famine, it was mostly the old Tsar bureaucracy that took control of the communist party as well as the soviet state, establishing a system of class privilege and dictatorial rule over the toiling masses.
In China, after the communist party took power in 1949, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) to force deep social change and uproot the grip of the old elite. It was a long and disruptive process – and its contribution to the current success of China is still a matter of dispute.
While at the head of the capitalist system stands not the 1% but a fraction of it that reaps the vast majority of the fruits and holds the reigns of control, this system of exploitation couldn’t exist without the complicity of wide sectors of society. It is the owners of small property that are afraid for their small gains for which they toiled all their lives and are ready to kill to keep them. It is the serving classes that are used to obey their masters for small comforts and privilege. It is the fear of the organized worker from the desperate unemployed and the hungry immigrant. It is the macho of the man that wouldn’t like to see his fellow women coming out free and equal. It is racism, sectarianism, ignorance, self interest and fear that keeps us all enslaved.
In Defense of the Beduin
While you are all used to defend the Palestinians, the ultimate victims of the Imperialist Zionist Hegemony, while most of you may be civilized enough to denounce the massacre of peaceful demonstrators in Cairo and Alexandria, even though they are Muslims, I’m afraid that nobody will speak out against the military campaign waged against the Beduin in Sinai.
So, please, ask yourself how comes the Beduin population became “radicalized”? If there is any extremism involved, it is first and foremost the extreme poverty, neglect, discrimination and oppression of the Beduin population by the Israeli and Egyptian governments. (Yes, many of the Beduin in Sinai were victims of the Israeli Ethnic Cleansing that expelled them from their lands in Palestine.)
Now it serves well the purpose of the Egyptian military dictatorship, like it serves the Assad family and many other enemies of the people, to pose as defenders of humanity and the west against Islamic extremism.
They are not interested to solve the social problems that are the source of the struggle but to carry on and intensify the war of oppression against the people.