Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Democracy in Egypt; beaten and bloodied and reduced to a few thousand in Tahrir Square

The clashes still happening around Egypt and in Tahrir Square are the dying gasps of the original revolution that toppled Mubarak.  With the help and support of the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists garnering over 60% of the second wave of votes, and the democratic protesters have been reduced to not much more than a handful.

The revolution is over, long live the revolution!

Now, turn East and pray to Mecca....

From the Daily Mail December 20 by John R. Bradley

The terrifying truth behind the so-called Arab Spring

 Stripped above the waist — save for her bright blue bra — the protester lies in a street just off Cairo’s Tahrir Square, seconds before a soldier stamps on her naked torso. 
She has been dragged around by her arms and beaten by frenzied soldiers wielding metal batons, but still they won’t let her escape to safety.  (for more depth, and the words of the woman with the blue bra, go here)
This brutal scene from Egypt has sent new shockwaves around the West in the past three days, as the military regime has become ever more brutal towards pro-democracy protesters. Ten people have been killed and more than 400 wounded.
For the ‘girl in the blue bra’, as she has been dubbed by outraged bloggers across the globe, it is a gross violation of human rights — as well as contradicting conventional wisdom about Arab respect for female dignity and modesty.
For the watching world, it encapsulates the reality that Egypt is rapidly sliding back into brutal tyranny. The overthrow of President Mubarak’s despotic regime in February is already a distant memory, and hopes for a new era of freedom following the Arab Spring have turned to dust.
But it is a serious mistake to  believe that this woman somehow represents the Egyptian people — violated and oppressed by military savagery.


For just as much of the uplifting narrative about the Arab Spring was based on wishful thinking in the West, so the protests in Tahrir Square are being hopelessly misinterpreted.
This is not the climax of a battle between a great mass of the Egyptian people and a despised military establishment. It is the last gasp of a tiny idealistic minority as they fight to the death for their core beliefs.
The majority of the conflict-weary public have now sided with the armed forces — who are seen as upholding order against the continued, anarchic impulses of the demonstrators.
In Egypt in recent days, there has been no groundswell of outrage at the girl’s treatment. Nor have there been any mass rallies in support of the protesters or calls for the overthrow of the military establishment in the main Egyptian newspapers.
Partly this is because the revolutionaries in Tahrir Square are so small in number — probably no more than 3,000 in a nation of 84 million. Their position has been weakened by the military, which has portrayed them, with much success, as conspirators and criminals bent on chaos.
And this process has been helped by the deeply conservative attitudes of most of Egypt’s population. The widespread response to the picture is not anger at the soldiers’ actions, but puzzlement as to why the woman’s family let her join the protest.
Such hostility reflects the deeper reality that the Cairo uprising earlier this year was driven by economics rather than politics. Egyptians were fed up with the fall in living standards, widespread poverty and mass unemployment that the Mubarak government had caused.
Questions of democracy, liberty, and freedom of expression were of little interest to the majority of the population.
It is, of course, easy to sneer at such attitudes. Yet opinion polls show that most British people have little time for the tent city occupiers outside St Paul’s and would welcome their eviction.
Similarly, during the August riots, the overwhelming majority of the British public wanted tough action taken by the police and courts against the rioters. There were even widespread calls for the Army to be deployed.
That is the way most Egyptians view the tiny band of violent activists in their own midst. But in a country more used to meeting force with force, and knowing that the public is on their side, Egypt’s generals are moving in for the kill.

There is more, read it all

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