Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Where does the army stand between pro-democracy protesters and government?

Not being an Egyptian means that the picture, the image that I see of unfolding events are those that I gather from western news outlet and it’s media coverage in general, which I’m sure many will agree, that they are to say, and at the very least much limited in content. Restrained for all the obvious reasons, and what coverage they do disseminate are either half a story or half the truth with the substance, the heart and soul edited out, of course there will be dramatic photographs and images for they the press love the power of action and violence, but never do they give a true and full account.

Having said that I must admit that I very rarely read or even buy a British newspaper these days, but I do read them over the Internet. I find that real news reporting is at an all time low, most newspapers are really boring and uninteresting, not really the place to learn about the world around me or find out what’s accruing and occurring.  

Now it seems that I have blogged quite a lot about the Egyptian Revolution, which is in day 15 of its historical and momentous struggle of an Egyptian people determined to stand and fight for freedom and true democracy, free from authoritarianism and the despotism of Mubarak and his regime.

During the course of the last two weeks and now running into its third, we have seen the Revolution played and fought-out in the major cities around the country, millions have taken to the streets, tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into those streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other cities.  Police radios crackling with panic the day (Jan 25) President Hosni Mubarak's adhesive grasp on the nation was broken, and then the following two days of sporadic clashes between security forces and mobile young men; reinforcements didn't arrive, tear gas ran out. Arms grew weary from swinging batons. And so it was with a rush and a push on that last Friday in January that tens of thousands of protesters advanced and the momentum, like a tide pulled unexpectedly in another direction, change began to look a possibility as the people lost their fear of this repressive Arabic state.

Tahrir Square became and still is the centre home and symbolic hold of the peoples Revolution, now a tent city surrounded at times by army tanks and concrete barriers or roadblocks that the army fabricated. No need for me to go into the finer detail of events that this Square has seen such as the battles to hold it, the intense and fierce fighting with the Mubarak thugs who came in when the army fell behind or should I really say withdrew; the thing is was it deliberate?”

Ever since the army turned up on the streets of Cairo I could not help but wonder what their real role was in the great scheme of things. We know that the army were and are held with great veneration and profound respect by the people, and there was much rejoicing when they appeared. But still something didn’t seem right somehow, as comrade Brian Hopper fellow blogger described the situation makes more common sense to me; he said: they are being used to contain and control the situation or if you like kettle in the people and the demonstration in and around Tahrir Square.

As one day rolls into the next this really does appear to be a plausible tactic employed by the regime, no marches don’t happen to the presidential palace and so on for the obvious reasons being they the pro-democracy demonstrators were worried of losing Tahrir Square. So consequently, we think that this is a giant kettle containing the Revolution.

The initial impression was that the military sided with the demonstrators, on this blog we now have our doubts and think that they are possibly part of the counter revolution being prepared inside the country ready to end the people Revolution, along with the trap that is being set by the regime which includes the mistake of holding talks, the illusion of concessions won by demonstrates. We hope and pray that the pro-democracy movement wakes up to the dangers now assembling, the military can’t be trusted they have and always were the backbone of Mubarak’s bloody dictatorship.

Last week 28 Egyptian human rights activists, three foreign journalists and two human rights researchers’ were arrested from Human Rights Watch and Said Haddadi from Amnesty International by the army, they were subjected to 36 hours of fear, confusion and brutality. They said after their release that their journey provided some insight into one of the key question of Egypt’s revolt: where does the army stand in the struggle between pro-democracy protesters and government forces?   

Human Rights Watch operating from a centre in Cairo had supported the anti-Mubarak demonstrations; for years, it had done pioneering work on torture and justice. The army raided their centre, smashing windows, trashing furniture, confiscating files and detaining everyone at the office.

Here human rights worker Daniel Williams tells of the terrifying time he spent in military detention in Cairo last week, having been arrested by Egyptian soldiers. 
When we finally arrived at what we later learned was Camp 75, a military headquarters in far northeast Cairo, we were marched inside, put in a walled outdoor courtyard and told to sit. The handcuffs came off and blindfolds were put on instead. I don’t think the Egyptian captives were in the same area, and I didn’t see the well-known human rights activist Ahmed Seif again. 
And the irony of all this was of course, while Washington is still a good friend and ally, an associate who provides cooperation and assistance was expressing its indignation over the arrests and intimidation of US and other foreign journalists covering the events in Egypt, it took no action against its client Mubarak as his regime arrested, tortured and “disappeared” journalists over the years, including for such offenses as “misquoting” his ministers, raising questions about his own health or writing derogatory reports about his son and chosen successor, Gamal.

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