Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Egypt: a clearer picture emerges

Study a map of Egypt, and look just southwest of Cairo. There you will see a suburb or satellite city called Madinat As-Sadis Uktubar: Sixth of October City. This is named to commemorate the day in 1973 when Egypt won a significant military victory against Israel.

Noha Atef

The snapper snapped: In this February 2010 photo, Blogger Noha Atef was a journalism student at Mexico’s School of Authentic Journalism. Here she is photographed in the act of photographing the offices of the daily Por Esto! newspaper.
[ Image Source ]

Today, all across Egypt, a revolution is in progress as millions of Egyptians surfeited with injustice, repression, corruption and horrific abuses demand the resignation of the man responsible for most of those conditions over the past 30 years: the despot Hosni Mubarak. That revolution began with street protests, attended by myriads, on 25 January, and Twitter posts from across the country are tagged with that date.

One day soon, I therefore predict, there will be a city or department and many roads and bridges whose names will be distinguished by Khamis Wa-3ashrun Yanayir: Twenty-fifth January. This date, I readily believe, will finally eclipse 6 October and all lesser dates in Egyptian historical iconography, for it marks the beginning of the fulfillment of a long-deferred dream: the deposition of a tyrant in favor of a republic controlled by its people.

And we can say that we have witnessed history being made, not by overlords and satraps, but by the people who have too long suffered them.

This page introduces dissident journalist Noha Atef, operator of the blog TortureInEgypt.net. Like most of the world, Atef is watching events in Egypt from outside, since she was studying in Europe when the revolt began, but, as a journalist and an Egyptian, she has contacts at home that permit her an insider’s understanding; this makes her comments especially valuable in interpreting the course of those events.

In particular, it is revealing to hear from Atef about who has participated in the popular insurrection (everyone, male and female, young and old, in every profession, who doesn’t belong to Mubarak’s ruling elite) and who has led it (no one or everyone, as you prefer). Specifically, Atef refutes a commonly held dogma among the US’ pundit community: “However,” she said, “I found some of the global media mentioning the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as the organizing group, which is both funny and pathetic! As MB announced in the 4th of January, it won’t take part, although some of its young members didn’t accept this and took to [the] streets like the rest of Egyptians. I see two explanations for hearing this in the global media, first is that Mubarak has been trying to convince the world that a kind of ‘Islamic’ opposition is trying to take over. He does that because the US surely would prefer keeping a (fake) secular leader to an Islamic regime, therefore, the Ministry of Interior issued a statement on the 25th of January denouncing the protests led by MB, a group that is officially absent!”

This is noteworthy. For decades, neoconservatives dominating US geostrategy and diplomacy have played a game of Realpolitik, insisting that there was a dichotomy: We could see one of two things in Middle Eastern countries: “secular” despots or Islamic states like Iran. Today, events in Egypt (like those a few weeks ago in Tunisia) have proven them liars. There really are strong movements for independence in opposition to the U.S.-backed satraps, and they are not fundamentally Islamic in character.

So, if not religion, what does motivate Egyptians to hazard their lives in protests under increasingly coordinated attack by mounted government-hired thugs backed by additional criminals throwing bricks and firebombs at them from the roofs surrounding Tahrir Square? This graphic displays one prominent reason:

Hosni Mubarak: in power for three decades

Hosni Mubarak: in power for three decades, and you can see the arrogance settling into his features as he ages.
[ Image Source ]

As Hosni Mubarak looks back on three decades of callous misrule, however, he may want to bear in mind the meaning of “tahrir.” It means “liberation.” And in years to come, the events that have spilled the blood of hundreds on that aptly named square shall be commemorated every khamis wa-3ashrun yanayir.

Originally published on 26 January 2011 as a review of a narconews.com article on Egyptian journalist Noha Atef.

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