Amid violence, a new narrative needs to be told.
From the stories of the living, the dead must be honored, please give them Silence and prayer for souls yearning. The protesters, seeking liberation have done something that has never been done- a popular protest is taking power with the military, away from the state. In a scene surrounded by the potential for a massacre, the president's cabinet has resigned and it would seem the people are taking the power which the president has cast off. While the exact details are still uncertain and the outcome is unresolved, the people have done something more than simply protest. "30 Jan 2011: Al Jazeera: number of protesters in Alexandria exceeds 150,000. BBC Arabic estimated crowds in Meydan Tahrir at 7pm to be 150,000. Massive protests in Mahalla, Mansoura, Suez & Ismailiya in addition to Cairo & Alexandria. Curfew defiantly ignored"
"In a day of anger at the Mubarak regime hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Port Said and in many Egyptian towns and cities in one of the biggest protests seen so far in the country and with intense confrontations with state security forces. Major protests started on January 25. Hundreds were wounded during street battles with the police with fifty three confirmed deaths from Friday's protests.
The protests came after the protests that led to the fall of the Tunisian government and the ousting of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, driven by poverty, high food prices, autocratic governments, high levels of corruption for many years, and the absence of political freedom."-Independent Media.
The people, rather than be culled by police and army, have begun to make allies and now tanks are in the hands of the people. This is a great time of empowerment. "It was a wild, historical victory celebration, Mubarak's own tanks freeing his capital from his own dictatorship"-The Independent. When the police fight and fight they may either break the back of a movement- or -they may realize that the movement is bigger than the forces they were protecting and the police will join in the protest or perish.
"It is important to keep in mind that historically, animosity has existed between Egyptian police and army officers. The Interior Ministry, according to STRATFOR sources, wanted to prevent the military from imposing control in the streets. It appears that the absence of police on the streets Jan. 29 was (at least in part) encouraged by the outgoing interior minister, who was sacked the same day along with the rest of the Cabinet. Egyptian plainclothes police allegedly were behind a number of the jailbreaks, robberies of major banks and the spread of attacks and break-ins in high-class neighborhoods. The idea behind the violent campaign was to portray the protesters as a public menace and elicit a heavy-handed army crackdown to embroil the military in an even bigger crisis."-Stratfor
This is a dramatic change in the nature of protest, which sought to simply dislodge the police and seize a building, landmark or thing. Now the nature of protest is with the people dislodging the power of the police, by not quitting, backing down or surrendering to just force. For the human spirit and conscience will not submit forever, but must rise as surely as the earth is rotating and the sun will rise.
With tanks in the hands of the protesters and the police forced over bridges, we must ask who is violent? Is it the people marching and running, massing as a part of a collective need for empowerment, or the armed police who's actions have been responsible for most of the nearly 100 deaths? Do not say 'there is violence in the Middle East', instead say 'the police are acting in violence across the Middle East'. It is these police, in charge of administrating laws and it is they who inspire fear greater than any military brigade. Their presence justifies the authoritarian systems that crush freedom.
The police commissioner from Alabama during the latter years of American Segregation had this to say of police "The Problem with police work, is that by its nature it tends to attract a certain percentage of sadistic people, who enjoyed the job because it legitimized their natural meanness". The police held the line in segregation, for Apartheid in South Africa and Palestine, for the dictators and the power hungry, the police become the perfect institution to carry out cruelty and repression. Since the police have a sense of perceived legitimacy, they become the ideal tool, for the state wishing to frighten its people. But as we are learning, people will not remain frightened forever and therein lies hope for us all. A hope found in "The demonstrators, who still number in the tens of thousands in downtown Cairo and in other major cities"-Stratfor.
Let this be a lesson to every state- return your power to its source of divestment- the people.
THE Student Insurgent remains in Solidarity with resistance across the world!