Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The latest of the Egypt uprising

Egypt official reports 77 deaths from government murders, the Human Right's Watch reports over 297 deaths. The protests are not limited to Egypt, solidarity protests are popping up all over the middle east and even cities across the United State. Sparked by successes in Tunisia, uprisings seem to be even spreading, meanwhile independently other resistance movements are gathering as far away as Nepal. These movements are expressions of human rights and notable in Egypt is the women's contribution- not mere support roles, women are in some places leading the protests. Far and wide the world is challenging itself. many governments are clamping down on these uprisings, trembling with the notion that fear may not crush their populations in submissiveness.

"Egyptian Organization for Human Rights activist Ghada Shahbandar estimates that the crowd in downtown Cairo is up to 20 percent female. Others have put the number much higher, at 50 percent... In another part of the square, a young Egyptian woman in a bright pink headscarf put Nancy Sinatra to shame as she led a call and response that boomed, “What does Mubarak want anyways? All Egyptians to kiss his feet? No Mubarak! We will not! Tomorrow we’ll trample you with our shoes!” And although “the bravest girl in Egypt,” according to the title of the YouTube video of her action, stands out with her brightly colored ensemble and resounding voice, she is not the only girl in Egypt taking a stand against a paternalistic regime in a patriarchal society."-FPIF

But some fear the possibility of meaningful democratic reform has passed "democratic window has probably already closed," writes Joshua Stacher.

"If those guiding the transition choose to direct it toward a democratic end, then it will have to include forces that are currently banned in the country, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and individuals who have been tortured or imprisoned, such as Ayman Nour. It will have to include the youth elements from the street organizing committees as well as the irrelevant figures that head the country's existing opposition parties. Managing such a transition from dictatorship to democracy is a massive challenge even in the best of times. The leader of the transition will therefore determine whether it results in a genuine democracy or continuous authoritarian rule. If that person is General Omar Suleiman, who was sworn in as vice president on January 30, the prospects for democracy are grim...

The protesters have been given an ambiguous choice about this transition. Go home and -- perhaps -- be invited to the negotiating table later, or continue protesting and be excluded from Suleiman's negotiations. Some independent figures, such as Amr Moussa and Nabil Fahmy, have broken ranks with the protesters and met with Suleiman. Given that many of these individuals held previous appointments in Mubarak's Egypt, protesters will likely be skeptical of their intentions as agents of change."-Philip Weiss

While the situation looks bleak, the Egyptian government did release the captured Google exec and he gave speeches in Tahrir, which is notable only as a encouraging footnote in a increasingly bleak government crackdown.

"The crowd swelled as the 15th day of protests progressed. A second front sprouted as several hundred protesters filled the city block where Egypt's parliament building stands.
Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who was seized January 28 and released Monday, may be emerging as a face for Egypt's uprising. After a television interview that inspired protesters, Ghonim spoke from a makeshift stage Tuesday in Tahrir Square."-CNN

The heroism belongs to the protesters, the success in all forms tangible, structural or symbolic belong to the people who's movement has made the situation what it is today. Those who have died, suffered, been beaten and harassed- these are the heros. The amazing story of protest is what is scaring the governments in the region.

"Governments in the Arab world have violently dispersed demonstrations apparently inspired by or in solidarity with Egypt's democracy protesters and have detained some of the organizers, Human Rights Watch said today.

The security forces' clampdown is part and parcel of regular prohibitions on public gatherings in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank, and Yemen. These governments curtail free expression and assembly despite the fact that almost all of the region's countries have signed international agreements protecting both rights, Human Rights Watch said.

Mentioned earlier was the gendered element of struggle, which is important and the justification of other global protests. "Although some might write off their efforts as the exception or else aestheticize them beyond any real import, Egyptian women have decided to take back their streets. They have proven that they are as much a part of the protests as the men who once made them wary to step into public."- FPIF

This transition causes fear among governments and this fact alone should inspire people everywhere. Yet governments will not step aside, for power will not hand itself over, it must wrested from the unyielding hands who hold it now.

"There is no doubt that the post-Mubarak era is afoot, but it is not necessarily a democratic one. The Egyptian military leaders that are governing the country seem content to leave Mubarak in his place so Suleiman can act as the sitting president. Indeed, even leading government officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have begun to direct their concerns to Suleiman's office. Hence, as the protesters in Tahrir Square -- and the non-protesters facing empty refrigerators and wallets at home -- have begun to feel the state's squeeze, the regime has so far maintained its ability to control how the conflict is unfolding.

When the uprising began in Egypt, many linked the events in Tunis and Cairo and declared that 2011 might be the Arab world's 1989. Instead, 2011 is showing just how durable and adaptable the authoritarian regimes of the Arab world truly are. Faced with real challenges and moments of potential breakdown, Egypt's military did not hesitate or even break a sweat"-Weiss.

"Images of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have mesmerized the Arab public but have terrified their rulers," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "They have responded with their usual mix of repression and intimidation to nip the buds of any wider democratic blossoming."-HRW

Meanwhile in other corners of the globe a different human right's struggle is ocurring-

"Nepal is a small land-locked country where communist revolution is changing everything. People are rising up against kings, castes and imperialism. Women are rising to lead. The revolution is related to the revolution unfolding in India.

In the first half of 2010, two revolutionary journalists, Eric Ribellarsi and Jed Brandt of the Kasama Project traveled to Nepal to report on these events. Their presentation will tell the story of this revolution, the current situation in Nepal, and feature video and photography from their journey."- Portland IndyMedia

Saturday, February 12 @ 4:00pm - 6:00pm
6834 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR 97213
(Off I-84 at 58th Ave exit or
Off I-205 at NE Glisan exit,
on TriMet bus line #19).
Wheelchair accessible.

The uprisings, resistance and growing movements are a sign that the Panopticon is merely a glass window of fear, one we can shatter. The real question is is we have the guts to walk through the open window? The Students Insurgent stands in solidarity with the resistance movements of the world, in taking the steps which will lead to freedom and human rights.

Thanks:
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/02/405898.shtml

http://www.fpif.org/articles/egyptian_riot_grrls

Philip Weiss, Feb 07, 2011, 'Window of democracy has likely already shut (and Hillary knocks at Suleiman’s door)'

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/02/08/egypt-inspired-protests-across-middle-east-meet-violent-clampdown

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/02/405936.shtml

http://1000memories.com/egypt

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