Monday, April 11, 2011

The shifting zeitgeist of the 'Arab Spring'

NATO intervention in Libya sends negative messages to non-violent Arab movements across the region.

Mark LeVine


"One of Egypt's most insightful journalists, Hossam el-Hamalawy, posted this message from a friend a couple of hours after the Egyptian military attacked thousands of people in Tahrir Square during a pre-dawn raid on April 9: My name is Sara Hussein Abdel Ghany, my brother, Asser Hussein Abdel Ghany, 22 years old, was arrested on the 9th of April, 2011, by the military police. Asser was among peaceful demonstrators who participated in a sit-in Tahrir Square calling the army to answer the demands of the Revolution of the 25th of January. The peaceful protesters, however, were brutally attacked by the police even though they kept shouting "selmya" -non-violent demonstration. Asser and another 41 protesters were arrested and brought to the military prosecution in the 10th District - Nasr City, charged with violating curfew. All the 42 peaceful demonstrators will be facing a military trail on the 11th of April, 2011.

As you read this, the fate of the protesters is likely being decided - if the recent past is any guide, perhaps in a makeshift "court" that normally serves as a mess hall for soldiers. New-old Egypt? Welcome to the new Egypt; same as the old Egypt? Has the revolution become merely a transition between dynastic orders, with a collective Pharaoate replacing the recently deposed pharaoh like some postmodern redux of the Third Intermediate Period, the interregnum between the New Kingdom and Late Dynastic periods of Ancient Egypt? Increasingly, that's how the protest movement sees it. One of the chants heard before the army stormed Tahrir at around 3 a.m. was "Tantawi is Mubarak and Mubarak is Tantawi", referring to Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the body which is currently ruling the country. A friend in Tahrir with whom I was Facebook chatting throughout the night didn't mince words: "It seems that the second 18-day revolution has begun. The power of hate that we had out there for the past few weeks and been confused about where to point it... has now laid on a target, the army."....."

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