by Stephen Lendman
February 11, 2011 marked the end of Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship. July 3, 2013 reflects its reincarnation.
Iron fist junta power’s reinstated. Perhaps it’ll be worse than before. For sure it is now. Violence continues daily. Many hundreds, perhaps thousands, died. Countless numbers were injured and arrested.
State terror targets Morsi supporters. Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) generals demand things their way.
Human lives are a small price to pay for power. Tyranny defines today’s Egypt. It’s always been that way. It’s worse than ever now.
Police state terror targets dissenters. Egypt’s Emergency Law was reinstated. It was enacted in 1958. It remained in force from 1967 through May 31, 2012. It did so except for an 18 month 1980/81 period.
It reflects police state harshness. Authorities have sweeping powers. Constitutional rights are suspended. Unapproved street demonstrations are banned. Media censorship’s enforced. Political activiism’s prohibited.
Anyone can be arrested and imprisoned for any reason or none at all. Innocence is no defense. Indefinite detentions are commonplace. Torture is widespread.
Trials, if gotten, are farcical. Military judges preside. Closed door proceedings follow. Guilt by accusation is policy. Thousands languish in Egypt’s gulag. They did so under Mubarak. They still do. Police states operate this way.
Emergency Law powers were one of the most widely despised features of Mubarak’s dictatorship. Iron fist rule was policy. No quarter was given.
According to the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), Egypt’s Emergency Law grants “broad power to impose restrictions on the freedoms of assembly, movement or residence; the power to arrest and detain suspects or those deemed dangerous, and the power to search individuals and places without the need to follow the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.”
Doing so violates core personal freedoms. Mubarak ruled despotically. Assemblies of five or more people were banned. Authorities claimed they “threaten public order.”
Police enforced hardline rule. Military forces supplemented them. Activists, dissidents, Islamists, and anyone perceived threatening authorities were vulnerable to persecution, arrest and imprisonment.
Torture and disappearances were commonplace. So were sham elections.
The Political Parties Commission closed offices. It seized funds. It refused to recognize independent organizations or parties wishing to field candidates for elections.
Mubarak prohibited competitive ones. WikiLeaks released a 2010 cable saying the “Interior Ministry uses (state security) to monitor and sometimes infiltrate the political opposition and civil society, and to suppress political opposition through arrests, harassment and intimidation.”
Mubarak claimed Islamic extremism. He did so to justify repression. He did it to extract more Western aid.
A 1996 press law criminalized defamation, insults, and libel. It prohibited press freedom, speech, and activist blogging.
Academia wasn’t safe. Authorities controlled appointments, promotions, university administrations, and what’s taught.
Independent professors were fired. Opposition students were harassed. Leaders were especially vulnerable. Women were mistreated. They faced sexual abuse, harassment and assaults.
A 2008 Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights report said over 80% of women suffered public sexual humiliation.
Gays and other minorities were targeted. Police at times assaulted Coptic Christians. Street children were mistreated. Human Rights Watch said thousands were arrested.
They were detained for weeks. They were held in unsanitary, hazardous conditions. Often it was with adult criminals. They were denied adequate food, water, bedding and medical care.
Amnesty International’s (AI) 2010 Egypt report said Emergency Law powers were used “to detain peaceful critics and opponents as well as people suspected of security offenses or involvement in terrorism.”
Some were detained administratively. Others got unfair military trials. Many were tortured. Death sentences were freely imposed. Freedom of speech, assembly and association were greatly compromised.
Human rights defenders criticized Mubarak’s counterterrorism policy and repressive emergency powers.
Forced evictions were commonplace. In November 2009, AI issued a report titled, “Egypt: Demand Dignity: Buried Alive: Trapped by Poverty and Neglect in Cairo’s Informal Settlements,” saying:
Evictions from areas called unsafe “breached the international standards that states must observe (to) have procedural safeguards in place.”
Mubarak demolished hundreds of homes. He did so with little or no notice. Homelessness and state-imposed harshness followed. Egypt’s most disadvantaged suffered greatly.
Mubarak’s gone. His legacy remains. It’s reincarnated. Major issues remain unaddressed. They’re longstanding.
They include widespread unemployment, grinding poverty, unmet human needs, corruption, repression, homelessness, and political leaders unresponsive to popular demands.
According to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), strikes and protests doubled under Morsi.
In 2013 Q I, 2,400 protests or strikes occurred. They did so for social, economic and political reasons. They reflect class struggles. They demand justice.
They remain unaddressed. They affect most Egyptians. They unite secularists and Islamists. They won’t abate. They promise to continue. Perhaps they’ll grow.
They’ll be brutally suppressed. They won’t stop. The genie’s out of the bottle. Egyptians demand change.
They want real democracy. They want what they never had. They want what they won’t get. Perhaps they’ll struggle until they do.
Revolutionary fervor grips the country. Working class resistance reflects it. Bread and butter issues matter most. So does real democratic change.
Egyptians want legitimate governance, not dictatorship. They want longstanding repression ended. They want deep corruption addressed. They want leaders they choose, not junta ones.
They want jobs, living wages, good benefits and better services. They want safe working conditions. They want governance of, by and for everyone equitably.
They want a country fit to live in. They want what they never before had. Protracted struggles remain.
In late July, the Wall Street Journal said “Egypt’s interim civilian government moved toward reviving the police state that characterized the widely hated regime of longtime former President Hosni Mubarak.”
“On Sunday, the government granted soldiers the right to arrest civilians, reviving sections of an emergency law under Mr. Mubarak.”
“A day earlier, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said he planned to reconstitute a secret police unit that was responsible for decades of oppression under Mr. Mubarak.”
Ordinary Egyptians are targeted. Secularists and Islamists are affected. They face a common struggle for justice.
Perhaps they’ll unite and resist. It’s their best chance for change. It won’t come easily or quickly. Many more lives may be lost.
Egypt’s revolution just began. It’s got a long way to go. It’s not primarily a secularist or Islamist issue. It’s about ending longstanding business as usual.
It’s about addressing working class issues. It’s about real change. It’s about what’s absent regionally. It’s about democratic alternatives to junta power.
It’s about ridding the Middle East of America’s poisonous influence. It’s about ending imperial dominance.
It’s about a real Arab Spring. What began in late 2010 never bloomed. Everything changed but stayed the same.
Popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, and elsewhere in the region didn’t succeed. Discontent remains.
It’s pervasive in Egypt. It’s ongoing for change in Bahrain. It’s present throughout the region. It’s potentially explosive. Political and socioeconomic tinderbox conditions exist.
Anything’s possible ahead. What follows remains to be seen. Revolutionary struggles are longterm. Regional ones just began.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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