Elections Will Kill the Egyptian Revolution - by Mark E. Smith

Even though the Egyptian army is still arresting and torturing protesters, and sentencing many to prison, Egyptians are excited about the upcoming elections.

Many seem to think that the elections are a step towards democracy. They're wrong.

Until now, even though the Egyptian army, whose Military Council forms the "interim" government, has been violent towards protesters, it has not demonstrated the kind of violence seen in Libya and Bahrain, where armed troops attack masses of protesters with heavy weapons. That will change after the election.

Right now the army only has the authority of its own brute force. It is viewed as the remnant of an old and much-hated Mubarak regime. After the election the army will claim to be a democratically elected government with the consent of the governed obtained through free and fair elections. Protests will then be considered treason against a legitimate government. 

Egyptians will blame each other and blame the various voting blocs and political parties, rather than blaming the government. After all, there was a free and fair election, so it can't be the government's fault.

Protests will be smaller because, having had free and fair elections, many will believe that the revolution is winning and that each future election will bring more progress.

It was Obama who suggested to the Egyptian army that they form an interim government and hold elections. The government didn't change, but instead of calling itself the permanent government, which it is, it called itself an interim government and the people accepted that lie. But it is the same Mubarak regime that was in power before he stepped down and will remain in power after the elections, with slight changes to the Constitution that the army can choose whether or not to implement and enforce, and with some newly elected spokespeople to distract Egyptians from the fact that the military regime is still in control.

Violent crackdowns on protesters will be blamed on the new Parliament or the new President, rather than on the army, but of course these will happen after the elections no matter who is elected.

Some Egyptians recognize that various elements in the interim government and various factions planning to run in the elections, are counterrevolutionary. What they don't seem to grasp is that the elections themselves are counterrevolutionary.

The Egyptian revolutionaries had a choice to either continue their revolution until the torture stopped, the detainees were freed, and the state of emergency was lifted, or to settle for an interim government with the promise of elections. They made the wrong choice and will suffer the consequences. 

 

 

Arab stereotypes.

Stereotypes are always false, but they may also contain a grain of truth. For example, if I say that all white folks are lazy, I can always point to a few white folks who really are lazy, which doesn't mean that all white folks are lazy at all.

So the stereotype of Arabs as suicide bombers also has a grain of truth. The more I read about the various uprisings in the Middle East, where everyone is eager to be martyred and goes out peacefully, unarmed, and stands in front of bullets until they're shot down in cold blood in the streets, the more horrifed I am.

Many people in Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, and other countries, are saying that they will win because they aren't afraid and they're willing to die.

It may sound strange, but I don't see dying as winning.

Many countries say they're following the models of Tunisia and Egypt. I don't know about Tunisia, but in Egypt the revolution failed. The Mubarak regime is still in power, the emergency law is still in place, and the army is still arresting and torturing protesters. Many people died and are being honored as martyrs, but that doesn't mean that the revolution won. If the revolution had won, some of the youth leaders would be part of the government right now--in fact they would be the entire government and everyone associated with Mubarak would have had to step down.

If somebody tells me that they're more powerful than a car, and to prove it, goes into the road, steps in front of a car, is run over and dies, I don't think they've proven that they're more powerful than a car. I think they're dead and the car won. That may be a minority viewpoint and I'm sure I could be accused of negativity for holding it, but that's what I happen to think.

 

 

right...I agree.

and death being preferable over continued tyranny and subjugation is quite a statement and action that is quite unfathomable for me.  I guess I would prefer to defend my life by defying to be subjected.  And as I say that, I know that in many ways, I can not see or do not want to admit, the cage in which I live.

My voice seems powerless and muted  in comparison to the forces and powers that be, and who have much larger voices than my own.  Damnit.

I wish it were a numbers game.  Seemingly, it is not.

 

Magnificent blog post by Baham Abu Sarj

 

 

http://anotherjan25egyptblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-democratic-referendum-toppled.html

 

Monday, March 21, 2011

How a Democratic Referendum Toppled a Revolution

 
The international media was determined to coin #Jan25 a #facebook revolution at its inception. Following the first mobilization of people on January 25th, it seems that the Egyptian government also bought the idea that it was indeed a #facebook revolution and immediately retaliated by first blocking social networking sites like #twitter and #facebook. When people started using proxies they pulled the plug on the internet. To the surprise of the #Egyptian government more and more people were mobilized, because for years the barrier of fear was slowly, but surely being chipped away, building up to an unstoppable momentum that nearly brought an end to the old regime. 


The first cracks of Egypt's barrier of fear started when images of the atrocities committed by Egypt's State security started circulating over the internet, not to mention the reports by human rights organizations, complaints and calls by human rights lawyers for prosecution of those responsible for brutal acts of torture. Finally the strongest power wielded by state security in its ability to remain a hidden and invisible hand was slowly being eroded. The power of surveillance was no longer unidirectional, while the state watched the people, the people finally had the tools to watch the state. Egypt's most ominous institution was now under surveillance. The people's fear barrier surrounding the omnipotent, omniscient institution was starting to crack. Instead of focusing on their fear, people started feeling a sense of anger, indignation at the complete absence and disregard to human dignity that accompanied every interaction with the state's hidden eye and hand of discipline. The man inside the panopticon was no longer a mystery and so the panopticon started to collapse and with it people's fear. 

People's hatred for #Egypt's state security apparatus's back-handed brutal methods of maintaining order and stability for the old regime combined with the cracks in the fear barrier became one of the main reasons millions of people were mobilized; calling to an end to regime sponsored brutality and fear production. For awhile, the people became the experts, they knew how to run things, how to maintain safety, how to maintain a semblance of stability for the long-awaited purging of the system, the people had a political vision where human dignity and freedom were at their very core.

Shortly following Mubarak's fall people slowly started giving their new-found power away to experts that told them what the economy was and how it had to be handled, to public figures who told them what needed to be done next and to an army that operated within a black-box to rebuild a nation, while it simultaneously detained, brutally tortured and fabricated charges against those who opposed it. The very core value of human freedom of expression and dignity was slowly becoming eradicated, instead of the eradication of the institutions that were trampling all over these values.

Then came the referendum, while torture and a complete disregard for human life were occurring simultaneously. The revolution quickly transformed into the long and hopeful road of reform. Did we forget why we mobilized in the first place? Was this a case of mass collective amnesia? Did "no" or "yes" really matter? If the same structures of fear and intimidation were still there? What were we reforming, it wasn't the systematic, ongoing torture and intimidation by institutions of the state? That wasn't getting reformed. While "yes" and "no" have their implications, that I am not denying, their implications for changing the very basis of which the state interacts with its subjects in terms of human freedom, dignity and respect is irrelevant. What were we reforming? A constitution that was rendered illegitimate by a revolution? Then why were we reforming it? 

When we start to reform and when we start to rebuild we also stop revolting. When we call for reform, we are also saying that what millions fought against has been eradicated, that state sponsored illegal violence was eradicated. Well, if you haven't figured it out it hasn't. The panopticon's hidden surveillance and discipline that thousands have fought so hard to bring down is slowly being reinstated by the army and other institutions. No matter what the outcome of the referendum was we are still ruled by institutions that show no restraint in using illegal, brutal violence and humiliation against its subjects, while 25 million people rush to have their voices heard. 

Those of you who have been celebrating the democracy of the referendum need to understand that that this democracy is deeply rooted in an acceptance of the complete disregard to basic human rights.


This post was theoretically inspired by Foucault and Certeau and the content was inspired by conversation (some via social networking) with @sumayaholdijk, @nevsh @bassemkhalifa @fazerofthenight, @yasminb, Aya Sheikhany, Hala Said and Amr Azim

I want to make it clear that I strongly condemn 
@ghonim
's stance on refusing to post the videos, pictures and testimonies of those tortured by the army on We Are All Khaled Said. Are those tortured by the Army not #KhaledSaid ??

I also want to add that I disagree with @sandmonkey's opinion concerning torture in his blog post playing politics 


While most people were concerned with the outcomes of the referendum, @3arabawy continued to address the issue of torture in his tweets and blogpost

I believe that I speak for all of us who of us who care about freedom and human dignity when I say that we are indebted to the brave people who gave testimonies of their detention and torture and those who collect these stories. Without them this dismantling of the barrier of fear would have no chance.
Testimonies of Torture by Army in English

I also don't necessarily think that the revolution has been entirely toppled thanks to #workers, the title is just for dramatic purposes

wulp,

well, that just about says it all. People, myself included, are easily distracted. The more severe issues are not being adressed by the masses.

This article featured in The Tahrir Daily !

I tweeted it from right here and our friends in Cairo picked it up. Here's the link ;

http://paper.li/thereisawayjose/1297269378

Congratulations to the Author. Well done!

rossi

Thanks, rossi.

Man, I really, really, really hope I'm wrong. 

But the army has been arresting and sentencing protesters, and now it is releasing the few police thugs it had arrested, without ever trying them.

When a government sentences peaceful protesters to five years in prison, but releases mass murderers without trial, there's no guarantee that they're not planning large scale massacres.

It is very unlikely to be within the power of a new Parliament or President to rein in army violence. 

Thanks for tweeting the article, rossi. I'm glad that more people in Egypt will read it and think about it. Sometimes you have to be prepared for a worst case scenario, and then if it doesn't happen, you didn't lose anything. But if you're not prepared for a worst case scenario, you get things like Fukushima and Libya and you're really fucked.

 

The puppet masters ...

Sad to see it all hijacked and destroyed... not what those who died in the rovolt had in mind.  If the people would push just a little further they might realize the world dream... but who am I to advise them... sitting here under my own corrupt government owned by banks.  Our president will be in Brazil soon, on vacation, as the japanese deal with mass death. Seems he has perfected the art of vacating

Agree.

Folkie, this article you have written, it hits the center of the nail.   I too, sit in a banker occupied nation. 

Don't fall for consenting...lest you fall.

Mass murderer released from jail in Egypt.

While several protesters have been sentenced to five years in prison, immediately after the election, the army released three government killers from prison, among them a man accused of having personally shot 58 protesters. So it looks to me like my prediction was right on the money.

 

 

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