There are a lot of things happening in parts of the world right now that possibly can lead to big changes. I am of course talking about the massive demonstrations happening first in Tunisia and then in Egypt. This photo is taken from the centre of Kairo, where hundreds of thousands collected to demonstrate against the dictatorship of Mubarak this morning.
I think a lot of us were caught off-guard at the abruptness and massiveness of this thing. In our part of the world at least, government issues of these parts of the world are hardly mentioned at all, and these questions are never problematized by the media. A lot of us didn’t even know how bad it was, myself included. Now, the news agency AFP says that at least 102 people have been killed in Egypt since last friday, and we see people riot on television and read about them in the newspapers. What is going on right now is a huge outcry for basic human rights, and as such this fight is extremely important. That it should happen right now came as a surprise, but obviously, only a little spark was all it took. This has been building up for years.
In Egypt, Mubarak takes his precautions by shutting down the internet access, but this only shows how desperate he is. I think he knows now that things are coming to an end. Still, the police is doing a lot of bad things. People are telling about an episode where police snipers shot civilian demonstraters from a roof top while they tried to storm the national department. 28 got killed in that incident. Nothing can justify ruthlessly killing innocent people, but when a country’s own law-upholders turn against it’s people, the real and very ugly truth of the government becomes even more evident. That makes the demonstrations even more important. A big coin-flipper is the army, that have been helping the demonstraters several times. It is great excitement connected to whether or not the army will turn against Mubarak entirely, or fight against the people.
What will be really interesting to see is how this will affect the rest of the world. Both USA and Israel is now shivering at the thought of Egypt in the control of Islamic movements. That would threaten the Israelites greatly, and possibly change the conditions for a Palestine in supression.
This isn’t just Egypt’s battle. We should all demand democratic rights for people all over the world. It is evident in this case how the american government follows a despicable double-standard. On the one hand they say that the people of Egypt have a right to demonstrate, and that the government should allow it. Still, they will try to do everything to calm down the riots and uphold their support to Mubarak’s regime. A girl that was intervued spoke of how the ammunition used to shoot at civilians had “made in USA” written on it. It is American weapons that are used to enforce the corrupt government. We should all demand that Obama changes honeyed words into action.
We shall see how long USA can extend their force. What is certain, is that things are happening. In Tunisia, in Algeria, in Jemen and now in Egypt. It’s a massive mobilization. And it’s a mobilization that we should all support, so that people can enforce their own rights. And by giving this support, we also send a message to the demonstraters: don’t give up until a change is achieved.
For more pictures, visit http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/01/protest_spreads_in_the_middle.html