Posts Tagged ‘egypt’

In 1956 French and British fighter jets attacked Egypt during the Arab-Israeli war that year. One of their aims was to silence the Cairo radio broadcasts; and they did so successfully. However, as soon as Cairo went silent, the Damascus broadcasts from Syria announced, “From Damascus…. This is Cairo!” This gesture was a demonstration of solidarity made by Syria in support of that silenced voice.

This is a status being posted on  today in solidarity with the approximately 20 Million Syrians whose voices have been silenced due to the Assad regime’s decision to disconnect the country from the Internet.

From Pakistan….. This is Damascus!

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Shoe-throwing has escalated to building burning as demonstrators clash in Egpyt over Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mursi’s ‘coup-like’ decision to make his decisions above judicial review. The self-annointed omnipotence comes after the judiciary were about to undo the Islamist-dominated panel drawing up the country’s new constitution. This so-called “coup against legitimacy” has brought back painful memories as opposition leaders (ElBaradei) calls the ‘temporary dictator’ a “new pharaoh” – the same term of derision used against Mubarak when he was in power.

As Reuters notes, the protests and accusations are worryingly reminiscent of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising as the infamous Tahrir Square is dominated by calls of “the people want to bring down the regime.” The Muslim Brotherhood offices have been set ablaze as a consequence of this ‘decree’ and the US (a generous benefactor to Egypt’s military) is “very concerned about the possible huge ramifications of this declaration on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt.” But it is leading protesters that perhaps summarize the situation best: “The decree is basically a coup on state institutions and the rule of law that is likely to undermine the revolution and the transition to democracy, I worry Mursi will be another dictator like the one before him.”

Via Reuters:

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s decree exempting all his decisions from legal challenge until a new parliament was elected caused fury amongst his opponents on Friday who accused him of being the new Hosni Mubarak and hijacking the revolution.

Thousands of chanting protesters packed Tahrir Square, the heart of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, demanding Mursi quit and accusing him of launching a “coup”. There were violent protests in Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.

Mursi’s aides said the presidential decree was to speed up a protracted transition that has been hindered by legal obstacles but Mursi’s rivals were quick to condemn him as a new autocratic pharaoh who wanted to impose his Islamist vision on Egypt.

“Mursi a ‘temporary’ dictator,” was the headline in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Mursi, an Islamist whose roots are in the Muslim Brotherhood, also gave himself sweeping powers that allowed him to sack the unpopular general prosecutor and opened the door for a retrial for Mubarak and his aides.

The president’s decree aimed to end the logjam and push Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, more quickly on its democratic path, the presidential spokesman said.

 

The president’s decree said any decrees he issued while no parliament sat could not be challenged, moves that consolidated his powers but look set to polarize Egypt further, threatening more turbulence in a nation at the heart of the Arab Spring.

The people want to bring down the regime,” shouted protesters in Tahrir, echoing one of the chants that was used in the uprising that forced Mubarak to step down.

In Alexandria, north of Cairo, protesters ransacked an office of the Brotherhood’s political party, burning books and chairs in the streets. Supporters of Mursi and opponents clashed elsewhere in the city, leaving 12 injured.

A party building was also attacked by stone-throwing protesters in Port Said, and demonstrators in Suez threw petrol bombs that burned banners outside the party building.

“ANOTHER DICTATOR”

The decree is bound to worry Western allies, particularly the United States, a generous benefactor to Egypt’s army, which effusively praised Egypt for its part in bringing Israelis and Palestinians to a ceasefire on Wednesday.

The West may become concerned about measures that, for example, undermine judicial independence. But one Western diplomat said it was too early to judge and his nation would watch how the decree was exercised in the coming days.

“We are very concerned about the possible huge ramifications of this declaration on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, said at the United Nations in Geneva.

“The decree is basically a coup on state institutions and the rule of law that is likely to undermine the revolution and the transition to democracy,” Mervat Ahmed, an independent activist in Tahrir protesting against the decree, said. “I worry Mursi will be another dictator like the one before him.”

Leading liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei, who joined other politicians on Thursday night to demand the decree was withdrawn, wrote on his Twitter account that Mursi had “usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh”.

AIM TO END INSTABILITY

An assembly drawing up the constitution has yet to complete its work. Many liberals, Christians and others have walked out accusing the Islamists who dominate it of ignoring their voices over the extent that Islam should be enshrined in the new state.

Opponents call for the assembly to be scrapped and remade. Mursi’s decree protects the existing one and extends the deadline for drafting a document by two months, pushing it back to February, further delaying a new parliamentary poll.

Explaining the rationale behind the moves, the presidential spokesman said: “This means ending the period of constitutional instability to arrive at a state with a written constitution, an elected president and parliament.”

“There was a disease but this is not the remedy,” said Hassan Nafaa, a liberal-minded political science professor and activist at Cairo University.

“I can see from the reaction of the political forces that we are going towards more polarization between the Islamist front on one hand and all the others on the other. This is a dangerous situation,” he said, adding it could spark more street trouble.

The streets have been relatively quiet since Mursi took office, …

The new army leaders are now appointees of Mursi and have stepped back from politics. The military still wields hefty influence through its huge business interests and security role. But one analyst said the generals had been “neutralized.”

 

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.

Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people , will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish. . . Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty. In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written “the kingdom of God is within man ” – not one man, nor a group of men – but in all men – in you, the people. You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite.

Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers – in the name of democracy, let us all unite!