Betting on the Winning Horse: The People!

3 February 2011

In the battles of yesterday and today, fought bravely by the Egyptian revolutionaries against the militias of the regime, many martyrs fell by the bullets of the thugs.  Now it is clear to all that the regime is maneuvering, on the one hand offering concessions (declaring that Gamal Mubarak will not run, that some ministers and party leaders of the NDP cannot leave the country and their accounts are frozen, and that the constitution will be altered), but on the other hand continuing attacks against the people barricaded in Tahrir Square.  It all shows that several agendas are at work on the regime side.

The regime has no credibility, but it still speaks with an arrogant tone of denial.  Thar’s the tone with which Omar Suleiman, the new vice president, who is the man of the CIA in Egypt, spoke to the Egyptian media, claiming that foreign plots might be at work in what he called “protests.”

The regime is failing to grasp that what is happening is a revolution, and so are parts of the traditional opposition who seem to be satisfied with some symbolic gestures presented as concessions.  The attacks and killings of today and yesterday, however, have clearly proven to the masses that this regime cannot be trusted.  If anybody had doubts about that, they should have been erased by the regime’s violence; all the measures declared today are nothing but futile attempts to recreate those doubts.

Now the people are determined to go to the streets tomorrow and oust the president by force.  The morale is very high in Tahrir Square despite all the hardship.  People are gathering, talking, dancing, and chanting slogans like “tomorrow we will go kick him out of the palace” and “this is the last day, this is the last day.”  Millions are expected to participate all over the country.

The military police is starting to play a dirty role, arresting activists and trying to abort the mobilization.  Journalists are also being arrested or harassed.  The regime is visibly preparing a clampdown on the revolutionary forces.  The violent intentions of the regime are palpable, and the danger of a bloodbath is clear and present.

In defiance of all this, the revolutionaries liberated all the entrances of Tahrir Square, and they now outnumber the demoralized and exhausted Mubarak militiamen by the thousands.  The real forces of the revolution — the youth of the middle class, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Nasserists, the radical Leftists — are mobilizing with the intention of marching on the presidential palace.  They do not trust the regime; they believe that all the promises are aiming at buying time for the regime in order to better organize repression.

In all this, the Americans are very nervous: they are losing faith in the regime.  They do not want to lose Egypt as a puppet, so they are putting pressure on Mubarak to step down and hand over the country to Suleiman their faithful servant.  They hope that then a transition period will start and that they will be able to move in with hundreds of millions of dollars and fund political parties, lobbyists, and media in order to engineer a pro-American elite who will remain in power through democracy.

The Israelis do not believe in this strategy.  They rather think that, no matter what the USA does, a hostile government will be eventually elected into office in Egypt and that therefore it is imperative to crush the revolution by brute force and Mubarak should be supported in this.

So now you have two horses within the regime: Mubarak who is the Israeli horse and Suleiman who is the American horse.

The people are determined to put one of these horses to sleep.  They may not mind riding the other horse afterwards for a while until true democracy is established.  But you cannot ride a horse until you tame it by showing the horse, before its eyes, the fate of a horse that refuses to be tamed.

Dyab Abou Jahjah is founder and former president of the Arab European League.  This article was first published in his blog Abou Jahjah Comments on 3 February 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes. 

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