Everyone is rightly upset about what the army did in Tahrir Square last night. Let’s remember, however, the military already moved against peaceful protesters in Suez and is accused of involvement in arrest and torture of hundreds during the uprising. And almost every day there is a statement from the army warning strikers and protesters, coupled with an orchestrated media campaign in both state and private TV channels discrediting labor strikes and renewed protests in Tahrir. What happened last night should not come as a shock.
If Mubarak’s regime was corrupt (and it was), then why do we treat the military institution, which provided the backbone of his dictatorship, as “neutral” or “pure”? The leadership of this institution, namely the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, are part of Mubarak’s regime. And any real change would affect their privileges and control.
We cannot and will not carry arms against the army. I salute and support all the efforts to resume the protests in Tahrir, including the one planned for today at 2 pm. But still, the most effective weapon is mass strikes. Do not stop the working class from striking (and good luck if you try anyway — they won’t listen to you). Let’s put our energy into supporting strikes and help unionize workers. We need a general strike to bring down this regime once and for all. The revolution must continue. . . .
Hossam el-Hamalawy is an Egyptian socialist, journalist, and photographer. Visit his blog: <www.arabawy.org>. Follow Hossam el-Hamalawy at <twitter.com/3arabawy>. This note was first published in his blog on 26 February 2011 under a Creative Commons license.