May 11, 2006

Mubarak's Police State

As much as I like to believe that this cannot be happening in the year 2006, that it cannot go unnoticed, that such abuse cannot be hidden from the world, I am constantly slapped in the face by this ugly reality.Disturbing news is emerging from Egypt about the various demonstrations taking place and the despicable actions of the state police forces towards the demonstrators. Seeing the pictures puts everything into perspective...a picture really is worth a thousand words.

In case you haven't heard yet about the latest events in Egypt, here is the latest from the BBC:
Egyptian police have clashed violently with protesters rallying in support of two senior judges who have been spear heading calls for reform.

News agency reports said some people were beaten up and others detained as they tried to reach a court house where the judges faced disciplinary action.

Hessian bastes and mammoth Meiji face dismissal for criticizing last year's presidential election as fraudulent.

The Aljazeera headlines as well as various other news outlets reported that reporters were attacked, cameras confiscated, etc. An Aljazeera cameraman was badly beaten up by the Egyptian police. This should not come as a surprise. An Aljazeera reporter was arrested just two weeks ago for "inciting violence" when he reported about events in aftermath of the Dahab bombings.

The Arab blogosphere has been right on top of these events as they begun with the arrest of fellow blogger Alaa and some others over the past few days which resulted in a campaign to bring attention to the plight of Egyptians seeking to voice their opinions about the current state of oppression and corruption in their country.
Indeed, the $2 billion in US aid to Egypt doesn't seem to be much encouragement for serious reform. Fellow blogger Mahmood sums it up nicely when he tells us "how to flush $2 billion":
Give it to the Egyptian government in order to help them continue to be the voice of the Arab Nation, the voice of Arab Democracy and the voice of Arab Modernity.

That's what was on the brochure that sold the story to donors, the reality of course is much different. What Egypt is, is simply a police state headed by an octogenarian refusing to give up power, still deep in the belief that He is doing his country good, and to hell with the people.

I have nothing less than utmost respect and admiration for these protestors who dared to stand in the face of oppression. I salute them for their courage and their willingness to stand up to one of the most repressive regimes in the Arab world, one that continues to be propped up (financially and politically) by the West and predominately the US. I am glad to see that these protestors were united by their mission, regardless of their ideology or political affiliation, because our fragmentation will only lead to our demise.

It's up to the people to bring change, and this is just one of the ways to bring attention to the misery that is the life of most Arabs under similar regimes. Protesting is only one way. Bloggingg, sharing information, and encouraging dialogue is another way. Standing up for truth and justice is the best way, and each of us can do it in our capacities.

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[pictures courtesy of the AP through the BBC]

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