No 114 Posted by fw, February 6, 2011
“The reality is that any really clean government that comes to power in the region will come into open conflict with the US because it will call for radical redistribution of wealth and ending support for Israel or other dictatorships. So we don’t expect any help from America, just to leave us alone.” Hossam el-Hamalawy, independent Egyptian journalist and blogger
The above passage was extracted from the article, Interview with Hossam el-Hamalawy, Al Jazeera, January 27, 2011. U.S. historian Mark LeVine conducted the interview. (Click on the title to access the complete interview).
Here is the full text of el-Hamalawy’s response to LeVine’s question: “What about the role of the US in this conflict. How do people on the street view view its position?”
Mubarak is the second largest recipient of US foreign aid aside from Israel. He’s known to be America’s thug in the region; one of the tools of American foreign policy and implementing its agenda of security for Israel and the smooth flow of oil while keeping Palestinians in line. So it’s no secret that this dictatorship has enjoyed the backing of US administrations since day one, even during Bush’s phony pro-democracy rhetoric. So one should not be surprised by Clinton’s ludicrous statements that were more or less defending the Mubarak regime, since one of the pillars of US foreign policy was to keep regimes stable at expense of freedom and civil liberties.
We don’t expect anything from Obama, whom we regard as a great hypocrite. But we hope and expect the American people – trade unions, professors’ associations, student unions, activist groups, to come out in support of us. What we want for the US government is to completely get out of the picture. We don’t want any sort of backing; just cut aid to Mubarak immediately and withdraw backing from him, withdraw from all Middle Eastern bases, and stop supporting the state of Israel.
Ultimately, Mubarak will do whatever he has to do to protect himself. He will suddenly adopt the most anti-US rhetoric if he thought that would help him save his skin. At the end of the day he’s committed to his own interests, and if he thinks the US won’t support him, he’ll turn somewhere else. The reality is that any really clean government that comes to power in the region will come into open conflict with the US because it will call for radical redistribution of wealth and ending support for Israel or other dictatorships. So we don’t expect any help from America, just to leave us alone.
Speaking truth to power can be a dangerous occupation as el-Hamalawy discovered. In a February, 2, 2011 Washington Post interview, Longtime Activist Welcomes Thousands of Egyptians to His Cause, el-Hamalawy speaks candidly about his torture by Egyptian state security agents in October 2000. His “crime” — pulling down a U.S. flag from a building at the American University of Cairo, where he was a student:
“Hamalawy was stripped naked, his hands were tied behind his back, and he was beaten for days, he said. State security interrogated him and threatened him with rape. After four days, he was released.”
My hat is off to this courageous citizen activist.