No 349 Posted by fw November 29, 2011
“If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that’s something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can’t live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.” —Noam Chomsky
“When you know there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands behind you, you don’t stop. People fight for as long as they can. They die, they go to hospitals, they lose their eyes and there are others behind them. It’s a matter of—-it’s how, kind of, consensus expresses itself as a movement. And essentially, your heart takes over your body. It takes over your mind. We’re fighting for things far bigger than this.” —Khalid Abdalla, Egyptian actor and activist
Thanks once again to Amy Goodman and her Democracy Now! team of correspondents who reported today, November 29, from Tahrir Square, inspiring us with the words and deeds of courageous young Egyptian men and women who continue to put their lives on the line for true freedom and democracy.
What follows are selected excerpts from Democracy Now’s transcript, Egypt Holds Historic Election as Military Council Resists Calls to Transfer Power to Civilians. Click on the linked title to visit the website, watch the video, and read the complete transcript.
Democracy Now! Correspondent, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, reports from Tahrir Square —
Sharif Abdel Kouddous — Down with military rule. The clarion call of a new uprising in Egypt. The revolution that erupted 10 months ago and succeeded in ousting 30-year autocrat Hosni Mubarak has re-ignited into Tahrir Square and has spread across the country. This time, protesters are rising up against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces that came to power after Mubarak’s ouster in what is perhaps the biggest challenge to military rule in Egypt in 60 years.
Protester Sherief Gaber — We’ve had over 3000 wounded. We’ve had over 38 killed. We’ve held them off. People are not willing to move because what they want, they know now they want and end to military government. They want it now.
Sharif Abdel Kouddous — Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s Revolution, had turned into a massive hospital. The wounded, the majority of them overwhelmed by tear gas and barely conscious, were carried from the front lines to field hospitals set up in and around the square, on motorcycles. Protesters linked arms to create lanes for the bikes to speed through the crowds. Despite the near certainty of being injured or passing out from too much gas, protesters kept going forward to the front lines to confront police. The fighting centered on Mohammed Mahmoud, a street leading from Tahrir to the headquarters of the Interior Ministry. This is actor and activist, Khalid Abdalla —
Khalid Abdalla — There’s an essential thing to understand about Mohammed Mahmoud [street], is that it is the frontier between Tahrir and the Ministry of Interior. You’re always going to have, no matter where you define it, an area that is a no man’s land in which it’s not clear it; is this your territory or my territory? As they hit you, you are not going to give up. The more they kill us, the more we multiply. And that has always been the story of this revolution. So, obviously, the front lines have been—-I mean it’s funny, tear gas, it’s almost like it has a natural kind of—-what’s the word? You kind of develop immunity to it. Not immunity in terms of your lung, but you develop immunity of spirit. It’s made to break you. But what it does is gradually make you more furious to the point that there is nothing that will stop you. This revolution has always been about having it having body. When you know there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands behind you, you don’t stop. People fight for as long as they can. They die, they go to hospitals, they lose their eyes and there are others behind them. It’s a matter of—-it’s how, kind of, consensus expresses itself as a movement. And essentially, your heart takes over your body. It takes over your mind. We’re fighting for things far bigger than this.
The Muslim Brotherhood clearly are interested in the elections. They have a political interest, which they’re declaring now above the demands of this revolution to get rid of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. I feel very strongly that it is — that I say, shame on them. Shame on their history. They are after all are a movement that has been tortured and abused and beaten and killed for 60 years at the hands of this regime, this army regime that is still in power today, and at the last moment, they take an opportunistic decision to choose sham elections over the people of this country.
Rania Mohamed Fawzi — We are ordinary Egyptians, the ones they say just stay at home. We are not staying at home. We’re right here saying we want our rights, which are very simply [a] civilian presidential council that is formed from people that represent us, and that is agreed upon, but they must have full authority, not just someone like before, like Essam Sharaf’s government, just a secretary that just carries out with the staff wants. No, we’ve been silent for a long time. This time, we are not silent, and we will get all our rights. And this won’t be like the first time. They said Mubarak left and we all went home. No, this time, we won’t go home until we get our rights.
Khalid Abdalla — This country is in a moment of absolute clarity and awareness about where it stands, about the front lines of what it has to fight for, what it has to bring down in order to build itself. I’m not saying that in one swift move everything will be great. But, right now, we have a crucial — right now you have millions of people pitted against the biggest institution in the country, and they are not afraid, and they are willing to die for it and they are willing to fight for it. It may take some people more time to get to a point where they’re willing to stand in front of a tank and say, run over me, and that’s extraordinary moment for anyone to come to. But, we saw that on the 25th of February when the army first came down to kick us out of this square. And the number that was there was very small, but, right then they said it is the people or the army and people will win because they always do. You cannot enforce stability. If you try and enforce stability, the cracks will be volcanic and they will melt your way.