my own private egypt
February 3, 2011
Hearing the Egyptian people’s grievances, it is difficult not to draw comparisons between the Egyptians’ situation and the situation U.S. citizens find themselves in today.
It seems to be commonly accepted elections in Egypt have been fraudulent, with numerous persons detained and/or blocked from voting and others paid to stuff ballot boxes, pre-empting any actual vote “by the people” with a predetermined outcome that keeps the prevailing “elected” president in power.
This doesn’t sound all that different from here, where everyone appears pretty cognizant of the fact electronic voting boxes are rigged and at least two elections have been fraudulent — but no one seems to be doing anything about it or — gasp! — removing electronic voting boxes.
In Egypt, when Murabak took power, he immediately put “emergency law” into effect.
Emergency law basically gives the executive office complete power to do things like arrest people and hold them without charging them or trial or representation, to kill someone if you feel like it, to label anyone a “terrorist” just because you feel like it, to torture, and to spy on citizens indiscriminately without proof, justification, a warrant or cause.
[Something, btw, he promised not to do when he was “Candidate Obama.” That Candidate Obama Guy sort of has not worked out. Sigh.]
The Egyptian government has the power to [warning, this next link is a youtube clip don’t hit it unless you are youtube good] shut down the internet, at its discretion, or blacklist certain websites or information streams — and exercised that power during protests. Disrupting and eliminating communication in and out of the country and within the country for Egyptian citizens. It shut down cell phone operation too.
Interestingly, something like this is on the books in the U.S. right now. COICA gives the U.S. government the same power. I am sure they have it already, call me cynical, but this would make exercising that power “legal.” Because the government decided to give itself that power. It’s called COICA. It was supposed to be dead at the tail end of last year. Now it’s back.
In Egypt, opposing political parties and troublesome political organizations are labeled criminal by the regime –– excuse me — “administration” in Egypt, and shut down. Labeled illegal and/or criminal and put out of business/snuffed out.
Anyone remember ACORN? ACORN’s been cleared of all wrongdoing but hey, it’s still disenfranchised, defunded, and out of business. And will never register voters again.
Police in Egypt are violently disrupting protests, attacking peaceful protesters and firing on them with tear gas and rubber bullets and arresting people simply for protesting.
This is happening in the U.S. as well. Veterans protesting the war were recently arrested outside the White House and the G20 protests were pretty exciting, the police did not just use tear gas and batons on G20 protesters [and innocent bystanders and students foolish enough to be on the street], they used sonic cannons previously only used on Somali pirates and Iraqi insurgents — but hey, if it is good enough for insurgents and pirates, I guess it is good enough for U.S. college students and protesters.
[No wonder Joe Biden smugly announced “Egypt doesn’t have control of its people the way we do here.” — Joe Biden, MSNBC, Jan 31. Doy, Joe. Egypt doesn’t have sonic cannons. ]
Police in Egypt have gone further than just firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd. They’ve opened fire with live rounds into crowds of peaceful protesters with the intent to kill. Not perhaps surprising considering power players in Egypt have been all good with shooting protesters for quite some time now, Amnesty International objections not withstanding.
Plain clothes police are also infiltrating crowds posing as pro Mubarak “protesters” [I am not sure being paid to show up and stab people counts legitimately as being a protester] throwing Molotov cocktails at peaceful demonstrators and stabbing them with knives. Oh, and also running them down with camels. [WTF?]
The questions is, are we far away from this?
There are reports every day about U.S. police killing civilians –– often tasering, i.e. electrocuting, people to death. Network news doesn’t talk about this too much. The news stations these days seem much more excited about the latest episode of American Idol. But the news is out there. It’s on the internet. Maybe you should do a search. Not just of the internet. Of your heart and political affiliations. Because we in the U.S. are not in a situation too different from the Egyptians. And if things keep going the way they are? We will find ourselves exactly in the same position of the Egyptians.