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DAY 12: REAPPRAISAL IN TAHRIR February 6, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Middle East, North Africa.
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Yesterday would seem to the high point of the revolution, followed by today where the tide seems to have gone out. The underlying issues have not been resolved.

The regime will probably feel that the method of out waiting the revolution is working. And the the previous control, including all the methods of the police state can be restored. The support of the US for the dictatorship can be fully restored, although presumably Americans in general are now aware of the nature of the government that they have been supporting.

On the other side the democratic protesters cannot leave Tahrir Square. If they do so they will be hunted down by the Interior Ministry. Will the crowds return to support them? Will the army effectively establish a cordon around the square that will effectively isolate those that remain?

Juan Cole suggested several things that the demonstrators have accomplished.

The natural gas pipeline that supplies both Israel and Jordan has been blown up. It will be interesting to discover the back story to this incident.

Al Jazeera reported when the word got out the army might well attempt to clear Tahrir Square of demonstrators, thousands of supporters came back into the square. The forces of repression, reinforced by international support, are not done yet, but now their is a counter dynamic and social technology and organization in play. The fear and terror of repression generates its alternative even expressed in one sign in English as “Dignity”.

Here are some vignettes from Al Jazeera’s blog of 5 February:

4:35pm: 500 protesters have arrived in Tahrir Square from the port city of Suez. The protesters have called for another day of protests tomorrow called “the day of the martyred”. Also on Sunday, the Copts in Egypt have called for Sunday mass to take place in Tahrir Square.

6:00pm: General Hassan El-Rawani, the head of the army’s central command, speaks to the masses in Tahrir Square urging them to leave the square, they chant back at him “We are not leaving, He [Mubarak] is leaving”.

8:12pm: Thousands more pro-democracy protesters flock to Tahrir Square amid reports of possible army evacuation of the square.

The conclusion I draw is that the popular movement is growing in power, as the recourse to overt violence to maintain the structures of repression is constrained by publicity. Nonetheless the purpose of the regime and its supporters will be change to the appearance, although I judge the political reality has changed. This sea change is doubtless due to the flow of events and the forces that have been driving them.

And then in Alexandria leading a million strong demonstration we have (via Juan Cole):

Juan Cole explains:

He is chanting about freedom, the nation, the need for the regime of Hosni Mubarak to fall, and complaining about “American agents.”

I don’t think Mubarak has high ratings in the key demographic of the young. And neither will the US, if it goes on backing people like Omar Suleiman.

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