SITUATION NORMAL: NO NEWS FROM EGYPT February 8, 2011Posted by wmmbb in Middle East, North Africa.
The normal situation is for the democratic protesters to continue their occupation of Tahrir Square and for the dictatorship to arrest members of the opposition (and presumably take them off to the cells to be tortured).
The abnormal situation is occurring in Washington and Israel which have been wrong footed for the moment, but when they regain their balance will act to persevere with the status quo they have constructed. The problem in both places is that accommodation with change is more fundamental than reorganizing the furniture or the usual resort to overt violence to impose domination. They may both become unhinged.
Such is the normality of the persistence of the protest movement in Egypt that Al Jazeera is discovering the rest of the world, even the bush fires south of Perth. Chris McCreal reports for The Guardian:
I just took this picture on a street in Cairo, discreetly with my camera phone, hence the strange angle [it has been rotated] and rubbish quality. It is of government security agents arresting three men inside the foreign ministry and bundling them in to the back of a pick up and hauling them off. The agents are all wearing body armour and carrying automatic weapons. When I asked a guard on the gate at the ministry who they were, he said “opposition”
Here is the photograph:
When a social dynamic meets a political stasis the political status quo will change and not because it was sought by the previously dominant party. Uri Avnery writes:
When Egypt moves, the Arab world follows. Whatever transpires in the immediate future in Egypt – democracy or an army dictatorship – it is only a matter of (a short) time before the dictators fall all over the Arab world, and the masses will shape a new reality, without the generals.
Everything the Israeli leadership has done in the last 44 years of occupation or 63 years of its existence is becoming obsolete. We are facing a new reality. We can ignore it – insisting that we are “a villa in the jungle,” as Ehud Barak famously put it – or find our proper place in the new reality.
Peace with the Palestinians is no longer a luxury. It is an absolute necessity. Peace now, peace quickly. Peace with the Palestinians, and then peace with the democratic masses all over the Arab world, peace with the reasonable Islamic forces (like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, who are quite different from al-Qaeda), peace with the leaders who are about to emerge in Egypt and everywhere.
I cannot foresee the Israelis, and certainly not the present government, changing their methods or assumptions, and that failure is likely to result in dreadful outcomes. Juan Cole, for example, does not seem to have an institutional and economic analysis of the framing of US foreign/military policy. That policy is clearly not responsive to, or shaped by public opinion – and I suppose that is a very unlikely to be the case. This points to an institutional failure – the failure of Congress coupled with the ascent of the executive, wartime presidency.
Glenn Greenwald, irony to one side, looks in the Egypt mirror and sees something familiar reflected, but it seems the mainstream media are not getting the same picture.
Tom Engelhardt argues that this is the moment in which an empire is dispatched and the piece de resistance of the Cold War as hubris by cruel inconvenience frames the mirror of self reflection.