Third Letter from Egypt: “They won’t leave”
Written by Luiz Gustavo Porfírio – PSTU
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 20:09
“There’s chaos in the Government, not in Tahrir Square”
Two kinds of reinforcement arrived at Tahrir Square on Saturday 05, while the police compelled people to a feeling of normality in the streets, removing barricades and restoring normal traffic. The first one was a group from Suez of around 500 activists. The second was an international brigade who brought many flower bouquets to show their international solidarity.
A little later, using tweets and text messages – a service just normalized – activists invited more people to defend the square. There was a rumor about the Army planning an evacuation. Even being late at night, a huge number of Egyptians came to the square. The Army, who promised to enforce the curfew hours, tried to close the entrance, but was forced to let people get in.
The mobilization acquires a clear character of an organization for peaceful resistance. The movement rejected proposals to move towards the presidential palace. But it is an extraordinary achievement their resistance in an enormous square in the heart of the city.
The greatest victory so far is the fact that the mobilization is able to renew itself constantly. They call for special days in which the demonstrations are filled with strong feelings and emotion, like on The Day of Wrath and The Day of Departure, and certainly will also be tomorrow on The Day of the Martyrs. Doing that, they have frustrated, one by one, the tactics of those who oppose the popular will.
The mobilization purpose is no longer just to put Mubarak down. Every and all foreign governments and institutions that try to make a deal to maintain the social and geopolitical status quo are running the risk to be put on the list of those who will pay a high price for the last 30 years of dictatorship. The Army and the U.S. government are already on that list. General Hassan El-Rawan entered the square and asked the demonstrators to go home, but all he heard in response was the slogan “We’re not leaving, he’s going to leave.”
Later, Frank Wisner, representative of US in Egypt, stated that Mubarak has to stay during the transition. The popular reaction could not be different. People remember the close relations between the US and Zionism, and know they are afraid of losing Mubarak, a long time ally. Palestine, which was remembered in slogans, but without strong influence in the program of a possible new government, it’s back again in the Egyptian hearts.
The leaders of the capitalist world, diplomatic services and even the big media keep knocking their heads up against the impenetrable walls of this mobilized square. We just have to remember that the last three reports from Al-Arabiya, the conservative TV, were all contradicted one after the other: first the vice-president Suleiman would have been the target of an attempt, then a church would have been set on fire in Rafah, and finally Mubarak had resigned to head his political party (NDP). All this rumors show that negotiations won’t be easy.
The situation gets more complicated. France and Germany, won’t sell arms to Egypt anymore. Those who can’t offer alternatives renounce, like the top leaders of the NDP. Meanwhile, the dictator threatens to drag everyone down with him, cutting off gas supplies to Jordan and Israel, under the pretext of a minor explosion of the gas pipeline that garantees the supply to these countries.
The mobilization in the square consolidates and enters its 12th day, working as a model to other major mobilizations, like the ones in Alexandria. Institutions and Government can’t find a way out without the approval of the people on the streets. The constant moves in the regime institutions demonstrate to be useless.
Chaos seems to be closer to men and to the order symbols than to the demonstrators in the square.
Luiz Gustavo is a Brazilian historian studying Palestine and Arabian struggle. He lived in Lebanon and other countries of Middle East. He’s a militant of IWL-FI and Brazilian PSTU and arrived at Egypt since February 2nd as a special correspondent for the Brazilian newspaper Socialist Opinion and International Courrier. He’s going to send daily letters and calls reporting the real situation in Egypt.