Ahmed Moor: There is a sense in Tahrir now that democracy is coming– and medics and journalists are granted respect

on 39 Comments

Phil Weiss talked to Ahmed Moor by telephone in Cairo. 

Your mood today?

I’m optimistic. I’m optimistic that it’s going to end up in a negotiated resolution where Mubarak steps down but he still gets to die in Egypt. Which seems to be his red line, so to speak.

Is that acceptable, allowing him a dignified exit in Egypt?

It’s not up to me. It’s up to the Egyptian protesters, the people who have suffered for 30 years, the people who have seen so little opportunity in their lives, the young people who started this. Would they settle for that? Look, there have been days and days of protests in the street, and people understand that even that may not force him to jump on an airplane to Saudi Arabia. So maybe the best bet would be to have him step down and have a caretaker gov’t. And those are the negotiations taking place now, what we’re hearing from the Americans– at the ministerial level.

What is the attitude of your friends toward that process?

Frankly I think there’s a lot of divided opinion. There’s a new chant that goes, “Mubarak needs to be prosecuted.” And while the people are still very excited and energetic, we are entering day 12, which means that frankly– I don’t know whether it means that Mubarak has gone as far as he can go. But that’s a demand that won’t be withdrawn, he must step down. And does he end up trying to manage a measure of dignity, he doesn’t have to flee? Maybe. 

Today people are just talking about Mubarak needs to step down, and VP Omar Suleiman is not a viable alternative. People don’t respect a former spy chief.

And elections? When?

Everybody believes that elections will and should happen in September. Everyone understands the need for a caretaker gov’t.

When I hear talk about Egypt’s terrible economic situation because of the revolution, I think of Gaza, where people have been under siege for years. Is there any connection?

Yes. I do get the sense that the grit and determination that people are willing to undergo is similar. The extreme hardship they will accept because they know what’s beyond, democracy is coming. The idea of sumud, roughly translated as steadfastness. Today a cabdriver drove me home from Tahrir Square. He said, I totally support the protesters. I live on a day to day basis, when I retire I will have almost nothing, and you are my first passenger today. Ordinarily he would have many passengers, tourists, business. But he knows: nothing comes for free, the revolution will require sacrifice.

And frankly they weren’t doing well when the regime was stable. The 5 percent annual growth Egypt has seen for last 10 years is like East Asia. But the benefits and the billions are concentrated on top. The middle class has gotten smaller. People are more stressed. And the poor continue to be poor, even poorer, because of price inflation. People at the top are reaping the vodaphone contracts and the investment in foreign companies. The man on the street can’t afford to eat in MacDonalds.

There is speculation that were it trading, the stock exchange would be down 30 percent now. It went down precipitously at the beginning of the protests, 10 percent, and they ended trading. But most people have no real interest in the market.

There is also speculation that there has been a run on the banks– wealthy Egyptians putting assets abroad. And this regime was based in the business community. When the business community begins to feel the pain, one has to wonder what kind of influence they can exert on the president. Will they force concessions?

Could they be a positive force?

I think necessarily. They have the most to lose. The protesters aren’t going anywhere, they understand that, and the only way for them to recover, their bank deposits, their industries, is for the regime to make concessions. But there’s such a nexus of politics and business, that many of the ruling party members are also in business, so some have an investment in the regime.

Tell me what happened today.

Today I tried to get in– the situation on the ground, the square has been ringed on all sides except for one by the army. It is inaccessible from all sides except one. I was detained by the army for one hour, I managed to get in. There’s only one entrance, and it’s surrounded by barbed wire and tanks. Thousand and thousands of people are waiting on line to get in, to be frisked to get into square. I do endorse the public safety measures, and protesters themselves want them, but what happens is you don’t have the free inflow and outflow of people you had before. Myself I was in for a few hours and then I went out and couldn’t get back in. But thousands and thousands were waiting in line…

And at 5 pm, the numbers had swelled to the most they had all day. There were a few hundred thousand.

Is that because people feel safe to go out?

They do feel safe, but they are also adamant that the thug ganglike tactics that the regime has employed won’t deter them. There’s a digging in, in a sense. The thuggishness has backfired, and the people who have shown up have decided to continue to show up.

Do you see victims of thuggery, and do they have prestige in the crowd?

Actually the number of wounded people is not small. It is not at all extraordinary to see bandaged men walking around. The people who get a great deal of respect are the doctors and the medics. And today the anti-journalist propaganda has convinced the protesters that the journatlists are on their side. So they like the journalists. I was with a foreigner, actually a journalist, and people wanted to stop her and shake her hand. So among the protesters there is a great deal of respect for doctors and journalists.

I think journalists are on your side.

Well, it’s very hard to be objective, and I’m completely on the protesters side. Journalists are people as well. It is very hard not to get a positive sense from the back and forth between the journalists and the people. Especially after they were attacked by the gov’t.

What’s the political feeling in the square?

People continue to be positive. Today was Friday prayer, an extraordinary experience. Tens of thousands of men all praying together, and right after that they began chants, angry chants, the ones we’ve been hearing. Then they greet one another with lively debate about elections. So the people are aware that this is only the beginning.

We called this a revolution early, and it is one. Can’t people feel a sense of triumph from what they’ve accomplished and feel good about the outcomes?

There is a sense of forgone conclusion. People feel that it’s only a matter of time. There’s a lot of uncertainty still, but that exists within a narrowish range. Mubarak’s going to go, we’re going to have a democracy, the west is going to back that up. The whens and whos and hows are what’s uncertain. People use the word Intifadah, casting off the regime. But the more common word is thaura, revolution, and that’s what you hear mostly.

Can they bank that feeling of accomplishment rather than fear the regime?

They can but they won’t relinquish anything. They still stand on the same stage. If the regime prevails, they will have the very same concerns that they had before. Though it seems that the army is on their side now…But I would say there is general optimism. People are optimistic that this is going to turn out well for them.

You mentioned the west. Do they have any good faith in the west?

One of the things that people continue to say is, this is an Egyptian revolution. But they’re not stupid, would it be helpful for the Americans to take a strong stand, for others to take a strong stand? Of course. There is no one here who does not want a quick end to this. But there are certain conditions that have to be met– Mubarak has to go.

About Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of liwwa.com. Twitter: @ahmedmoor

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39 Responses

  1. annie
    February 4, 2011, 2:25 pm

    VP Omar Suleiman is not a viable alternative. People don’t respect a former spy chief.

    obviously, so why is the news here still pumping him?

    • lareineblanche
      February 4, 2011, 4:15 pm

      VP Omar Suleiman is not a viable alternative. People don’t respect a former spy chief.

      obviously, so why is the news here still pumping him?

      That phrase should be qualified to read : Some people don’t respect a former spy chief. To those who would like to see Suleiman take the reins, what most people consider a “viable alternative” is irrelevant. Does this need to be reiterated?

      • annie
        February 4, 2011, 4:31 pm

        lareineblanche, no, the phrase should not be qualified, it is very clear people don’t respect a former spy chief. this is ahmed’s impression. ‘people’ being the revolutionaries. saying some people don’t respect a former spy chief is like saying some people don’t respect mubarak. of course suleiman has supporters, they are likely the very same people who support mubarak. the effects of having either of them rule is identical. this is how suleiman is regarded in egypt. not acknowledging that is outright denial. maybe americans or viewers of the western press or politicians outside egypt don’t consider this an anointing of same ol same ol but the people of egypt are over w/dictators (with the exception of mubaraks supporters).

        so in what reality is a likelihood suleiman could be placed in power under these circumstances realistic? why bother having a revolution if you settle on the same thing? under these circumstances is is completely irresponsible of obama or cbs news or whever to pump suleiman, it will only perpetuate the revolution. if they are going to squash them squash them now, otherwise their aspirations need to be taken into account.

      • lareineblanche
        February 4, 2011, 4:43 pm

        this is how suleiman is regarded in egypt

        By whom?

        why bother having a revolution if you settle on the same thing? under these circumstances is is completely irresponsible of obama or cbs news or whever to pump suleiman

        This is what I was getting at. But, what makes you think that those in power in Washington – and in the corporate media – are responsible? Responsible to whom?

      • annie
        February 4, 2011, 4:56 pm

        ;) i didn’t mean to imply i think they act responsibly, time and again they prove they don’t. but they keep hyping him which makes me wonder if they are going to force him down the throat of egytians.

        by whom? let me go do a search. i’ve read many interviews where protesters have said this.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 4, 2011, 5:06 pm

        Well – and this isn’t something I advocate or predict, but just as an example – suppose the “package” by next Thursday is… HM steps down, Speaker of House takes over nominal role of president (I think that’s what I heard was constitutional) Suleiman stays on as chief of x-person caretaker junta (all members also barred from running) to oversee administrative functions, truth commission involving all opposition groups investigates events plus last parliamentary elections, working group under leadership of ElB or Amr Moussa with broad participation oversees free and fair elections with international observers…

        My point is that you could say “Suleiman replaces Mubarak/everything else the same” or you could say “Suleiman remains in place but his power curtailed, AND you get rid of Mubarak and get all these other wonderful things and sweeteners”… The question isn’t whether whatever package satisfies 100% of the demonstrators, but what package satisfies a large enough percentage of them and other actors as against whatever alternatives…

        You got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em eventually will set in for all but the hardest cases…

      • lareineblanche
        February 4, 2011, 5:13 pm

        No, Annie, I’m sorry, my fault. I didn’t mean to challenge you in any way to engage on a research project. I was simply stating that what most people consider “respect” is not the same thing as what the elites in Egypt and the US consider “respect”.

        It is a loaded word. It is not to be confused with “useful”. That’s all. Those who have power (I’d call it the “power elite”) elicit respect NOT because their actions have any intrinsic value or moral qualities, but rather because they have power. In a sense, power IS respect. Those who are supporting the takeover of the gov’t by Suleiman and the army (not including the elements loyal to Mubarak) -which, it should be understood by the recent article you yourself posted here,
        link to jadaliyya.com
        are not doing so out of any Quixotic ideals, but rather out of expediency.

        When you speak of “Egyptians”, you have to separate what most people consider “legitimate” from what the power elite considers “legitimate”. You’re taking the point of view of the vast majority of the people, and the demonstrators, but it is not the same point of view of those pontificating on MSNBC, FOX news, or on the White House lawn.

      • annie
        February 4, 2011, 5:24 pm

        yeah, i think we agree on a lot! i was just doing a search of one of parves’s interviews of omar to find what he said but got sided tracked by an excellent post of adams i didn’t even see down thread. there’s so much great news here today keeping track of where i’ve read everything is very confusing!
        max ajl on the front page right now:

        Early indications are that he will try to put in place his new vice president, Omar Suleiman. Perhaps Suleiman won’t work out so well, and Mubarak will revert to another high-level officer from his inner circle.

        ee gads! your last paragraph is right on. see ya

        in solidarity

      • lareineblanche
        February 4, 2011, 5:24 pm

        CK MacLeod :
        couldn’t resist :
        link to youtube.com

      • CK MacLeod
        February 4, 2011, 5:56 pm

        @lareineblanche: I’ll see your Kenny Rogers and raise you one Social D:

        link to youtube.com

      • Walid
        February 4, 2011, 6:08 pm

        In this coming fall’s presidential elections, Mubarak’s son Gamal was set to run against half a dozen other candidates and chief among them was Suleiman. Of course Suleiman would have been in the race only to make the election of Gamal appear legitimate and ensure his win. Now it’s a lost cause for both of them. Suleiman was also the chief Egyptian negotiator that sat in on all reconciliation talks between Hamas and the PLO that were held in Cairo. Mubarak making him VP had a funny smell about it.

      • annie
        February 4, 2011, 7:25 pm

        here’s are the list of demands as witnessed on New Huge Banner In Tahrir(video)

        1. Resignation of the president

        2. End of the Emergency State

        3.Dissolution of The People’s Assembly and Shora Council

        4. Formation of a national transitional government

        5.An elected Parliament that will ammend the Constitution to allow for presidential elections

        6. Immediate prosecution for those responsible of the deaths of the revolution’s martyrs

        7. Immediate prosecution of the corrupters and those who robbed the country of its wealth.

        You got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em

        macleod, you don’t fold em leaving mr torture suleiman in the ‘position of staying on as chief of x-person caretaker junta to oversee administrative functions’. that’s a no brainer.

  2. CK MacLeod
    February 4, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Great report.

    It’s a negotiation, Annie, involving millions of people, diverse and complex interests and feedbacks. The forces will locate and isolate a series of emergent compromise positions, and eventually a sufficient force – or exhaustion – will settle behind one or another under whatever terms.

    • annie
      February 4, 2011, 3:11 pm

      thanks MacLeod, yes i agree it’s a negotiation i just do not understand how US/IS can keep chomping on suleiman when everyone knows who he is and he’s clearly rejected by the people.

      i agree, it is a great report and i should have said that before. we’re so lucky to have ahmed there reporting for us, so very very lucky.

      and thanks to phil and adam, huge gratefulness here.


  3. MRW
    February 4, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Just to remind you of the 25-year-old Egyptian woman who started this all:
    link to youtube.com

    Like Ella Baker with the Civil Rights movement. She was born in 1904. She was organizing the NAACP in 1940 in NYC when Martin Luther King was 13 years old.
    Baker: Strong people don’t need strong leaders.
    Baker: Martin didn’t make the movement. The movement made Martin.

    • annie
      February 4, 2011, 3:49 pm

      mrw, i just heard of Asmaa Mahfouz for the first time this morning on seham’s always awesome list of links. in the comment section just posted 2 of her other videos, the eve of 25th and her report back afterward.

      she’s mindblowing isn’t she? ;)

  4. bijou
    February 4, 2011, 3:29 pm

    Ha ha, is Bibi feeling the heat?


    They just don’t know what’s about to hit them…

    • Jim Haygood
      February 4, 2011, 4:23 pm

      From the Haaretz article linked by bijou:


      “In respect of East Jerusalem, the Government of Israel has agreed to encourage the implementation of all projects that abide by municipal regulations that will improve infrastructure there for Palestinians, including in particular housing, starting with two projects in East Jerusalem,” Blair announced.

      The meeting between Netanyahu and Blair on Friday comes a day before a summit of the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers – the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia – for whom Blair is the envoy. The Quartet is meeting to discuss the stalemate in peace talks between Israel and the PA.


      Now that the peace process is dead and buried (Jan 25th — RIP), Tony the Spiv realizes his emissary gig may be over … and starts pushing for trivial concessions which Israel contemptuously withheld while there was still a chance of them achieving something.

      Nothing about stopping the Jewish settlements, of course. Just allocating the Palestinians perhaps one building permit out of every hundred, as if that’s an alternate solution. This is condescending paternalism, in the form of sweeping an extra crumb off the table and telling the Palestinians, “It’s really good cake, you know!’

      Anyone who thinks this sort of dilatory incrementalism will suffice simply has not grasped the implications of what’s happening next door in Egypt. But then, Tony and Bibi were never the sharpest knives in the drawer.

      • justicewillprevail
        February 4, 2011, 6:16 pm

        As usual, some window dressing from Tony. Oh, sounds reasonable to most people not familiar with the details of the occupation. And Netty thinks it will make him sound conciliatory and able to say ‘look we are taking steps for peace, but the Palestinians won’t negotiate’. In other words the same old PR moves designed to make Israel sound ever so generous. However, those familiar with Israel’s iniquitous, biased and racist laws will know how, like fascism, bureaucracy at every level down to the most trivial entraps and discriminates against non-Jews at every turn. The giveaway is ‘according to municipal laws’ – as if it is merely a planning matter. But the Palestinians know only too well how housing laws are ignored when settlers build, whilst Palestinians who have lived in houses for generations are suddenly found to be in breach of some vague local law and thrown out with no notice. Mysteriously a Jewish family can then take up residence in the same house which has suddenly become legal again. There is virtually nothing a Palestinian can do which is not liable to be interpreted as illegal should the authorities feel the need to do so – they have no rights, never mind equal rights. So Tony and Netty’s latest ruse is just another in the long line of propaganda moves designed to make Israel sound civil, when of course it is the exact opposite.

  5. MRW
    February 4, 2011, 3:34 pm

    It is absolutely stunning to conceive that the wishes of one 83-year-old man should supersede the wishes of 80 million people.

    The arrogance of countries that think they can determine who should lead the Egyptians is appalling. Any foreign country leaders who think they have that right are profoundly and deeply immoral. And despicable.

    As for Israel: perhaps if they had kept their side of the Peace Deal that Sadat-Begin-Carter worked out, we wouldn’t be here. Consequences. Always consequences. And the national value of deceit and not keeping your promises.

    • seafoid
      February 4, 2011, 3:54 pm

      AIPAC bought everyone in Congress but it is about to lose Egypt.
      And Israelis will ask how valuable all of those claims of unshakeable unbreakable bonds with Israel really are.

      The decline of american power can’t come fast enough. Thank you Goldman Sachs and Citibank.

      • Jim Haygood
        February 4, 2011, 4:27 pm

        Excellent political sound bite, Professor seafoid:

        Who lost Egypt? AIPAC did!

        Please retweet! ;-)

  6. SeaEtch
    February 4, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Just watching Harper-Obama press conference.

    What stands out is that even as they both do lip-service to ideas of Democracy, rule of law etc. it seems grudging and reticent, as if it were some distasteful though unavoidable medicine. Yeah, future of Egypt belongs to the Egyptians, BUT with qualifications and upon approval of their western masters. This even as they plot schemes to corral and manage the popular uprising towards their own ends.
    Suleiman is their point-man on the spot. Therefore most suspect.
    We’ll have to wait for another WikiLeaks a couple of years down to uncover the determining role that Israel played( is playing) in having Mubarak appoint Omar Suleiman as his successor.
    I think the revolution will reject Suleiman as the trustee of ‘transition’.
    People who started and have sustained the revolution may dislike Hosni, they may even find Omar younger/sexier/magisterial/suave in comparison, but it wasn’t personal against the Prezzident.
    It’s the regime that stank, it has to go.
    Possible compromises: Inclusion of Suleiman as one of the 10-12 member committee to oversee the transition, or El-Baradei as the head overseer.

    Ahmed, it’s great to read your reports, it makes me feel a more personal connect with people in Maidan Tahrir.
    Stay and keep safe, Bro. Best wishes.

  7. annie
    February 4, 2011, 5:43 pm


    11:09pm The US Embassy in Cairo sent this statement to Al Jazeera. The video in question is at the bottom of this page – see 2:49am:

    We have seen a video that alleges a US embassy vehicle was involved in a hit and run incident that injured dozens in Cairo. We are certain that no embassy employees or diplomats were involved in this incident. On January 28, however, a number of our US Embassy vehicles were stolen. Since these vehicles were stolen, we have heard reports of their use in violent and criminal acts. If true, we deplore these acts and the perpetrators.

  8. stevelaudig
    February 4, 2011, 6:14 pm

    could someone address the “King Farouk” exit in the sense that he left, was pampered and died of complications of the “good life”?

  9. munro
    February 4, 2011, 8:28 pm

    I would like someone to address how it came to be that Richard Engel and others started downplaying El Baradei with the same line: he lived in Austria, is out of touch with Egypt so the people won’t accept him (unlike Chalabi apparently) etc.. A great report would reveal who contacted Engel and what was said. An NBC producer? Which one? Was it implied or an order? This seems to impact a lot of I/P coverage but goes unexamined.

  10. yourstruly
    February 4, 2011, 8:40 pm

    so far so good

    heroic children of the nile

    as you retake the dawn

    hold on

    hold on

    never let go

  11. Sumud
    February 4, 2011, 9:18 pm

    A negotiated solution where the dictator gets to stay in Egypt and live out his days on the billions he stole from the people sounds like an *awful* outcome. Mubarak still thinks of himself evidently as the Air Force hero of the 1970s (clue: the dyed hair), not the corrupt dictator stepping on 80 million Egyptians for decades.

    Ahmed Moor is right of course – and it’s not up to me either – but I hope the protestors hold out long enough to actually bring down the regime, not just have a few new faces swapped in and life goes on.

  12. VR
    February 5, 2011, 7:42 am

    It has definitely been hinted at here, but I am sure that instinctively (and logically) people know that if you allow the so-called “powers that be” too dictate the nature and setting of the negotiations they win. It is not merely the figurehead Mubarak that you want to leave, but the uprooting and destruction of the system. As an example, you are not looking for transition, you are looking for transformation. Negotiation is not the aim because it implies the viability of the destructive system, negation of what is present is the aim with an entirely different direction. If the will of the people is not empowered as the primary you will perpetuate the tragedy.

    I am not trying to be negative here, but realistic. I can say without any equivocation that if the people do not recognize what I am saying and proposing you are essentially whistling in the wind. If we are not talking about their utter destruction without remedy there will be nothing left for the people to salvage. You should have understood this at the outset by choosing the term “revolution,” it is not reform –

    There is a substantive difference between reform and revolution, reform assumes that change can be made from within and that because the essence of the object of reform is valid. Revolution on the other hand knows that the object is irredeemable, and must be removed and replaced.


    • yourstruly
      February 5, 2011, 9:29 am

      reform versus revolution

      reform is a salvage operation

      the way it is

      minus a rough edge or two


      the way it can be

      by popular demand

    • bijou
      February 5, 2011, 9:52 am

      Great comment

    • CK MacLeod
      February 5, 2011, 11:05 am

      Revolution on the other hand knows that the object is irredeemable, and must be removed and replaced.

      Replaced with what – and whom? If you – and, obviously more important, the Egyptians – lack a clear answer to those questions, then total “negation” is merely total destruction, and the typical revolutionary sensibility will never be satisfied for very long with whatever random or contingent substitutes for a coherent and functional state. Much of the violence, chaos, and eventual disappointments associated with revolutions historically derive from this problem.

      Furthermore, no matter how uncompromising – Robespierre, Pol Pot, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq? – the new revolutionary state will still have to enter into a “negotiation” with the former state, because the state is much more than its top leadership or even than whatever public administration. The state visibly includes, for instance, all of those conscripts upon whom the protesters, lacking a revolutionary army or more than a scrabbled-together militia, are staking their security. In the broadest sense, the state is the total and systematic expression of the entire people, not just of whatever factions presently in power or competing for power or favor. To say that that it must be totally negated is to suggest that reality must be totally negated, something that perhaps a Yippie might say, but not something that people getting around to the business of making lives for themselves find very useful or attractive.

      An authentically revolutionary process would require much more than a couple of weeks of demonstrations, and the actual demonstrations do not themselves demonstrate, and could not, that Egypt is or was truly in a classical “revolutionary situation,” or that an uncompromising revolution would receive the support even of a majority of the demonstrators, much less of broad Egyptian society, or even that a very significant faction is currently in a position to agree upon the character of a revolutionary project and program.

      The demands of this particular political movement are “revolutionary” only in a very particular sense – the sense that minimal “international” standards of democracy and freedom, bourgeois democracy as a Marxist revolutionary might once have said, are revolutionary in comparison to autocracy, military dictatorship, and neo-imperial vassalage. Whether a total overturning of the state broadly defined is available, desirable, or desired is another question. I tend to doubt it, but my opinion hardly matters. I see little evidence, however, that many in Egypt who have thought the question through have reached any different conclusion.

      • Philip Weiss
        February 5, 2011, 11:08 am

        o ye of little faith

      • CK MacLeod
        February 5, 2011, 11:25 am

        Well, ya need the rest of the passage, comrade:

        Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
        (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
        But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
        Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

        As a revolutionary sentiment, it may indeed have more in common with VR’s position.

      • Philip Weiss
        February 5, 2011, 11:28 am

        my translation: be in the moment, dont let rigid/archaic historical constructs foreclose the actual impact of today

      • eee
        February 5, 2011, 11:43 am

        What rigid/archaic constructs are you talking about?
        How about prosaic constructs like 35% illiteracy? Like 40% living under $2 per day? Like youth unemployment at who knows what level and median age of 24? Like out of control population growth?

        Undoubtedly there are many very brave and courageous Egyptians with a yearning for freedom. But as CK MAcLeod says, without a plan and especially without managing expectations about what democracy can actually deliver, it will blow up in their face. Egypt does not have the oil cushion that Iran had.

      • VR
        February 5, 2011, 5:57 pm

        “To say that that it must be totally negated is to suggest that reality must be totally negated, something that perhaps a Yippie might say…”

        CK MacLeod, here is a Yippie statement for you –

        “We cannot survive without learning to fight and that is the lesson in the second section. FIGHT! separates revolutionaries from outlaws. The purpose of part two is not to fuck the system, but destroy it. The weapons are carefully chosen. They are “home-made,” in that they are designed for use in our unique electronic jungle. Here the uptown reviewer will find ample proof of our “violent” nature. But again, the dictionary of law fails us. Murder in a uniform is heroic, in a costume it is a crime. False advertisements win awards, forgers end up in jail. Inflated prices guarantee large profits while shoplifters are punished. Politicians conspire to create police riots and the victims are convicted in the courts. Students are gunned down and then indicted by suburban grand juries as the trouble-makers. A modern, highly mechanized army travels 9,000 miles to commit genocide against a small nation of great vision and then accuses its people of aggression. Slumlords allow rats to maim children and then complain of violence in the streets. Everything is topsy-turvy. If we internalize the language and imagery of the pigs, we will forever be fucked. Let me illustrate the point. Amerika was built on the slaughter of a people. That is its history. For years we watched movie after movie that demonstrated the white man’s benevolence. Jimmy Stewart, the epitome of fairness, puts his arm around Cochise and tells how the Indians and the whites can live in peace if only both sides will be reasonable, responsible and rational (the three R’s imperialists always teach the “natives”). “You will find good grazing land on the other side of the mountain,” drawls the public relations man. “Take your people and go in peace.” Cochise as well as millions of youngsters in the balcony of learning, were being dealt off the bottom of the deck. The Indians should have offed Jimmy Stewart in every picture and we should have cheered ourselves hoarse. Until we understand the nature of institutional violence and how it manipulates values and mores to maintain the power of the few, we will forever be imprisoned in the caves of ignorance. When we conclude that bank robbers rather than bankers should be the trustees of the universities, then we begin to think clearly. When we see the Army Mathematics Research and Development Center and the Bank of Amerika as cesspools of violence, filling the minds of our young with hatred, turning one against another, then we begin to think revolutionary.”
        Abbie Hoffman, Steal This Book

        More “Yippie” sentiment –


  13. VR
    February 5, 2011, 2:38 pm

    “In the broadest sense, the state is the total and systematic expression of the entire people, not just of whatever factions presently in power or competing for power or favor.”

    Nice speech CK MacLeod, but lacking substantive reality, actually globally. The state is not merely the apparatus, I hope you will pardon me but I do not have a lot of time to recite for you the current concept of the state, suffice it to say as I have said before it is merely the franchise of an elite. The people who yearn for its perpetuation, for the most part, in its current form are merely the fat around the midsection of the few who wish to benefit and act with impunity upon the domestic and global population. The “state” is not the expression of the people, never has been, and one can even give it a cursory treatment like eee, and see this – “How about prosaic constructs like 35% illiteracy? Like 40% living under $2 per day? Like youth unemployment at who knows what level and median age of 24? (as inadequate as the description is).”

    The Egyptians do not lack a clear answer to what will replace the current debacle, they just do not have an equal platform (and you apparently have some lack of access) – and that is just par for the course on any type of equality to pursue life and happiness. I have said this before also, that what is demanded and expected (or should be) by the people is a participatory, not not even necessarily “government” as currently touted, which is merely an exercise of isolating the people from the nexus of power. This is true of almost every current government franchise on the planet, they have proliferated like mushrooms after a spring rain – because it is so profitable to exploit the people.

    You talk about “weeks of demonstration,” but this has been going on and developing for decades. In your attempt to place shallow stamp upon the current process (because I do not know where you have been up to this point, or where your interests lie, it is apparently not in following what has transpired in this region), it just informs me as to your knowledge regarding what has transpired – or perhaps your attempt to degrade it? I would say your privilege informs you by such statements like – “…that Egypt is or was truly in a classical “revolutionary situation,” or that an uncompromising revolution would receive the support even of a majority of the demonstrators, much less of broad Egyptian society, or even that a very significant faction…” – shows that you are out of touch with the misery of the majority (and not even misery, but the prospect of no advance).

    I tend to agree with the last two sentences of your last paragraph CK MacLeod (February 5, 2011 at 11:05 am). As for me, I would like this too extend to the entire planet, I want to unhinge any uni-polar or even multi-polar activity of the same design prevalent today. It is my design to fan the flame and agitate among the people to give rise to a whole new anthropocentric order on the entire planet. In the process it will be necessary to crush every dominant design and make it subservient to the will of the people. You can call this as whimsical and as fanciful as you like, and can verbally sue for a plan which anyone who knows revolutionary movement knows it is living and organic in its execution.


  14. CK MacLeod
    February 5, 2011, 3:34 pm

    The state is not merely the apparatus, I hope you will pardon me but I do not have a lot of time to recite for you the current concept of the state, suffice it to say as I have said before it is merely the franchise of an elite.

    Just for the sake of clarity, VR, you seem to mis-read, the definition of the state that you highlight from my earlier comments: It’s a definition of a concept of the state, not a description of the Egyptian state in particular, much less a compliment to it. When I say “the state broadly defined,” I mean “the state broadly defined.”

    In answer to the “with what and whom,” you assert the Egyptian people “know” what they’re going to replace the state (themselves) with, but I’m not sure how you know that they know this, or what it is they know. I’m not sure what the day-laborer, fisherman, taxi cab driver, farmer, or unemployed youth is supposed to make of a project to “crush every dominant design” and so on. I wouldn’t call it “fanciful” – though it is often subject to being expressed fancifully. If not put in ethical, political, or practical terms of the sort graspable to the day laborer and co., and to the people they trust in these matters, it tends to take on the character of a religious fervor tied to a messianic vision – which is what I meant when I provided the additional context for Mr. Weiss’s quotation. Given political responsibility, it tends to take catastrophe in stride. Which can be a problem.

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