Tag Archives: revolution

Tahrir Square and the birth of a nation

Thank you Tahrir
Ahmed Tharwat
On my last visit to Egypt, as I landed at the airport I noticed that Egypt has changed. Security were screaming the names of VIPs or travellers who have connections. I went through the check out. “Do you have anything in these bags,” asked the airport security?

“Not really a few gifts and my underwear,” I joked. Go ahead, he ushered me through the gate with a smile. This was the last smile I saw in Egypt throughout my trip. I asked the taxi driver to take me to Tahrir Square.

“For what sir? Nobody goes to Tahrir Square anymore, only Al-Sisi supporters,” he whispered.

Take me there anyway, I requested. I wanted to see the place where the revolution started, where the Egyptian popular uprising that erupted on 25 January resulted in the birth of a nation. The place where millions of Egyptians found out that Egypt is their own country and not Mubarak’s and his family’s.

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General Al Sisi brings out the worst of Egyptians!

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General Al Sisi brings out the worst of Egyptians!

Notes from America: General Al-Sisi brought out the worst of Egyptians

French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) said: “In democracy we get the government we deserve.” He was of course talking about true representative democracy that produces leaders the people want and choose. The assumption here however is that people know what is good for them and they chose freely. The French philosopher was right about one thing; leaders who run or ruin our lives bring out something deep in the people they govern and rule.  What he failed to recognise is: this is not only in democracy, but in authoritative regimes as well; where even dictators have to play politics to stay in power.

Western democracy brought Eisenhower, Kennedy, Bush Jr. and Obama, who brought out the different characters of the American people. Unfortunately, over the last six decades or so, Egypt has probably ended up with dictators who tried to appeal to the best and worst of Egyptians . In my opinion, General Al-Sisi is the worst of them all, he has been appealing to the worst of Egyptians and  in turn brought out the worst of Egypt.

The so called “Free Officers Coup” that for the first time brought actual Egyptian leaders; middle-class military dictators who, in one way or another, reflected for the first time the culture and values of average Egyptians: not the elites or the colonists. Nasser  with his dictatorial style, rallied the people around a sense of national pride. Sadat; he represented cunningness and deceitfulness.  It was said that “He Jewed the Jews”.  Mubarak ruled 30 years by appealing to egyptians love of sense of stability, which turned into stagnation.  Morsi was elected with more than 50% in a fair election by appealing to laymen’s religious feelings and naïveté. General Al-Sisi’s political and military manoeuvring came appealing to the worst of Egyptians. With his false pretence pluralism, the saviour of Egypt with his hyper nationalism, hyperbolic bravery, and his unwarranted self-assurance, General Al-Sisi brought with his  jihad against the incompetent  brotherhood the worst of Egyptians vices; tribalism of  Sisi vs. brotherhood sects, xenophobia, disrespect to others views, affinity to irrational thinking, and a very creepy anti-intellectual attitude. A culture of hate and thuggery had spread everywhere: in the street, at work, in organizations, and family homes. Political harassment leads to sexual harassment, where politically abused citizens lose their respect for human dignity and themselves. Al-Sisi has brought a deep sense of hate and revengeful culture, where Egyptians are -I think for the first time- speak with each other in such a venomous and irrational discourse. “Kill all brotherhood the treaters” a common thread in public conversation.  As Thanassis Cambanis reported in  Foreign Policy  “In prosecuting its war on terror, Egypt has lumped the Muslim Brotherhood together with the jihadi Ansar Beit al-Maqdis — equating dissent in the vernacular of political Islam with bombings and assassinations. “The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of extreme ideology,” Sisi told the Washington Post in March. “They are the godfather of all terrorist organizations. They spread it all over the world.”

Egyptians have been exposed to Al-Sisi’s hyper antiballistic media machine; they have never before resorted to such divisive mannerisms or hateful speeches and propaganda. Egyptians now adhere to conversations that take shape as irrational tribalism: if you aren’t supporting Al-Sisi, you are one of the international brotherhood organizations, a traitor, and a foreign agent.

Since Al-Sisi ousted first elected president Mohamed Morsi, he had a free hand a mandate to do what he pleased with impunity, he may not  rigged the election, but the intimidation  of any opposition,  shutting their media, while employing state entrenched propaganda machine he was able to rigg people’s minds and the electorate. Now no one is safe in Egypt; where Al Sisi government  has been working on elimination of any symbol of decent and decency, people mysteriously disappear, and if they aren’t getting killed, in the street or in their homes, or at work: they are killed by legal execution with a politicised Judiciary system and checkbook judges that competing and as Professor Ragui Assaad of Humphrey School of public affairs puts on my TV show “Egyptian Judges and Media  are trying to outdo each other  in showing their hate to brotherhood”.

Since Al-Sisi’s military coup, we have seen mass executions, disappearing, massive detention which according to human rights organization is more than 40,000 detainees .  Egyptians have lost  not just the right to live with dignity but also the right to die with dignity.  General Al-Sisi with his media machine turned Egyptians against each other, the good noble Egyptians against those  foreign agents egyptians who hate Egypt. Al-Sisi has turned Egyptian institutions into political agents to suppress and eliminate oppositions from the right and left. Here is Thanassis Cambanis again “Sisi’s paranoid style appears to be the product of a coherent view among Egypt’s fractious security services, which are showing a unity of purpose in carrying out the campaign against all political dissent. The military, police, intelligence agencies, and courts are pulling together to carry out the government’s political vision — an impressive bureaucratic achievement, but one that bodes poorly for democratic reform.”  Just this week, General Al-Sisi had appointed a shady figure as the Minister of Justice, a man who once professed on national TV that “we (judges) are the masters and the rest are slaves”. One wonders: why would a dictator needs a minister of justice anyway! Just after four years of bringing-forth the most impressive revolution that toppled the longest dictatorship in Egyptian history; Egyptians have lost their sense of who they are, and so they stopped even trying. Egypt has become a dead poets’ society!  As George Orwell said in his 1984 book “One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”

 

Ahmed Tharwat is host of the Arab-American TV show Belahdan.

His articles published in national and International Publications

He blogs at Notes From America www.ahmediatv.com Follow him onTwitter, www.twitter.com/ahmediatv

 

 

 

 

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The World is Run by “Generals”

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Harry S. Truman once said, “The ‘C’ students run the world.” That was a long time ago, and now the world is run by “Generals”–still “C” Students- -in two different camps. The first camp is usually run by military generals like Saddam, Gad
dafi, Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak, Ziad, Al-Sisi, Mugabe, Barre, Al-Bashir, Idi Amin, and the list goes on. The other camp is run by a different kind of general, corporate generals, like General Motors, General Electric, General Food, General Mills, General Dynamic, General Union, and the list goes one.
Where are the similarities and differences between these two camps of generals? The military generals usually run undemocratic oppressive regimes, and they enforce their will on people’s lives through guns and security measures. However, the corporate generals run more democratic systems, and they enforce their will and control over their people’s lives and institutions thorough money and influence. The military generals specialize in their undemocratic style and lack of political freedom, and they don’t respect human rights or the rule of law. Because corporate generals don’t have this luxury, they control people by different means. They control people’s minds, and take the political process to the market place creating a culture of consumerism where citizens become consumers and the political freedom moves from the ballot box to the shopping malls. Military generals may rig elections to stay in power, but corporate generals rig the election process and electorate’s minds.
Brendan Geoffrey reported in Forbes magazine “There may be 147 companies in the world that own everything…. But it’s not you and I who really control those companies, even though much of our money is in them. Given the nature of how money is invested, there are four companies in the shadows that really control those companies that own everything.”
Today, corporations have become the dominant institution of business and impact practically everything on this planet from people, animals and plants to the quality and availability of water, food, energy and resources (e.g., fossil fuels, timber, metals, gems, chemicals) to transportation, housing, media, education, communications and the shaping our socio-economic-political system, which was shown when the Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations.
Mark Chasan, CEO of AWE Global, wrote in the Huffington Post
“Prior to the 17th century, the first corporations were created as not-for-profit entities to build institutions, such as hospitals and universities, for the public good. They had constitutions detailing their duties overseen by the government. Straying outside the constitutional boundaries was punishable by law.”
For example, the world’s first commercial corporation was the East India Company, set up by merchants to get spices from India. The East Indian Company expanded into a vast enterprise, conquering India with a total monopoly on trade and all the territorial powers of a government. At its height, it ruled over a fifth of the world’s population with a private army of a quarter million.
Nothing has changed that much, here in America, where we have our military industry complex, with a $555 billon dollar budget, which spent mostly on Corporate generals.
Here is Mark Chasan again, on how our institutors are rigged to provide corporate generals the support and the legal “A substantial amount of today’s regulatory environment is couched in public interest, but provides great economic benefits to large corporations that can afford the lobbying and sponsorship, while often causing significant damage to the public, entrepreneurs, small business and innovation. For example, a study by the Sunlight Foundation, which used tax data to correlate corporate investment in lobbying with decreases in taxes, found that between 2007 and 2009, Exxon Mobil, Verizon, GE, AT&T, Altria, Amgen, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing invested approximately $540 million into lobbying which resulted in aggregate tax reductions of approximately $11 billion.
Similarly, Wall Street analysts predict Apple could earn up to $45.6 billion in its current fiscal year, but could manage to avoid paying billions of dollars in tax.
“We need red blood cells to live, the same way a business needs profits to live, but the purpose of life is not to make red blood cells, the same way the purpose of business is not to exist to make profits.” – R. Edward Freeman, author of Strategic Management
Now corporations run the government and make the laws. The corporate generals’ camp will develop their own institutions, jihadists, in their own way, who would produce the cultural and legal framework in which they operate and flourish.
Consumerism controls the average American, who is exposed to 20,000 marketing messages a day, 7,000 of them advertisements alone. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go back to bed, corporate generals tell us what to eat, drink, wear, what to think, and what is beautiful and what is fun. Consumerism fills our culture and consumer values replace our human values. The average American spends just 15 minutes a week on politics and six hour a day watching TV. Women spend an average of 17 years of their lives trying to lose weight following one weight loss trend after the other.
At the end of the day, we may have the freedom to select between 300 different kinds of water or beer, but we only have two parties to choose from, one is the Republican Party and the other is the Republican “Light” party, which both are in all actuality controlled by corporate “Generals.”

Ahmed Tharwat
Host/Producer of Arab American TV show Bel Ahdan with Ahmed
Blog at
Notes from America WWW.ahmediatv.com
His articles appeared in national and international publications
You can follow him on fBook, Twitter, and YouTube/ahmediatv

Sincerely yours

Ahmed Tharwat
Freelancer/ Foreign Press Fixer/ Public Speaker
Host BelAhdan.. with Ahmed …
a show with an accent for those without one,
airs on Public TV Mondays 10:30pm, Ch. 202

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