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Egypt: Death throes of a dictatorship

Ali Bin Salabim | 30.01.2011 12:22 | Guantánamo | Anti-militarism | Social Struggles | Terror War | Cambridge

The Egyptian tanks, the delirious protesters sitting atop them, the flags, the 40,000 protesters weeping and crying and cheering in Freedom Square and praying around them, the Muslim Brotherhood official sitting amid the tank passengers. Should this be compared to the liberation of Bucharest? Climbing on to an American-made battle tank myself, I could only remember those wonderful films of the liberation of Paris. A few hundred metres away, Hosni Mubarak's black-uniformed security police were still firing at demonstrators near the interior ministry. It was a wild, historical victory celebration, Mubarak's own tanks freeing his capital from his own dictatorship.

US-!CANNISTER! used by Egypt-Police
US-!CANNISTER! used by Egypt-Police

US-!CANNISTER! used by Egypt-Police
US-!CANNISTER! used by Egypt-Police

In the pantomime world of Mubarak himself – and of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Washington – the man who still claims to be president of Egypt swore in the most preposterous choice of vice-president in an attempt to soften the fury of the protesters – Omar Suleiman, Egypt's chief negotiator with Israel and his senior intelligence officer, a 75-year-old with years of visits to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and four heart attacks to his credit. How this elderly apparatchik might be expected to deal with the anger and joy of liberation of 80 million Egyptians is beyond imagination. When I told the demonstrators on the tank around me the news of Suleiman's appointment, they burst into laughter. ............ M O R E: ................ Voices of protest: "I've never seen men so angry, yet so happy to be expressing their anger. I walked next to girls in hijabs screaming for the downfall of Hosni Mubarak. I walked behind men begging God for freedom.
Courtney Graves, American living in Giza, in email to the BBC: "I have to pay 150 pounds a day to bribe police officers to let me sell on this pavement. How can I be this educated and not find proper work?"
Ramadan Mohamed, Law graduate selling sunglasses on Cairo street: "I'm standing here to defend and to protect our national treasure."
Farid Saad, Engineer, one of the men protecting the museum: "They are torching down the prisons. Our lives and property are at risk. Get out of the way."
Unknown shopper, Overheard echoing the anxieties of many as they raced to stock up at stores: "The crowds are very pro-army. I filmed an amazing moment when a charismatic one-star general addressed the public and spoke of the importance of maintaining public order. People kept shouting, are you with or against Mubarak? He answered that his mission is making sure the looting stops, and that the issue of who governs is the people's decision, not the army's, and that government should be civilian." Issandr El Amrani, Blogging as The Arabist

More from Robert Fisk: .........

Robert Fisk: A people defies its dictator, and a nation's future is in the balance ... A brutal regime is fighting, bloodily, for its life. Robert Fisk reports from the streets of Cairo ..........

Our writer (Robert Fisk) joins protesters atop a Cairo tank as the army shows signs of backing the people against Mubarak's regimeAnti-Mubarak .... protesters in Cairo yesterday climb on an army tank ....... Photos More pictures:

PIC.....: US-!CANNISTER! used by Egypt-Police ...... 'Made in U.S.A.' printed on ***cannister*** used by #Egypt police. Ppl are furious abt this. ... (posted by @mideastmedia from Yfrog) .......

Ali Bin Salabim