by Hossam el-Hamalawy, Arabawy Feb. 2011.
Photo Protest at headquarters of state-backed Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions.
Since yesterday, and actually earlier, middle-class activists have been urging Egyptians to suspend the protests and return to work, in the name of patriotism, singing some of the most ridiculous lullabies about “let’s build new Egypt,” “let’s work harder than even before,” etc. In case you didn’t know, actually Egyptians are among the hardest working people in the globe already.
Those activists want us to trust Mubarak’s generals with the transition to democracy — the same junta that has provided the backbone of his dictatorship over the past 30 years. And while I believe the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who receive $1.3 billion annually from the US, will eventually engineer the transition to a “civilian” government, I have no doubt it will be a government that will guarantee the continuation of a system that will never touch the army’s privileges, keep the armed forces as the institution that will have the final say in politics (as for example in Turkey), guarantee Egypt will continue to follow the US foreign policy, whether it’s the undesired peace with the Apartheid State of Israel, safe passage for the US Navy in the Suez Canal, the continuation of the Gaza siege, or exports of natural gas to Israel at subsidized rates. A civilian government is not about cabinet members who do not wear military uniforms. A civilian government means a government that fully represents the Egyptian people’s demands and desires without any intervention from the brass. And I see this as hard to be allowed, let alone accomplished, by the junta.