"I told you so!" These were the exact words of Ayman al-Zawahiri, first-in-command of al-Qaeda, to the Egyptian people after the July military coup by General al-Sisi that dashed "Arab Awakening" hopes. His message seems to be resonating with a younger generation of Egyptians who saw their votes being taken away by the military junta.
Himself an Egyptian, Ayman al-Zawahiri had always lectured the Arabs and those who were willing to listen to him about being careful not to fall into the trap of the "western democratic game." His tactics worked well in Afghanistan, in Chechnya, in Algeria… where many young men took up arms and went to defend their countries against western invasion and the "evil democratization" that it brings with it.
Members of the Toronto International Film Festival community came together Tuesday morning to call for the immediate release of award-winning filmmaker John Greyson and emergency room doctor Tarek Loubani.
The two Canadians were traveling to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza when they were detained in a Cairo prison and where they've been held without formal charges since August 16.
Loubani, who is an Assistant professor at the School of Medicine at Western University, was to teach critical care procedures to doctors and hospital staff. Greyson was invited to film Loubani's work at the hospital. Their arrest came after they asked for directions back to their hotel at a police station.
Before President Mohamad Morsi had barely warmed his seat as head of state, demonstrations prompted Egypt's military to remove him from office. After one year, the country's first democratically elected president was now held at an undisclosed location. It was the only way, the military argued, that Egypt could be saved from political polarization and violence; the only way the country could restore democracy and avoid descending into chaos. But what has occurred over the last two months of military rule has been nothing short of chaotic.
Aerial bombings, tanks in the streets, widespread terrorizing of civilians by soldiers and secret police: this was the horror unleashed on September 11, 1973 by the military coup d’état in Chile. Led by Augusto Pinochet and other generals with U.S. backing, the coup overthrew President Salvador Allende's democratically elected Popular Unity government, and brought in a brutal military dictatorship that lasted for 17 years.
Canada's official attitude towards the coup might be politely called 'ambivalent.' Some Canadian banks and mining interests openly supported the military take-over as a good investment opportunity. Our ambassador to Chile's rather sympathetic attitude toward the generals led to a rapid recognition of the military junta.
Two officers from the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) came to see me and informed me that they received a tip (or complaint/warning) that I am a member of the 'Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group' based in Montreal. I understood that this allegation is related to my position and organizing against the coup d'etat that took place in my country of birth, Egypt, in early July.
This is of course a completely bogus allegation on many levels, and it doesn't worry me in the least. What worries me is the state of mind of the people who support the anti-democratic coup, whether they live in Egypt or abroad.
Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy invites you to Join the protest support democracy and denounce violence, massacres committed by the military coup and the illegitimate government in Egypt, Demand the freedom of Canadian citizens arrested in Egypt, Tarek Loubani and John Greyson.
Saturday, September 7, 2013 3:00 p.m. in front of the Canadian Parliament, Ottawa.
Demonstration will proceed to the Egyptian embassy to deliver an open letter to the ambassador.
Ever since the beginning of the Arab Spring there has been much talk of revolutions. Not from me. I've argued against the position that mass uprisings on their own constitute a revolution, i.e., a transfer of power from one social class (or even a layer) to another that leads to fundamental change. The actual size of the crowd is not a determinant unless the participants in their majority have a clear set of social and political aims. If they do not, they will always be outflanked by those who do or by the state that will recapture lost ground very rapidly.
Related rabble.ca story:
John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani have been wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt for two weeks. This is a video appeal for their release. For more information visit: http://tarekandjohn.com/