analysis, comment, reportage

His bastards

In Egypt, Jan25 on February 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Who are the “pro-Mubarak” protesters who have been engaged in running battles with democracy activists throughout Egypt? Why did they come to the demonstration carrying not placards and tracts, but machetes and sulphuric acid? And why were some of them riding on camels? Frederick Bowie explores the murky world of the counter revolution.

As Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal has pointed out, the news media have been getting it tragically wrong these last few days. Even granted the uncertainties that abound in any revolutionary situation, it is clearly not accurate to suggest that the gangs of young men who have been assaulting protesters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities are themselves ‘protesters’ who simply happen to have a different agenda from the people who have been occupying Tahrir Square since the beginning of the week.

Of course, there are people in Egypt who genuinely feel, or at least felt until last night, that to continue with the protests after Mubarak’s speech on Tuesday was an act of provocation. But most of them are latte-drinking BMW-driving parents with semi-respectable office jobs who are mainly worried about when they can get the kids off their hands and back to school. They are not the people who appeared out of nowhere onto the world’s TV screens on Wednesday morning, riding into the crowd on camels, swinging machetes, and throwing Molotov cocktails at groups of women and children.

Conversations with observers on the ground support what is being reported by protesters and the better journalists, and can be read uncensored on the #jan25 Twitter streams, before newsrooms and editors have moved in to censor it and give it ‘balance’. The violence we are witnessing is unilateral, and it is highly organized. (…)

Read the full text at Open Democracy.

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