By Adem Memerkaya, World Bulletin
What are the main factors that lead the people of Egypt to rise together in such unity against the current current?
We, as a people standing in union, have agreed to rise up against Mubarak and the current political regime because they are solely responsible for the sickness that has fallen upon our great nation. All people of Egypt, regardless of race or religion, are subject to being treated as political enemies within our own country. The public police force is used as a weapon against the citizens of Egypt, rather than as a tool to serve and protect our people. After our last election, the entire nation realized with clarity that the current dictatorship will not allow for true and open elections, permitting only their own people to run for public office and using police as well as paid thugs to terrorize those attempting to speak against the regime. It is now clear and evident to all people of our great country that there will never be civility or peace under this regime and without that we can have no dignity or freedom.
What do the signs say, and what are the people chanting?
As with all public demonstrations, those are varied. Primarily they demand from Mubarak and his cronies to hand over their leadership role to an interim committee that will allow our people to have free and open elections where members of all parties may run for office and not be threatened by violence and harassment while attempting to place their vote. An example of popular chants and signs are below.
"Mubarak, you must go"
"Where is our money , you thief"
"Hosni Mubarak , you coward, our blood is not cheap "
"Mrs. Mubarak, tell Mubarak the meat is more than 100 L.E "
"What does Hosni Mubarak want? He wants the people to kiss his feet. No, Mubarak, we will not, tomorrow we will step over you"
"Mubarak, it is you that will go out, not us , we staying here"
Can you please inform us about the current situation. What is happening in Egypt right now?
Quite simply this is a war against peaceful protesters who are demanding their basic human rights. Were it not for the evolution of the Internet and social media, this protest would have ended a long time ago by means of mass murder. In the face of this undeniable exposure to mass media, the Mubarak regime has engaged in subversive warfare utilizing their police force without uniform and releasing massive amounts of actual criminals and paid thugs onto the streets with weapons and resources while continuing to hold participants of the protest in jails and prisons.
Mubarak and his allies in power continue the use of state run media to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt. They control the Egyptian television and newspapers. While blocking access to the Internet for the people of Egypt, they have created thousands of social media profiles to disseminate false information to the world and cause dissension amongst the protesters when they were finally able to get back online. They report and flag the comments of vocal protesters on social media web sites in an effort to get their accounts limited or banned in and effort to quell the desire for freedom spreading through our people and silence the voice of opposition from revealing the truth behind the mass media facade.
They use the power of private television stations as weapons; manipulating the people and using their party members in cities and towns to recruit unsavory members of society using money and lies to attack the educated and peaceful protesters and scare them away. On February 4th, they started a rumor that Mubarak had stepped down hoping that the emotional drain of realizing this falsehood would drain the last energy from the vigilant protesters. Fortunately, our resolve is strong and we refuse to be manipulated. Our country, quite adamantly, will not take no for an answer.
On Friday, January 28, the secret police retreated completely from the streets and released 17,000 thieves, murders and rapists from jails and prisons onto the streets after filling them with lies and propaganda. They where sent into many cities forming close knit groups chanting "Yes, Mubarak" while attacking protesters, journalists and foreigners while armed with camels, horses, rocks, knives, swords and Molotov cocktails continuously delivered by cars. The vehicles seen on Al Jazeera delivering the personal fire bombs were fast, well maintained and moved through the bridge quickly and without resistance causing further support to the belief that the violent element on the streets are receiving funding and support that they would not have access to if they were working alone. They have been robbing and looting and attacking critical infrastructure, such as water and electricity facilities.
After they had released and 'trained' those criminals, the secret police were then told to remove their uniforms and vehicles from the streets and dress like civilians in an effort to further infiltrate our protests, spreading fear and confusion while trying to ferret out and silence the strongest voices. They employed ruffians from my city with lengthy criminal records which we were able to identify and perform a citizen's arrests on. We delivered them to the military and informed the latter of their violent actions, yet they were later released and allowed to return to the city.
Mubarak is an army man, with massive amounts of experience and renowned the world over for his skills as a strategist. He attacks in waves using many different weapons, techniques in an attempt to eliminate the real core of our revolution (Intifada). He withdrew all official police and secret police from streets when they cut all methods of public electronic communication. He targets the few areas were media cameras are allowed to roll and sends his thugs in to run around and cause chaos in an attempt to media-wash foreigners watching television into believing we are not unified, or perhaps that we are uncivil. This is not the case as you can see from the images and video of Egyptians young and old, rich and poor, of many colors, standing together in unison - singing, chanting, praying and protecting those praying.
Mubarak is trying to divide the people by terrorizing them with chaos and pushing them with limitation of resources in an attempt to divide our country.
The roads to Cairo are closed by Mubarak's thugs and secret police, as most of Cairo main streets now are with check points of thugs as they search for IDs. Contrary to Al Jazeera reports, they are not allowing people in with food and medical supplies. These check points confiscate these things for themselves, breaking recording equipment and generally making travel difficult as well as dangerous.
The current push by the regime oppressing us is to convince mass media journalists that the people in Tahrir Square are not Egyptians but foreigners, and they deliver this message via state media and covert operatives placed in key positions in an attempt to influence the world view of our protest as well Al Jazeera which is limited in their ability to accurately report the truth from many regions of Egypt and is the primary source of information for western media.
Also, concerning Al Jazeera, it is obvious that the reporting that they are doing is becoming skewed. The worldwide, continued focus on our country has drawn foreign investment interest in Al Jazeera and this can be seen by the drastic improvement and dramatization of their broadcasts. This includes audio and visual embellishments, new and highly post-produced mini-features, diction training for the regular Al Jazeera staff so they sound more western, and the import of foreign television journalists to conduct interviews.
This new style of broadcasting also intentionally focuses on escalating fear within the global population of what democracy in the middle east may mean. They contort the meaning and purpose of our protest. This is not secular, it is not religious. All people of Egypt are united. This oppressive dictatorship must no longer be allowed to mercilessly slaughter and imprison innocent citizens and rule in a strict one-party relationship with our economy and world leaders.
There are many questions and rumours about the organizational force behind these protests, and journalists talk about the Muslim Brotherhood. Some even give them credit for the revolution and imply that it is their effort to take control of Egypt. What can you say about this?
The media enjoys playing on a very marketable quality of human nature; fear. Fear sells and mass media knows this. By implying that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind this event, or using it to their advantage, they play on the fear the world has of an unstable middle east ruled by extremists. The honest fact is that their membership does not represent a significant portion of our population.
While in Tahrir Square, I see many Christians , non-devote Muslims, many women without head coverings, Egyptian actors, famous singers , and other famous Egyptian personalities who are known to be against the Muslim Brotherhood. Those people are joined together without regard for personal differences demanding that the Mubarak regime turn over all power and control over the country, they are in all the streets of Egypt. This movement crosses sociological boundaries and is not about religion, it is about humanity.
Al Jazeera and other media continues to use vocabulary constructed to suggest that this protest is primarily attended and organized on by the Egypt's youth activists. Can you tell us about the demographics of the protest, and of the origin?
The first call for action to start the protest was from a group of non-political youths which created a virtual forum memorize a young man killed by Mubarak's police in Alexandria in the of Egypt on January 25, 2011. When I arrived in Cairo to join the demonstration, I noticed that the people trying to get to Tahrir Square for the first protest were diverse in age and background. The first day was a day that I will never forget; it filled me with shock and awe when I saw many women and children in the crowd and that same day it surprised me to learn that thousands of activists and non-activists alike had joined together for the protest in the streets of of my home town until the police started attacking and arresting many.
As we galvanized together in Tahrir Square against the brutal police forces on Friday the 28th, I noticed again the great diversity of the crowds gathered in all the streets of Cairo. The more time that passed, the greater grew our diversity and the stronger our resolve. Housewives and children stood side-by-side with elderly man of various beliefs. As we succeeded in chasing of the police force and then again the criminals upon us, and as global pressure and media coverage rose, our people have once again felt safe to bring their families into the streets.
The focus of chants, signs and discussion heavily centers around Hosni Mubarak. What is the ultimate goal of this uprising? Do you simply wish for Mubarak to resign, or does Egypt seek a new regime change after To overthrow Mubarak and his companions or a total regime change?
Complete and total regime change, nothing less. The people of Egypt stand united against this regime, no longer will we allow them to commit heinous crimes against our brothers and sisters.
State press accuses the protesters to move in corporation with foreign powers. Is there any truth to these claims?
Not at all. It is inconceivable to think that any foreign entity could affect such control over such a large percentage and diversity of a population. They do not control our media or local economies, they do not solicit our patronage on the Internet. The foreign powers are concerned with the movement of oil, military supplies and communication infrastructure, not the comfort and freedoms of the Egyptian people.
What kind of an Egypt could satisfy the protesters?
A free Egypt where people are free to practice a religion of their choosing. An Egypt where one may speak freely without fear of kidnapping and abuse. An Egypt that does not utilize secret police or emergency law. An Egypt where media is not controlled by the state pushing propaganda and lies. An Egypt were medical facilities are not starved of funding to fill the pockets of Mubarak's internal political allies. Basically, an Egypt that is not lead by dictatorship.
We are all watching the events and dramatic scenes on television. What kind of details could you give us that the media is not?
Emotion and reality. I am there, every day, in the streets fighting off and capturing secret police and thugs, treating the injured and standing united with my brothers and sisters of Egypt as we cry together for freedom in one voice.
At this time I still see a strong connection and positivity within our protesters both in my city and in Tahrir Square and Cairo. Everyone is smiling and happy, they know that soon our country will be free and under it's own rule for one of the first times in modern history. A fact which scares many countries that are currently taking advantage of us and helping to make Hosni Mubarak a multi-billionaire.
This happiness is characteristic of our people; even while being pelted with stones we make jokes. We make cartoon images for the Internet, and self-reflecting jokes for Twitter. Even in this most serious of times, our people remain joyous.
The people of each finally see one another as free people, standing equal and together in order to defeat the forces of evil that oppress our great nation. It is a strange sensation that I never imagined possible to see my brother Muslims praying under the protective shield of Christians and Atheists protecting us from government police forces and criminals. Our resolve is doubled by the support we receive from the world via the Internet, without their continued support or viewing of our plight via various media outlets, it is doubtless that all protesters would be slaughtered in the streets en masse, rather than in small groups and singles.
We hear stories in the press about pro-Mubarak groups. These are the groups riding camels and horses, attacking the protesters in the street with sticks and swords. Why did they ride camels and horses in a such attack?
This is a terror tactic, another subversive warfare tactic spawned by Mubarak's military training intended to chase people off the streets and back indoors. The people understand that this, coupled with other successions being made, demonstrates weakness and disparity. It serves to draw us together more tightly to demand an end to half a decade of mistreatment. We do not accept or believe their apologetic lies presented to the media as they continue to harm our men, women and children at random. They are apologizing for being caught on cameras, not for their actions.
If Mubarak and his people are able to successfully silence media access to Tahrir Square, we fear that the Mubarak regime and the Presidential Guard, who has yet to be seen, will end this struggle quickly.
Do you hear the echoes of your freedom rally rally around the world?
Yes , when i see those rally for us in here in Egypt on the news, I have feelings of joy, excitement, and pride. It gives us faith that we are not alone fighting and that many support us and the quest for freedom. It empowers us to continue fighting for our freedom, protesting and standing up until this corrupt and inhuman regime is defeated, so that other oppressed people of the world may find renewed hope. I believe as many do. The worldwide support on the Internet and in organized protests is the best support network imaginable and gives us the will and power to continue in the face of nameless threats. We send our thanks to people the world over for talking about, re-tweeting and sharing our stories and images and receive especially strong support from our friends on the Internet in Turkey and the United States.
What would you like to say to the world, United States, and Turkey?
Thank you for your outstanding and continued support, we no longer feel alone in our struggle. Please continue to keep us and our struggle in your hearts and prayers.
I would like to say one last thing, as a doctor. I have been transferring and treating many and I will never be able to remove the scenes of babies and animals suffering from tear gas fired into homes, and of the brave young man who was the first to die as the police opened fire on us January 25th. I feel guilty that my life was not lost as I recall watching many of my peaceful and unarmed friends being arrested, abused, and slaughtered around me at the hands of our own government.
The open and unified suffering and abuse that our people have witnessed since the beginning of this protest has opened the eyes of all Egyptians. We simply will not return to that way of life.
I, and my people, take these feelings and draw from them infinite resolve and commitment to a free and democratic Egypt in remembrance of those who gave their lives and lead us on our path to freedom that fateful Tuesday, January 25, 2011.
The continuing part of the interview with Dr. Ismail Kara
Ismail Kara is arguably the foremost academic expert on Turkish Islamism. Although he is a prolific writer and a public intellectual, his work is little known among non-Turkish speaking audiences.The following interview with Kara aims to close this gap. Micah Hughes, a doctoral candidate at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill translated the original text of the interview from Turkish into English under supervision of Cemil Aydin (UNC Chapel Hill). Interview questions were prepared by Cemil Aydin, Huseyin Yilmaz (GMU), Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu (GMU), Peter Mandaville (GMU) and Ahmet Koroglu (Istanbul University). Ahmet Koroglu provided visual material from Istanbul as well as spearheading the project. Kara's detailed bio information and a list of his publications are presented at the end of the interview text.
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