Hosni Mubarak may be on trial, but don’t be fooled: Egypt’s revolution is falling apart, the guess who’s in charge? The military and the Muslim Brotherhood.
All of Egypt is stunned by the image of Mubarak and his cronies, clothed in white prison garb, in a steel cage in a Cairo courtroom.
But the revolution’s over.
Tahrir Square, the scene of massive protests in late January and February, and sporadically since, is cleansed of its youth movement. The last hundreds were driven out of the square by the army over the weekend, and hundreds arrested.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is in charge, and while they’re responsive now and then to public opinion, they’re doing whatever they want to.
The Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, an even more reactionary and radical (yes, pro-terrorist) faction, are able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people, as they did last week in Tahrir Square, overwhelming scattered secular and liberal demonstrators.
As Robert Fisk writes in The Independent:
“Revolution betrayed. The Egyptian army now colludes with the hated Muslim Brotherhood to bring you—well, a new Egypt that looks much like the old one, cleansed of Mubarak and most (not all) of his henchmen, but with the Army’s corrupt privileges (housing, complexes, banks, etc) safely maintained in return for allowing the bearded ones a share in power. Cut out of the picture: the young and secular revolutionaries who actually fought Mubarak’s security thugs off the streets in order to rid themselves of the 83-year old dictator.”
As the New York Times reported on August 1:
“Central Tahrir Square was forcibly cleared Monday of the remnants of a three-week-old sit-in protesting the slow pace of change since the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, with hundreds of Egyptian troops and security police officers shredding tents, arresting dozens of protesters, thwacking some with truncheons and sending about 200 others fleeing into nearby streets as the holy month of Ramadan began.”
The protest by the ultra-reactionary Muslim Brotherhood and the even more vile Salafists was massive, as the Washington Post told us last week.
“Tens of thousands of Islamist demonstrators thronged Tahrir Square on Friday to call for a more pious state, a stunning show of force that left the liberal pioneers of Egypt’s revolution reeling.”
Like know-nothing Christian fundamentalists in the United States, they targeted the left, progressives, secular activists and others who seemingly led the revolution—even though the far-better-organized Muslim Brotherhood provided the muscle all along. The Post quoted one of the Islamist protesters:
“’Secularists are all over the media, trying to marginalize us because they think we’re ignorant,’ said Islam Farris, a 23-year-old pharmacist who demonstrated in Tahrir. ‘For the first time in history, all Islamic movements are united here because the secularists are provoking us.’”
Well, they are ignorant, and reactionary, too. They chanted “Islam is the solution.”