Monday, April 26, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
CAIRO: A National Democratic Party MP yesterday urged the government to intensify efforts to put an end to the Egyptian people, who he described as “standing in the way of Egypt’s progress”.
Rizel El-Zeft was speaking during a parliamentary session during which members of the Banned Organisation challenged government plans to use deceased citizens to construct a wall around ports of entry into Egypt.
NDP member Mofeed Shehab said that the wall was a first step to removing from Egypt “elements determined to unweave the weft of our society by bringing with them subversive ideas about promoting bald-headed jumped up secretaries to positions of power”.
Shehab said that this could not be allowed to continue, citing the millions of Egyptian pounds that had to be paid out during the last elections in order to ensure that Egyptians voted for the correct candidate.
A member of the Banned Organization interrupted Shehab in order to condemn the presence of baton-wielding thugs during parliamentary and local elections.
Shehab joined the member of the Banned Organization in condemning the thugs who he said are too expensive for the value they provide.
He stressed that as a business-friendly government issues of cost-saving and quality must take priority, adding that if the member of the Banned Organization continued to interrupt him he would ask NDP member and goalkeeper Ahmed Shobeir to benchmark his head.
“If we must have elections, I suggest that we use special electrified voting cards. This way, if a citizen makes the incorrect choice in the polling station he is dispensed with immediately without the need to employ excessive numbers of personnel for this purpose”.
The debate then turned to the issue of protests.
"I don't know why the Interior Ministry is so lenient with those who break the law. Instead of using water hoses to disperse them, the police ought to shoot them; they deserve it,” NDP member Hassan Nashat El-Rassaas proclaimed.
He was immediately rebuked by PA speaker Fathy Sorour.
“And I suppose you’ve sat down and done the calculations about how much the bullets would cost?” Sorour said, before shouting “STOP! HAMMER TIME” and throwing his mallet at El-Rassaas’ head.
As El-Rassaas’ lifeless body was removed from parliament Sorour said, “one down, 79,999,999 to go”.
The issue was taken up by NDP member Ahmed Ezz who said that protestors are dealt with adequately by karate death squads who beat them to death at a quarter of the expense. Ezz added that the use of this traditional method of crowd control is also better for the environment as it does not involve smoke emissions, as is the case with canons - a method of crowd control proposed by the head of the PA’s security committee.
Ezz also proposed that citizens’ bodies be buried in the foundations of constructions in the new cities in order that potential building land is not taken up by cemetries.
The Banned Organization member asked Ezz who would live in these buildings if the NDP was planning to get rid of the entire Egyptian people.
Ezz objected to the accusation with some vigour, even throwing his cushion at the Banned Organization member while condemning his “twisting of the facts”.
“Egyptians who possess two nationalities or two companies will be spared the clean-up,” Ezz explained.
After the debate members of the Banned Organization were invited to throw themselves off the October Bridge at its highest point.
Howa dah el 7al Habib El-Adly said, dusting off his hands as he walked away through Cairo’s deserted streets.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The existence of a sort of nervous anger immediately struck me when I arrived. Around two hundred people were assembled outside the public prosecutor’s office. The usual buffer zone of absent black-clad riot police lined the perimeter of the area. Beyond them the men in suits and sunglasses.
A group of young people began congregating at one end of the pen in which the demonstrators were being held. The slow surge gradually gained intensity, to chants of, “why are you fencing us in?” The riot police started looking unsure. Suddenly there was an enormous push and the steel barrier between protestors and the police was lifted up. The riot police – conscripts, from impoverished backgrounds – hesitated, looked behind them for orders. Reinforcements were brought in and the surge was stopped.
On the other side of the road Bahaa appeared, and began chanting. Bahaa is a protest veteran who seems to like to take risks if not actively provoke the police. Today he swaggered (there’s no other word for it) up and down 26th July Street waving his arm above his head while police officers chased behind him making a feeble attempt to pen him in. He continued marching and shouting. Other protestors joined him when it looked like the police were beginning to lose patience.
At the same time protestors under the impression that Bahaa was being arrested again tried to storm the barrier. Concentrating on this, I lost track of what was happening with Bahaa. The next time I looked he was prostrate on the ground surrounded by people throwing water on him in an attempt to revive him. He had apparently fainted.
He woke up, got up and again started chanting, before pulling off an officer’s hat and throwing it in the air. This seemed to be the last straw. The beating began, and from my vantage point Bahaa disappeared in sea of arms and fists. One officer actually slapped another across the face after pulling him off Bahaa.
Sayyed, another demonstrator who went to Bahaa’s aid was also set upon, after he slapped an officer who had been hitting him across the back of the neck. They chased him down like a pack of dogs and then roughly four officers beat him unconscious. You can see it the video below. An officer pulls them off while behind him Sayyed slowly slips down the car the officer is propping him up against.
Improbably, Bahaa reappeared after this, topless, his hair dripping wet from the earlier dousing of water and his trousers half falling down his legs revealing what looked like a black thong-type affair. Some of the demo wolf-whistled. But Bahaa looked both pitiful and manic. He was again set upon by tens of police officers who flagged down a passing taxi and attempted to bundle him in. They were unsuccessful and the taxi driver sped off. Another taxi was stopped and Bahaa pushed inside. Four of five officers got in with him and sat on top of him. I don’t know where he was taken.
There was calm after Bahaa and Sayyed were assaulted, and demonstrators began leaving. A protestor sitting on the railing next to me tried talking to the conscripts. Attempted to persuade them to refuse to obey orders because once they’ve finished their service they’ll go back to their lives where they’ll be fucked over by the state they’re currently protecting. They looked up impassively. Childlike is not the correct epithet, because these are hardened men who will use their batons if instructed to.
Wretched is a better description. Wretched and stoic and, as usual, they – the silent poor – were on the frontline of Egypt’s relentless march to a better future: quite literally standing between the old guard and the forces of change, absorbing the blows of a battle not really being fought in their name. How will Mohamed ElBaradei or Hamdeen Sabahy or the workers’ movement reach these people? Once they take off their uniforms and disappear back into their underworld; illiterate, uneducated, too busy surviving on the margins to be angry, too marginal for their anger to count. Who will reach them?
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 02, 2010
To the Delta today, where I watched ElBaradei do his stuff through a rugby scrum of media in Mansoura.