On June 23, 2014, Sisi’s vision of “Egyptian democracy” were made obvious when AlJazeera journalists Peter Grest, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Ghorab and several other journalists (some in absentia) were sentenced from 7 to 10 years for doing their journalistic duties.
This sentencing comes despite complete lack of evidence of any threat to Egypt’s national security. This also comes after US Secretary of State, John Kerry visited Egypt’s President on the matter and of course, the issuance of military aid from the US, a total of half a billion US tax dollars.
Family, friends, supporters and journalists were forcefully removed from the courts after the hearing. Several images on Twitter have shown police angrily placing hands on camera lenses and chasing people out of the entrances. After going a few steps forward on January 25, 2011, Egypt has now gone several hundreds steps back on June 23, 2014.
I still have hope and know deep down that this not the end of the revolution. The struggle remains, the voices louder, the revolution continues.
On Friday, November 18th an organized peaceful protest was held in Tahrir Square to address the dissatisfaction many citizens have of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (also known as SCAF) currently running the nation since Hosny Mubarak’s fall in February. Of course, the main concern is the military trials of civilians, including that of Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abdelfattah alongside thousands of others.
Friday’s protest took place in Tahrir Square, similar to the many Occupy Movement protests happening here in my Bay Area hometown cities of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. The reaction from police and the military however has turned this peaceful protest into complete violent chaos!
Police and SCAF soldiers entered the square attacking protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas. Many reported that the tear gas used seemed to be more lethal than those used in the past. There were reports of protesters suffering from eye and nose irritations as well as seizures after inhaling these toxins. And surprise, the tear gas is “Made in the USA”!! A company by the name of Combined Tactical Systems (CTB) seems to be behind the latest in tear gases that are more lethal, similar to those used in Yemen. Ironically, the company’s website address is less-lethal.com. We need to call our representatives here in the USA to stop selling or sending these products to SCAF! CTB’s address and phone number can be found at the end of this rant.
This violent attack also saw several protesters being shot directly in the eye, either from close range or trained snipers. One in particular is activist Ahmed Harara who lost his right eye on January 28th. He lost his left eye on Saturday November 19th amongst other activists who were actually in the hospital with him being treated by the same doctor. He is now completely blind but in unbelievable high spirits. He is my hero!
Later a video surfaced of SCAF and police congratulating each other on shooting a man in the eye! Even if one doesn’t know Arabic, it’s just disgusting and graphic to hear these officers cheer on the shooting and possibly killing civilians they are suppose to be protecting!
Thanks to social media and none to the many state-run new stations, Egyptians were made well aware of these attacks taking place in Tahrir Square. Solidarity protests took place in Alexandria, Suez and surrounding counties on Saturday and Sunday. There were reports of protesters sitting in at several police stations, ministry offices and outside SCAF facilities. The only major report came from Alexandria and Suez when riot police responded with tear gas.
Back in Tahrir Square on Sunday, the Imam of the Omar Makram Mosque tried to call a cease-fire between both sides when police on several occasions attacked the makeshift hospital in the square and inside the mosque. Many doctors carried the injured as they escaped the tear gas bombs. It didn’t last long for I received statements from people on the front lines that they were being attacked again after “the truce” lasted maybe 10 minutes! Many took refuge in near by churches, mosques and homes.
At the American University of Cairo (AUC) on the other side of Tahrir Square, several snipers were spotted on the rooftop shooting at the protesters below. Many protesters were able to escape tear gas bombs and bullets, both lethal and rubber. Again, many tweeted how they were having difficulty breathing and irritation in many parts of their bodies. Others saw many shot directly in the eye, head and neck including several dying on the scene. One very graphic photo shows a 23 year old man shot in the neck. Doctors in the makeshift hospital were unable to save him.
As of right now (Monday morning in Cairo, Sunday night in San Francisco), over 30 have been reported dead and at least 2,000 injured. This is with none stop violence since Friday night, almost 40 hours as I write this rant. What is happening in Egypt is not a second revolution because the first one never ended!
To stay up to date on the latest, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook as well as my updated Twitter list of all those tweeting from the front lines of not just Egypt but Yemen, Bahrain and Syria!
Combined Tactical Systems (CTB)
388 Kinsman Rd., Jamestown, PA 16134
Call your representatives today and ask them to stop supporting this company from selling these lethal tear gas products to SCAF in Egypt!!
Last night it was announced by President Obama that Osama bin Laden (OBL) was killed via a secret CIA mission. He got a bullet to the head, washed up and buried at sea. As I watched the people gather at the White House to rejoice over the news, I was a bit disturb.
Was justice served?
The president in his statement reminded us of the 3,000 plus lives lost on September 11, 2001 which was supposedly masterminded by OBL. He forgot to mention that many of them were not just Americans but individuals from around the world. I remind you that the majority of casualties died at the World Trade Center where several organizations from around the world were located.
He also reminded us that in response to this attack, we’ve lost many young men and women in uniform while many more are now learning to live with their injuries. May I remind you that many in the military now, including those who’ve lost their lives in the battle, may have been too young to remember this attack.
While our president mentioned that OBL was a mass murder who killed many citizens including Muslims. He forgot to mention that in response to this mass murderer, without the support of many in the world, the US went has been in longest running double war in Afghanistan and Iraq. This response murdered more citizens then OBL did in his lifetime. Theses wars has made several million people refugees who may or may not be able to one day return to their homes.
And since a person’s life may not be as valuable to all of us, the US has spent over $1.5 trillion dollars in this nine year long game of hide and seek.
May I remind you that the only beneficiary of these wars continue to be the oil companies that keep raising prices and companies with US military contracts such as Halliburton? You know, that one fat company owned by our previous fat VP?! Yea, that one!
Personally, I would have rather OBL be caught alive and tried for crimes against humanity… at least then, maybe this whole thing would be a bit more believable. I know many of us welcome the news but also wonder it came at a time when the people of the Middle East have risen loud and proud against their oppressors… Just saying!
Violence always begets violence, so let’s pray this news does not bring forth any OBL wanna-be’s. Let’s also pray this doesn’t bring forth any violent or hate responses as we’ve already got word of such thing happening against a mosque in Portland, Maine.
In the meantime, I’ll believe that justice was served when the president’s next statement is that we are FINALLY going to get out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq… I’m pushing it, right?