[IKHRAS NOTE] Ikhras is dedicated to exposing the fraudulent and unrepresentative nature of the elitist handful of self-appointed representatives of Arab-Americans in Washington DC, and amplifying the authentic voice of Arabs in America.
Special Guest Submission – Ayman El-Sayed is a New York-Based Lebanese-American journalist and activist. He is one of the founders of Existence is Resistance, an organization that promotes resistance through the arts and conducted its first hip hop tour throughout Palestine in the summer of 2010. The year before that, Ayman participated in an American convoy that traveled to Egypt and delivered medical aid to the Gaza Strip. Article originally appeared in Existence Is Resistance.
In Egypt, something amazing has happened. Something people knew needed to happen but were to too afraid to make it happen. The Egyptian people have inspired people throughout western Asia and northern Africa to stand up for their rights and demand participation in the decision making of their nation. For far too long, Arab and African nations have been ruled by kingdoms and governments like that in Egypt and Tunisia which might as well have been kingdoms.
On January 25th demonstrators, largely young and secular, using facebook and twitter, organized a massive gathering of Egyptians who were not able to take it anymore and were not going to go home until there was some serious change. Eighteen days later, Hosni Mubarak, the American-backed brutal dictator for 30 years finally resigned after first saying he would not meet the demands of the Egyptian people and instead unleashed the police and hired gangs who killed hundreds and injured thousands using American made and paid for weapons.
The Obama administration did not want Mubarak to go but at the same time had no problem dumping him if they can still maintain a subservient Egypt, one that did whatever Israel and America told it to do. Instead of focusing on how revolution in Egypt can affect the lives of Egyptians who sacrificed, too much attention has been paid to how Israel will be affected by change in Egypt. Who cares if this will bring equality and more freedoms to tens of millions of Egyptians, we need to know how it affects Israel, an apartheid state the United States supports and backs and that in many ways determines American policy in the region and around the world.
Will democracy in Egypt harm Israeli interest is the question being posed by many talking heads in the media and I want to answer them with an unequivocal yes it will. The vast majority of the Egyptian people oppose the colonialist project happening to their brothers and sisters next door in Palestine. The so-called peace treaty was imposed on Egypt by force and led to the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat who signed it. Many Egyptians did want an end to the fighting but did not want Egypt to turn into an accomplice of Israel. Some of the chants during the revolution were about Mubarak being an Israeli agent.
After Egypt signed the peace treaty and recognized Israel, the money from America started coming in. $1.3 to 2 billion dollars is given to the Egyptian state each year to maintain its police state, corruption and forced peace with Israel. Since 1978, it is estimated that the US gave the Egyptian dictatorship $38 billion. Egypt receives the second most amount of aid after Israel so that tells you have valuable and important the peace treaty and Hosni Mubarak are to the US and Israel.
Currently, the brave Egyptians demonstrators who forced Mubarak to resign are focused on their internal matters and are trying to free themselves from the grip of the Egyptian elite and military. They are not concerned with Israel, the border with Gaza or the treaty but the next government that takes over, if democratically elected and representative of the Egyptian people will no longer be a puppet of Israel like Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak were even if the border with Gaza stays shut for a while.
Many Egyptians who may have supported the peace treaty initially to stop the war and gain back lost territory have realized it did not benefit Egypt at all. In fact, it kept them behind with the Mubarak dictatorship controlling all the wealth and every aspect of Egyptian life. People were kept in this oppressive situation precisely because Egypt signed the peace treaty. The treaty was all that concerned Washington and it backed Mubarak until the end at the expense of freedom and democracy.
Egyptians were told that the treaty was vital for peace and stability in Egypt but the opposite was the case. Poverty became more widespread, police brutality and corruption became the norm, divisions between Egyptians and other Arabs over the treaty developed, sectarianism between Muslims and Christians was instigated and encouraged by the government. Now that the treaty had been signed, it must be preserved at all costs to the national interests of Egypt. These facts have exposed the lie that this treaty was good for Egypt.
We will have to wait and see what course the Egyptians take, will those who controlled the country under Mubarak all these years continue controlling the wealth and economy but under the military or a new government or will the people demand land reform, a redistribution of the wealth and an end to an Egypt that serves the interests of the enemy of Egyptians and others in the region.
What can be said for sure though is that this revolution in Egypt has been a threat to the policies of Israel, the US and to those Arab and African governments who serve them. The people of Egypt and Tunisia have shown us that we can bring forth massive change without the use of military force and maybe this is what really frightens Israel and its supporters.