The dictator- people relationship is primarily of fear and submission. You take that fear and submission out of the equation and the relation is redefined again and so disturbed to the verge of uprising.
By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat/ from Alexandria, Egypt
Dr . Ashraf Ezzat at the Egyptian one million -march on Tuesday, February1st.
History has always been one of my passions. Every passing moment has in a way contributed to our history on earth but only some of those moments made a change of history.
From the monotheism of Akhenaten in ancient Egypt to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, from the medieval crusades to the war in Iraq and from the French revolution to the fall of Berlin wall, those are some of the crucial moments that made a change of history and shaped our life.
Of all the uprisings and revolutions I’ve read about in history books, I never thought I’d be experiencing one in my life time. What is taking place right now in Egypt is undoubtedly a popular revolution against dictatorship that has been stifling the Egyptians for decades now. I myself have been a living witness to many years of corruption by that dictatorship but what Egyptians have actually lived and endured during the last days in Egypt was beyond anybody’s imagination. What the whole world is witnessing now in Egypt is not only a regime crumbling down but a whole age of authoritarianism in the Arab world fading away.
What the ordinary Egyptians have done on Tuesday 25th January is by no means unprecedented, they managed to not only defy the oppression and arrogance of a self serving political regime but they also proved the expectation that never saw them capable of challenging and revolting against dictatorship wrong.
Likewise, the reaction of Mubarak and his thugs of the ruling party-NDP- to this patriotic uprising has also been unprecedented. No one with the least level of conscience and human integrity could have planned and actually carried out such a dirty and shameful scheme.
The uprising started on Tuesday with beautiful and magical scenes of thousands of Egyptians of all walks of life- men and women, old and young and Muslim and Christian- taking to the streets of Cairo and all major cities of Egypt nonviolently chanting out their frustrations and aspirations. On the spot, demonstrators were intercepted and dealt with by what seemed to all viewers around the world as an organized and ruthless army of security forces.
Water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters were being shot at protestors at will and as soon as they were forced into side streets they were subjected to physical violence and intimidation.
The brutality of the Egyptian regime in the way it was trying to abort this nonviolent uprising and which was transmitted live by international news channels might have come as a shock to a lot of viewers around the world but for Egyptians it seemed rather expected and typical of a regime that turned their life into a dark tunnel of fear and degradation throughout the years.
The police conspiracy and the fall of the president Egyptian police forces trying to crush the protestors.
The police department in any free society is supposed to serve and protect the people and not the other way round. But in dictatorships its role isprimarily to look after the dictator in return for privileges and authorities offered to them by the regime.
And as the dictator gets more deluded and paranoid over the years so does his security apparatus of officers and detectives. The dictator- people relationship is primarily of fear and submission. You take that fear and submission out of the equation and the relation is redefined again and so disturbed to the verge of uprising.
For ordinary Egyptians the ballot posts and the police stations used to be the most unlikely places they wanted to go to for both were directly connected to the deception and might of the regime. The parliamentary and presidential rigged elections never did anything except securing another term of autocratic power to Mubarak and his chosen ring of corrupt politicians. And likewise, police stations only meant one thing to any average Egyptian and that is humiliation and intimidation by the police thugs of officers and small detectives.
You don’t get to call or address any police officer in Egypt by his job title, no, that’s a taboo, you can only address or refer to him as Pasha – a title equivalent to lord in England- which gave any police officer the satisfaction he needed to feel superior and authoritative. Ordinary people answered to the Egyptian police officer anytime – especially under the implementation of Mubarak’s emergency law- while he answered to no one.
Lately the security apparatus has started to use innovative ways of securing and fortifying the grip of the regime over the Egyptians. They started to use criminals, inmates and thugs to intimidate people away from demonstrations and from ballot posts. Whenever came a time for elections or probable rallies the police stations would release all the into-custody drug dealers and robbers under detention and let them infiltrate protestors in rallies or voters heading to ballots centers to scare them off and even try and physically harm them so that they would refrain from thinking of voting or demonstrating ever again.
This has noticeably been resorted to as a routine and guaranteed approach since 2005 by the Egyptian security high ranking officials and mastered by most of the on field police officers and detectives in the country.
The detectives in almost every police station in Egypt have been regularly taking bribes from outlaws especially drug dealers and robbers in return for police raids intelligence and facilitating their release from detention in case of arrest.
Criminals let loose by the police in Egypt
Criminals and detectives began to act in collaboration and as days went by it seemed that they both were pursuing the same goal of illegal self gain. Moreover people in Egypt began to find it hard to tell the detective from the outlaw except by the police ID card.
Given that, the police chiefs along with the Egyptian minister of interior, Habib Al Adli while working on standard plan (A) for confronting the protestors of January 25th did not forget to come up with a dirty plan (B)
The regime knew very well that the thousands of Egyptian protestors wouldn’t have managed to contact each other, organize their movements and galvanize on the concept of uprising without using the internet and especially social media like facebook and twitter so the regime first blocked those social media but that was not enough so they shut down the internet and even the mobile phone text messaging… and as the so called anti-riot forces were desperately trying hard with their gas canisters and rubber bullets to crush the protestors and disperse them the orders for plan (B) were already underway.
At the Friday sunset and as the protestors were keeping their ground and bracing for another round of courageous confrontations, the police forces -and all of a sudden -withdrew from the streets to be replaced by small and rather symbolic infantry units of the military.
The protestors cheered on watching the military units and people clustered around the armed vehicles and shook hands with the soldiers but little did they know what the regime had in store for them.
As night was falling over Cairo and major cities of Egypt the police conspiracy or ratherthe treasonwas already in play;
- All police stations around Egypt have become simultaneously deserted; all police officers were given an open home leave until further notice.
- The police stations were left with detectives and soldiers in charge without superior command and moreover with instructions to discreetly let the criminals loose.
- In few hours almost every police station in the country and every major city police headquarter had been looted and set on fire.
- A number of jail breaks began to occur the same night and the following day.
- Many incidents of looting and breaking entries began to be heard of around most cities of Egypt and reported by the state television.
- A nationwide panic and intimidation have begun to sweep across Egypt.
- With the absence of security forces the people began to form community watches to patrol the streets all night protecting properties and their loved one from possible attacks by the looters
- The overwhelming sense of insecurity has led a considerable fraction of the Egyptian people to look at the uprising from a pain-benefit perspective and be inclined to see an end to it one way or another and to even side with Mubarak who seemed to them as the only option to guarantee the security and stability they have sacrificed.
And this exactly what plan (B) has been all about, only people who fell for it never managed to figure out the conspiracy behind. The security vacuum that scared most Egyptians was nothing more than another dirty scheme by the Mubarak’s regime.
Theoretically speaking the security vacuum that follows any revolt never takes place except after the regime has completely fallen and which has not been the case in the Egyptian uprising. And since the Egyptian regime knew very well that the security vacuum is the thing Egyptians dread most and which could make them reconsider supporting the uprising, so the security high officials thought why not create this premature and fake vacuum just to terrorize the people into abandoning the uprising and to make them clear the streets and stick to their homes.
It seemed like ingenious plan but it was far from being perfect; a lot of the arrested looters proved to be carrying the police identity card and others were using the missing guns of the police stations in a clear indication to the conspiracy been carried out by the police, not to mention hundreds of escaped inmates whom were easily captured again but only after they have been filmed and put on farcical display on the state TV for the provocation of more fear and respect for the might of the regime
Fear is the name of the game in these days of unrest in Egypt during which the regime will do absolutely anything to cling to power including all sorts of deception of the masses. The police dirty conspiracy is far from over as we can watch now the armies of thugs and criminals being depolyed by the interior ministry high officials to start the violent confrontations with the peacefull protestors in a desperate polt to abort the Lotus uprising in Egypt.
Israel watching the uprising in Egypt
Military vehicles on the Egyptian streets
The world interest in the crisis in Egypt has a lot of reasons. Egypt is undoubtedly a pivotal nation in the Arab world and the Middle East; it is the main American ally in the Arab world and the recipient of the second largest American military aid. But most importantly because it is the biggest Arab neighbor country to the state of Israel with which it signed a peace treaty in 1979 after a long history of animosity and military confrontations.
On Sunday night, 30th January and on one of the live news shows that was discussing the uprising in Egypt, Omar Afifi, a former Egyptian police captain told BBC Arabic TV that – according to his resources in Washington- there is a close cooperation now between Mubarak and Israel as to how to control and subdue this uprising. Even more, he said that a cargo of special automatic sniper rifles were being shipped from Israel to the Egyptian internal security forces to be used to take down the leaders of the protestors in case the demonstrations were growing in number and getting out of control.
Any way and despite the fact that the veracity of those statements remain hard to verify but it goes without saying that Israel is watching this dramatic scenario of a close ally to Israel going down with great concern.
Israel enjoys a 30 years old peace treaty with Egypt- Camp David accords- during which Mubarak has kept not only its terms carefully observed but he also kept quiet borders with Israel and in a great way has helped Israel to tighten its siege on Gaza.
America and Israel are now contemplating the post-Mubarak scenario with fears that the shift of Egypt toward democracy and free elections would bring Islamists to power.
After almost 30 years of supporting a dictatorship in Egypt they hate to see another Iran or Hamas on the western borders of the Zionist state of Israel.
But that is unlikely to happen, not for the sake of Israel, but because Egypt is a country rich not only in history and culture but in its people and educated elites who never showed any inclination to adopt extreme trends of thinking or behavior and that is one sure thing that history tells us.
Dr Ashraf works as a Medical Doctor. Apart from the medical experience, he's always been engaged in writing activities. He writes articles about ancient Egyptian history, Ancient Near Eastern history, comparative religion and politics especially the Arab- Israeli conflict. Founder and board member of the bibliotheca Alexandrina friends society. Some of His articles have been published in Egyptian magazines and online publications. He regrets the fact that most people dismiss history out of their perspective whenever they tackle any problem or subject in their daily life. By understanding what has happened in the past and the current situation of today, we can better understand what can happen in the future. History is so important because each of us is part of the history that takes place. History does not stop at the textbooks, it merely continues until the end of time. Each one of us is a living textbook of what is to come. One last thing, he likes listening to opera and classical music.