Thursday, February 10, 2011

captive nation: egypt and the west

MediaLens | In 1886, Tolstoy wrote:

‘Slavery has long been abolished. It was abolished in Rome, and in America, and in Russia, but what was abolished was the word and not the thing in itself.’ (Tolstoy, What Then Must We Do?, Green Classics, 1991, p.104)
In 2011, ‘the thing in itself’ is alive and well in Egypt. What an extraordinary spectacle it is - a dictatorship behaving as though an entire people were its personal property. Henchmen aside, the people have spoken, almost as one, and their demands are very clear. The blunt government response, in effect: We react as we want. If we don’t want to, we don’t have to. Why? Because we have a monopoly of violence.

A government thus stands exposed for what it is, a parasite feeding off the people it claims to represent.

And what of the West? Obama - Washington's bargain basement bodhisattva - said:
‘We pray that the violence in Egypt will end and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realised and that a better day will dawn over Egypt and throughout the world.’
Tolstoy, again, had the perfect retort:
‘I came to the simple and natural conclusion that if I pity a tired horse on which I am riding, the first thing I must do if I am really sorry for it, is to get off and walk on my own feet.’ (Tolstoy, op. cit., p.111)
But this the US elites pulling Obama’s strings will never do of their own volition – they have been riding the tired horse far too long. Thus, Hillary Clinton said of the Egyptian dictator on March 10, 2009:
‘I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family. So I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States.’


Thus, Middle East Envoy, Tony Blair, said of Mubarak on February 1, 2011:
‘Well, where you stand on him depends on whether you've worked with him from the outside or on the inside. And for those of us who worked with him over the - particularly now I worked with him on the Middle East peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians, so this is somebody I'm constantly in contact with and working with. And on that issue, I have to say, he's been immensely courageous and a force for good.’
As ever, Blair knows: he is ‘on the inside’ and has ‘worked with him’. As ever, Blair is sincere: ‘I have to say’ - truth compels him. As ever, Blair’s ‘force for good’ is enforcing somebody’s hell.

On January 30, 2011, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report, ‘“Work on Him Until He Confesses” - Impunity for Torture in Egypt.’

The report observes:
According to Egyptian lawyers and domestic and international human rights groups… law enforcement officials have used torture and ill-treatment on a widespread, deliberate, and systematic basis over the past two decades to glean confessions and information, or to punish detainees. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has confirmed the systematic nature of torture in Egypt.’

Abuses include ‘beatings, electric shocks, suspension in painful positions, forced standing for long periods, waterboarding, as well as rape and threatening to rape victims and their family’.

The horrors constitute ‘an epidemic of habitual, widespread, and deliberate torture perpetrated on a regular basis by security forces against political dissidents, Islamists allegedly engaged in terrorist activity, and ordinary citizens suspected of links to criminal activity or who simply look suspicious’.
Our search of the LexisNexis database found that HRW’s report has so far received three mentions in the national UK press.