Yesterday, Joe Biden was asked if the time has “come for President Mubarak of Egypt to go?” and he answered:
“No. I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that – to be more responsive to some… of the needs of the people out there…Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”
The Egyptian regime is clamping down hard: they stopped the internet altogether, they stopped SMS, (and Twitter and Facebook obviously shut down). Vodaphone and two other phone companies stopped SMS. Najib Suwayrus, the Egyptian billionaire friend of Jamal Mubarak, is a collaborator in the repression. Even the regime’s mouthpiece, Al-Ahram, has been shut down. Egyptian goons are erasing clips of repression from Youtube. In Suez, the land lines are down. What if this was Iran?? And when there were protests in Iran, Twitter (the company) and Facebook (the company) came out in support of the protesters. The US media were enamored with the protesters back then. Why are those protesters not sexy for you? You can’t say that they are Islamists this time (as if Islamists have no rights to protest–but let us go along with the argument for the sake of it), and yet they are all alone. It will be remembered (when you ask now and later why they hate us), that Mubrak’s repression took place with the full support of both parties in the US and the Obama administration. Do you know now why whenever a US official, any US official, ever utter the word “democracy”, Arabs get a strong urge to throw up? In Iran, the US covertly smuggled those cute camera pens for demonstrators. They were not cute enough for the Egyptian people.
But, of course, it’s not Iran, is it? Egypt is our most important ally in the region, and with friends like these, who needs enemies? We support them with billions a year in military aid; when Egyptian security forces kill protesters, they are using guns we paid for (and which were, most likely, bought from us). Those tear gas canisters say “Made in USA.”
This Washington Post article opens by asserting that “The Obama administration is openly supporting the anti-government demonstrations shaking the Arab Middle East,” and goes on to quote a bunch of administration people pledging everything from lukewarm support for Mubarak (Gibbs) to refusing to say anything substantive at all (Clinton). These people are disgraceful hypocrites.
This is how Ahdaf Soueif — yes, the awesome novelist – described protests yesterday:
Cross-published from Zunguzungu, where you can continue reading Aaron Bady’s post.