Cry Freedom: Cairo Crowds Shred the Lies of the Power Players
Thursday, February 10, 2011
“The American power structure has been set reeling by something that is simply outside the boundaries of their mental universe: a non-violent, non-sectarian, non-ideological, leaderless revolution by ordinary people.”
For a few days, the imperial gang thought they had turned the tide — and their stenographers in the mainstream media followed suit. The protests in Egypt were running out of gas, we were told; now the power players were coming to the fore, in Washington and Cairo, to take charge of the situation and move things along — slowly, moderately — down a path of gradual reform and stability.
Newspapers ran pictures of the “nearly empty” Tahrir Square, sometimes in tandem with pictures of last week’s massive crowds. We saw shots of Egyptians “getting back to normal life” — going to the bank, shopping for shoes, crossing the street in suit, tie and briefcase on the way to the office. Attention was turned to the “moderate” figure who had taken the reins in Cairo, the dictator-appointed security chief Omar Suleiman. He was strongly backed by the Obama Administration as just the kind of steady, moderate hand we needed to make judicious concessions to the opposition without allowing the country to slip beyond the control of Washington’s foreign policy agenda. The general line among the imperial courtiers and their media sycophants was that the uprising had reached its peak and was now receding.
It was all a lie, part of the remarkably witless self-delusion that has afflicted the Washington-Cairo power structure from the beginning of the uprising: the illusion that they are still in control of events, that they can tinker a bit here, recalibrate a bit there, and still end up with the same system of elite domination and corruption basically in place.
But what we did see on Tuesday? The false reality painted for us by our betters simply melted away, and Cairo saw perhaps the largest protest yet, as hundreds of thousands of people filled Tahrir Square — including multitudes who were joining the uprising for the first time. Thousands more were gathering in front of the Parliament building in what the Guardian rightly called “a second front” of the uprising. And the Cairo crowds were joined by thousands massing in Alexandria, Suez and other cities across the nation.