Foreign policy goals of Egyptian democrats…

Many U.S. commentators have tried to “sanitize” the foreign-policy impact of Egypt’s still-ongoing revolution, by claiming that Egypt’s current democrats have no foreign policy goals (unlike all those “uncivilized” Egyptians in the past who had dreams of Arab nationalism and such.)
As’ad Abu Khalil points to this video from Tahrir Square’s million-person gathering in Cairo yesterday, where the slogan repeated over and over was “To Jerusalem we’re going, to be martyrs in our millions”.
Honestly, why not? The Israeli government keeps on talking about how Jerusalem is so “open” to believers of all faiths. So why shouldn’t a million or two Egyptians– Muslims and Christians– simply organize a convoy and drive there to worship at their holy sites?
From the logistical point of view, getting to Rafah/Gaza is the hard part: Four-five hours of driving. Once you get to Rafah, it’s about 30 minutes to drive the length of Gaza and then only about 50 minutes to Jerusalem. Hey, they could take with them some of those many Gaza Palestinians who have never in their life had the chance to leave the long-besieged Gaza Strip, let alone to visit and pray in their national capital in Occupied East Jerusalem.
Oh, you say the Israelis would block this convoy? Where, and using what what means, I wonder? (Maybe that’s what the “martyrs in our millions” refers to.)
On the other hand, 40 years of a completely U.S.-dominated “diplomacy” have done not one thing to bring Palestinian Muslims and Christians the ability to worship at their holy sites in Jerusalem. Indeed, since the conclusion of the Oslo Accord in 1993, the freedom of Palestinian Christians and Muslims to worship in Jerusalem has become far more restricted than it was beforehand.
And U.S. “diplomacy” has brought a whole Calvary of other disasters to Palestine’s Christians and Muslims, too. Including the metastatic growth of those that settler-colonial project that Amb. Susan Rice protected with her veto yesterday.
An American friend has described the chants in Tahrir yesterday as “bellicose”. What is bellicose about saying you’re going to pray at your holy sites in Jerusalem, and you’re prepared a die as a martyr if necessary to get there?
Don’t western Christians have a long history of understanding and respecting the concept of martyrdom, that is, being prepared to die for what you believe in? (As 365 of Egypt’s pro-democracy activists already have.)

5 thoughts on “Foreign policy goals of Egyptian democrats…

  1. colindale london

    It is now apparent that the US has been supplying, for decades, a number of different states with warplanes, tanks, missiles, rockets and other military equipment that have been used for violent internal repression. Egypt, Bahrain and Israel (in Gaza) being just three of the countries now known to have used US supplied armaments to kill civilian demonstrators and/or pro-democracy activists.
    America, the world’s most powerful democracy, has clearly been responsible for this reprehensible conduct throughout a number of different administrations including those of both Bush and Obama. The only viable explanation for such self-defeating and undemocratic action by both Republicans and Democrats is that they have succumbed to powerful pressure from politically motivated, minority lobby groups representing foreign interests, in the House and Senate.
    As for the foreign policy goals of Egyptian democrats – I am sure that there first objective will be to immediately open their borders with Gaza and break the illegal blockade of Israel that denies a half a million Palestinian families essential food, materials and medical supplies.
    Until the American electorate wakes up to the supporting of repressive regimes that is tragically being done in its name, we in Europe, can only look forward to a nuclear-armed world that will eventually explode in our children’s faces, if not in ours.

  2. Daniel

    I’m confused by this post – can’t tell where/whether you’re being ironic – and I’m confused by 2 million Egyptians chanting that particular slogan. To date, I haven’t seen any reason to doubt the protestors’ insistence that their uprising is secular and pluralistic in nature. That’s why the chant is confusing: to a Westerner like me ignorant of Egyptian culture, it points in a non-secular direction. I don’t have a clue why they were chanting it. It seems ludicrous to take it literally, so is it symbolic? If so, what of? Is it about Jeruslaem as a religious centre, as you suggest? If so, does that imply a rather more prominent role for religion in the current popular movement than most of us have been assuming? Alternatively, is it about the Palestinians? Is it bellicosity towards Israel, as some are saying?
    Strangely, none of the posts I’ve been able to track down on this gives anything resembling a satisfactory explanation. Surely you don’t believe they’re really talking about travel plans? And surely it is easy to see how some could interpret “dying as martyrs by the millions” as bellicose? My gut feeling (based only on what I’ve seen in the last few weeks) tells me that’s a misinterpretation, but the point is it’s not obvious.
    Makes me wish I could personally ask some of the brave, educated Egyptians I’ve seen interviewed who speak remarkable English – some of whom were no doubt in that crowd themselves – what that was really about.

  3. bevin

    It is quite clear that any change of any sort in the Arab lands has to lead to a re-evaluation of the decision to abandon the Palestinians.
    What is curious, for those who do not understand the fascist political record, is that, given more than four decades of breathing room and every opportunity to make peace on the most favourable terms, Israel has chosen to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wants all. Or nothing.
    It has had numerous opportunities, as the recently released Palestine Papers confirm, to come out of negotiations with about 85% of historic Palestine. And to do so with a treaty co-signed and guaranteed by the US, the EU powers and every other country amenable to pressure. Virtually the entire world, in other words.
    God willing, such days are past. And, one suspects, the only people who don’t understand that they are past, are not the ultras in Israel but the utterly irresponsible, Dennis Ross types who rule Washington but who, unlike the Israelis, are simply playing games, with other peoples lives.
    For AIPAC and the big donors who plant colonies in the West Bank and drive the people of Jerusalem from their ancestral homes (or rather who finance these things because they do nothing, these are the prototype chicken hawks, pushing the vulnerable families of religious maniacs and economic refugees into the firing line, for the hell of it) there is nothing to worry about. There is still only one way to deal with Arabs, Orde Wingate’s way, Begin’s way, Sharon’s way, to ensure that they are unarmed and then to crush them. To tie them up and then to beat them.
    The tragic aspect of this is that, for almost a century now, certainly since the 1930s, it has been zionist policy to make the Palestinians hate them. At every stage offers of compromise and conciliation have been spurned. Zionists have seen the absolute defeat and exile of the indigenous people as being necessary for the fulfilment of their project.
    So they have sown. Now they must reap. And so must those who have, because they are as devoid of imagination and sense as they are of conscience, backed Israel in its bullying.
    As a Canadian I am really happy that the General Assembly did not elect this country to the Security Council, last year. Had they done so Canada would have insisted on voting along with the US last week. That ignominy we have been spared.

  4. brian

    ‘An American friend has described the chants in Tahrir yesterday as “bellicose”. What is bellicose about saying you’re going to pray at your holy sites in Jerusalem, and you’re prepared a die as a martyr if necessary to get there?’
    wll this happen? highly unlikely..why? because this so called revolution has gone as far as it will be allowed.
    It served its purpose: a regime change…now it will die down, and all that will be left is the military to mop up the diehards.
    This whole arab uprising looks alwfully Iran (not a arab nation) we clearly see Colour revolutionary yuppies seizing then moment.
    and why do we never see this sort of thing in a place like the US?There the few protestors keep to their free speech zones, and police agent provacateurs in the crowd create violence to invite a crackdown.

Comments are closed.