All up in their face

A few issues with this piece in CiF today.

‘this cyclical “in your face” protest movement that has failed to change much in the past few years’

In a slightly unfortunate choice of words, Mayton seems to be saying that it is the protesters themselves creating the confrontational situation on the streets of Cairo – compared to the police, who get ‘in your face’ to the extent that faces are left bleeding and broken.

‘for if they were able to choreograph a united protest of thousands, walking hand in hand taking the police blows and standing their ground, the west would have to take notice. It would more than embarrass the Mubarak regime and show the world that Egyptians are united’

Ah, if they were able. In a state where a hundred people protesting in the same place is an achievement, let alone thousands, let’s take things one step at a time. On April 6th it was impossible for just a few people to gather in Tahrir Sq. Organisation has to take place through the fragile links of social media. Fair point about the disunity of opposition (and the western media’s hunger for mass spectacle) but this is going to remain a pipe dream for a long time.

‘The opposition must show the world this is wrong.’

Again, opposition could be more united, but the western media could sit up and take notice of what is a large-scale protest movement that merits more attention. The onus should not only be on the protesters to somehow prove their movement is worth the world’s notice.

‘Egyptians can employ a similar method of boycott to attack the sacred economic structure of the government on the road to overarching change’

The American and Egyptian economies are hardly comparable in these terms. The Egyptian economy is far more informal – a boycott would harm ordinary Egyptians far more than the ‘sacred economic structure’ (what does that even mean?) of the government, which is tied to big business and foreign investment.

‘There must be compassion. Everyone is Egyptian: the protesters, the riot police and the government. This seems to have been lost in the anger and violence that has accompanied rightful action.’

Wow. Compassion? For plain clothes thugs who break arms, push women to the ground, and drag protesters off to face detention and torture? The violence comes from a heavy handed response to peaceful protest. And the anger – I’d call it as rightful as the action.


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