Thursday, February 3, 2011

They Fought 15 Hours Straight

with stones and sticks, against Mubarak "supporters" (aka paid thugs) in Tahrir Square, with women and children in the center, "young women in scarves and long skirts on their knees, breaking up the paving stones as rocks fell around them" as Robert Fisk saw them.

If this is not an inspiration, I don't know what is.

Robert Fisk has made it clear in his February 3 report that it was indeed Mubarak's men who were sent to cause chaos:

"President" Hosni Mubarak's counter-revolution smashed into his opponents yesterday in a barrage of stones, cudgels, iron bars and clubs, an all-day battle in the very centre of the capital he claims to rule between tens of thousands of young men, both – and here lies the most dangerous of all weapons – brandishing in each other's faces the banner of Egypt. It was vicious and ruthless and bloody and well planned, a final vindication of all Mubarak's critics and a shameful indictment of the Obamas and Clintons who failed to denounce this faithful ally of America and Israel.

The fighting around me in the square called Tahrir was so terrible that we could smell the blood. The men and women who are demanding the end of Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship – and I saw young women in scarves and long skirts on their knees, breaking up the paving stones as rocks fell around them – fought back with an immense courage which later turned into a kind of terrible cruelty.

Al Jazeera reports 5 dead, more than 800 injured.

Robert Fisk also hints at what I suspected to be Mubarak's motive in unleashing his thugs - to bring out radical, fundamental Islam:

And an increasing number were wearing Islamist dress, short trousers, grey cloaks, long beards, white head caps. They shouted Allahu Akbar loudest and they bellowed their love of God, which was not supposed to be what this was all about. Yes, Mubarak had done it. He had brought the Salafists out against him, alongside his political enemies.

...Many of the protesters – secular young men, pushing their way through the attackers – tried to defend the prisoners. Others – and I noticed an awful lot of "Islamists" among them, complete with obligatory beards – would bang their fists on these poor men's heads, using big rings on their fingers to cut open their skin so that blood ran down their faces. One youth, red T-shirt torn open, face bloated with pain, was rescued by two massive men, one of whom put the now half-naked prisoner over his shoulder and pushed his way through the crowd.

Who are the Salafists? They are radical, Muslim fundamentalists.

The last paragraph quoted above gives me despair and hope. Despair, because of these "Islamists" who would think nothing of cutting open their captured opponents' skin with their religious rings. Getting rid of Mubarak and his men only to be dominated by the cruel people like them? But then hope, because of the anti-Mubarak secular protesters rescuing the prisoner from the cruel treatment by these religious fanatics.

They are still fighting.

I am not into any religion, but if I knew how to pray I would pray for these courageous, secular, anti-Mubarak Egyptians so that they prevail.


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