Wednesday, 16 February 2011

FIDEL ON THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION

Poverty, Food Prices and the Crisis of Imperialism
The Revolutionary Rebellion in Egypt
By FIDEL CASTRO
February 15, 2011

Several days ago I said that Mubarak's fate was sealed and that not even Obama
was able to save him.

The world knows about what is happening in the Middle East. News spreads at
mind-boggling speed. Politicians barely have enough time to read the dispatches
arriving hour after hour. Everyone is aware of the importance of what is
happening over there.

After 18 days of tough struggle, the Egyptian people achieved an important
objective: overthrowing the main United States ally in the heart of the Arab
nations. Mubarak was oppressing and pillaging his own people, he was an enemy to
the Palestinians and an accomplice of Israel, the sixth nuclear power on the
planet, associated with the war-mongering NATO group.

The Armed Forces of Egypt, under the command of Gamal Abdel Nasser, had thrown
overboard a submissive King and created a Republic which, with the support of
the USSR, defended its Homeland from the Franco-British and Israeli invasion of
1956 and preserved its ownership of the Suez Canal and the independence of its
ancient nation.

For that reason, Egypt had a high degree of prestige in the Third World. Nasser
was well-known as one of the most outstanding leaders of the Non-Aligned
Movement, in whose creation he took part along with other well-known leaders of
Asia, Africa and Oceania who were struggling for national liberation and for the
political and economic independence of the former colonies.

Egypt always enjoyed the support and respect of that international organization
which brings together more than one hundred countries. At this precise time,
that sister country is chairing NAM for a corresponding three-year period; and
the support of many of its members for the struggle its people are engaged in
today is a given.

What was the significance of the Camp David Agreements, and why do the heroic
Palestinian people so arduously defend their most essential rights?

At Camp David ―with the mediation of then-President of the United States
Jimmy Carter―, Egyptian leader Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister
Menahem Begin signed the famous treaties between Egypt and Israel.

It is said that secret talks went on for 12 days and on September 17th of 1978
they signed two important treaties: one in reference to peace between Egypt and
Israel; the other having to do with the creation of the autonomous territory in
the Gaza Strip and the West Bank where, el-Sadat was thinking – and Israel was
aware of and sharing the idea –the capital of the State of Palestine would be,
and whose existence, as well as that of the State of Israel, was agreed to by
the United Nations on November 29, 1947, in the British protectorate of
Palestine.

At the end of arduous and complicated talks, Israel agreed to withdraw their
troops from Egyptian territory in the Sinai, even though it categorically
rejected Palestinian participation in those peace negotiations.

As a product of the first treaty, in the term of one year, Israel reinstated
Sinai territory occupied during one of the Arab-Israeli wars back to Egypt.

By virtue of the second agreement, both parties committed to negotiate the
creation of the autonomous regime in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The first
of these included 5 640 square kilometres of territory and 2.1 million
inhabitants; and the second one, 360 square kilometres and 1.5 million
inhabitants.

The Arab countries were offended by that treaty where, in their opinion, Egypt
had not defended with sufficient energy and resolution a Palestinian State whose
right to exist had been the focal point of the battle fought for decades by the
Arab States.

Their reactions reached such a level of indignation that many of them broke off
their relations with Egypt. Thus, the United Nations Resolution of November
1947 was erased from the map. The autonomous body was never created and thus the
Palestinians were deprived of their right to exist as an independent state; that
is the origin of the never-ending tragedy they are living in and which should
have been resolved more than three decades ago.

The Arab population of Palestine are victims of genocidal actions; their lands
are confiscated or deprived of water supplies in the semi-desert areas and their
homes are destroyed with heavy wrecking equipment. In the Gaza Strip a million
and a half people are regularly being attacked with explosive projectiles, live
phosphorus and booby-trap bombs. The Gaza Strip lands are being blockaded by
land and by sea. Why are the Camp David agreements being talked about to such a
degree while nobody mentions Palestine?

The United States is supplying the most modern and sophisticated weaponry to
Israel to the tune of billions of dollars every year. Egypt, an Arab country,
was turned into the second receiver of US weapons. To fight against whom?
Another Arab country? Against the very Egyptian people?

When the population was asking for respect for their most basic rights and the
resignation of a president whose policy consisted of exploiting and pillaging
his own people, the repressive forces trained by the US did not hesitate for a
second in shooting at them, killing hundreds and wounding thousands.

When the Egyptian people were awaiting explanations from the government of their
own country, the answers were coming from senior officials of the United States
intelligence or government bodies, without any respect for Egyptian officials.

Could it possibly be that the leaders of the United States and their
intelligence agencies knew nothing at all about the colossal thefts perpetrated
by the Mubarak government?

Before the people were to protest en masse from Tahrir Square, neither the
government officials nor the United States intelligence bodies were uttering one
single word about the privileges and outrageous thefts of billions of dollars.

It would be a mistake to imagine that the people's revolutionary movement in
Egypt theoretically obeys a reaction to violations on their most elementary
rights. Peoples do not defy repression and death, nor do they remain for nights
on end protesting energetically, just because of merely formal matters. They do
this when their legal and material rights are being mercilessly sacrificed to
the insatiable demands of corrupt politicians and the national and international
circles looting the country.

The poverty rate was now affecting the vast majority of a militant people, young
and patriotic, with their dignity, culture and beliefs being trampled.

How was the unstoppable increase of food prices to be reconciled with the dozens
of billions of dollars that were being attributed to President Mubarak and to
the privileged sectors of the government and society?

It's not enough now that we find out how much these come to; we must demand they
be returned to the country.

Obama is being affected by the events in Egypt; he acts, or seems to act, as if
he were the master of the planet. The Egyptian affair seems to be his business.
He is constantly on the telephone, talking to the leaders of other countries.

The EFE Agency, for example, states: "…I spoke to the British Prime Minister
David Cameron; King Abdala II of Jordan, and with the Turkish prime minister,
the moderate Muslim Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

"…the president of the United States assessed the `historical changes' that the
Egyptians have been promoting and he reaffirmed his admiration for their efforts
…".

The principal US news agency, AP, is broadcasting some reasoning that we should
pay attention to:

"The US is asking Middle Eastern leaders leaning towards the West, who are
friendly with Israel and willing to cooperate in the fight against Islamic
extremism at the same time they are protecting human rights."

"…Barack Obama has put forward a list of ideal requisites that are
impossible to satisfy after the fall of two allies of Washington in Egypt and
Tunisia in popular revolts that, according to experts, shall sweep the region."

"There is no hope within this dream scenario and it's very difficult for one
to appear soon. Partially this is due to the fact that in the last 40 years, the
US has sacrificed the noble ideals of human rights, that it so espouses, for
stability, continuity and oil in one of the most volatile regions of the world."

"`Egypt will never be the same', Obama said on Friday after praising the
departure of Hosni Mubarak."

"In the midst of their peaceful protests, Obama stated, the Egyptians `will
change their country and the world'.

"Even as restlessness persists among the various Arab governments, the elite
entrenched in Egypt and Tunisia has not shown signs of being willing to hand
over the power or their vast economic influence that they have been holding."

"The Obama government has insisted that the change should not be one of
`personalities'. The US government set this position since President Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunis in January, one day after Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton warned the Arab rulers in a speech in Qatar that without reform
the foundations of their countries `would sink in the sand'."

People don't appear to be very docile in Tahrir Square.

Europe Press recounts:

"Thousands of demonstrators have arrived in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of
mobilizations that caused the resignation of the president of the country, Hosni
Mubarak, to reinforce those continuing in that location, despite the efforts of
the military police to remove them, according to information from the BBC.

"The BBC correspondent stationed in the downtown square of Cairo has assured
us that the army is appearing to be indecisive in the face of the arrival of new
demonstrators …"

"The `hard core' […] is located on one of the corners of the square. […]
they have decided to stay in Tahrir […] in order to make certain all their
claims are being met."

Despite what is happening in Egypt, one of the most serious problems being faced
by imperialism at this time is the lack of grain.

The US uses an important part of the corn it grows and a large percentage of the
soy harvest for the production of biofuels. As for Europe, it uses millions of
hectares of land for that purpose.

On the other hand, as a consequence of the climate change originated basically
by the developed and wealthy countries, a shortage of fresh water and foods
compatible with population growth at a pace that would lead to 9 billion
inhabitants in a mere 30 years is being created, without the United Nations and
the most influential governments on the planet, after the disappointing meeting
at Copenhagen and Cancun warning and informing the world about that situation.

We support the Egyptian people and their courageous struggle for their political
rights and social justice.

We are not opposed to the people of Israel; we are against the genocide of the
Palestinian people and we are for their right to an independent State.

We are not in favour of war, but in favour of peace among all the peoples.

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