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Fidel Castro: The revolutionary rebellion in Egypt

By Fidel Castro Ruz

February 13, 2011 -- Several days ago I said that Hosni 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 (NAM), 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 organisation which brings together more than 100 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 1978 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 then-Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin signed the infamous treaties between Egypt and Israel.

It is said that secret talks went on for 12 days and on September 17, 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 5640 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 neverending 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 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 theft 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 theft of billions of dollars.

People 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 in Egypt is 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.

US President Barack 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 newsagency, for example, states:

“… [Obama said] 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, Associayed Press 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 as I analysed in my Reflection on January 19.

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 originating 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. 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, are doing nothing about it.

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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