At OccupyDC, Egypt’s revolutionaries chide U.S.

Social media activists say U.S. has abandoned their cause

Topics: Occupy Wall Street, ,

At OccupyDC, Egypt's revolutionaries chide U.S. Egyptian social media activist Ahmed Maher

Three of Egypt’s so-called Facebook revolutionaries told a crowd of 100 people who gathered Sunday afternoon in Washington’s Freedom Plaza  that the U.S. government has abandoned their peaceful revolution in favor of an alliance with the country’s still-powerful military. (Video here.)

“We hoped U.S. policy would change” said Esraa Abdel Fatah, known as the Facebook girl for creating a social media page that helped mobilize a general strike over workers rights in 2008. “We hope they would support the people, not the government. But U.S. policy supports the military now, the same way it was supporting Mubarak.”

Fatah spoke to a OccupyDC crowd that seemed hungry for advice from activists who have seen tremendous, yet mixed results in the past year. Egypt’s revolution of last January has taken a worrisome turn in recent months the military  brutally cracks down on those it views as enemies of the state, while backtracking on promises about the transition to civilian rule. Despite the objections of Egyptian civil society, the Obama administration has mostly refrained from criticizing the country’s Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF).

“We’re disappointed the administration didn’t get the lesson,” said Bassem Fathy, a founder of April 6 Youth, which used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to detonate a social explosion that swept away Mubarak’s government last January. ”The U.S. supported Mubarak because he offered stability. Now the U.S. is again choosing stability by backing the SCAF. That might be America’s short term interest but we don’t think that is America’s long-term interest.”

You Might Also Like

Blogger and activist Ahmed Maher, who visited the capital’s other occupation site in McPherson Square earlier in the week, said, “we want to make a change from the U.S. policy to supporting the people, not support businessmen.”

The meeting of the movements in Freedom Plaza was free of the controversies that have shadowed the Egyptian revolutionaries as their influence has grown.

Fathy and his colleagues have been criticized in Egypt and in Al Jazeera for their participation in the Egyptian Democratic Academy, which was funded by the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy.  At the same time, the Republican party has lionized Fathy  as one of “democracy’s heroes” in Egypt. But one strength of the Egyptian movement is that it refuses to be categorized by religion or even ideology. Fathy doesn’t deny U.S. support or influence. Nor does he hesitate to criticize U.S. policymakers.

“The U.S. is now saying that the military will be the protector of democracy against the Islamists,” he told Salon. “Myself, I am totally secular and I don’t agree with the Islamists. But I think democracy is the best protector of democracy.”

When a woman in the crowd asked Fathy for the Egyptian movement’s views on U.S. support for Israel, Fathy was even more pointed.

“Our common mood is that we should have at the least the two states–one Israeli, one Palestinian–based on the 1967 borders, ” he said, a view that proved deeply controversial when expressed by President Obama earlier this year. Myself, I would like to see a solution like South Africa: One country for all the people who live there. I know that is a dream.”

As  the crowd plied their guests for advice about how the U.S.-based occupation movement should proceed, the Egyptians responded by voicing the unorthodox tenets of a global movement without leaders or unified set of demands.

“People will want to know who your leaders are,” said Fatah, wearing a traditional head scarf. “Your demands must be your leaders.”

“My advice,” said Maher, an exemplar of cosmopolitan cool with his shaved head and sunglasses  ”is not to accept any advice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jefferson Morley

Jefferson Morley is a staff writer for Salon in Washington and author of the forthcoming book, Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 (Nan Talese/Doubleday).

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>