The Irish Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Egyptians losing faith in army and brotherhood
John Pilger - johnpilger.com
A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.
The invasion has almost nothing to do with "Islamism", and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a "menacing arc" of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus "red menace" of a worldwide communist conspiracy.
Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments.
It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master's black colonial elite whose "historic mission", warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of "a capitalism rampant though camouflaged".
A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.
Praying for peace in Egypt, bracing for political clashes
Egypt prepares for fateful referendum
In Egypt the elite may have changed, but the revolution continues
Jack Shenker in Cairo
An opponent of President Morsi argues with his supporters near the presidential palace in Cairo. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP
Every government institution in the world boasts high levels of security, but here the sensation of being an unwelcome trespasser in the vicinity of power struck a chord with something deeper.
The vast majority of Egyptians have been told throughout history that they are little more than interlopers in the closed rooms where decisions over their lives, community and environment are made; this is a nation where the political elite has always viewed the wider population as so many static pieces, devoid of agency and in need of being controlled and pacified through a fluid web of top-down munificence and brutal repression.
That authoritarian conception of the state remained entrenched regardless of the differing ideologies and motivations of those who ruled, from colonial officials to the post-1952 military dictatorship, from Hosni Mubarak's kleptocrats to the army junta that managed the so-called "transition" to democracy.
And it remains today, under the rule of a Muslim Brotherhood whose critique of Egypt's problems is moral rather than structural, whose vision of power is exclusionary instead of pluralistic.
Egypt's turmoil is a distraction from IMF economic agenda
Many of those who were involved in organising the revolution are aware of the urgent need to focus on the economy. Photograph: Harry K Williams/Alamy
While the western media and politicians seem content to view Egypt through the prism of political rights versus Islam, the economic causes of the revolution, the waves of strikes and economic demands of the activists are barely discussed.
This allows the US and European governments to portray the $4.8bn IMF loan under negotiation, the "assistance" funds that will shortly start flowing into public-private "partnerships" and free trade zones being planned by the EU, as "gifts" to the Egyptian people. In recent days, highly critical rightwing commentaries about the US embassy incident have even suggested withdrawing such "gifts" until the Egyptian government can keep its people under control.
The diversion into religious tension is also helpful to economic conservatives in the Egyptian administration, who are intent on pushing through the IMF loan, repaying Mubarak's odious debts and opening the country to western capital. It allows President Mohammed Morsi to stand firm against the US on issues that are more symbolic, while giving way to its economic agenda.
John Molyneux - Irish Anti-War Movement committee member
[N.B - this article is the view of the author and does not necessarily represent those of movement as a whole]
One of the strengths of the Irish Anti-War Movement (and, it should be said, of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain) is the clear stand it has taken against Islamophobia, as both a condition and a consequence of its alliance with anti- war elements in the muslim community.in mobilising against the Iraq War and the ‘War on Terror’.
This is important because Islamophobia has become the main, or one of the main, forms of racism (along with Anti-Gipsy racism in Eastern Europe) in contemporary Europe.
Historically racism has passed through several phases each building on but also modifying the previous phase: 1) anti-black racism that arose out of and justified the slave trade in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; 2) the racism of imperialism (including anti- Irish racism, at its height in the late 19th and early 20th century; 3) anti – immigrant racism, especially in the second half of the 20th century. The first emphasised the sub-human and savage nature of black people so as to exclude them from the ‘rights of man’ being fought for by the European bourgeoisie at this time. The second shifted the emphasis to “childlike” and “immature” character of non- European peoples to justify their being taken under the wing of their colonial masters. The third focussed less on biological inferiority and more on cultural difference, making the economically required presence of immigrants in Europe into a “problem”.