Egypt's turmoil is a distraction from IMF economic agenda - NICK DEARDEN, GUARDIAN

Egypt's turmoil is a distraction from IMF economic agenda
Political and religious tensions should not obscure the deeper economic issues that are dividing Egyptian society

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
The storming of the US embassy in Cairo has diverted attention once again from the real issues facing Egypt. It couldn't have come at a better time for those who want to convince the Egyptian people to accept an International Monetary Fund loan, and extend former president Hosni Mubarak's liberalisation of the economy.

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.

Islamophobia, the left and the Arab Spring

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 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”.

John Molyneux of IAWM and Philip Marfleet on Egypt

Egyptian police incited massacre at stadium, say angry footballers - THE GUARDIAN, 05 Februray 2012.

Egyptian police incited massacre at stadium, say angry footballers

Captain of team and his brother say violence in which more 70 fans died had been planned

Fans rush the pitch during the riots that erupted after the match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahl

Fans rush the pitch during the riots that erupted after the match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahl in Port Said. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

Twin brothers who play for the football team Al-Masry, whose match against a rival team in Egypt ended in a massacre, claim the violence was encouraged by the police with the backing of the army.

Captain Karim Zekri and his brother, Mohamed, told the website that there was strong evidence the bloodshed was planned. More than 70 people were killed and at least 1,000 injured in the violence at the Port Said stadium following the home side Al-Masry's victory over Cairo-based Al-Ahly.

After the match finished, hundreds of Al-Masry supporters were seen to surge across the pitch to the visitors' end as panicked Ahly fans made for the exit. But it has emerged the steel doors were bolted shut, resulting in dozens being crushed to death.

"I have many friends who were in the stadium, and they swear to me that the police were saying to them 'Go and beat the shit out of them [Ahly fans] – they're saying you're not men'," said Mohamed, who was not playing and watched the game in a cafe near the stadium.


03/02/2012 - 15:00
03/02/2012 - 17:00


In a statement released today the Irish Anti-war Movement expressed condolences to the families and loved ones of the football fans killed in Port Said on Wednesday night, expressed concern at the obvious organized nature of the attacks and called for a picket at the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin to protest against the Massacre.

The statement continued by noting that:
“There is so much circumstantial evidence to suggest that this was not regular football banter and violence. Eyewitnesses claim that the crowd was not searched as they entered, there were many strange faces in the crowd, the police left many of the entry gates to the pitch open, those who attacked the Ahli fans were heavily armed, the security forces did not respond when the attacks occurred and the army did not try to open the exit gates which had been locked. In addition both the Governor and Chief of Police of Port Said did not attend the match, which is very odd given that they attend all the games.”

Follow this link to eyewitness report ¬-

John Molyneux, from the Steering Committee of the IAWM noted that:
“This was clearly an organised attack with the connivance of the military/police, directed at the 'Ultras' football supporters who played a leading role in the overthrow of Mubarak and have recently been chanting anti-SCAF slogans at matches.”

Asmaa Nasser, member of the IAWM and of the Egyptian Community in Ireland said:

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