Egyptian Protests: The Struggle Between Freedom and Power

Ideas and Issues

            New Orleans               Every once in a while the issues become crystal clear even in the fog of the continuing protests in Tahrir Square that are once again constant around the clock with hundreds of thousands contending with the recalcitrant military forces.  Yesterday in noting that the Muslim Brotherhood had started this ball rolling and for that they were owed some thanks, I almost missed the real issues because I could understand their tactical and organizational dilemma in not wanting to threaten the elections where they stand to be big winners.  My companera from Sicily and erstwhile participant in the Organizers’ Forum delegation and visit there recently, pulled by shirt hard and pointed out that I was behind the story now unfolding in the Square and, essentially, I needed to catch up.

A quote in the Times from Magdy el-Attar, a 41-year old mechanic and Muslim Brotherhood member who had been in the Square the last 4 days, did it for me, and should be a lesson for all of the politicians and parties of any stripe in Egypt now.  In talking about the Brotherhood, though he could have been talking about all of them, he said:

“All they care about is their seats in Parliament.  They became businessmen.  We used to call for freedom.  Now all they are looking at is power.”

Indeed, this is now the real revolution.  The struggle now being engaged against the military and the vestiges of the old regime in all its forms and falsehood, that gives the hope of real freedom for the Egyptian people.  I wish I was there now!

This is always a time to push and shove for power, but it should never be confused with the struggle for freedom.

This is part of the debate between the questions of movement and the needs of organization.

In Egypt now we will have to see what comes from the street and how they are strong enough to succeed and lead the rest of us where we can now only hope to be.