From: Hosni Mubarak
To: Binyamin Fouad Ben-Eliezer
Re: Rules of the game have changed
Shako mako Binyamin?
See my old friend, I might be rotting on this hospital bed but I didn’t forget the Iraqi words you taught me. I heard of the good words you said about me. What a great friend you are. No one said something good about me except you, a Kuwaiti TV show presenter and of course my lovely “We are Sorry Mr. President” group here in Egypt.
I’m writing you this letter because, first, I have nothing else to do. Second, since I might never see you again, I thought it would be nice if I gave you advice I wouldn’t have given you if I were still in power.
I bet you are very concerned and bewildered about what’s going on around Israel. Well, let me put it very bluntly. In the past, if you wanted Egypt to do something, all what you had to do is call or visit me in Sharm. Today, you will have to call 80 million Egyptians.
The period of striking deals with strongmen such as myself is over. Now you will have to strike deals with millions of people who suddenly found their voice. This voice they found brought me to a court’s cage. It could very well bring me to the gallows.
Today, a real manifestation of pride and dignity is what drives Egyptians. In the past, when your friendly fire killed Egyptian border guards, my police apparatus managed to control things. Today, you cannot control the emotionally charged people who realized the extent of what they can manage to achieve. Heck, Libyans just managed to overthrow Qaddafi!
Does that mean Egyptians want to go to war? The answer is no. Nobody is talking about war in a country that has enough problems by itself. The new found sense of pride is what drove the recent events. A pride I was heavy handedly controlling. I‘ve enough time now to ponder and fathom such facts!
What would you do if the virus spread to Palestinians? What would you do if thousands upon thousands of Palestinians marched to the borders demanding their country? Would you just shoot them? My police apparatus, in order to protect my regime, killed 800 protesters and look what happened afterwards. I am being tried for this and not for 30 years of dictatorship.
Assad who kept the peace in the Golan in order to fight you in Lebanon will soon be gone, and Syrians will demand their land back. What would you do? Tell them you want to keep on making wines there?
The rules of the game will have to change my old friend. If you want peace based on a two-state solution, you will have to look in the eyes of your colonial fascists of the West Bank and Golan and tell them it’s time to go. Unfortunately, no one in Israel is willing to do such a thing. In fact, Bibi ran away from the last negotiations so he can build more illegal settlements for these fascists. You will have to accept a compromise on Jerusalem. And nothing was put forward better than the Clinton Plan: what is Muslim and Christian becomes Palestinian and what is Jewish becomes Israeli. That entails you will have to forget the Temple Mount which you control only in your own imagination.
The age of maintaining the status quo is over Benyamin and now you guys have to make some serious decisions. Decisions such as the ones Rabin was willing to make and got killed for.
What happened on September 9? It was supposed to be yet another protest in Tahrir but it exploded into a worldwide top story. We were planning to protest against military trials in Tahrir and other demands; I did not expect events to unfold the way they did.
Before continuing with what I believe happened on that today, I have to make it clear that the purpose of this post is not to agree with nor oppose storming the Israeli embassy. I have already conveyed my opinion on Twitter. This post details my five cents on what I believe happened on one of the longest days in Tahrir.
The day in Tahrir started with anticipation of what the turn out will be. The religious parties announced they would not be joining. In addition, just as they did before May 27, SCAF issued a scaremongering statement declaring they will not protect the square and protesters have to attend to their own security. Then they said they have information some people will attack military and police establishments. When I read that part of the statement, I brushed it aside as yet another attempt to scare people from descending on Tahrir on that day. I know realize that this portion of the statement contains clues to unlock the mystery of September 9.
“Numbers are not good,” said a friend who accompanied me to the square at 1:30 pm. “Today is different,” I asserted. “Wait till the marches from the four corners of Cairo arrive. Thousands of protesters decided to march to Tahrir after Friday prayers in an attempt to rally people to join the protest.”
And it happened. Thousands began pouring in the square. I got goose bumps when I saw farmers join September 9. One of them was carrying a plam leaf; others were chanting, “The farmers arrived in Tahrir.” By 3 or 4 pm, the square was almost full. Not to the levels reached during the heydays of Egypt’s revolution. Not even to the level of July 29 when religious parties brought busloads of people from almost every governorate in the country. Nevertheless, numbers were still good given the absence of the religious parties and SCAF’s scaremongering campaign.
I went to check out the Ministry of Interior. I knew the Ultras groups (hardcore soccer fans) would protest there after police in the latest Ahly football match beat them. At the ministry, people were gathering outside the main compound scribbling profanity on the walls. They later removed the seal of the police ministry. Nothing was so melodramatic about what was going on. Then my Twitter timeline started to scream #israeliembassy. Protesters were tearing down the thick wall the army built to protect the building that houses the embassy. As news spread about what the protesters were accomplishing, thousands were already at the embassy. The rest of the story you know.
Now, it is important to note that storming the Israeli embassy was not the only hot news. There were reports that people were trying to storm the Giza Police Headquarters and of a small fire at the Ministry of Interior. The former was inside the compound and was definitely not the work of the protesters outside. Information on what instigated the attempt to storm the Giza Police Headquarters is very few, but I can assure that this was not on Tahrir’s agenda!
Regardless of who instigated the protest at the Israeli embassy, something is fishy about what happened. People stood for 4 hours hammering the wall without anyone intervening. The group that stormed the embassy reached the top floors via the stairs. Again, no one tried to prevent them from dashing inside the building. An anonymous alleged army officer who goes by the name of Dabetgeesh on Twitter had this to say, “the paratroopers group assigned with securing the embassy assured that they saw people go up the building and they were very surprised their leader did not order them to stop the intruders.” In another tweet, Dabetgeesh continues, “someone from the force assigned to protect the embassy went up with the first group that went up and directed them to the embassy’s store.”
If we presume the above account was true, why did SCAF facilitate the storming of the Israeli embassy? Why did they use the state media to tout the alleged storming attempt of the Giza Police Headquarters or the fire at the Ministry of Interior? There are two very interlinked reasons.
First, September 9 was just another round in SCAF’s war against protesters and revolutionaries who criticize the council’s behavior in post-revolution Egypt. By hyping last Friday’s events whether at the Israeli embassy or at the Giza Police Headquarters, average apolitical Egyptians would automatically link the day’s violence with the revolutionaries, with Tahrir itself. Protesting in Tahrir would be equated with fear, violence, tear gas and diplomatic crisis. This is what happened. No one now talked about the full Tahrir and the demands of the day, all attention was diverted towards the Israeli embassy and the Giza Police Headquarters. SCAF’s prophetic statement turned out to be true!
Second, under the pretext of “national security” and “combating thugs”, SCAF can literally do anything they want. Anything that includes media curbing, activists’ arrests, military trials, phone tapping and all the nasty list Mubarak’s security apparatus were so great at doing. What makes matters worse is that this time SCAF does have a carte blanch from the general apolitical public to do whatever they want. A carte blanch Mubarak’s State Security did not have.
Why is SCAF doing all that? It is crystal clear. To maintain their Mubarak era privileges and benefits, our military junta has to be the sole player in new Egypt’s political future in the years ahead.
Sherouk newspaper states that a witness said protesters attacked the Giza Police Headquarters after a police vehicle hit a number of them at the Israeli embassy.
Report by The Telegraph proves my theory above.