Why Egypt Matters: Important Report Back From Egypt’s Revolution

WHAT: U.S. Lawyers & Activists Return from Fact-Finding Mission to Egypt

Join us for An updated analysis on one of the most important people’s movements of our time.

Followed by Strategy Session: Building a Global Solidarity Movement

WHEN: Tuesday July 10th, 7:00pm, 33 West 14th St., Manhattan

WHO: Speakers: Hoda Mitwally, Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution; NLG Egypt Delegation Members Suzanne Adely, Lamis Deek, Michael Letwin; Ali Issa, War Resisters League and OWS Global Justice Working Group

U.S. activists, lawyers, and scholars recently took part in a fact-finding mission to Egypt aimed at studying Egypt’s ongoing revolution, investigating the role and responsibility of the U.S. government and corporations in human rights abuses against the Egyptian people, and documenting the ways in which more than thirty years of U.S. military and economic intervention has violated Egypt’s popular sovereignty and locked the country in a web of international debt.

Recent decrees reinforcing the power of the military regime, escalations in violence against protesters, increased arbitrary detentions, military trials, and further restrictions on worker’s rights to organize, all indicate that the Egyptian revolution is under threat. The U.S. government and corporations have played and continue to play a pivotal role in maintaining a repressive regime in Egypt.

Now more than ever, it is vital that we in the United States hold the U.S. government alongside corporations accountable for their complicity in the crimes committed by Egypt’s repressive regime.

In every way, Egypt’s fight is our fight. Egyptians are the 99%, fighting for social, political and economic justice. The same 1% that arms the Egyptian dictatorship commits systematic violence in this country against the Occupy movement; antiwar and solidarity activists; and Arabs, Muslims, and other communities of color.

We ask you to join us in mobilizing to defend our Egyptian brothers and sisters as we build towards a long-term, international campaign to defend their revolution and the global revolution for dignity, freedom and social justice.

SPONSORED BY: NYC Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
CO-SPONSOR: National Lawyers Guild-International Committee

ENDORSERS: OWS Global Justice Working Group, Havaar: Iranian Initiative Against War, Sanctions and State Repression, DRUM Desis Rising Up and Moving, Labor for Palestine, NYC Labor Against the War, International Socialist Organization, United National Antiwar Coalition-NYC, International Action Center, Socialist Action, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, TUPOCC-NY Chapter, War Resisters’ League……

For more information or to endorse: www.defendegyptianrevolution.org and defendegyptianrevolution@gmail.com

Remarks of Michael Letwin

To protect apartheid Israel and pursue U.S. dominance of the entire Middle East, the Obama administration provides the brutal Egyptian military with $1.5 billion a year to inflict brutal state repression on the Egyptian revolution. This is than enough to answer the question “Why Egypt Matters,” for as Dr. Martin Luther King put it, “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”

This principle of solidarity is not a matter of charity. Rather, it is rooted in an understanding that — whether we are fighting against US  wars, apartheid Israel, austerity, Islamophobia, state repression, the New Jim Crow or any other injustice — we face a common enemy: a world system of capitalism, imperialism and oppression, dominated by the 1%. Because none of us can successfully resist on our own; the collective fate of the 99% is inextricably linked.

These connections are clear through the Egyptian lens.

Of course, it is widely known that the past year’s mass protests of Wisconsin and Occupy Wall Street were inspired by Tahrir Square. But what inspired Tahrir?

According to Hossam al-Hamalawy of the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists: “The Egyptian revolution, rather than coming out of the blue on 25 January 2011, is a result of a process that has been brewing over the previous decade – a chain reaction to the autumn 2000 protests in solidarity with the Palestinian intifada.”

In March 2003, 30,000 people fought the police in downtown Cairo and took over Tahrir Square to protest the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As Hamalawy says, “The scenes aired by al-Jazeera and other satellite networks of the Palestinian revolt or the US-led onslaught on Iraq inspired activists across Egypt to pull down the wall of fear brick by brick.”

These protests, in turn, helped inspire a mass workers movement, later named the “Mahalla Intifada,” to challenge neoliberal privatization and austerity — what Hamalway calls the “dress rehearsal” for the 2011 revolution. In 2010, mass anti-austerity protests in Europe and the Tunisian revolution provided further inspiration.

Tahrir, in turn, has had an incalculable impact around the world.

Due to Egypt’s leading role in the region, it helped inspire an Arab Spring in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and beyond; and a European Summer in Spain, Greece and other countries. For the first time since the Portuguese revolution of 1974, a radical mass workers’ movements is haunting Europe, of which Greece is perhaps the best example.

And it is no exaggeration to say that, without Egypt, there would be no Wisconsin, and no Occupy. The Palestinian Boycott National Committee pulled all this together last fall when it explained:

“The Occupy Wall Street movement and its counterparts across the US, Europe, Latin America and elsewhere are — at least partially — inspired by the Arab Spring for democracy and social justice. Leaders of the Arab popular revolts tell us that they, in turn, were largely inspired by our own, decades-old struggle against Israel’s occupation of our land, its system of discrimination that matches the UN’s definition of apartheid, and its denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return home.”

In recent days, these interconnections have come full circle, with young people in the West Bank taking heart from Egypt’s revolution to challenge the corrupt and repressive U.S.-Israel-backed Palestinian authority.

For all these reasons and more, the fate of Egypt’s revolution is critical for each and every one of us.

We cannot afford to lose it to lethal teargas, bullets and tanks supplied by our own government.

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