Photos of the Jan. 29 rally below the text
A large, spirited rally was held today at the UN plaza in support of the people of Egypt who are in the streets fighting the Mubarak dictatorship. Hundreds of Arabs and Arab-Americans, Egyptians, Palestinians and other supporters participated in the 3 hour long event. I was jammed into the middle and couldn't get a vantage point, but others present agreed that it was many hundreds, perhaps a thousand and a good showing for a last minute event organized to a large degree on Facebook.
There will be another action on Monday Jan. 31 at 44th St. and 1st Avenue at the Egyptian Mission to the UN from 4-6 pm.
There was a good turnout of students including Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine activists. Many people came from Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Long Island.
Everyone should watch the live feed from Cairo on the Al Jazeera English web site. Surprisingly, the coverage on CNN International hasn't been too bad.
The rest of the media, especially the Israeli-saturated New York Times, has been clueless in trying to grasp what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt. It gives the lie to the official line of the 30 year "president" Mubarak of Egypt (and the exiled former "president"--for 23 years! of Tunisia) being the good guys who are moderate and align with the U.S. and Israel against the rest of the hostile backward Arab countries.
The repressive police states of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan--all iron fisted regimes that serve US imperialism and the domestic rich against their impoverished populations, have been dubbed part of America's alliance for democracy, a bulwark against Islamism and not hostile to Israel. Indeed, the motor-mouthed, bungling idiot Joe Biden spilled the beans when he tried to say the Mubarek tyranny was democratic because it was friends with Israel. Even the on air interviewers knew he wasn't making sense.
This is the problem for Obama: he, the Bushes and Clinton all have given their all to prop up the hated, bloody dictatorships of Egypt, Tunisia, et al because they were politically and militarily subservient to the US and helped the Israeli apartheid state as it carried out its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and its attacks and bullying of neighboring countries.
The genie is out of the lamp (or how about the the lid is off of Pandora's box?...well, you the the idea)...It's plain to see that America's and Israel's allies in the region are dictatorships hated by their people.
It's an exciting thing to see truly revolutionary events take you by surprise and open up new possibilities. These rebellions have their unique characteristics: "can't take it anymore" rebellions that unleashed feelings that have been simmering beneath the calm surface for decades. There's no underground organization of professional revolutionaries who call out the people...they call themselves out.
There's a fresh, liberating feeling to see the people take their own destiny in their hands. In spite of the obstacles of the US, Israel, the remaining repressive apparatus of the old regimes, we all hope the people will win. It's enough to challenge my natural cynicism.
I'm reminded of how great it felt to see the 1968 Tet offensive of the National Liberation Front in Vietman, that proved that the US could not win there, or TV images from Nicaragua in 1979 of teenage Sandinista fighters storming the barricades and defeating the 45 year-old Somoza family dictatorship that had been installed by the US Marines.
Revolution is in the air, let's hope it's catching and be victorious.