Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Wish You Egypt by Omar Barghouti

I Wish You Egypt (By Omar Barghouti)

An open letter to people of conscience in the West.

I wish you Egypt!

I wish you empowerment to resist; to fight for social and economic justice; to win your real freedom and equal rights.

I wish you the will and skill to break out of your carefully concealed prison walls. See, in our part of the world, prison walls and thick inviolable doors are all too overt, obvious, over-bearing, choking; this is why we remain restive, rebellious, agitated, and always in preparation for our day of freedom, of light, when we gather a critical mass of people power enough to cross all the hitherto categorical red lines.

We can then smash the thick, cold ugly, rusty chains that have incarcerated our minds and bodies for all our lives like the overpowering stench of a rotting corpse in our claustrophobic prison cell.

Your prison cells, however, are quite different. The walls are well hidden lest they evoke your will to resist. There is no door to your prison cell -- you may roam about "freely," never recognizing the much larger prison you are still confined to.

I wish you Egypt so you can decolonize your minds, for only then can you envision real liberty, real justice, real equality, and real dignity.

I wish you Egypt so you can tear apart the sheet with the multiple-choice question, "what do you want?", for all the answers you are given are dead wrong. Your only choice there seems to be between evil and a lesser one.

I wish you Egypt so you can, like the Tunisians, the Egyptians, the Libyans, the Bahrainis, the Yemenis, and certainly the Palestinians, shout "No! We do not want to select the least wrong answer. We want another choice altogether that is not on your damned list." Given the choice between slavery and death, we unequivocally opt for freedom and dignified life -- no slavery, and no death.

I wish you Egypt so you can collectively, democratically, and responsibly re-build your societies; to reset the rules so as to serve the people, not savage capital and its banking arm; to end racism and all sorts of discrimination; to look after and be in harmony with the environment; to cut wars and war crimes, not jobs, benefits and public services; to invest in education and healthcare, not in fossil fuel and weapons research; to overthrow the repressive, tyrannical rule of multinationals; and to get the hell out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and everywhere else where under the guise of "spreading democracy" your self-righteous crusades have spread social and cultural disintegration, abject poverty and utter hopelessness.

I wish you Egypt so you can rekindle the spirit of the South African anti-apartheid struggle by holding Israel accountable to international law and universal principles of human rights, by adopting boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), called for by an overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society. There is no more effective, non-violent way to end Israel's occupation, racial discrimination and decades-old denial of the UN-sanctioned right of refugees to return.

I wish you Egypt so you can fulfill your countries' legal and moral obligations to help rebuild the ravished, de-developed economies and societies of your former -- or current -- colonies, so that their young men can find their own homelands viable, livable and lovable again, instead of risking death -- or worse -- on the high seas to reach your mirage-washed shores, giving up loved ones and a place they once called home. You see, they're "here" because you were there... and we all know what you did there!

Our oppression and yours are deeply interrelated and intertwined -- it is never a zero-sum game! Our joint struggle for universal rights and freedoms is not merely a self gratifying slogan that we raise; rather, it is a fight for true emancipation and self determination, an idea whose time has vociferously arrived.

After Egypt, it is our time. It is time for Palestinian freedom and justice. It is time for all the people of this world, particularly the most exploited and downtrodden, to reassert our common humanity and reclaim control over our common destiny.
I wish you Egypt!

Omar Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights activist, former resident of Egypt, and author of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS): The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights (Haymarket: 2011)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Keep Egypt Clean Project

Facebook page of clean up days where Egyptian citizens take to the streets and clean them up.

Join in the fun and keep Egypt clean.

What we want to do is start a "Green Revolution" in Egypt. We want to make people environmentally aware of their surroundings, make this country a better experience, not just for the people living here, but also for the millions of tourists that come here every year.

We are a group of regular Egyptians that have gathered through this Page. We are no one in specific. If you want to join us, all you have to do is "Like" this page, stop littering, tell others to stop, and start cleaning up!
Our mission is to change the mindset of the average Egyptian citizen, making him a cleaner person, and having a more positive attitude towards his hygiene, and the community's hygiene.

Keep Egypt Clean Project

Great new website about Revolution.

Principles of Tahrir Squared

1. Tahrir Squared (T2) is an initiative set up in the aftermath of the January 25th uprising in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.
2. T2’s aim is to engender, report on and otherwise support initiatives that were and are set up in the spirit of the etiquette that was displayed in Tahrir Square during the uprising. In particular, the concern for the people of Egypt, without differentiation between the Muslims or the Christians, rich or poor, old or young, disabled or not, man or woman. That etiquette and concern are what engender within T2 the conviction that this is a truly unique moment in our time.
3. T2 is the expression of the will of young people who were in Cairo during the time of the uprising and who hope for the best for Egypt, the Arab region, the wider Muslim world and humanity, one and all.
4. The main activity of T2 is to:
a) provide information on civil society initiatives and political activities that are taking place in Egypt as a consequence of the new atmosphere of freedom;
b) provide information on civil society initiatives and political activities that are taking place in other parts of the Arab world that are likewise being touched by the same atmosphere, including Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and elsewhere;
c) to provide a forum for discussions on a) & b);
d) to provide information on the situation in other predominantly Muslim countries in the same way, whether in the Middle Eastern region or not;
e) to provide information on the situation in other non-Muslim countries around the world;
f) to provide such information by way of articles printed elsewhere or blog posts placed on the site;
g) to provide such information through multi-media.
h) To enable initiatives and civil society actions through the work of T2and not just facilitating initiatives that are already out there.
5. Examples of ‘civil society initiatives’ might be as simple as clean-up crews in city centres, to being as complex as organising ‘town hall meetings’ around the Arab world, or encouraging environmental actions in Asia – if they are somehow inspired by Tahrir Square. Examples of ‘political activities’ might be discussions on the constitution and how to ensure political institutions are maintained or reformed in a way that allows for maximum public benefit through civil society activity. We view the political activities as necessary, but insufficient activities for T2 to support – while we view the civil society activities, while more important long-term, to be sometimes difficult to achieve without political activity.
6. T2 is not a place to begin any activity outside of the law. T2 is a place to help civil society develop within the law.
7. T2 recognises that in certain exceptions, the law has failed, and people have no choice but to take up arms to defend themselves – this has obviously been the case in Libya as a result of the actions of the regime. It never came to this in Egypt, however, which is why Tahrir Square never became the site of an armed revolt against the state. Rather, the state collapsed as a result of the army refusing to break the cardinal law of Egypt and humanity – not to take innocent human life, even when ordered.
8. T2 will be a place where the breakdown, when and if it happens, can be discussed and explored in a free and open environment.
9. In short: T2 will create an archive on these issues and activities, will spread and disseminate information on these issues and activities, will provide a space for all that energy that exploded from Tahrir Square to be utilised, and facilitate that, and will create new ideas directly to do things in the real world.
10. The first manifestation of T2 is, in the first instance, this website, which is located at, which will be the manifestation of T2 activity as mentioned previously. All of this must affect people on the ground in the real world. There can be a virtual community, but its useless if it does not encourage, stimulate and carry out action in real life.

Visit this fantastic new site here:

Tahrir Squared
Tahrir Squared Facebook page