Tag Archives: Egypt

The Taste of Freedom

Having experienced the euphoria of EDSA 1986 in the Philippines, I can imagine the jubilation and hope now flooding the streets of Egypt. The road to freedom – true freedom, and not the one spoonfed by mass media to couchdwellers (hahahaha, new term) – will be far from smooth. May the people of Egypt find their way on their own terms and without the shadow of some other power’s hands hovering over their land.

This is just the beginning. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE PEOPLE OF EGYPT!

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Gaza Siege Broken a Third Time

I meant to post this one the other day, and meanwhile other things have happened.

Watch the video from The Guardian.

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Upon returning to Egypt, British MP George Galloway was immediately deported to London.  What is Egypt really playing at here?

Here is the link to the BBC report on that turn of events.

One wonders where Egyptian authorities are getting their orders from.


Egypt Covers for Israel

Press Release from VIVA PALESTINA

Egyptian Police attack Humanitarian Gaza Aid Convoy

Last night Egyptian police again delayed the Viva Palestina aid convoy carrying much needed aid from reaching the people of Gaza.  Having agreed to Egyptian demands whilst being stranded in the port of Aqaba some seven days ago, convoy leaders agreed to re-route their journey after receiving guarantees from the Egyptian authorities of a safe passage to Gaza.

Humanitarians from all over the world transporting the aid were attacked by riot police in the port of Al-Arish last night (5th January). And it is now reported that some of the activists were hospitalised overnight for their injuries. They have since returned back to re-join the convoy members in the port and thankfully have no life threatening issues.

British and national embassies are being kept informed of the situation.

Protests broke out when Egyptian authorities at Al – Arish ordered some lorries to use an Israeli-controlled checkpoint. The activists preferred the goods to be transported via Egypt’s Rafah crossing as agreed.

George Galloway who is leading the convoy said Israel is likely to prevent it entering Gaza – This morning he told Sky News. “It is completely unconscionable that 25% of our convoy should go to Israel and never arrive in Gaza.”

Following Israel’s horrific attack on Gaza, people all over Britain worked for months raising funds for aid and aid vehicles for the Palestinian people.  Those taking the aid are humanitarians from all walks of life, who have given up a month to bring the much needed medical aid in a gesture of solidarity with their continuing oppression under Israel’s illegal siege.

Betty Hunter, General Secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said, “It is shocking that the Egyptian government is behaving in this way.  There can be no justification for preventing this aid and the people who have worked so hard to provide it from reaching Gaza.  The Palestinians are waiting for this well publicised international convoy to arrive and these actions of the Egyptian government, and the building of Egypt’s  steel wall signal that Egypt is colluding with the Israeli government’s illegal siege of Gaza.”

Viva Palestina ‘The Return to Gaza’ is partnered with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and departed London on 6th December bound for Gaza.

For further information on the Viva Palestina convoy visit www.vivapalestina.org

Press information from Alice Howard on Tel:07944 512 469 or viva email: alice@vivapalestina.org

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News item from Al Jazeera.


Running a Prison is Not Cheap

US military experts have presented a detailed plan to Egyptian security officials and donated high-tech equipment to uncover tunnels.

Read the rest of the article.

I thought the US Government had no money to spend on its own population’s basic medical needs?


Egyptian Authorities Allow Themselves to be Israel’s Border Cops

The Egyptian government has disrupted a convoy of solidarity activists bringing needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Members of Viva Palestina report that officials stopped buses carrying part of the group’s delegation as they attempted to cross into the Sinai region on the way to the Rafah border crossing, where activists plan to enter Gaza with their aid convoy.

From SOCIALISTWORKER.org

For ongoing updates, visit the Viva Palestina-U.S. Web site.

Solidarity activists in the U.S. are preparing for possible protests outside Egyptian embassies and consulates if the convoy isn’t allowed to travel. Contact organizations locally for more details.

Contact the Egyptian embassy and ask that the Viva Palestina convoy be allowed to make its journey to Gaza without further delays. Call 202-966-6342, fax 202-244-4319 and e-mail embassy@egyptembdc.org.

SocialistWorker.org reporter Eric Ruder and a number of contributors to this Web site are part of the Viva Palestina convoy. You can read blogs from some at TheSitch.com.


Yvonne Ridley Reports

Yvonne Ridley reports from Viva Palestina
9th March 2009


GAZA OR BUST

The last 24 hours have probably been the blackest since the Viva Palestina convoy set off from London.

Yesterday the convoy members became the target of an orchestrated wave of violence first started by Egyptian police and then culminating in vicious attacks by unknown thugs.

The end result was a number of peace activists whose only aim is to take humanitarian aid into war torn Gaza were treated in hospital for head injuries.

Mercifully the string of casualties was not too serious but the experience denied us the chance of fulfilling our mission to deliver aid to Gaza yesterday.

And dramatic images of the rioting and attacks could not be relayed to Press TV viewers because someone sabotaged the satellite van by deliberately cutting through a vital cable which would have beamed the shameful attacks across the world.

However, every cloud has a silver lining and I would like to take this opportunity of personally thanking the Egyptian authorities and those dark forces who tried to derail Viva Palestina.

The event has only served to make us stronger, unite and bond us together more and created a wave of international media interest in Viva Palestina.

I think it would be fair to say that when you bring a diverse group of 300 plus people together on a gruelling mission to cover 5,000 miles driving across North Africa the result can result in a less than harmonious state of affairs.

To be frank, there was friction and infighting and some of us generally got on each other’s nerves as you would when you are confined to close quarters with challenging living, sleeping and eating conditions.

However, the deliberate bloody-mindedness of the Egyptian authorities did something we had failed to do for ourselves … it caused us to unite, bond and emerge stronger than ever from underneath the rows of police batons, bricks, bottles and stones.
The trouble began when the police – who were only obeying their orders – tried to break up the convoy into small groups of medical and non medical aid. We were told the first would go through the Rafah crossing while the latter would go through an Israeli checkpoint.

This was never going to be accepted by anyone on board the convoy. Our aim from the outset was simple: Rafah or bust.

Giving aid to the people of Gaza has nothing to do with the Israelis and I do wish they would stop trying to make themselves centre stage in an affair that does not involve Tel Aviv.

As we dug in our heels about the convoy being physically divided, the authorities decided there was only one solution – batter us into submission, after all that is what police states do.

And so, when the police tried to get physical, the convoy members followed their natural instincts and used passive resistance to defend themselves.

Egyptian police are obviously not used to confronting stroppy westerners in such large numbers and so they retreated while a second wave was sent in. Hundreds of riot squad officers, wearing visors, carrying shields and batons tumbled in to one of the two car parks in a large town centre compound in the port of al Arish and set about the unarmed peace activists.

They too were heroically repelled and what followed was an uneasy stand off as some convoy members received medical attention.

The net result was scores of vehicles had been able to escape the compound in which they were being held behind metal police barriers.

It was a minor victory and what followed was a very British response – the lads decided to have a game of football. I did try to persuade the Egyptian police to join in stressing they would have much more fun kicking a ball instead of kicking my comrades, but they seemed reluctant to let go of their batons.

As the night drew in the convoy leader George Galloway who was 40 kilometres down the road, was made aware of the battle of al Arish and so he refused to cross the Rafah Border in to Gaza and returned to the convoy.

It was a hard call to make as the international media had gathered at Rafah for a party that never happened. As usual the Israelis also played to stereotype by shelling and bombing parts of Gaza.

By the time Britain’s best known parliamentarian reached the compound night had fallen and bright stadium-style lights illuminated the two car parks.

Suddenly the area was plunged into darkness by a powercut which coincided with a brick, bottle and stone attacks on the convoy members by youths in their late teens and 20s. Seconds before the lights went out some convoy members saw a couple of unidentified men scrawling anti-Hamas slogans on lorries.

The lights remained out for some minutes, during which time the vicious attack was unleashed – the whole proceedings failed to warrant one single Egyptian police officer to swing his baton into action.

Those who had wielded their sticks with such a passion before, stood impassively by and watched the onslaught.

The power kicked back in again and the bright lights illuminated the scene to reveal several convoy members lying dazed and confused, blood dripping from gaping head wounds.

While they were ferried to hospital for treatment, there was a second powercut and a repeat of the violence.

Once again the police stood by and watched the thugs launch their attacks on unarmed and defenceless members of Viva Palestina.

Galloway, incandescent with rage held an urgent meeting with the governor of the region and secured assurances this would not happen again. He also secured a pledge that the convoy would be allowed to make its way to the Rafah crossing for 6am on Monday.

We’re now only a few hours away from that deadline and it remains to be seen if the governor will keep his word.

But regardless of what he decides I want to thank him for pulling every single member of Viva Palestina into one, united front.

Thanks to him and the cack-handed police operation, Viva Palestina has emerged refocussed and stronger than ever with one, determined goal: Rafah or bust.

And it will happen, inspite of the best efforts of Tel Aviv meddling and Egyptian authorities’ bullying.

The people united can never be defeated.

Gaza, next stop.

* British journalist Yvonne Ridley and award-winning film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani are on the Viva Palestina convoy making a documentary about the journey from London to Gaza. her website is http://www.yvonneridley.org and you can follow her updates by Twitter or Facebook


Monsters 2: Cluster Bombs

They come in a rain of flames and screams.
They seek the softness of flesh,
cracking points of bones.

But many of them unleash the horror
of their intent when all is quiet.

In silence they lurk
among the bushes. Still. Sinister.
Patient. Someone will walk
past them one day. Perhaps
someone who collects metal
scraps for a living.

Or maybe a child
will notice just one of them
with a bright yellow tail
playfully beckoning in the wind:

Take me. Take me.
Take me that I may be
One with your tender flesh.
Take me…

Sometimes there will not even be a scream.
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Abdullah Yaqoob - DCA Archive

Abdullah Yaqoob - DCA Archive

What are cluster bombs?

More information

What Human Rights Watch says about cluster bombs

Who has them?