Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Dispatch from Cairo

A dispatch from Cairo (1)
December 31 2008

The Israeli Jews will never allow Palestinians to have a viable and contiguous nation “till salt grows flowers.”

Setting a foot on the tarmac in the Cairo International Airport after 4-hour-long flight from Frankfurt, Germany, I felt the same macabre feeling of home-coming to Seoul from a Canadian exile in 1983, where tin pot military dictators had been imposing brutal policies of subjugation, oppression, and torture on the South Korean population.

The City of Cairo was a look-alike of Seoul City in 80s...the whole city was armed a security-tight the streets, plaza, hotels, schools, parking lots, thousands of security agents dotted the city perimeter in endless and invisible chains of barbed-wire.
The agents were not invisible or discreet in plain-cloth attire...they were displaying their strong urge to shoot to kill when the order arrives from their President, Hosni Mubarak who has kept tight reining on the country for three decades.

During a short stay in Cairo, I got stuck for about half an hour in the middle of city traffic during a taxi ride to suburban area.
And all the traffics refused to move an inch forward and sat idle spewing toxic black fogs from their various sizes of the tailpipe.
Our taxi driver nonchalantly blurted out: “an f**king pig is going for a tee-off.”
Along the main thoroughfare, I noticed that every 50 feet apart a chain of plain-clothed agents stood facing the commercial buildings and the high-rise apartments.

All of a sudden, a convoy of black SUVs, limousines, and jeeps, with a blare of high-pitched siren zipped through the emptied thoroughfare in a deadly high speed and disappeared over the elevated overpass.
The half-an-hour event was a carbon-copy of scenes that I have had experienced in the streets of Seoul City during the military regimes, whenever General-cum-Presidents travel to somewhere, golf game, military parade, safe houses, geisha or karaoke party,
President Mubarak appeared to be seriously worrying about his safety as if South Korean Generals went crazy in keeping tabs with every possible violation of security measures. (One of Generals, ironically, was assassinated by his own security chief at the geisha party.)

In an interview with a reporter from the Time magazine, Anwar Sadat, an assassinated Egyptian President in 1981 after his peace deal with Israel, quipped: “I have to choose the most stupid and moronic chap as my vice president, because I don’t want him too wise and smart to betray me.”
Then Sadat picked an off-colored nerd Mubarak, the Major General in the Egyptian Air Forces, for his shadow that would never sell him out.
And voila!
Mubarak has been in power for 28 years with no end in sight at the Presidential tunnel, single-mindedly devoting himself to keep his neck safe but politically, socially, and culturally remain an inept and stupid nincompoop. (Recently, Gamal Mubarak, his second son, was appointed as the general secretary of the political committee in the ruling National Democratic Party, throwing a rampant speculation that Mubarak is grooming his son as an heir for his Kingdom of Egypt.)

I came here, the land of ancient civilization, to eyewitness the culture of Pharaohs ...Pyramid, Sphinx, the Valley of Kings, Tutankhamen, hieroglyphs, a religion of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, and most importantly, to look at the Pharaonic past to gain a perspective on the contemporaries in Egypt, including on the issues of the Middle East conflicts.
And I have become miserable and despondent in the depths of despair after two-week tour of Nile River, the Nile Delta, Nubian communities, the site of Pyramid and Sphinx, the Roman catacombs in the Alexandria City on the Mediterranean Shore, and the dilapidated, heavily-congested, and mind-bogglingly corrupt city of Cairo.

Simply put, I found the tragic reality that modern-day Egypt had not so much inherited the brilliant and magnificent civilization of the Ramses Dynasty whose achievements have captured the imagination of the world, but had been totally disconnected with the glorious and celebrated past, exhibiting an endless chain of human degradation in the urban development which resulted in creating a fragmented, tribal and visibly corrupt society

In the urban area where most of 80 million Egyptians live under the hawkish eyes of national security agents, it is not difficult to locate the powerful standing in vivid contrast against the powerless...clad in dark-colored suit, the powerful displays a well-fed and muscular physique with his two arms in akimbo, incessantly chatting with a clan of close-knit tribes.
And the powerless always stoop low in constant fear of being arrested and never-ending anxiety of being hungry in a network of tribal connection that determines one’s pecking order.

Here in Egypt like many other Arab countries, the tribal connections are an essential and determinant factor in sustaining one’s livelihood and in advancing one’s career.
Without any sort of connection, you would be swept under the rug in the society where many grievances are only heard in the Islamic mosque.
Across the region, where 60 percent of population is under 25 year-old, many young people with no connections find justice in Islamic movement of the Muslim Brotherhood that has been the region’s largest, most influential religious, social, and political entity since its establishment in Egypt in 1928.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Sunni movement and the largest political organization in Arab world that many authoritative Arab regimes including Egypt, Jordan, and Syria have been harshly cracking down Islamic political activism.
The Hamas in Gaza, an arch enemy of Israel, traces its root back to the Muslim Brotherhood, which slogan “Islam is the solution. The Quran is our constitution” is widely prevalent from Algeria to Indonesia. (Ironically, unbeknownst to many people, Hamas is a creation of Israel in 70s through 80s as a counterweight to the Fatah Group in Yasir Arafat’s PLO and Jews actively and openly supported the growth of the Hamas gaining the strength militarily and politically until late 1980s.)

In this environment, the Mubarak regime in Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood was officially outlawed, has been working hard to contain the public outcry against its corrupt administration, by over-stuffing the security positions with reckless youngsters with the money accrued from the US aids and tourist enterprises
President Mubarak recruited hundreds of thousands of youngsters as private security guards, police, soldiers, and spies, manning every nook and corner of streets, plaza, hotels, tourist zones, and countryside, arming them with a cornucopia of weaponry, handgun, Kalashnikov, machinegun, bazooka, and rocket-propelled grenade.
These Egyptian youngsters are standing guard not against the Israeli threat (in fact, Israel has never been an enemy of Egypt since the Camp David Accord) but against their own people...people who do not have a connection or network to the powerful.

Egypt has been the second largest recipient nation for the US Foreign Aids after the State of Israel since the Camp David Accord in 1978, receiving $1.3 Billion in military aid and average $800 Million in economic assistance annually.
The US largesse ($50 Billion total) is seen solely as a payback for bolstering the US foreign policy in the Middle East region...that is, Egypt will guarantee the security of Israel, collaborate with US and Israel in mediating the recalcitrant Hamas faction, and make sure that the Arab League headquartered in Cairo will never reach a consensus in the matter of the Palestinian issues.

The Arab League since it’s founding in 1945 and headquartered in Cairo Egypt has been most ineffective, powerless, and quarrelsome organization that has propagated the Pan-Arabism in public but never reached in one consensus on the Palestinian issues.
Among the 22 member nations, Egypt and Jordan that border on the Palestinian land have almost always sided as the fawning puppet regime with the wishes and policies of the USA and consequently of Israel, rendering the Palestinian independence in tatters in order to curry favor with American overlord. (Jordan’s late King Hussein was on a CIA payroll during his whole life span.)

The Israel’s blockade and economic sanction against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were never being implemented or successful if Egypt has refused to collaborate with Israel, as in the Israelis post-Christmas invasion to Gaza in 2008 that Mubarak had plotted with Israeli Foreign Minister, resulting in 1300 Palestinian death.
Why the Jews would consider to come to terms with the Palestinian independence when they have Mubarak in their pocket?
Mubarak is constantly in needs of the US largesse in order to contain the internal disorder and he believes that nothing could stop the flow of the US money into his coffer as far as the Palestinian pot is boiling over the region.

Mubarak poses as an official mediator representing the Arab world with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.
In fact, he’s been playing a role of a colonial satrap destroying the growth of the Hamas movement and enhancing the power of the US-made PA President Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas) whose presidency expired on January 9 2009.
The Gazan blockade and invasion by Israel was partly an Abu Mazen’s bidding with Mubarak’s nod to root out the Hamas from the Palestinian theatre that coincided with the concerted policy of US/Israel.
Adding one more puppet regime, Iraq, in the region, American Empire would keep expanding its regional hegemony toward Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan with a help from Muslim sellouts like Mubarak, Mazen, al-Malik, Karzai, et al.

In this perspective, it takes quite a stretch of the imagination to believe that with Obama’s new initiative the Middle East peace is on the horizon and the Palestinians would soon have the sovereign nation.
In an Arab idiom, there is a saying that it will never happen ‘till salt grows flowers.”
As salt never, never, never in million years, grows flowers, the Middle East peace will never happen “till the US Empire comes to an end” as if Roman Empire expired.
So seems also apparent in South Korea where the unification between North and South will never happen “till the US occupying forces vacate from the peninsular.”

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