Taking the Gloves Off in Egypt
Thursday, February 3, 2011
At what point in a revolutionary moment do you put down the drums and take up the guns? It used to be that I was a stubborn advocate of total pacifism and non-violence. Over the past few years, however, I have shifted—very slowly—from that position. The sounds of gunfire and the sight of unarmed protesters scurrying for their lives in Tahrir Square in Cairo last night have once again given me pause.
Up until yesterday it appeared the demonstrators in Egypt had the chance of pulling off a genuine, non-violent revolution. To be sure, there had many injuries and a deaths leading up to Tuesday’s massive demonstrations in Tahrir Squareand elsewhere, but considering that by that time millions of Egyptians had been demonstrating for over a week, the violence was minimum. But yesterday saw what could be the end of that fantasy. Pro-Mubarak thugs mounted horses and camels and ran through crowds, trampling men, women, and children, shattering what had been a carnival-like atmosphere. And then after the sun set, gunfire crackled through the tense night. Shooting unarmed demonstrators, whether you agree with their position or not, is simply not acceptable. How to respond?
Watching all of this unfold live on the BBC and Al-Jazeera English, I was at first incredulous, and then angry. My emotions, of course, are no match for what those trapped in Tahrir Square must have felt—must be feeling right now. Fear. Anger.
The rule of Hosni Mubarak is finished, that much is clear. But will it now come to a violent end? For now, the octogenarian war hero-turned autocrat appears unmoved. The question that burns in my mind is, at what point do you put down the drums and pick up the guns? lINK HERE