Eyewitness in Cairo

Submitted by Matthew on 8 February, 2012 - 10:20

Yesterday (6 February) the atmosphere in Tahrir Square was more relaxed and somewhat confident. News of the general strike called by CTUWS for 11 February had got round.

Some hadn’t heard of it and didn’t understand the significance.

They are young and probably unemployed, and as they see it, they will stay there until they win or die. They are very brave young men, and women. There seemed to be more women this time.

The people in Tahrir Square are mainly poor and not students, I would guess. This time there were fewer football flags, and no-one particularly identified themselves as an ultra or even an Ahly fan.

Some responded to my questions about how they believe they can win in a more calculated way.

Everyone despises the Muslim Brotherhood and recognise that they are part of the enemy alongside the Armed Forces. Most are keen to point out that this is not an Islamist revolt and they aren’t Islamists; but there are some Islamic slogans visible.

One or two were disappointed that they were being ignored by the international media. “All they care about is Syria now”, one guy said, with some understandable distress. I was a little surprised at the lack of solidarity with Syria of the demonstrators.

Quite a lot of equations are being drawn between Egypt’s military regime and Israel, however. They believe the virulent teargas that is being used against them is the same as that used by Israel on Palestinians.

I fear both the lack of solidarity with Syria and the exclusive equation of oppressive forces with Israel are results of as yet unchallenged Arab nationalism.

• Egyptian activists have called for civil disobedience to take place on 11 February. This marks the one-year anniversary of when President Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president. The military have not quit, and Egyptians have returned to the streets to oust them from power.

A strike has also been called for the same day.

At least seven people have been killed in Cairo and Suez in street battles after the killing of 75 people at a football match in Port Said.

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