Wednesday, February 2, 2011

holy moly

it appears the the situation in the storied land of egypt has gotten a lot more twisted and demonic in the past day or so. government-backed, anti-democracy thugs have been unleashed on the peaceful, freedom-seeking demonstrators, and are ready to kick some serious ass.

we in the US, as stupid, lazy and uninformed as we are, need to be aware that this is not some drama being played out in some god-forsaken corner of the world, and that only affects us in the sense that it hurts our pride -- the ingrates protesting against our man in presidency are, in effect, thumbing their nose at their generous-to-a-fault benefactors here in the USA.

it's true, this is a place where much of america's power and prestige has been invested, as our way of keeping the lid on the arab world -- source of much of the world's energy reserves. keeping democracy and freedom on the run in these countries (not on the march), is the longstanding imperial project of our elites-based plutocracy. since frankie d's day during WWII, when he promised the saudi monarch that we'd back him and his cronies up, in exchange for preferential treatment in the oil market, we've played the same cynical game of divide and conquer. we've repressed the democratic yearnings of populations, and paid thugs and criminals to subvert the popular will -- all to maintain a tight grip over the black gold that is the great prize in the geostrategic game of empire.

your taxpayer dollars at work, to put it in a familiar formulation. we pay dictators like mubarak $1.5 billion a year, most of it going to the military, in order to keep him and his minions in power, and feeling like honorary members of the plutocrat's club. we fund the criminal israeli regime a cool $3 billion a year to beat down and humiliate the arabs, and tighten their grip over jerusalem -- a broad gesture to ensure muslims worldwide remember who's the boss.

i have an acquaintance of egyptian heritage who feels sympathetic to the beseiged egyptian tyrant's regime because his family members are doing quite well under the system as it has existed these past several decades. he is a fellow who, in other matters, is quite sensible and reasonable. when it comes to narrower issues of self-interest, however, he appears to demonstrate the all-too-common proclivity of many of us to take the low road, so long as the money is good. we in the US, by and large, are afflicted by this shameless pandering to whomever has the deepest pockets and biggest bank accounts.

we shall see how events in egypt play out. the demonstrators earlier this week insisted that mubarak had to go by this coming friday. the regime, on the other hand, has apparently been given to go-ahead by its american benefactors to ratchet up pressure on the forces calling for change -- as the US elites have decided that the price in busted heads and lost lives is worth it.

i'm a bit ambivalent when it comes to violence as a means of resolving differences between opposing parties. on the one hand, non-violent resistance has overcome several repressive regimes and colonial occupations over the past century, albeit the struggle often took many years and cost many lives. at the same time, when the forces of oppression have nothing to lose, they simply redouble their efforts to cow and intimidate the resisters, and eventually grind them down. there is definitely an advantage to the protesters in the recent uprisings owing to their spontaneous nature -- it has proved well-nigh impossible for the regimes to decapitate the leadership. now that they have the initiative, however, it's important for them to press ahead, and do so without relenting. allowing the thugs to overwhelm them with a show of brutality will only suck the life out of the protests, and cause the movement to fail.

the best way for the resistance to fight back is to hit the regime where it hurts the most -- in the pocketbook. resistance needn't be by use of force against their attackers -- there are plenty of other targets of the infrastructure of the state that are vulnerable, and would be costly to the state should they be lost or destroyed. make the state pay a very high price for its crimes, and those with the checkbook will think twice about how much they're willing to pay to bail out yet another hapless criminal institution.

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