The uprising in Egypt is our theatre of the possible. It is what people across the world have struggled for and their thought controllers have feared. Western commentators invariably misuse the words “we” and “us” to speak on behalf of those with power who see the rest of humanity as useful or expendable. The “we” and “us” are universal now. Tunisia came first, but the spectacle always promised to be Egyptian.
As a reporter, I have felt this over the years. In Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square in 1970, the coffin of the great nationalist Gamal Abdul Nasser bobbed on an ocean of people who, under him, had glimpsed freedom. One of them, a teacher, described the disgraced past as “grown men chasing cricket balls for the British at the Cairo Club”. The parable was for all Arabs and much of the world. Three years later, the Egyptian Third Army crossed the Suez Canal and overran Israel’s fortresses in Sinai. Returning from this battlefield to Cairo, I joined a million others in Liberation Square. Their restored respect was like a presence – until the United States rearmed the Israelis and beckoned an Egyptian defeat.
Thereafter, President Anwar Sadat became America’s man through the usual billion-dollar bribery and, for this, he was assassinated in 1980. Under his successor, Hosni Mubarak, dissenters came to Liberation Square at their peril. Enriched by Washington’s bag men, Mubarak latest American-Israeli project is the building of an underground wall behind which the Palestinians of Gaza are to be imprisoned forever.