Emergency Motion passed at Dublin City Council 8th February, 2011
– Councillor Brid Smith, People Before Profit Alliance
This Council declares its total solidarity with the heroic democracy protesters of Egypt, and especially with those currently occupying Tahrir (Liberation) Square. It strongly supports their demands: for the immediate removal of the dictator, Hosni Mubarak, from his office as President; for the repeal of the anti-democratic Emergency Law (which since 1981 has given the notorious State Security Forces the right to detain people without charge or trial); for the dismantling of the whole Mubarak regime of murder torture and corruption; for full freedom of the press and genuine democratic elections. This Council resolves to refuse all collaboration with the illegitimate Mubarak Government or its agents .
This Council also calls upon the Irish Government to; a) end all diplomatic relations with the Mubarak/Suleiman regime until such time as a new democratically elected government is established; b) to make a public statement of its support for the democracy movement; c)to vote accordingly at the United Nations and in the EU Council of Ministers and European Parliament; d) to call publicly for Mubarak to be put on trial at the International Court of Human Rights at the Hague.
The Mubarak Regime
Mubarak – formerly VP – became President in 1981.Since then he has been “re-elected” four times. In 1987, 1993, and 1999 noone was allowed to run against him. In 2005 (following the Iraq War for ‘democracy’) he came under pressure to allow a contested election . There was one opposition candidate Ayman Nour and the election was blatantly rigged by means of intimidation, bribery and stuffed ballot boxes, plus Nour was then charged with forgery and sentenced to 5 years hard labour.
Inequality and Poverty.
Egypt is a society of severe poverty and growing inequality. The World Bank report of 2007 showed that the Percent of Egyptians officially living in poverty (defined as less than $2 per day) increased from 16.7% to 19.6% (15 million people) between 2000 and 2005. Many millions more survive on only slightly more. Meanwhile Mubarak has acquired an estimated personal fortune of $20 billion and the Sawiris Brothers (owners of Egypt’s lead company Ostracom) official wealthaccording to Forbes Arabia stands at $19 billion. In 2007-8 there were Bread riots in which 15 people died in fights for bread, and demonstrations in the Nile Delta for water called ‘the revolution of the thirsty’.
Torture as State Policy
There is an endemic culture of Torture in Egypt’s jails and police stations. The most horrific abuse and torture is habitually practiced not just against political opponents of the regime but against any Egyptian who is arrested or detained (and under the Emergency Law anyone can be detained without trial or charge). This includes petty criminals – pick pockets, shoplifters etc. Methods of torture that are widespread include beating, sleep deprivation, electric shocks, sexual abuse and humiliation and rape. Many political prisoners have been held for years, in some cases decades, in unspeakable conditions, without trial.
Omar Suleiman whom the USA looks to to ‘manage the transition’ has been, as Head of Intelligence, Mubarak’s right hand man and torturer – in – chief and the key overseer of ‘extraordinary rendition’ for the US(See Donal’s doc). He is completely unacceptable to the democracy movement. One of the main slogans of the movement has been The People Want to Change the Regime– there is a vast banner to this effect in English in Tahrir Sq. Sulieman is a key part of the old regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood
Some Western Governments and commentators are justifying Mubarak hanging on, or qualified support for his regime by reference to the ‘threat’ from the Muslim Brotherhood. It is important to understand therefore that the Brotherhood is not Al Qaeda or any kind of terrorist organisation. It practices a moderate version of Islamism similar to the moderation of western social democracy. It advocates political democracy, free elections and free speech and has participated in the democracy movement. But it is cautious and moderate, not radical. Hence it did not back the original 25 Jan protests which began the Revolution, but was drawn into the movement by pressure from the masses. Hence its negotiation with the government now. The US fears the Brotherhood because it does not support US foreign policy in the region ie the War on Iraq and unconditional support for Israel. – unlike the Mubarak regime.