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[casi] Hyde Park

Dear Listmembers,
This is an excerpt from an article in today's Guardian. I love the
``It's like Hyde Park''. Hit the streets! Antiwar protest may not get the
coverage it deserves in the US/UK media but the rest of the world sees
us: international solidarity!

best wishes,

>From ``We are all Iraqis now'' by Egyptian journalist Hani Shukrallah

... Then came February 15, 2003. More than 30 million
people, from Los Angeles to Tokyo, were out on the
streets protesting against the war on Iraq. One million
people demonstrated in London, three million in Rome; it
was a day the like of which the world had never seen. In
the Arab world there was almost silence. Even the
governments were embarrassed. After all, in their
desperate appeals to their White House patron and his
over-zealous adviser at 10 Downing Street to "lighten up"
on the Arabs, the Arab governments' major bargaining
card (indeed, their only card) has been their feebleness.

"A military attack on Iraq would push the region into an
abyss of chaos - instability and terror would rule the day,"
they protested repeatedly. Yet, so successful had they
been in depoliticising their citizens, so complete seemed
the disenfranchisement of the Arab peoples, that the
Masters of the Universe called the regimes' bluff. They
held the Arab masses in the same contempt that their
rulers held them in.

Robert Fisk, in the Independent, put it brutally. "One million
people demonstrate in London, while the Arabs, faced with
disaster, are like mice." Even before it appeared in
translation in one of the opposition newspapers, Fisk's
article was picked up on with almost masochistic relish;
being forwarded by email, in the original English and in
various ad-hoc translations - testimony perhaps to the
profound effect the day had on popular consciousness in
Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world. Not only was the
perceived confrontation between Arabs and Muslims on
one hand and a monolithic west on the other proved
absurd, but western Christians and atheists were
defending an Arab cause much better than the Arabs
themselves could hope to do.

On Thursday, day one of the invasion, thousands of
protesters collected in Tahrir Square, in Cairo. "It's like
Hyde Park," was the common refrain, expressed in exhilarated
tones. The anti-riot police, while very much in
evidence, had stayed its hand, letting demonstrators be
as they peacefully occupied the square until the evening,
chanting slogans, making speeches, painting political
graffiti on the ground and staging street theatre. On Friday,
the beatings began, and continued. The government's
message was loud and clear: "You've had your one day.
No more."  ......

Thursday  March 27, 2003 The Guardian,3604,922612,00.html

+  Fay Dowker                       Physics Department               +
+                                   Queen Mary, University of London +
+  E-mail:       Mile End Road,                   +
+  Phone:  +44-(0)20-7882-5047      London E1 4NS.                   +
+  Fax:    +44-(0)20-8981-9465                                       +
+  Homepage:          +

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