February 3, 2011
Just before last night’s Stop the War Coalition’s meeting in London in support of the Egyptian Revolution began I turned to Jonathan Hoffman and asked him how long he thought it would it take before they mentioned Israel.
“Immediately”, was his grim response.
And he wasn’t wrong. The first speaker up was Bernard Regan of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Next was Daud Abdullah, not known for his pro-Israel sympathies. Referring to events in Egypt he said there will be casualties but “the greatest casualty will be Israel.”
Lowkey, a rapper best known for his tune Free Palestine, couldn’t help himself either, ending his speech with the cry, “The path to the liberation of Jerusalem runs through Cairo”.
The finale was left to George Galloway who described Mubarak as a “murderer, torturer and dictator” who would “be lucky to avoid being strung up from the street lamps”.
But when Galloway met Saddam Hussein, also a murderer, torturer and dictator, he said to him: “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength and your indefatigability.” (Galloway claims he was addressing the Iraqi public, not Sadaam.)
George roused an already buoyant crowd further by saying that “the Palestinian hand will be immeasurably strengthened by an Arab Egypt.”
Two Egyptian activists were eventually allowed to speak. Their cause wasn’t totally hijacked (no pun intended) and they didn’t mention Israel once. They just wanted to be free.
We also heard from two Stop the War Coalition activists who, while 30,000 Brits. are trying to leave Egypt, actually flew in to Cairo for the weekend especially!
John Reece showed us his photos and informed us of the massive under-reporting in the British media of the people on the streets of Egypt.
Although, Reece said, the Egyptian army reported one million in Cairo every one he knows spoke of two million. He estimates that the figure was somewhere between four and eight million for Egypt as a whole.
Judith Orr said the demonstrators told her that “we are not Muslim, Christian or Jewish. We are all Egyptians!”
But George Galloway told her, and others, what he thought of that:
“We have no need to go round saying this is not a Muslim revolution. Egypt is overwhelmingly a Muslim country and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are Christians and Muslims, Socialists and Communists, Liberals and Centrists, and non-political people, who just want freedom who are involved in this Revolution. But a very significant number of the people of Egypt support the Islamic Movement of Egypt and that Movement has no need to hide itself under a bushel.”
Egyptians should heed George’s words and put all notions of freedom to the back of their minds for now just in case the Muslim Brothers are, indeed, eventually successful.