Tuesday, February 08, 2011

On an “Orderly Transition” in Egypt from a Non-Violent Revolutionary Perspective

The statements below, found at the Jadaliyya blog, are from “the April 6 movement” of young Egyptians and Cairo University’s Faculty of Law respectively, and speak to the question of the “orderly transition,” which has been invoked of late by Administration officials to insinuate the Egyptian protesters should abandon their demand for Mubarak to immediately leave office. As Carlyn Meyer has written at Informed Comment, this plays on a “fear of chaos” trope:

“Over the last few days, Hillary Clinton has been pushing the Mubarak/Suleiman ‘orderly transition’ hype hook, line and sinker. But why would Mubarak leaving bring chaos? The protesters demands are: no Mubarak, rewrite of constitution (including rescinding decades of martial law), free and fair elections.

These are demands for reform, not revolution. The uprising is not calling for dismantling the authority of the state or the army. This is not 1917 Russia, 1949 China or 1776 New World. The demands of Egyptians are much less extreme than the destruction of the Iraqi state and army after the 2003 US invasion. Now that resulted in chaos.

In fact, the Egyptian popular revolt has been exemplary in discipline and unity of purpose. The only chaos in two weeks of massive outpourings was caused by paid pro-Mubarak thugs. But the discipline of the protesters pushed back even these horse and camel night-riders.

Clinton says there needs to be time to set up free and fair elections. Who disagrees with that? Who in the opposition is calling for immediate elections? After all one demand of the protesters and legal and banned opposition is that the constitution be re-written first.”

As the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, it’s obvious that the Obama Administration has grown weak in the knees:

“The Obama administration has reconciled itself to gradual political reform in Egypt, an approach that reflects its goal of maintaining stability in the Middle East but is at odds with demands of the protest movement in Cairo that President Hosni Mubarak relinquish power immediately.

A week after the Obama administration demanded a swift transition to a post-Mubarak era, it has dampened the sense of urgency and aligned itself with power-brokers such as new Vice President Omar Suleiman, who are urging a more stable, if much slower, move to real democracy. But U.S. officials privately acknowledged that there is no guarantee that Suleiman, a former intelligence chief closely aligned with the military, is committed to substantial reforms. They have said that countries in the Middle East must be allowed to progress politically at their own speed. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. supports democratic reforms across the region but acknowledges that ‘some countries will move at different paces.’”

Statement of the April 6 Movement Regarding the Demands of the Youth and the Refusal to Negotiate with any Side

[This statement was prepared by the April 6 movement. Translation below by Fida Adely & Aiman Haddad]-February 6, 2011

The Egyptian Resistance Movement

The youth of Egypt have stood their ground and struggled against the tyrants. We have faced bullets against bare chests with great courage and patience. We salute the great Egyptian people, the creators of this revolution. For that reason, we affirm that victory is the fall of Mubarak and his regime.

Since the 25th of January, “The Egyptian Uprising,” we have toppled the legitimacy of the dictator. Egypt is now ruled by the valiant Egyptian people. To protect the peaceful and glorious uprising, let us continue to protect ourselves and our Egyptian assets against the destruction and thuggery of the terrorist regime.

We will complete what we started on the 25th of January. We the Egyptian youth will not be deceived by Mubarak’s talk, which aimed to manipulate the emotions of the Egyptian people and under-estimated their intelligence as he has become accustomed to doing for thirty years in speeches, false promises, and mock election programs that were never meant to be implemented. Mubarak resorted to this misleading talk, thinking that Egyptian people could be deceived yet more.

To all Egyptians who love their homeland, we are your children, your sons and daughters and we represent your demands and that which we have all suffered under Mubarak’s rule. Mubarak pretends to fully comply with the demands of the Egyptian people, but you must understand that this is merely a maneuver by the Egyptian regime to deceive the free Egyptian people who refused to go back to their homes and end their protests. Whoever among us examines the events that have transpired in the last few days with a conscious mind, beginning with Friday’s “Day of Rage”, will clearly realize that the Egyptian regime implemented an evil plan to keep Mubarak in power as is the desire of those elements within the regime who want to protect their own personal security, rather than the security of Egypt.

After that, the prime minister appeared with invitations to dialogue. The first thing he did to convey his belief in the importance of dialogue, was to launch an attack by regime thugs and security people in plain clothes against the Egyptian youth, who were without weapons [to defend themselves], in Tahrir square which led to the injury of hundreds and the deaths of eleven martyrs. In addition, the regime undertook an arrest campaign of people in the April 6 Movement’s operation room, many lawyers, human rights activists, and representatives of the youth groups which called for the demonstrations on January 25th. The prime minister was not satisfied with this dialogue, so he gave orders to shoot live bullets at the innocent demonstrators. The arrests and chasing down of the movement’s activists is still ongoing. Is that the dialogue that Omar Suleiman and Ahmad Shafiq are calling for?

We, the youth of the April 6th Movement, announce our rejection of Omar Suleiman’s (the vice president) invitation for dialogue. There can be no dialogue until the departure of President Mubarak. We insist that we intend to proceed with what we started on January 25th to restore the rights that the Mubarak regime has robbed us of during its 30 year reign.

We announce from Tahrir Square:

We will persevere until our demands are fulfilled, namely:
  • Mubarak should step down from power immediately.
  • Dissolving of the national assembly and the senate.
  • Establish a “national salvation group” that includes all public and political personalities, intellectuals, constitutional and legal experts, and representatives of youth groups who called for the demonstrations on the 25th and 28th of January. This group is to be commissioned to form a transitional coalition government that is mandated to govern the country during a transitional period. The group should also form a transitional presidential council until the next presidential elections.
  • Drafting a new constitution that guarantees the principles of freedom and social justice.
  • Persecute those responsible for the killing of hundreds of martyrs in Tahrir Square.
  • The immediate release of detainees.
  • These demands are agreed upon by all the youth groups that called for the January 25th and 28th demonstrations.
  • We also announce that there is not any coordination between us and what is known as “The Committee of Wise Men” who have suggested ending the demonstrations and beginning negotiations while Mubarak is still in power.
  • Mubarak must leave immediately to preserve the security and stability of Egypt.
  • There will be no negotiations until the departure of Mubarak and any negotiations should be concerned with the transferring power.

Statement from Cairo University’s Faculty of Law Around Legal and Constitutional Solutions to Meet the Needs of the Peoples’ Revolution

[Arabic statement and translation originally appeared on ‘Liberty for Egypt’ blog]
Statement from Cairo University—faculty of law

Issued from the discussion forum held on 7/2/2011 around legal and constitutional solutions to meet the needs of the Peoples revolution

On Monday the 7th of February 2011 the professors of the faculty of law at Cairo university met and after many fruitful discussions and thorough analysis of the parameters of constitutional thought and what is best for our country in order for it to correspond with the great leap & the revolution of the Youth of the Nation which has both been welcomed and backed by many communities within the nation , presented to the nation from a pure conscience and in reaction to the new developments that have affected the entire nation's sentiments. Presented here to the great Egyptian nation are the results which the forum has reached in regards to what must be done for the good of the nation at this historical juncture in our beloved country.

The forum has reached the following conclusions:

  • Firstly : To completely support and back The revolution of the 25th of January which was sparked by the pure and uncorrupted Youth of Egypt in which all the diverse communities of Egypt joined to demand freedom , democracy and the sovereignty of the law, the achievement of social justice and calling to account the corrupt and those who have hindered the fate of this nation and honoring the blood of the martyrs which was spilt in the cause of the nations freedom and upholding the dignity of the citizen.
  • Secondly – Withdrawing all legitimacy from the current regime
  • Thirdly – Calling upon the President of the Republic to comply with the will of the nation as expressed by the public
  • Fourth - The Necessity of the instant dissolution of both Parliament and the Shura Council due to the impossibility of their meeting as a result of final sentences issued from the High Constitutional court which nullify the results of the elections in many constituencies
  • Fifth- A call for the creation of a founding committee devoted to the creation of a new constitution that is in accordance with the current phase, with the condition that all political ideologies are represented in this committee as well as civil society organizations and all Egyptian communities
  • Sixth – The delegation of all presidential powers to the vice president, as permitted by Articles 82 and 139 of the constitution in accordance with their correct interpretation
  • Seventh – The expansion of the current structure of the government in order for it to be an interim government dedicated to the nations recovery
  • Eighth- The issuance of decrees from the republic which would create laws that launch the right to create political parties and allowing citizens the rights of election and nomination for public office
  • Ninth- The swift restructuring of the state authorities in accordance with the new constitution
  • Tenth – The immediate termination of the enforcement of the Emergency law

Signed on behalf of the attendees
Dr Ahmed Awad Belal
Dean of the Faculty of Law


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