As Egypt approaches its election set for November 28, protests sparked by constitutional changes giving the military junta more power, continue to spread to other cities across the country.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mark Glenn, from the Crescent and Cross Solidarity Movement, to discuss the issue. Below is the text of the interview:
Press TV: First of all, I’d like to get your initial reaction to this crackdown we are seeing on protesters who are generally dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country.
Glenn: I think that on the ground obviously they have figured out what they should have figured out 8 months ago which was that this regime was not going to go quietly just because of the fact that Mubarak was removed from power does not mean that the system has changed.
All that they did was changing one bus driver for a new one. So as I and many other people who are watching these developments since they began taking place a year ago, is that America and Israel and the other Western powers who have invested heavily in making sure that these various countries namely Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Jordan and others in the region, they have invested heavily in making sure that these countries are governed in such a way that are going to suit Western and Zionist interests and so the thing is not going to go easily.
People are getting together in the streets and chanting slogans and singing songs and eating falafel, this is not the way that revolutions are fought. So I think that the violence that we are seeing take place in the last few days has just proved positive that nothing has changed; they have gotten rid of a dictator but now the system remains in place and it does not look like anything is going to change in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Press TV: In that case, where do you see this headed because the military junta is determined to take it their way; they are determined to hold the legislative elections on the date of November 28 as planned, while the people that are protesting in Liberation Square and other cities of Egypt are determined to make sure that their demands are met as well. Where is this standoff going to work towards?
Glenn: We have to remember that power comes out of the barrel of a gun and the Egyptian people cannot match, cannot even begin to dream of matching the fire power that the Egyptian military has.
After all, Egypt has been a recipient of US aid in terms of her military hardware and training by the way to the tune of almost 2 billion dollars a year from the United States. So Egypt has got plenty of weapons, plenty of guns to use against the people in Tahrir Square or wherever they happen to be.
The only card that the Egyptian people –the impoverished Egyptian people– have is to organize strikes and to not go to work but who is going to that. They have to feed their families; it is not like they are sitting on bank accounts that they can afford to not work for weeks or months at a time. So we have to remember that this is going to be the way that it plays out.
Tyranny is not easily removed and rarely does it ever happen without the use of force on the part of the oppressed people. So I’d like to be able to bring better news to this discussion but unfortunately it appears as if the predictions of any people who are watching this take place a year ago have been proving correct that the system will remain the same and the Egyptians have just traded one form of dictatorship for another unfortunately.
Press TV: So then what does this mean for the other uprisings that we have seen not just in the region but across the world that have taken inspiration from what happened at Cairo’s Liberation Square?
Glenn: Well, again we have to sit down and put a pencil to paper here and do the math. What has actually taken place? Have they changed their system of government? Have the people’s demands been met? No, they have not.
The proof of this is the fact that the military is out in the street using violence against the people. Nothing has changed. So all of these other movements that are taking place across the region, they need to be practical about this; it is very easy to get lost in the moment and to let your hopes get the better of your reason when you are on the street with compatriots and you are fighting for ideals but the fact of the matter is the people that they are up against are deadly serious about remaining in power and they are not going to go quietly.