Political protests used to be seen by many – even politicians – as a legitimate form of popular expression and a way for citizens to shape the direction of their nation. Not anymore!
My head is exploding.. My brain is drained.. My spirit is hurt. Since the moment I got hit yesterday morning by two scenes of authority’s oppressive expression. Scenes that I thought vanished from my beloved Egypt. I was wrong.. Wrong to fathom that a large blanket of freedom is embracing a recovering nation, from a long acute pathology named Dictatorship, like a caring devoted mother would embrace her convalescent child.
1. One concerns a young lady, probably a student or maybe even a housewife; apparently a veiled Muslim protestor, being dragged over the tarred road surface and systematically stripped out of her cloths by two policemen, while a third person kicks her gut and a fourth is watching their backs from any possible undesirable intervention.
2. The other scene is about 35 men representing 350 employees working at the historic Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor/Egypt.. According to those men, they were delegated by the rest of the staff to perform on their behalf a “Symbolic Strike” (having notified and obtained the police permission) to present their documented demands to the proper authorities: in this case their employer, their manager, their syndicate and the competent offices of the Ministry of Labour.
Now let us take a closer and deeper look into the merits of the two issues.. The girl will probably be charged with whatever crime by whichever code; she may as well be jailed for a while then released, after having been subdued by all kinds of humiliation, without the shadow of an official apology or a slim chance for appealing to the court of law for justice.. But the issue here is not any of that; my focus is on the four policemen in the photo and what they represent.
As they are performing the lowest act of “Abuse” over an unarmed and defenceless citizen.. And her being a woman, didn’t help much finding the slightest shade of gallantry.. Ironically the art that most Egyptian men brag about mastering its codes.. Yet I was able only to detect man’s atrocity, impiety, even amusement and devotion to inflict harm.
Those policemen, being by grade placed in the bottom of the ‘Executive Authority Hierarchy’, are representing here the Fierce Iron Fist of the “Security Forces Strategic Policy”. The very same that was drawn and approved back in the late sixties of last century. The strategy which tactics and rules of engagement, are well known to my generation.
Now, to carefully observe the Winter Palace case, I say that according to:
a) the actual lam labour laws,
b) the absence of any significant real value of whichever syndicate or labour union, and
c) the complicity of the corruptive financial muscles of Business Owners and Employers;
most probably those men will be suspended (if not fired) and left alone feeling betrayed by their ‘scab’ colleagues in the first place; who will silently prefer to maintain the job sacrificing their rights, for which their “delegated representatives” are now risking everything they have ever lived for.
They were also betrayed by their Employer; who, instead of offering an open round table reunion to discuss their demands in the context of working together to reach a commonly acceptable agreement; he not only denied their right to protest and/or strike; but as well have already filed claims charging them of “Terrorism and Instigation to Violence and Sabotage”! To terrorise the others and ‘Legally’ gets rid of the ‘rebellious rotten sample’.
Those men are left alone unprotected by anyone or any law, as the easy preys to a specie of vultures commonly known as ‘labour lawyers’. Who will suck their blood for a few years, while they become more and more victims of need and debts.. If nothing happens quickly to solve their situation they will slowly lose their dignity before themselves, their families and friends.. But most of all they will certainly lose their faith in JUSTICE.
These two cases are joint together by the same chain of key words: abuse, power, authority, tyranny, cruelty and injustice.. In both cases, the right to protest or claim a denied right is overwhelmed and completely ignored. Moreover, this is done according to the prevailing laws. Consequently, the girl becomes a “Subject” not a citizen; and the strikers along with their colleagues “Wage Slaves” not employees.
As for the Policemen, the Executive Authority, the Labour Syndicate, and the Employer; I invite you to find yourself the most suitable adjectives to qualify their ‘lawful’ doings. When you do, let me know and..Pass On The Word.