Socialist Worker

‘The revolution has reawakened’

Jack Shenker, a journalist based in Cairo, spoke to Socialist Worker on Monday night about the scenes in Tahrir Square

Issue No. 2279

Right now Tahrir is surreal. There are enormous numbers of people coming into the square.

There’s a real sense that a tipping point has been reached in the scale of opposition to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf). People won’t be satisfied with shifting personnel around. They want the military regime to go.

It used to be just a small group of activists that thought revolutionary struggle should continue against remnants of the old regime. But now that idea has expanded. It’s a new political landscape.

Previously the regime got away with labelling those still protesting as “troublemakers”, people who didn’t have Egypt’s interests at heart. This was despite the fact that 12,000 have been dragged through military tribunals.

Now that mood has shifted. The language ordinary people use about Scaf is the same as the language they used about the former dictator Hosni Mubarak back in January.

One thing that has shifted opinion is the endless footage of ordinary Egyptians being mowed down in the street.

Soldiers have been seen dragging dead bodies and throwing them on piles as if they were bags of rubbish.

The army has traditionally been a venerated institution in Egypt. So to see them treat human life with such disdain has had a real galvanising effect on people.

A feeling that was there in days that brought Mubarak down is now back: there are only two sides—and you’re either on one side or the other.

The cabinet’s offer of resignation is in many ways an irrelevance. Politics isn’t being played out in those formal elite spheres any more.

The collective struggle of ordinary Egyptians is the real political arena again. And it’s a struggle for life and death. The revolution has reawakened.


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