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IT WAS truly a national uprising--every city and province up and down the country took part. Believe it or not, as militant and determined as the revolutionaries were in Cairo, which got most of the media coverage in the West, the revolutionaries in other cities such as Suez and Alexandria, the second largest city in the country, were even more militant and bolder.
For example, the protesters in Cairo concentrated on Tahrir Square and bravely held it for 18 days by fending off numerous bloody attacks by the police and Mubarak's thugs. But in Alexandria, the protesters didn't adopt a Tahrir Square strategy. They didn't wait for the police to attack. The protesters came out every single day in the tens and hundreds of thousands from every neighborhood and street to confront the police--they fought back against police bullets and tear gas over and over again, until they defeated the police.
I listened online to an amazing tape of a radio communication between the police headquarters in Alexandria and commanders in the field, trying to deal with the flood of angry protesters. In the tape, police officers are begging headquarters for reinforcements to deal with what they described as massive and dangerous crowds of 10,000, 20,000 and 30,000 people, closing in on them everywhere in the city.
But the headquarters was helpless because all of the officers in the field--literally all of them--were asking for reinforcements. The headquarters advised officers and units to retreat to the precincts, and the officers responded: "Sir, protesters are burning the precincts."
The tape ends dramatically with the commander at headquarters asking a subordinate for an explanation for the police defeats. The officer simply told him: "Sir, it is over. The people are in the saddle."
The Alexandria story was repeated in Suez and city after city. Protesters marched on police precincts, on the headquarters of the Mubarak regime's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), on municipal buildings, on governor's mansions, and on and on. And just as the revolt was massive, the celebrations that took place when Mubarak fell were breathtaking in their size and joy.
On the night that Mubarak resigned, 5 million of us celebrated in Tahrir Square for 24 hours. I thought it must have been the largest celebration in the country. I was corrected by friends in Alexandria, who told me: You have a population of 20 million in Cairo and 5 million came out. We have a population of 10 million in Alexandria and 7 million of us jammed the Mediterranean Boulevard, from one end of the city to the other.
I've read in books about great revolutions for social justice. I've read that millions who were involved in those revolutions not only change oppressive social institutions, but they also rediscover their humanity in the process.
I must say that I was lucky to have witnessed this process of social and human transformation firsthand in the few weeks of the uprising in Egypt.
I've seen and talked to so many people who tell you that they feel proud of what they did; they feel that they are no longer strangers in their own country; they feel human for the first time in their lives.
I have never seen so many millions in Egypt look more proud--so proud of what they and other revolutionaries accomplished, and so proud that they have done what they themselves never believed they could do.
People look more relaxed and at peace--you can see it on their faces. People in Egypt will tell you: Gone are the days when we felt helpless and little; gone are the days when the police could humiliate us and torture us; gone are the times when the rich and the businessmen think they could run the country as if it was their own private company.
Everywhere, people posted the January 25 revolution stickers--on their cars, in coffee shops, in their homes. Thousands of young people formed committees to clean up the streets in their neighborhoods. Thousands of others donated blood to those injured during the uprising. Young artists painted revolutionary graffiti, rejecting corruption and celebrating equality between Muslims and Christians.
In the days and weeks after February 11, one could sense the excitement and hope in the air. Indeed, the revolutionary uprising has brought big and amazing changes.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces--which took over from Mubarak in an attempt to save the social system from collapsing entirely, and which rules the country for the time being--made significant concessions to the revolution under intense popular pressure.
For example, the Council arrested some of Mubarak's corrupt political and business allies and froze their assets. It also froze Mubarak's own assets and promised to put him on trial.
On television in Egypt, you can see many hated figures from the business elite and from the regime, not smoking cigars in a fancy meeting, but wearing prison clothes and awaiting trial. You can see the despised former minister of the interior who ordered the shooting of protesters--not walking like an arrogant despot and spitting in our faces while his subordinates brutalize opposition figures, but wearing prison clothes and awaiting trial.
The arrest and trial of some high-profile corrupt officials were and still are a great source of euphoria for millions. But many ordinary people also realize that they made the revolution not just to punish a few figures in the old regime, but to change the whole regime.
Therefore, for many, Mubarak's ousting represents only the beginning of the revolution, not the end. Their slogan quickly became: In every corner of Egypt, in every factory, school and company, there are 1,000 smaller corrupt and criminal Mubaraks that we have to fight against and get rid of.
On February 12, only hours after Mubarak resigned, workers, students and even the oppressed Coptic minority all began organizing to end decades of exploitation and oppression. Millions of poor and oppressed people have been engaging in amazing and inspiring actions for social justice and democratization of all aspects of society.
But, of course, the Egyptian ruling class--which is wounded and shaken by the revolutionary upsurge--is still quite powerful and is fighting back to preserve its rule and privileges. It's doing so with the help of and under the leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is a sanitized name for Mubarak's own top army generals.
In other words, immediately after Mubarak fell, an intense period of social and class struggle opened up in Egypt. Millions of workers and students began to try to shape the outcome of the revolutionary uprising through a series of daring and brave new round of struggles.
[ 本帖最后由 萨马拉 于 2011-4-11 17:52 编辑 ]