VT in the Middle of the Protest in Egypt
VT Senior Editor Gordon Duff interviews Staff Writer Dr. Ashraf Ezzat who’s on the ground in Alexandria Egypt.
In the the middle of the protest, Dr. Ezzat speaks and tells his story.
INSIDE EGYPT: Gordon Duff Interviews Dr. Ezzat in Egypt
G.D. Hi. This is VT TV February 2nd, 2011 And thanks to the goodness of the Egyptian Government and the technology we’re offered I’ve got VT correspondent and bureau chief Ashraf Ezzat in Alexandria. Hey, how are you doing? You’re back from the march yesterday. Tell me what it was like.
A.E. Hi Gordon. Actually, it was great. Yesterday, I joined the protesters in Alexandria. They were calling for – what everybody knows now – a One Million Man March on Tuesday. Round that number, was, managed to gather in an event held in Cairo, and a small part, smaller number in Alexandria and other major cities […..], [….],Giza, [Asyut]
G.D. Let me jump in here. We’re all getting the standard AlJazeera reports, which, maybe it’s just me noticing this, but it looks to me like AlJazeera is out interviewing secret police dressed up as demonstrators and pretending they’re talking to the man in the street. That’s what you think also I take it.
A.E. Actually AlJazeera is doing a great job covering this uprising. The security authorities in Egypt, [… ] they had banned AlJazeera Arabic, not AlJazeera English, maybe a few days ago, [that was a stupid move], but actually they did that out of the fury and the embarrassment [ … ] coming out of AlJazeera exposed the conspiracy of the police which was targeting the security and the stability Egyptian society
G.D. Well, I’m getting another version today and frankly I hadn’t been watching AlJazeera I, I even consider them mainstream anymore but I can’t even stand watching the news, it’s, I’ve got this BS meter that, that prevents me from doing it, but I’d like you to catch up on their take on things and tell if it’s any different, because it looked to me like they were being duped by the government and taking a strong pro-government stand today and since I didn’t see it before. Let me, let me run you in another direction here. What is going on as far as the demonstrations? How much of the anger on behalf of the Egyptian people is tied to Mubarak’s relationship with Israel?
A.E. A great deal. A great deal. You know Mubarak to the eyes, in the eyes of every Egyptian is a very close friend to Tel Aviv. He’s been, he’s been backing the Zionist regime for thirty years now. And needless to say, that he has been helping the Israeli’s to tighten the [cinch] [siege] on. This is very frustrating and very …, one of the reasons why many Egyptians don’t like, not only the regime [and the] foreign policy concerning [ … ]
G.D. Well, let me jump on Gaza real quickly. First thing is, Israel had announced a major gas and oil find off-shore from Israel. As we’re beginning to suspect more and more, it’s actually off-shore from Gaza. Is this being spoken of? Not only that this is off-shore from Gaza but that it’s off-shore from Cyprus and from Lebanon. And, we know, Hezbollah has already spoken about that. Is there any issue about whether this gas and oil may actually be Egypt’s find also?
A.E. No. No [ I have not heard that…My thoughts on the conflict for the Egyptian .. it is an old conflict … the confrontation that dates back to the 1950’s…] … is not the main issue here. The [ …] and the smuggling [ … ] between Gaza and Israel, this is the main concern and the main concern of the Egyptians is one thing, number one, … the history, the military history between Egypt and Israel […] by the signing of the Peace Treaty in 1979. Maybe in Tel Aviv they see this [kind of] accord as an everlasting treaty, but actually according to the average Egyptian, this treaty does not really exist, because it is [political] and it is not like,… I would not say it is a popular agreement
G.D. And I, I’m carrying this into toward Gaze more or less because we have Ken O’Keefe in Gaza and he’s my constant reminder. We have this tendency in the US to overlook the Palestinians that belief doesn’t go far here because I get a phone call everyday telling me to remember. One of the key issues about Gaza and how this applies to your mentioning the beliefs of the Egyptian people, if you look at a pre-1967 map, Gaza is part of Egypt. Are the people of Egypt of the belief that Gaza needs to be returned to Egyptian control?
A.E. No. I don’t think so.
G.D. They’re willing to allow, they’re willing to allow the Israeli’s to continue to control Gaza?
A.E. No. Egyptians don’t look at Gaza as part of Egypt. No. No. No. They don’t have that condition. No. We don’t want Gaza back. We maybe, we maybe, we have this political supervision and control over Gaza after the war in 1948. But that was it. Gaza belongs to Palestine now.
G.D. And of course Israel has been operating militarily as though it were, militarily and politically as though Gaza were a prison camp.
A.E. Actually, it is.
G.D. To the Egyptians, to the everyday Egyptian people, how big a concern is the fate of the Palestinians to an average Egyptian?
A.E. It’s a very, very important and ever present concern […] Egyptian it [ … ] an issue. At the back of every Egyptians, at the back, at the back of his head and so it is very important, very vital.
G.D. One of the things I should do is, being well mannered here, and the fact this is the first interview you and I have done, which I think I would have structured differently if we’d have had more prep time on this, but, what I think we need to close with is and … is what your belief is the Egyptian people are going into the streets over. You heard my questions, but if you were asking the questions, what would you have me ask. Obviously, what do people have against Mubarak? What aren’t Americans seeing about their wonderful ally, the person who has stabilized Egypt for thirty years against Islamic extremism and Americans are being told they have to fear the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. So, how would you express the situation there and how Americans are, in my view, probably misinformed.
A.E. Yeah. Let me tell you this …Yesterday I joined the protestors and I took my wife and my child. My wife was a little bit worried she might endanger our child if things got [ … ]. But, the minute we got there, we were overwhelmed by how civilised everybody was. How [ … ] Everybody was, in the protest, everybody in the demonstration, had been there for one reason. Because he actually likes to have a better tomorrow. A better future for his children. And, a tomorrow without a dictator, like Mubarak. A tomorrow without false promises. A tomorrow without dirty politics. Tomorrow without lot of corruption that led to the anger and frustrations of millions of Egyptians. Yesterday, it was magical. It was beautiful. I told my wife we would join the protesters for maybe thirty minutes maximum and we stayed for three hours. It was beautiful. And everybody, everybody was so non-violent.
So cooperative. And, they were in orderly fashion and they even shared, not only the smiles and slogans and [ flies ], they shared the food and drinks and they were this friendly [ … amongst ] people. You could really sense that they really meant what they said.
G.D. And today, today that’s turned in another direction
A.E. Today. And this is the… this is the issue here. Today, when I first turned on, turned on my TV and I looked at what happened in Tahrir Square. It was rather different, rather different from my experience yesterday. What, what everybody has seen on their screens today …I mean those thugs riding horses and, and bursting into the crowds [these large ] crowds in Tahrir Square. Those were, those were not what they called [ … ] Mubarak protestors. Those are the thugs and criminals, trained criminals of the police, of the Egyptian police. Those are the same criminals who looted and burnt down every police station in the country. Those are the looters, those are the thugs, that have been cooperating with the police in Egypt for decades, for decades. This is how the Security and the Ministry of the Interior works in Egypt. You know Gordon, during the reign of Mubarak, throughout the thirty past years there has been an increasing population which was not met by pre-planning for housing and for the infra-structure, for jobs, etcetera, etcetera. So, those increase in the population, had to be, had to live, in an improvised way. So, that’s what we call, the suburbs, which they live in. They began to expand, in the [ peripheries ] of major cities, in Cairo and Alex. Those [ peripheries ] … like slums, like slums, very poor suburbs, where those [ marginalised ] people live. They live with no infra-structure, with no education whatsoever, most of them are drug-dealers, burglars, robbers and thugs. When you talk about the security in those areas, at the [ peripheries ] of the cities like Cairo and Alex and every major city in the country, you talk about the impossibility of the security to infiltrate and control those improvised suburbs. So the Security came up with this ingenious, ingenious [ idea ]. They had to rely on informants, inside informants from those suburbs. So they began this cooperation and this cooperation they kind of made this deal that, ok, we can’t control you, we will make a deal. In a way they became, you know, like friends. They bust them this day, this morning, and they let them loose the next morning and they even began to utilize them in [ faking ] the elections – Presidential elections, parliamentary elections, whatever. Whenever it comes a time you need those thugs they just, they manage to call them and to gather quite a number of them, to do, to do whatever they do. Whatever they do best. To terrorise people. Either, either at the ballot box in times of elections, or, at demonstrations and the whole world witnessed this week. And today, today ( sorry ,) today was the demonstration on how the Egyptian Security works. And this is the ingenious plan of the, the Plan C, actually, it was not Plan B, of Egyptian Security. It was like last card. The Mubarak regime and Security was holding this card until this, until the very end. It was executed in a very clumsy …
G.D. Well this, this is very much what we saw and what I was surprised today and this is how we went into this earlier, when watching AlJazeera filming this, AlJazeera in no way made reference to any of the things that you’re indicating or the government relationship or control that it, that it has on these people, or in any way how the government, as you’re saying today, had orchestrated this response. By AlJazeera’s standards this was an out-crying of the massive population, according to AlJazeera that had kept themselves in abience because they were afraid of yesterday’s demonstrators and today they found the courage to come out and voice their support for President Mubarak. Something that sounded more than slightly disingenuous to me when I’m seeing photographs of people that reminded me of the Nazi thugs that I’d seen in 1932.
A.E. Excuse me, excuse the interruption, but I have to say something. Some of the, some of those thugs were actually captured by the protestors, young people who protested in Tahrir Square today. And they actually managed to check the IDs. They found the police IDs [with] them. Some of them were carrying – that tells you how stupid the regime is – they were carrying out …police operation … supposed to be a [covert] operation and still they have these IDs on them and some, and the other, the other, I’m talking about the thugs and the criminals, after being captured, after being interrogated, they admitted that they were paid, a very, a very stupid sum of money to do this.
[ I mean ] I’m talking fifty pounds.
G.E. I want to thank you for … frankly, informing me of a number of things I had suspected, but wasn’t close to aware of and we will do this again tomorrow, and we’ll say good night to our audience here and around the world for VT.
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