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February 2 MAWO Forum Report
MAWO Forum Discusses Ongoing Revolution in Egypt:
Long Live Tunisia - Egypt – Yemen – Lebanon
Jordan – Algeria!
Mass Movement, Uprising & the Lessons!
In the last month, the call of humanity for dignity and self-determination has been roaring across North Africa and the Middle East. As demonstrations continued in Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and erupted across Egypt, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) organized a community forum to reflect upon the great gains made by the mass movement so far, and the future of what might come. The forum, titled “Long Live Tunisia – Egypt – Yemen - Lebanon – Jordan – Algeria!,” focused largely on the developing situation in Egypt, which in the past week, since Jan. 25th, has seen millions of people marching in the streets demanding that current President Hosni Mubarak – Get Out!
The forum brought together around 50 people from many communities in Vancouver, including participants from Latin America, Indigenous nations in Canada and many people from Egypt and other third world countries and regions such as Pakistan, Iran, South Asia, Africa, Europe and the U.S. People attended and joined in a lively discussion, whether as activists and organizers, students, or just people who want to stand in solidarity with the heroic people of Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East. The forum started at 7:30 pm and came to an end at 11:30 pm after almost everyone participated in a very lively political discussion.
The program began with a selection of both current and historic video clips that enabled people to learn more about the history of Egypt and gave a context to the current uprising. Recent videos from both major and independent media clearly showed the peaceful character of these mass demonstrations and of the strong demands of the people of Egypt telling Mubarak to “Get Out!” and the US government not to interfere in the affairs of the people of Egypt. The recent change in the dynamics of the demonstrations was also quickly apparent, as late this week Egyptian government thugs began violently attacking protesters in order to try and play “divide and conquer” with the people of Egypt.
Following these videos, the program began with a panel of three speakers. Emcee of the forum, MAWO Outreach Coordinator Janine Solanki, introduced the first speaker, Ahmad Badawi. Ahmad is a political activist and organizer from Egypt. From his experience as an activist and youth organizer in Egypt, Ahmad brought his perspective of the current situation and prospects for the continuation of the struggle. Ahmad spoke of the role of young people in this revolution and how mass struggle in Egypt will impact and inspire the whole Arab world to join the fight against puppet governments for democracy, justice and liberation.
The next to speak was Zeinab Ali, a young social justice activist from Egypt. Zeinab gave a moving presentation which was also very personal as her brother had been demonstrating in Tahrir square and had been injured that day. The passion and pride that Zeinab has for the people of her country was apparent to everyone in the room, all of who were energized by her words and assurance that the Egyptian people would struggle until victory.
As a participant in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Ali Yerevani, Political Editor of the Fire This Time Newspaper, the final speaker of the evening, spoke about the impact of the Iranian Revolution on US imperialism and the lessons that this has for the current uprising and revolution in Egypt. He spoke about how, since 1979, Iran has been independent from the dictates of the US government, explaining that this was also the fundamental demand of the Egyptian people and the reason why the US government is shaking in their boots in the wake of the current uprisings. Ali emphasized that while on the surface, the mass struggle of people in Egypt is rooted in the domestic social problems and social crisis caused by these issues, in fact, this great mass movement is internationalist in scope. He continued by saying that, “This is vital and important to understand that 32 years after the Iranian revolution, the Egyptian uprising and revolution is again shaking the existence of imperialist presence and domination in North Africa and the Middle East.” Then he concluded, “Mass movement in Tunisia, current ongoing revolution in Egypt, mass struggle in Yemen, Jordan and Algeria, all and all have rolled back the imperialist offensive that started with the new era of war and occupation in October 2001with the occupation of Afghanistan and then Iraq and present preparation of war with Iran. From the point of view of the relationship of forces on the international scale, this is the most important achievement so far. Especially the continuation of resistance and struggle of millions of masses in Egypt has put the whole oppressed people of the region in a better position against imperialism and colonialism.”
Ali also called upon all participants to make a decision to join in solidarity with the people of Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East, who are not only fighting for just their rights, but fighting for the rights of all humanity. Then Ali reminded participants that in this new era of war and occupation, a world of death, destruction and exploitation at the hands of imperialist governments like the US and Canada, it is more significant than ever that we, as peace loving people who believe in a better world, now have an example, millions of examples, of how that world can be won!
Long Live the people of Egypt!
Long Live the people of Tunisia!
Long live the people of Jordan, Yemen, and Algeria!