Tuesday, April 08, 2008

When pictures speaks louder than words - Mahalla

In solidarity with the people and textile workers of Mahalla and activists, including bloggers arrested before, during and after the General strike. I want to point to Per Bjorklund´s photos from Mahalla. James Buck´s photos are also well worth a look.

Police using tear gas and rubber bullets on it´s citizens, is an ample description of the state´s attitude towards it´s people. To them Egyptians are only subjects that are supposed to do what they are told. We are still very far from an inclusive understanding of citizenry, where people have both rights and obligations, and not the other way around, that is the state have every right to do whatever it deems necessary to protect it´s interest, but no obligations what so ever. The social contract is broken over and over again. A basic right is the right to strike, of course due to the ever present Emergency laws, those righs are infringed upon. It will be interesting to see if that will change, when the EL is supposed to be replaced by the new anti-terrorism law this coming May. I´m quite sure that all of us can figure out the answer to that question..

UPDATE: Authorities confirmed today that 15-year-old Ahmed Hamada died in the clashes, presumably Monday. He is the only confirmed fatal casualty by the authorities. More on Ahmed Hamada can be found here, as well as coverage of state security hampering an al Jazeera crew from doing there job when P.M Ahmed Nazif came to town on Tuesday. the same happend to a reporter from the local as Saa.

In an attempt to solve the crisis in Mahalla , PM Ahmed Nazif traveled to the delta City on Tuesday, to speak with workers and managment. He promised to provide them with the bonuses, Maggie Michael from A.P provides us with reactions from the PM´s day in Mahalla :

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif hurried to Mahalla al-Kobra on Tuesday with several top economic ministers to meet with workers at the 50-year-old, state-owned Misr Spinning and Weaving factory complex that employs 25,000 people.

"We know Mahalla is suffering and you have passed through many crises," Nazif told them. "But it is through crises that men prove their mettle."

He announced they would receive a bonus of 30 days' pay and promised to address their demands for better health care and higher wages.

Workers in the hall cheered. But afterward, many were skeptical.

"What Nazif has said, we've heard it all before — what's new? They really have no idea how we suffer here," said Rashad Fathi, a factory worker who said his monthly wage of $34 was not enough to feed his four children.

Rashad Fathi´s salary of 34 USD/month means that he lives far below the UN poverty line of 2 USD/day, just like 20 per cent of Egypt´s population. Twenty per cent more lives slightly abowe that. On top of that food prices has hiked 50 percent since January 1st.

Here is an al Jazeera English report from Sunday.

Global Voices has good coverrage in two important posts. The first by Amira al Husseini about the arrest of blogger/activist Malek and Mustafa Khalil from Kifeya a day prior to the general strike. and the second by Eman AbdELRahman, Including a clip, originally posted by Ghariba

UPDATE: Amira al Husseini has a third installment of Global Voices coverage, and it makes me asking myself, did i do enough? The Egyptian blogospere collectively did certainly do much more than enough! As always, one is very proud and fortunate enough to be a small part of this.

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Blogger Molly said...

good to know you weren't nabbed as well.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Ibn ad Dunya said...

I can´t thank you enough Molly for your concern and care.

It feels like you have a very deep felt love for Egypt and it´s people, something we both share.

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope that after all the torment and heartache, positive things will prevail.
Egypt has so much to offer, not only the 5000 years old history..
I hope the government will buck up and work towards rehabilitating the economy. Egyptians deserved so much better than just receiving subsidised bread.

keep on writing ya Ibn Ad Dunya! Your thoughts and ideas are certainly important, not only in the blogosphere, but to inspire fellow Egyptians to achieve what they dream off, for Egypt.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Ibn ad Dunya said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for those very nice and inspiring words, i blush with pride, i´m afraid my ideas and thoughts are all very simple, but my dream for a democratic and inclusive Egypt are not simple in any way, but the goal is well worth working towards.

3:33 PM  

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