Adam & Greed: An analysis of current global uprisings in relation to economics, history, and mythology - by Ganzeer
Foreign Agendas & Popular Uprisings
The Egyptian military truly does believe there’s a foreign conspiracy at work.
As far as they are concerned, things haven’t much changed since before Mubarak’s step down. Omar Suleiman’s comments to Christiane Amanpour, that “other people are pushing” Egypt’s young masses to revolt still ring true to Egypt’s military men and those influenced by them. Omar Suleiman may be out of the media spotlight right now -partially due to people’s discomfort with his uncanny resemblance to Darth Vader- but its hard to believe a man whose involvement with military/intelligence, which stems back to the 1950’s, would end with Mubarak’s step-down. Especially with Suleiman viewed as “the most successful element of the [CIA’s] relationship with Egypt,” according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. If the United States was willing to let Mubarak go, I doubt it would also be willing to let Suleiman or any of Egypt’s old military guard go.
[Omar Suleiman as Darth Vader]
Before Mubarak’s step-down, popular media claimed “foreign elements” to be behind the “chaos” in Tahrir. Journalists’ cameras were confiscated. Al Jazeera’s office was raided. Protestors were regularly abducted by Egyptian military, subject to torture, and asked “who put you up to this?” Officials would appear on TV and stress that the only person who can keep the country together is Mubarak.
[Egyptian singer/songwriter Ramy Essam shows scars of torture by Egyptian Military.]
Today, protests are condemned by popular media, “foreign elements” are still blamed to be behind any “irregularities.” Al Jazeera’s office was raided again. Protestors are regularly arrested by Egyptian military and subject to torture. The only difference is that officials appear on TV and stress that the only thing that can keep the country together is “the army”, instead of Mubarak.
[Members of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on public television explaining that the military is the people’s last line of defense.]
Ah, and there’s one more difference. The only sit-in not condemned by popular media and not dispersed by Egyptian military is the small “Islamist” sit-in right in front of the American embassy. Y’know… before the sit-in ever started, I sat there once, on the side walk, waiting on a friend of mine. Security there were quick to come and tell me to move along.
This leads me to believe that the strategy undertaken by the Egyptian military is two-fold:
- Create enough of a sense of insecurity in the masses to drive them to entrust the military with everything.
- Allow Western powers, namely America, to believe that an Islamist movement is on the rise, leading the West to entrust the Egyptian military with everything.
The former point is further emphasized by instigation of additional threats such as:
- Nile river countries bent on limiting Egypt’s share of water.
- Israel’s attack on Egyptian soldiers at the border.
- The collapsing economy.
- The internal security vaccum.
The result? Popular domestic and international support. The Egyptian military wins.
Funnily enough, it is the same strategy undertaken by the ruling power in every single country to see an uprising. Qaddaffi’s popular line “Mnn antom?!” (Who are you?) is now carved into the funny sides of our brains, and will likely be a popular internet meme for a long time to come, but it has not stopped other countries from taking the same stance. Syrian foreign minister Walid Mouallem issued a statement saying “There are groups carrying out acts of violence in Syria and who have killed a great number of martyrs. The West speaks of a peaceful revolution and does not admit these groups exist but arms them anyhow.” These views have even led to a number of pro-Assad demonstrations outside of Syria. Sultan Assour, a pro-Assad protestor outside the Turkish embassy in Amman, asserted that “there are foreign entities trying to destroy the Syrian regime because it has been successful,” as reported by the Jordan Times on October 10, 2011.
[Qaddafi’s “Mn Antom?” speech remixed by Youtube user Blackjack101.]
When protests erupted in the eastern Saudi Arabian town of Qatif in early October, dominated by chants that apparently condemned the Saudi court’s sentencing a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country’s ban on female drivers, Saudi authorities didn’t act much differently. “You Coward, you coward, you who hit women,” chanted protestors, before being attacked by Saudi police, and resorting to physical measures, which led to 14 injuries, 11 of which were Saudi security forces according to reports. The Saudi Ministry of Interior issued a statement on October 5th claiming to have “thwarted an attempt by foreign elements to destabilize national security.”
In Jordan, authorities have managed to weaken the position of the country’s pro-reform uprising by suggesting that Palestinian interests are behind the movement, tapping into society’s collective memory/knowledge of 1970’s Black September. This has succeeded in subduing the inertia of Jordan’s pro-reform sentiments.
When Bahrain’s February uprising took place, not only did authorities, together with Bahraini media, heavily suggest the involvement of foreign elements, but the Bahraini government even claimed in a report to the UN in April 2011 that Lebanese political organization Hezbollah, considered a terrorist group by the US, was actively involved in organizing the unrest.
The sad truth is that these claims find resonance with portions of the population, leading to much societal conflict in regards to sentiments towards a regime, no matter how brutal or unjust it may be. The result is, instead of being in a situation of the people against the regime, it turns into a situation of some people against most people and the regime. The regime wins.
Now, if I have the common sense to see that the Tunisian uprising was not caused by foreign elements, or to see that the Libyan people’s rise against Qaddaffi only stemmed from a legitimate need to overthrow the idiot, or that Saudi Arabian protestors are merely agitated by a life of oppression, or that Syrian protestors have simply had enough of Assad’s reign of terror, why would I assume that the Egyptian revolution is any different?
I’m With Stupid
There’s a consensus among every Egyptian military man I’ve spoken to that this is an obvious Israeli ploy to weaken the Arab states. “Look at Libya”, I’ve been told “Military men have defected. Look at Yemen; Military men have defected! Look at Syria! Military men have defected! By weakening the armies of its neighboring Arab countries, Israel will have the upper hand, and the entire region will be up for grabs!”
Yes, I’ve actually been told that. The problem with that argument is that it assumes that Arab militaries have been a threat to Israel’s security, when in fact, Arab militaries have been the only thing ensuring Israel’s safety, and keeping millions of angry Arabs from marching there and ripping the Jewish state to shreds! Israel has enough problems dealing with Palestinians living in sub-horrible conditions. The last thing it needs is unleashing the wrath of millions from Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, and whoever else decides to hop on the bandwagon of vengeance.
That’s the first reason why igniting-mass-uprisings-as-an-Israeli ploy is the stupidest explanation anyone can ever think of. The second reason would be that courage is obviously contagious, as has been demonstrated by the emergence of uprisings all around the world, including Israel itself. What may have started as a massive protest against Tel Aviv’s housing shortage and cost of living, eventually turned into a call for social justice. Israel is known for its racism against its own people; Druze, Bedouins, and Ethiopian Jews serving in Israel’s military force are systematically stationed at the front lines of heavy conflict zones, for example. Protests numbering in the hundreds of thousands giving Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu the ultimatum of making “real and serious recommendations” or “on October 29, just before the Knesset returns to session, we will take to the streets in full force” cannot at all be good for the Israeli government’s stability.
Not to mention the other 1500 cities that have seen mass protests on October 15th alone! Madrid, Barcelona, London, Berlin, Athens, Rome, New York City, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, Auckland, Mumbai, Tokyo, Seoul, Taiwan, and more! It’s happening everywhere!
So why is there so much conviction amongst Egyptian military men that this whole revolution thing is an Israeli plot? Well, It’s obviously a way for Egyptian military masterminds to discourage men in the ranks from defecting.
So Arabs Want to Rip Israel apart?
Pretty much, yeah. But Israel has nothing to worry about anyway. Unless seriously provoked, there’s no way a dozen-million-Arab-march to Tel Aviv will ever happen, because people will be people, even Arab people. And what Arab people want, just like the people of Israel, is a secure life where true social justice roams.
It is, of course, believed by Israel and the United States of America, that once social justice is achieved in the Arab world and a better education system ensued, the result would be a smarter population with a better economic status, less domestic worries, and a higher capability of wiping Israel off the face of the planet!!
Now, before we jump to that conclusion one must sit down and think about where this Arab “hostility” towards Israel stems from. Aside from the obvious reason of Israel mainly being a military-driven occupying presence, and aside from the escalating addition of settlements on Palestinian land, and aside from Israel’s discrimination and regular injustices towards Palestenians, aside all of that, Arab governments, even those that have healthy diplomatic relations with Israel, have for decades been cultivating the notion of Israel-as-the-enemy in the minds and hearts of Arab people.
Take Egypt for example; since Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel, regular trade and business has been established between both countries. Israel has exported $181 million worth of goods to Egypt between 1994 to 2000, with $58.1 million in year 2000 alone. Egypt’s exports to Israel, on the other hand, have totaled $1.6 billion during the same six years. Although Egypt’s revenue from trade with Israel surpasses Israel’s, the Egyptian government has been subject to heavy domestic criticism for the sale of natural gas to Israel at the significantly reduced price of $1-$3 per 1000 cubic feet, whereas the lowest value natural gas has ever reached elsewhere is actually $7 per 1000 cubic feet.
Israelis regularly travel to the Sinai peninsula for tourism, and Sinai bedouins regularly travel to Israel for trade and tourism. I, however, a Cairo resident would not be able to travel to Israel so easily, and heavy interrogation by Egyptian intelligence upon return would occur without question. Egyptians have grown up with the notion that Israel is ready to attack Egypt at any moment. They teach it to you at schools and they talk about it at the coffee shops. They show it in films, television series, and talk shows.
My buddy Sherif did obligatory Egyptian military service for a whole year, half of which he was stationed in Aswan at an air-defense base near Egypt’s High Dam. When a high ranking officer doing check ups would pass by the base and see something that was not in order, he would scuffle the troops and typically shout “What’s wrong with you, soldier?! What if Israel decides to attack The Dam right now?”
[A recruitment poster published in American magazines throughout World War I, featuring Daughter of Zion, a representation symbolizing the Jewish people. The text reads “Your Old New Land must have you! Join the Jewish regiment.]
Now although I, during my 29 years of existence in this here world, have never got to experience any hostility from Israel first hand, but have in fact been subject to many injustices by my own government on a regular basis, my idea of the enemy is still emblematic in Israel’s Star-of-David. This is my government’s way of controlling its people. By cultivating the fear of an exterior enemy, people will let go of certain rights and liberties in exchange for a sense of security at home. This may also be said about Israel’s government.
Therefore, complete dismantlement of both the Egyptian and Israeli regimes may very well be the salvation of both people.
Show Me The Money
Such insecurity suits Israel just fine though, because it’s how it makes the big monies. Without insuring at least a sense of hostility from its neighboring countries, Israel would no longer be legible to receive the annual $3 billion military aid from the United States, 25% of which is actually spent on purchasing equipment from Israeli manufacturers! Of course, a condition to receive this aid is for Israel to “seek peace.” If, of course, peace is actually accomplished, there will be no unachieved peace to seek out, and no basis for Israel to claim hostility from its neighbors. No more aid.
Moreover, Israel’s acquiring of U.S. military technology is giving the Jewish state a chance at reverse engineering U.S. weapons, quickly becoming a top weapons innovator and manufacturer, ranking itself as the 10th largest exporter of arms in an industry estimated at over $1.5 trillion annually.
It isn’t in the Egyptian regime’s interest either to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict, as that would mean a very possible end to US aid to Egypt as well, accounting for $2 billion annually, much of what probably goes into the pockets of corrupt Egyptian officials. As long as there’s unrest at the border, and Egypt is keen on facilitating “peace talks” between Israel and Palestine, then Egypt is legible to receive aid. Also, as the 11th largest cement producer in the world, Egypt regularly exports cement to Gaza after Israeli attacks to be utilized for rebuilding efforts. It has also been reported that 20,000 tons of Egyptian cement were sold to Palestinian Authorities and then resold to Israel at humungous profits for use in the construction of Israel’s apartheid separation barriers.
This signals that even the Palestinian Authority benefits from this bad situation. It’s known, for example, that the Palestinian Authority incurs serious “taxes” on the smuggling of goods through the Rafah Tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.
The same applies to Jordan, as it is the 4th largest recipient of U.S. Military aid, valued at around $209 million. Together with other aid packages, Jordan receives an annual sum of around $500 million. Add to that, one of Jordan’s main sources of income today is made via Qualifying Industrial Zones that were set up in 1998, allowing Jordan to export goods to the United States on the condition that some input material comes from Israel. Jordan has since signed a Free Trade Agreement with the States, but 75% of all articles entering the United States from Jordan are still produced in Qualifying Industrial Zones. Egypt, too, exports to the United States from the production of its Qualifying Industrial Zones.
This explains why the peace talks we’ve been witnessing for decades have been nothing more than exactly that: talks. Because anything beyond that would not be of interest to the politicians at hand, but the show… the show must go on. This means that Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian, Israeli, and above all, American politicians are directly responsible for the gruesome situation that Palestinian and Israeli people have to live in today - most especially the Palestinian people.
Ah, but why would the United States spend so much tax money on benefiting the politicians of Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, you ask?
Well it just so happens that the Middle East accounts for 1/6 of the world’s arms imports, the bulk of that going to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and the UAE. That is approximately $250 billion annually. A lucrative client to anyone in the arms business. And indeed, 50% of all U.S. arms exports go to the Middle East, which accounted for over 40 billion in 2010.
All U.S. aid in the Middle East is valued at $6 billion. If you add Afghanistan and Pakistan to the equation, the number would jump to no more than $16 billion. If you’re making 40 billion off the situation in the Middle East, then spending $16 billion isn’t such a bad investment, is it? Do the math. That’s a $24 billion profit, not even considering the profits made from oil and other goods.
Now, without the presence of an occupying nation right in the center of the Middle East: Israel, these rich Middle Eastern countries would not feel the need to stock on such an outrageous number of weapons, and the United States would lose the biggest contribution to its economy.
So basically, the world’s largest superpower has taken advantage of Zionist aspirations and the self interest of Arab dictators just to make some money. And millions of innocent lives are left to pay the sick price.
Capitalism Versus Democracy
The United States of America has somehow managed to create the illusion of a powerful link between the notion of democracy and the practice of capitalism. This can, in part, be credited to America’s successful dominance over mass media for the past few decades, as well as the sheer bleakness of what had seemed like the only possible alternative: communism.
It’s true that capitalism has offered much more freedom than its communist counterpart; in a capitalist society, one would be free to wear jeans, drive an air-conditioned car and buy a remote control robot for his/her kid. Albeit, work pretty damn hard to be able to afford those things, but still, the possibility exists. Under known communist structures, those things were in no way attainable, and no matter how hard you worked, your only option was to work for a government that provided an array of incredibly basic products for its people.
With these being the only options in sight, its no surprise that the majority of the world would seek to endorse capitalism. Upon closer inspection, however, it isn’t difficult to see that capitalism is in no way related to democracy. For democracy, whose origin is the greek word dēmokratía -which means “people power”- does not prevail under capitalism, which provides varying levels of power to different types of people, depending, for the most part, on financial income. Moreover, the adoption of capitalism by a number of hardcore dictatorships such as Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, and China is proof of capitalism’s false association with democracy.
Also, come to inspect how communism has come to be applied and understood, it totally contradicts its theoretical basis of “Everything for everyone,” or as Karl Marx would put it: “a classless, stateless system based on common ownership and free-access, superabundance and maximum freedom for individuals to develop capacities and talents.”
The way things have actually went down, communism was a way for governments to give nothing to anyone, and keep everything to itself. This, in strong contradiction to true communism, should more accurately be referred to as Leninism.
Ironically enough, it seems that true communism and true democracy are, in fact, two sides of the same shiny gold coin.
Bob Dylan Said
In Martin Scorsese’s documentary on Bob Dylan, No Direction Home, there’s a scene where Dylan recalls being called a communist at times in the 60’s for singing about civil rights and walking around with a guitar. Dylan admits he “didn’t even know what a communist was.” The same can probably be said about most people today, but that won’t keep the masses from ending capitalism and seeking out social justice anyway.
And chances are, it’ll probably be called something else anyway. Moses may have called it Judaism when freeing Egypt’s large slave population of Israelites. Christianity, as Jesus Christ’s teachings are called, initially spread throughout the Roman Empire’s massive slave and under-privileged populations for its popular notions of equality and social justice. Muhammad of Mecca called it Islam when his proclamations that all people were equal before the eyes of God found resonance with Mecca’s youth, unprotected immigrants and slaves, as well as tribesman who had failed to attain first rank.
[A Roman slave, persuaded to convert to Christianity, distributes his master’s bread to the poor and needy. From Alejandro Amenábar's film: Agora.]
The sheer success of what could arguably be the biggest “revolutions” in human history can probably be attributed to revelations that were beneficial to underprivileged majorities as opposed to the ruling minorities of any given time.
This means that the current Global Uprising in the making, soon-to-become Global Revolution, is deemed for success, for the world’s majority is definitely underprivileged, against a minority of politicians and capitalists who’ve had complete carte blanche in shaping the world of today. Alas, capitalism has failed humanity, and no number of reforms will alter that.
Take Me to Your Leader
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt has continuously criticized the Egyptian uprising for not producing a unified leader to speak on the people’s behalf. This has lead to a continuously increasing number of coalition and political party formations, many of which have rendezvoused with the Supreme Council to sign agreements in hopes of putting the revolution to rest.
Demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of protest carry on regardless, because today’s revolution, unlike revolutions of the past, is leaderless.
If Muhammad of Mecca had agreed to the proposition offered by the powerful merchants of the time to abandon his preaching in exchange for his admission into their inner circle and an advantageous tribal marriage, that would’ve been the end of the “Islamic revolution” right then and there.
This revolution -this Global Revolution- unlike those historically helmed by a single leader, is the type of organic manifestation of a shepherdless proletarian revolution that Karl Marx predicted. Stating it would take place upon the development of productive forces that would lead to a superabundance of material wealth.
For such a development to happen, the Industrial Age needed to copulate with the Digital Age. Only the development of sophisticated programming softwares, together with hi-tech manufacturing facilities could produce highly automated production capabilities. Combine that with the Information Age, and you have global “enlightenment,” a mass population immune to propaganda, and a society that interacts on a stateless level.
This would mean that machines, Information Technology, and the World-Wide Web… the products of capitalism itself… are to be the very death of capitalism.
How gorgeously mythological.
What we are ultimately facing here today is the culmination of humanity’s struggle to find justice while confronting the temptation of greed.
An astonishingly resonating quote by ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Akhenaton, reads “To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he who increases his riches, increases his cares.”
A continuation of this struggle can be found in the stories and works of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Aristotle. Plato. Buddha. Al-Farabi. William Morris. Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Thomas Moore. Robin Hood. Leonardo Da Vinci. Laozi. Zhuangzi. Proudhon. Enragés. William Godwin. Thomas Jefferson. Ahmed Orabi. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Josiah Warren. Mikhael Bakunin. Karl Marx. Ernesto Guevara. Woody Guthrie. Bob Marley. Martin Luther King. Joey Skaggs. Noel Godin. Constant Nieuwenhuys. Angie Zelter. Charlie Todd. Vanya. John Jordan. Rage Against The Machine. Chuck Palahniuk. March Achbar. Adbusters Magazine. Michael Moore. Ahmad Fouad Nigm. Banksy. Naomi Klien. Tanya Stephens. Jeff Howe. And many, many more.
This revolution has been a long time coming.
Hello, World War III
We are bound to be subject to a lot more than just slurs and smear campaigns. For the guardians of capitalism will not let go without a hard, hard fight. Driven entirely by greed and fear, they will have no choice but to resort to violent measures against the revolting masses. And because fear is as contagious as courage, many will be swayed to protect capitalism and/or the old guard in the name of security and the well-being of humanity. Those guided by hope for human justice will press on.
The brutality of regimes against their own people will lead other governments to forcefully intervene. Other Powers with interests in these regimes will have to take harsh military measures. Massive alliances will be made -Allies and Axis style- and the many idle weapons of doom, produced by capitalism and sold throughout the world, will be put to their designated use.
The biggest war in human history will scorch the Earth and end in widespread destruction and despair. Super-boundless atomic radiation of epidemic proportions will throw the Earth’s ecosystems off balance. The limited human population remaining will be forced to scavenge the Earth for survival in a turbulent post-apocalyptic world.
After millennia of recovery, the Earth will be reborn as the lush green paradise promised to humanity by our ancestors a long, long time ago.
Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam (1977), p. 36.
Israel-Egypt: A Review of Bilateral Ties - The Jewish Virtual Library:
James L. Williams (1998-10-02). "Graph of Natural Gas Futures Prices – NYMEX". Wtrg.com. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
U.S. Military Aid and the Israel/Palestine Conflict - If Americans Knew
U.S. Arms Sales to Israel End Up In China, Iraq by Jonathan Reingold - CommonDreams.org:
World Military Spending by Anup Shah - Global Issues:
List of countries by cement production - Wikipedia:
The Tunnels of Gaza by Sara Flounders:
UAE, Saudis, Egypt, Algeria top ME arms buyers - Jerusalem Post:
America’s hottest export: Weapons - CNN Money
Arms Industry - Wikipedia:
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