Egypt,  Islamism

Where are they now?

The Los Angeles Times reports:

More than a dozen Egyptian protesters, angry over what they called an anti-Muslim video, scaled the outer wall of the fortress-like U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and took down an American flag.

In its place, they raised a black flag that read: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet” before Egyptian security forces sought to tame the crowd.

As night fell, protesters continued to gather outside the embassy in one of the biggest demonstrations there since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime early last year. Security forces surrounded the compound to prevent protesters from again storming the facility, though some demonstrators remained on the wall, waving the black flag.

As many as 2,000 demonstrators had rallied outside the embassy earlier in the day to protest video footage posted on YouTube that demonstrators said had been made by Egyptian Coptic immigrants in the United States.

A segment of the low-budget video refers to Muhammad and his followers as “child lovers.” In one part of the preview, the actor portraying the Islamic prophet tells his followers to take children through their battles for their pleasure. It also shows the prophet speaking to a Muslim donkey, asking him if he loves women.

Do these people really think the US government monitors and approves everything posted on YouTube?

Earlier an Egyptian blogger called Nervana reported on an attack on the book market on Nabi Daniel Street in Alexandria.

As part of the cultural heritage of Egypt’s second largest city, this street was the subject of a vicious—and frankly barbaric—assault from the new Islamist governor. The Alexandria security service chose the early hours of Friday morning to carry out its assault on the old book market. The attackers did it in style, too; they destroyed the kiosks and threw the books savagely into piles of rubble in the street and then left without even providing an explanation to the distraught owners who depend solely on these kiosks to earn a living.

…My mother—who used to eat only once a day in order to afford to feed me three meals a day— encouraged me to develop a love for reading and to seek knowledge. She regularly took me to these stalls to buy wide varieties of books at a fraction of their original price. Old magazines had a market too; many families earned a living by buying old editions of fashion magazines and then designing and making low quality dresses to sell for a fraction of their regular price. Today, these customers have lost one of the few outlets through which they could obtain what they need. Not to mention the suffering of the owners of these stalls, whose source of living is simply destroyed by these destructive acts, acts that even a dictator like Mubarak has never dared to perform.

Recently, the disdain toward books has transformed to an active campaign of destruction, from Sufi shrines and libraries in Libya to Nabi Daniel in Alexandria. Rather than focusing on deteriorating security, pollution, and illegal building, the newly appointed governor choses to start his rule with assaults on the poor and their only access to knowledge. It seems that short-sightedness is not only a medical condition, but it can also be a political mindset.

It is no secret that there is no admiration for certain books among many Islamists, from works of major philosophy, history books, western literature, to romantic novels. For them, it can corrupt the mind of Muslims and distract them from pursuing religious studies. However, very few of them have actually bothered to write about what they dislike about western literature, and the few who did wrote very superficial, reactionary accounts that are not even worth reading.

This is not what the original heroes of Tahrir Square had in mind, is it? Where are they now?

Meanwhile, mostly under the media radar, the struggle for workers’ rights goes on in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

The BBC reports:

A US official has been killed and others wounded after militiamen stormed the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, security officials say.

It is believed the protest was held over a US-produced film that is said to be insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

The building is said to have burnt down after being set alight by protesters. It is thought nobody was in the consulate at the time.

Protests have also been held at the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Witnesses say the protest in Benghazi prompted a confrontation between government security forces and an armed militia known as the Ansar al-Sharia brigade, the BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli reports.

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