Egyptian Blogger Sandmonkey will Continue on Despite Brutality

by Dennis Bernstein

To call the ongoing people’s revolts in Tunisia and Egypt FaceBook revolutions is certainly overstating the case.

In both countries, the time was ripe for revolution and social upheaval. Poverty, repression and hopelessness were enforced by greedy U.S.-supported despots who were deaf to the needs of their people.

But there is little doubt that the recent street-protest revolts in Tunis and Cairo were assisted by new social media: Facebookers, tweeters and a new generation of Internet bloggers.

In Egypt, the blogosphere  has been on fire with young activists planning meetings, sharing information, planning actions and sending emergency messages about government attacks.

Mahmoud Salem, known in the blogosphere, as “Sandmonkey,” is among the most famous and savvy young Egyptian bloggers, now working at the edges of Liberation Square.

Sandmonkey, who describes himself as “a pro-democracy, free-speech, women’s rights activist,” has been blogging since 2004. His blog is now read around the world and has become part of an alternative information flow, carrying the message from the street to the 24-hour-a-day rush hour on the information super-highway.

What Sandmonkey’s blogging had helped bring about was brought home to him this week when he moved from the blogosphere to Liberation Square where hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been demanding that longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak resign.

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How to Crush a Revolution

In common with journalists and human rights workers, Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey was beaten by regime thugs today, and his blog closed down. Fotunately his last post was reposted at War in Context. And here it is below, a depressing (I hope against hope he’s being overly pessimistic) account of the last days.

The End is near,” Sandmonkey writes. “I have no illusions about this regime or its leader, and how he will pluck us and hunt us down one by one till we are over and done with and 8 months from now will pay people to stage fake protests urging him not to leave power, and he will stay “because he has to acquiesce to the voice of the people”. This is a losing battle and they have all the weapons, but we will continue fighting until we can’t.”

I don’t know how to start writing this. I have been battling fatigue for not sleeping properly for the past 10 days, moving from one’s friend house to another friend’s house, almost never spending a night in my home, facing a very well funded and well organized ruthless regime that views me as nothing but an annoying bug that its time to squash will come. The situation here is bleak to say the least.

It didn’t start out that way. On Tuesday Jan 25 it all started peacefully, and against all odds, we succeeded to gather hundreds of thousands and get them into Tahrir Square, despite being attacked by Anti-Riot Police who are using sticks, tear gas and rubber bullets against us. We managed to break all of their barricades and situated ourselves in Tahrir. The government responded by shutting down all cell communication in Tahrir square, a move which purpose was understood later when after midnight they went in with all of their might and attacked the protesters and evacuated the Square. The next day we were back at it again, and the day after. Then came Friday and we braved their communication blackout, their thugs, their tear gas and their bullets and we retook the square.

We have been fighting to keep it ever since.

Continue reading “How to Crush a Revolution”