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Voices of Egypt I: Revolution & America's Role





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Uploaded on May 19, 2011

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This is the first of a series of videos I made about what I saw and heard during two weeks in Egypt. There's a wide range of opinion in Egypt about the meaning of the revolution and considerable anger about the U.S. role in the Arab world. As you'll see, that anger for one man even meant an open admiration of Osama bin Laden, a view not widely shared. The views represented in the video are of the individuals I happened to talk to. There's 20 million residents of Cairo, with very diverse views. One of the best things about being here is watching strangers talk politics with each other on the street.

On the day I arrived in Cairo, May 18, a protest was held in Tahrir Square to call for the release of those arrested outside of the Israeli consulate three days earlier. Those protestors had been commemorating the Palestinian Nakba -- the forced dispossession of the Palestinian homeland with the establishment of the State of Israel -- by chanting that the ambassador must go. News organizations reported that the protest was mostly peaceful until military police and Central Security Forces used tear gas grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds. Al Jazeera English reported that at least two protesters were shot by live ammunition, one of who was shot in the head. Around 130 people were reportedly arrested and expected to be questioned by a military prosecutor.

The crackdown demonstrated the military's force and judicial power in post-revolution Egypt - a source of much discontent among many Egyptians I spoke to in Cairo. Thus, the protest I attended in Tahrir Square May 18 was fueled with strong emotions toward Egyptian military rule and the American government, which has provided the hardware for ousted President Hosni Mubarak and the military to rule over Egyptian people with force.

The U.S. is known to be the primary benefactor of the Egyptian regime, and Egypt is among the largest recipients of U.S. assistance, after Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan. It receives $1.3 billion in military aid annually. As Sherif Mickawi, one of the protestors at Tahrir, explained: "The people here believe the U.S. government is not supporting democracy because they support dictatorship regimes and give them the weapons. Already the youth have found out that smoke (bombs) and bullets are made in U.S.A. So how does it work? You support democracy, or old dictatorship? So what we need from U.S.A. is don't support any dictatorship regimes. Don't support any regime put pressure on their nation. Because nation always wins. And we will not forgive anyone who supports these regimes."

CORRECTION of incorrect translation: The last woman shown in the video - her son was arrested not martyred.


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