Tomatoes and Shoes for Clinton
The unrelenting heat as the Sun pumps put ultra-violet rays does not seem to abate the growing political awareness on the streets of Cairo, as hundreds of protestors ‘greeted’ Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State after reopening a U.S. embassy in Alexandria four days before Ramadhan.
This time, it was not the shoe thrown by Iraqi journalist, as now former president G.W. Bush, or the black flags, and chants of “No to the American tutelage over Muslim lands” and (يا للعار يا للعار, بعد الثورة إستعمار) “Ya lil Aar ya lil A’ar ba’s el-Thawrah el-Istimar” (What a shame, What a shame – after the revolution comes colonialism). from protestors in Tunisia in March 2011, but in Alexandria, tomatoes, and a bottle of water that were thrown at Clinton. Shoes and flip flops were held up in protest, reminiscent of the ship-ship (flip flop) protest of Indonesia January, 2012 , and Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw a shoe, at former president Bush – a sign of grave affront in the Arab world that was waved by thousands of protestors at Hosni Mubarak.
Such is the sentiment of those that protested, making it clear that the Egyptian civilian is not ignorant of the games of the U.S., as in the case of the U.N.s overseer to Haiti, Bill Clinton, who prevented many aid agencies from entering Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake , allowing aid piled up in the airport while a Canadian exploration firm, Majescor Resources acquired all of the shares of the only Haitian firm holding full permits for a promising chunk of land in the northeast that contains gold.
This is not the first time that Hilary has been told to leave the continent, and she probably does not even care never staying for more than 2 days at a time – the last time she had to run as an earthquake struck somewhere in E. Africa. All that mattered was the public show of U.S. “do as they please” mentality as the U.S. proceeds to make rainwater a government property due to worsening American drought.
Clinton remained unscathed from this trip with only the motorcade ‘touched’ by flying vegetables, and chants of infidelity – “Leave, Clinton” and “Monica, Monica,” in reference to her husband’s extramarital affair, which only scratched at the surface, besides Clinton gave up human sensibilities for power a long time ago. More a reflection of the mix bag of protestors (Shabab Maspero, a group of Coptic Christian youth activists were one of the organisers), there are still those who are willing to hold discourses with the West, to turn affairs around as noted in the Chatham House summary of workshops Egypt in Transition (April 2011).
“Despite the negative perceptions of what drives Western policy towards Egypt, almost all the participants wanted to engage with the UK and the West on some level. Taking into account that the meeting featured a somewhat self-selecting group – of those Egyptians who were willing to come to a meeting organized by a British think tank, held mostly in English – it is clear that during this transitional period previously marginalized political actors are open to engaging with the West.”
The usual pattern of approaching ‘groups’ within Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya,Iran, Somali, Lebanon and Syria seemed to be failing this time around. The arrogant position that the Arab Spring is the brainchild of the U.S., was sadly missing in the case of Egypt, though usurped by the U.S. in Syria, Libya, Yemen with current attempts in Iran. There were protestors who saw Clinton’s visit as colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood to get rid of SCAF, in an atmosphere that was under U.S. control.Then there were those protestors who made it clear that there is no democracy for all Egyptians, not just Copts. Then the Copts of Cairo had another view on the nature of her visit.
Previously stating that she would meet with all sections of Egyptian society, Clinton was to be a grave disappointment as the heads of the Coptic community, blankly refused to meet her.
“We kind of hoped Mrs. Hillary Clinton had transparently met with all parties and factions of the Egyptian political spectrum in the same room, and not to divide and aggravate the already volatile situation by meeting with the Salafists and the MB first and in private and then ask to meet with some of the Coptic community heads” said Emad Gad, a prominent Coptic activist.
One thing for sure, regardless of the presidential elections, there are those within and outside of the country who will continue to do their utmost, to make Egypt steer the path of capitalist democracy that continues to monopolize the world’s natural resources to the benefit of the few, to the suffering of many. This means that the for any real change to occur for the benefit of all, that the struggle to occupy our hearts, home, neighborhood, society, and all industries that produce real wealth as opposed to virtual wealth is only the beginning!