PVV boos over warm onthaal Mekkagangers

Een welkomststand voor moslims die op bedevaart naar Mekka zijn geweest heeft de woede gewekt van de PVV.
De PVV-fractie in de Provinciale Staten in Noord-Holland spreekt van ‘zelfislamisering’. “Onze nationale luchthaven Schiphol is een seculier overheidsbedrijf, dat zich verre dient te houden van dit soort speciale behandelingen van religieuze groepen”, vindt Statenlid Hero Brinkman. Op Schiphol is een kleine ruimte ingericht waar Mekkagangers worden verwelkomd met muntthee en Perzische lekkernijen. Daarboven hang een bord met de tekst: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol heet alle Haci/Hadj welkom. De PVV vraagt of andere terugkerende pelgrims, zoals die naar Lourdes, Fatima of Santiago de Compostella ook zo in de watten worden gelegd.
Ook wil de partij weten waarom er geen kerstbomen op Schiphol te zien zijn, maar wel een ‘stilleven bestaande uit een Perzisch tapijt en ligkussens met een banier erboven.’ “Ligt de afwezigheid van kerstbomen in de aankomsthal erin, dat de aanhangers van de islam hier wellicht aanstoot aan nemen?” Volgens een woordvoerder van Schiphol is dit onzin. “Achter de paspoortcontrole staan al volop kerstbomen. Voor de paspoortcontrole is er in beperkte mate kerstversiering te zien, maar dat heeft niets met moslims, maar alles met Sinterklaas te maken. Als die weer terug naar Spanje is gaan we op en rond de luchthaven los met kerstversiering.”
(nieuws.marokko.nl / 21.11.2011)

WAFA Monitors Incitement and Racism in Israeli Media

RAMALLAH, November 20, 2011 (WAFA) – Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) monitored incitement and racism against the Palestinians and Arabs published by the Israeli media between August 7 and 18.

Religious newspaper, Hamodia, published a racist article by Menachem Klojmanm, in which he said, “When the Israeli government signed the prisoners’ swap deal with the Palestinians, a new equation has been formed. We learned a lesson a long with the rest of the world that one Jew equals 1027 Arabs. This is the price that the Middle East policy has set for them.”

Kikar Hishbat, Hadriyah Hardam and NFC websites published an instigating article against the Palestinian Prisoners by Rabbi Menachem Brod, in which he criticized releasing the Palestinian prisoners in Gilad Shalit’s swap deal.

He said, “Those who organized the exchange deal tried to give it some creditability by claiming that they have tried their best to free Shalit, but this is not true. Doing your best means to fight, not to give in and sell your values.”

“By releasing those murderers, we damaged the legitimacy of our fight against terrorism,” he said.

Brod said, “The Palestinian Authority, which Israel has signed a number of peace treaties with, pays those murderers high salaries because it considers them ‘captured fighters’. We disobeyed what the Torah ordered us; ‘Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed.’”

Yatad Naaman newspaper published a news piece instigating against firing missiles from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, quoting several statements by right-wing extreme figures.

Knesset Member and Member of the National Union-National Religious Party, Zvulun Orlev said “Israel must fire back at Palestinians and strike Gaza extensively. Israel must clean up the Strip from terrorism as it is currently doing in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).”

Knesset Member, Michael Ben-Ari from the National Union Party said, “We must occupy Gaza and destroy Hamas gangsters.”

Ynet website published news about Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman’s statements, in which he called on to find a replacement for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and stated that “whoever takes his place will be better certainly.”

Lieberman said, “Israel must study the possibility of cutting all relations with PA and overthrowing Hamas in Gaza.”

“We will not accept being the idiots of the Middle-East,” he said.

Ariel Kahana wrote an instigating editorial in Makor Rishon newspaper, in which he called to lunch a military campaign against Gaza.

He said, “killing Palestinians is not worth attention. Israelis don’t care about those who get killed on the other side; the only thing that matters to them is stopping missiles that target them.”

Kahana said, “I wish that they would value life like we do. What we need to do now is clean Gaza.”

Makor Rishon newspaper published another article by Kahana, in which he said, “The extreme supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah are becoming a majority in the Middle East.”

He said, “The main goal of the extreme Arabs became clearer after the year 2000, when former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon visited Temple Mount. The riots, which were launched against the Israelis by those Palestinians, unmasked the Islamic movement’s true intentions against innocent Jews.”

Israeli journalist, Rony Ckad published news in Yediot Aharonot newspaper, in which he alleged that Palestinians textbooks do not follow UNESCO’s standards.

He said, “Palestinian school textbooks represent Jews as ‘invading snakes’. They don’t mention the existence of the state of Israel and promote for Jihad and suicidal bombing.”

Erez Tadmor published an instigating article on NRG website, in which he said that Arab Knesset Member, Ahmad Al-Tibi talked about Palestinians’ contributions in education, science and human culture, yet “the only true and central value they believe in is anti-Semitism.”

He added, “Israel won ten Nobel prizes while the Palestinians bragged about their suicide bombers. The Palestinians reached an unprecedented level of brutality.”

Israel Today newspaper published an inciting article by Prof. Abraham Zion, in which he claimed that there is no way Israelis and Palestinians could ever achieve peace.

He warned of the Palestinians “demographical danger”, saying “The gap between Palestinians and Israelis can’t be filled, because Palestinians want a state within 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital which is a demand that will not be approved by any Israeli government.”

Nurit Granger wrote a racist article, in which she called on to kill Palestinians. She said, “Terrorism, fraud and corruption will never end if we continue feeding them. In 1993, the government signed an agreement with murderer terrorists and brought them back to our Jewish state.”

“Our spiritual leaders ordered us to kill anyone who wants to kill us. The history taught us that we can’t sign a deal with any Islamic entity,” She said.

(english.wafa.ps / 21.11.2011)

Denmark To Support Palestine At U.N

Denmark will support Palestine if it proposes an upgrade to its status at the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal says following a meeting with the Palestinian senior negotiator Nabil Sha’ath in Copenhagen.

“Denmark is closely following the Palestinian application for membership of the United Nations. We also, however, fully realise what the result will be if the application is voted on in the U.N. Security Council,” Søvndal says in a statement.

“I have told Sha’ath, that if the Palestinians choose to put a proposal to the U.N. General Assembly on an upgrade to the Palestinian status, Denmark will be among the large group of Nordic and E.U. countries who I expect to vote in favour of the resolution,” the foreign minister says.

He adds nonetheless that it is “important that the parties go back to the negotiating table, which is the only place that a final solution to the conflict can be found”.

Nabil Sha’ath is currently on a round trip to European countries for discussions on the Middle East and to canvas support for Palestinian views.

The foreign ministry communique said that the two men agreed that the ‘many new Israeli announcements of a growth in settlements are unacceptable and pose a serious problem for the possibility of finding a negotiated settlement’.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 21.11.2011)

Help—————-for Egypt

to all free Human in Europe special in Germany, the Tahrir Protesters need HELP so we have list of medical supply that they need, I need your help to get the Help and deliver it to Egypt.
Please contact me

Raef E-Ghamri

every one can help, To save lives

!!!!!!!!!!! DRINGEND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

an alle freien Menschen in Europa besondere in Deutschland, benötigen Sie den Tahrir Demonstranten benötigen Ihre HILFE,  wir haben Liste der  medizinischen Versorgung, die sie brauchen,Ich brauche Ihre Hilfe, um die Hilfe zu bekommen und liefern sie nach Ägypten.
Bitte kontaktieren Sie mich

Raef El-Ghamri

jeder kann helfen, Leben zu retten

NEEDED:  mainly strong pain killer and for the lungs

Iranian Ambassador to Syria warns of US, Israeli plots against region & says Qatar can be a part of the solution for the problems in the region

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Syria Mohammad Reza Sheibani warned the regional nations against the plots hatched by the US and Israeli regime against the nations, specially those who have just experienced revolutions.
Sheibani made the remarks in an interview al-Manar TV. The following is the text of his interview.
Q: To where the situation in Syria is going, amid some statements that suggest escalating, like that of the Arab League Secretary-General, who warned of a disaster that may engulf the region and the world shouldn’t the terms of the Arab initiative be implemented?
Ambassador Sheibani: Given the characteristics of Syria, both geopolitical and geostrategic, any development in this country – no doubt – will cast a shadow on the regional states. Moreover, the role played by Syria has been obvious to political observers over the past decades. In this regard, any change in the political geography and social affairs in Syria will not only have profound effects on the region, but also will extend beyond it.
The presence of various ethnic groups in this country, each of which stretches beyond the Syrian borders, Syria’s location which neighbors the Zionist entity, the situation of Occupied Palestine which is directly influenced by Syrian political will and conditions on ground, in addition to the current capacities of Lebanon and the interrelation of its developments with that of Syria via all its various political, social, economic, and military dimensions, as well as neighboring Syria to Iraq which everyone knows its political, social, economic and military situations in recent years – along with Syria’s location on the Mediterranean Sea as a security margin for Europe, all that should be taken into account in the political-security equations and in any development or change in Syria.
From this point, political observers who are experts in regional affairs, express their sensitivity about developments in Syria and warned of blatant foreign interference in its affairs. I think the international community – as well as the regional states – should give serious consideration to the points mentioned above, in order to avoid any decisions that would speed up the developments in the region towards dangerous slip.
It seems to me from the actions and practices of some regional and international parties that regional affairs will not turn to a safe trend.
Q: Do you expect a NATO military step against Syria? In case it happens, what your stance would be?
Ambassador Sheibani: For various reasons – which couldn’t be dealt with here – NATO will not repeat its experience of Libya via military action in Syria. Many military and political observers believe that if the West commits this error, it will undoubtedly pay a heavy price. Syria’s geographical location and strategic influence on its surroundings especially the direct consequences resulting from this location on the occupied Palestine, must be taken into account in any decision-making process of military intervention. The Islamic Republic of Iran has declared that it rejects any foreign interference in the Syrian affairs, whether political or military. In this context, Iran will announce its practical stances when new conditions emerged. Up till then, every session has a different discussion.
Q: How do you read the difference in Turkey’s attitude towards the Syrian government? Before the beginning of current events relations were marked as friendly between both parties, however, after the protest began, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan started to launch statements demanding the ouster Assad regime and a stop to what he called the violence in Syria.
Ambassador Sheibani: In order to confirm Turkey’s declaration at the beginning of the new phase of its regional policy to reset its problems with neighboring countries, it is assumed that the role of neighboring countries based on the assistance in strengthening regional calm and stability. Taking stances that lead to the expansion of instability will not be in the interest of the region and its countries.
During our talks with our Turkish friends, we have repeatedly emphasized the need to develop a joint regional cooperation to overcome the current critical phase; because taking extremist and strict stances ahead of that of the Syrian citizens will not help in solving the problem, but it will exacerbate it instead.
Q: Recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) raises many questions about the possible scenarios in case of international efforts and Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic fail. The available options for the West today are either a military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program or at least delay it, or to get along with a nuclear Iran and the balance of power in the Middle East. Do you entirely rule out a military operation against Iran?
Ambassador Sheibani: For the West, the only scenario towards Iran’s nuclear program is to recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran as a nuclear state. Nuclear Iran has been recognized in the region as a reality. Iran has repeatedly stressed the peaceful nature of its nuclear program and is still moving forward with full toughness towards peaceful use of nuclear energy as a right granted to all the people of the world.
Unfortunately, the IAEA turned away from its professional responsibility by involving political motives in professional affairs. The location of Iran and its own capacities do not allow anyone to just even imagine having confrontation with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Q: In case the West does not take military actions against Iran, and would be reluctant to accept it as a nuclear state, there must be other alternative means to war planned by the Americans and the Israelis. Do you think there are efforts to take the fight to inside Iran by exploiting the Iranian consensus over the nuclear program? Are you prepared for a scenario of this kind, and how?
Ambassador Sheibani: Trying to benefit from meddling in the internal affairs of Iran via some paid elements is no longer feasible. The US has tested various tools through exerting political, military and security pressures for more than three decades since the victory of Islamic Revolution and up till now. Yet, they all ended in abject failure.
Undoubtedly, the extent of American officials’ stupidity is not secret, for this we still do not rule out that the West may use fruitless tools, which had already proved unsuccessful in Iran. In any case, Iran’s Islamic community – thanks to public awareness – has become immune to Western and American conspiracies.
Q: Where is the issue of the Iranian Mansour Arbabsiar who has been detained by the US authorities on charges of planning to assassinate Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to Washington?
Ambassador Sheibani: I believe the US indictment of Iran is nothing but an artificial scenario – created by the Americans in collaboration with the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) to 1) raise the dust to distract public opinion from the heinous defeat and shameful withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, 2) affect the regional relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia, 3) distort the public opinion from the multiple internal US problems, the economic crisis in particular, 4) throw dust in the public eyes to cover up the successive defeats of the US Administration Middle Eastern policies, 5) engage the Islamic Republic of Iran in security issues to prevent the strengthening of its regional position amid the popular uprisings in the area, particularly in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, in addition to many other objectives.
Q: How do you read the US occupation army withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year? Do you think Washington will act to cover the withdrawal?
Ambassador Sheibani: The US withdrawal and ending the occupation of this great Arab country signifies the defeat of US policies in Iraq. In fact, this withdrawal simulates the escape of the occupying Zionist soldiers from southern Lebanon in 2000. To cover up the defeat, the US takes actions to cause harm, in an attempt to punish the regional elements of this defeat and, at the same time, fabricates events to distort the attention of public opinion from the broader dimensions of its defeat.
In this regard, we can refer to the various political and security pressures over the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the crisis escalation in Syria through taking benefits from the Arab League.
Q: You’ve recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council as an official authority in the country; do you think this Council will be able to maintain sovereignty in Libya, specially as it had resorted to the NATO forces to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi?
Ambassador Sheibani: I wish success for the Transitional National Council of Libya. This significant Arab country faces difficult conditions in his political future. The effective presence of the West within NATO – with its colonial trend – creates challenges for the future of Libya.
Q: Thanks to Resistance, 1075 Palestinian prisoner have been liberated, and Palestine has been recognized as a UNESCO member as well due to the diplomatic efforts made by Palestinian Authority; in your opinion, whichever is more useful today for Palestine, resistance or diplomacy?
Ambassador Sheibani: All throughout the last sixty years, the history of Palestine had proved that Resistance is the only and the best way to restore the Palestinian people’s rights. Occupied Palestine and its brave people are entitled to regain their rights through resistance. In Palestinian history, there isn’t even one single example showing the retrieval of the smallest Palestinian right through negotiations.
Moreover, the achievements, which were scored by the resistance, had forced the Zionist entity, day after day to retreat and abandon its expansionism slogans and hegemonic tendency. Undoubtedly, the West and its allies are trying to deviate Palestinian people’s movement from track, through fake concessions and political reforms, and declaring them as strategic achievements in order to deter the great popular movement from trying to achieve its main objectives. However, history has shown that the Palestinian people is more aware than other peoples of its rights and following them up until fulfillment.
Q: Can we assess the popular movements of the Arab world from the same angle? Do not you think the West can re-control those revolutions, especially amid the absence of a clear and strong leadership?
Ambassador Sheibani: That what happened in the region, particularly in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia is a major movement that will lead to the collapse of many traditional equations in the region. Egypt’s entry into the circle of popular movements and overthrowing Mubarak’s regime as an element subordinate to the West and US is a blessed event that will later enhance the real role of this country in formulating the popular policy in the region.
No doubt the West is trying to deviate this great popular movement, which requires vigilance and awareness in this regard. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution has delivered an important and strategic speech at the opening session of the Islamic Awakening conference in Tehran which presents the right road map and an inspiration for us and shed light on the future horizons of Arab societies, which has witnessed recently a popular movement.
Q: How would you evaluate Iranian-Egyptian relations after the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime?
Ambassador Sheibani: We well understand the circumstances which prevailed in Egypt. What is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran is that Egypt regains its original position in the region to play the role emerged from the will of its own people. As an expert who deeply knows the prevailing thought among the dear people of Egypt, I predict a bright future for the relations between the two countries.
Q: How do you read the Qatari role in each of Libya, which witnesses a direct Qatari interference, and Syria which Qatar wages a war of media against its regime since the beginning of the crisis?
Ambassador Sheibani: Many observers believe that Qatar could play a better role in the settlement of regional issues. The region still remembers the Qatari role in solving Lebanon’s crisis, as well as its role in removing the effects of the Zionist aggression on the country. This role can appear in the current developments in Syria as well. In other words, Qatar can be a part of the solution for the current problems in the region.

(www.uruknet.info / 21.11.2011)

Conferentie: Marokko en de Revoluties

zondag 27 november · 14:30 – 17:30

Oudstrijdersstraat 9, 2140 Borgerhout

Gemaakt door:

Meer informatie
De 20 Februari-beweging in Vlaanderen nodigt u uit voor een conferentie die op zondag 27 november zal plaatsvinden.

Deze week kwamen er tienduizenden Marokkanen in meer dan 70 Marokkaanse steden en dorpen op straat om de oproep tot een nationale boycot van de verkiezingen te versterken. Op vrijdag 25 november zal blijken hoe succesvol die oproep zal zijn wanneer Marokkanen naar de stembus trekken.

Hoe sterk is de 20 Februari-…beweging 9 maanden na haar ontstaan? Hoe ver staat het met het democratiseringsproces dat 12 jaar geleden werd gestart door de Marokkaanse koning Mohamed 6?
Is Marokko werkelijk een uitzondering in een regio die wordt gekenmerkt door revolutionaire uitbarstingen? Op die en nog vele andere vragen zal een antwoord worden gegeven op de conferentie.

Koen Bogaert is een academicus verbonden aan de Universiteit van Gent. Hij is gespecialiseerd in Marokkaanse politiek en zal praten over het democratiseringsproces in Marokko onder Mohamed 6. (voertaal: Nederlands)

Said Amrani is een Marokkaanse politicus en mensenrechtenactivist. Hij gaat praten over de mensenrechtensituatie in Marokko en over de 20 Februari-beweging. (voertaal: Arabisch, Nederlandstalige vertaling zal samenvattend worden geprojecteerd op groot scherm)

Mariam Elmaslouhi is een Nederlands-Marokkaanse activiste. Zij gaat praten over de rol van sociale media in de creatie van protestbewegingen en hun rol in het verloop van de hedendaagse revoluties. (voertaal: Nederlands)

Ahmed Essadki is een Amazigh-dichter. Hij zal poëzie reciteren in het Tamazight, een Nederlandstalige vertaling wordt voorzien.

Tarik El Makni is een burgerlijk ingenieur en activist van de 20 Februari-beweging. Hij zal praten over de Marokkaanse politieke economie en de economische macht van de monarchie. (voertalen: Nederlands en Arabisch)

Issmaïl Boutasgount zal revolutionaire poëzie reciteren in het Arabisch. Een Nederlandstalige vertaling wordt voorzien.

En tot slot wordt er een skypeverbinding totstand gebracht met een prominente 20 Februari-activist in Marokko om een overzicht te geven vanuit Marokko. (Voertaal Arabisch,  Nederlandstalige vertaling zal samenvattend worden geprojecteerd op groot scherm)

Er is ruimte om vragen te stellen aan de aanwezige sprekers.

Inkom is gratis: hapjes en drankjes worden voorzien.
Voor meer info: 20FEBVlaanderen@gmail.com of 0493/30.00.84

Sources: Hamas and Fatah Agree on Mamoun Abu Shahla for New Prime Minister

The Palestinian TV station al-Wattan TV said on Monday that the leaders of Fatah and Hamas had agreed on new prime minister, a Gazan businessman named Mamoun Abu Shahla. The news was also confirmed by the Raya Radio news network.

Mamoun Abu Shahla, reported to be the agreed choice for new Palestinian Prime Minister (al-Wattan TV Image).
Abu Shahla is an accountant and businessman born in Acre in 1943 and educated in Gaza, Egypt and the United states. He has worked between Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Libya and United states for 22 years and holds a British passport. Abu Shahla, his wife and four children have lived in Gaza for five years.
Abu Shahla runs an infrastructure contracting company, a computers and information technology company, and a hospital supply company. He’s on the director’s board of the Bank of Palestine, al-Azhar University, the Atta Gaza society, the Palestinian Trade Center and Palestinian Telecommunications Company.
The news has not been confirmed by the Palestinian Authority.
Current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has spoken of stepping down in the past week, saying he did not want to get in the way of Palestinian reconciliation. Hamas opposed his appointment in 2009 and has named it one of their red lines in creating a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas’ PA in the West Bank.
In response to news of potential Palestinian reconciliation, the cabinet of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu decided to continue withholding the more than $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues that the PA collected in October. The move, which Israeli ministers have described as a form of punishment for Palestinian membership in UNESCO and application to other international bodies, prevents the payment of salaries to more than a million PA employees and their families.
(english.pnn.ps / 21.11.2011)

Tahrir Square Under Attack: 32 Egyptians Killed, 1,750 Injured in Protests Against Military Rule

Mass protests across Egypt have entered a third day, calling on the country’s military rulers to quickly transfer power to a civilian government. The fiercest clashes are taking place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where thousands of protesters have battled with security forces since Saturday morning. The Associated Press reports today Egypt’s Ministry of Health has raised its casualty figures to 35 dead and more than 1,750 wounded. “Our demands at the beginning of the revolution were freedom, dignity and social justice. We have not seen social justice,” says Nasser Abdul Hadi, one of the protesters interviewed in a video report by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who is on the ground in Cairo and has covered the protests since they began. Special thanks to Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films

(read further on site: www.democracynow.org / 21.11.2011)

Back to Tahrir: The Egyptian Revolution Tries to Repeat Itself

The field hospital in the dark and dirty alley behind Hardee’s is up and running once again, just as it was during the first two months of the year. Volunteer medics wearing gloves and surgical masks — the masks, a futile attempt to mitigate the sharp sting of tear gas in the air — lean over the wounded activists who have been ferried in on the backs of motorcycles. Just past the field hospital, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and its side streets, is a scene that is still more familiar. There, for nearly 36 hours, Egyptian protesters have clashed with the government’s security forces, exchanging rocks and Molotov cocktails for tear gas and rubber bullets, as others lead chants for freedom and the downfall of the regime. It is as if the revolution that began on Jan. 25 and seemed to culminate with the Feb. 11 fall of President Hosni Mubarak had begun all over again.

The Egyptian capital’s latest unraveling came as authorities tried to clear the square in downtown Cairo following a mass protest on Friday. Islamists and young liberals had gathered to protest a proposed set of “supraconstitutional” principles that would place the military largely outside the realm of judicial and parliamentary supervision, as well as giving the institution wide veto power over the development of the next government and constitution. By Friday night, most of the day’s protesters had packed up and gone home. But hundreds of mostly youth activists remained in the square, and when the police moved in overnight to dismantle the protest camp with tear gas, rubber bullets and shotgun pellets, the demonstration only swelled. By Sunday night, clashes continued in and around the square, even as the military moved in to join the ranks of Egypt’s central security. And demonstrations had spread to the coastal cities of Alexandria and Suez. The Egyptian Health Ministry put the death toll at three since Friday, with nearly a thousand injured. (See photos of the clash between protesters and police in Cairo.)

Demonstrators in Tahrir Square now say they are calling for a timetable by which the military will pledge a handover of power to a civilian government. But some say the protest is broader than that — a continuation of the winter revolution, which young activists increasingly say failed to topple little more than Mubarak. “The revolution is not over. The military council is the same as Mubarak,” said Abdu Kassem, a 25-year-old protester wearing a tag that read “The Continuous Revolution.”

Tahrir Square is rife with comparisons. Indeed, many likened the scene of tear gas and mayhem on Sunday to that of the early days of the uprising, when hundreds of thousands of protesters battled police forces across the country. “We’re going back to the days of Jan. 25. There are no differences,” said Marina Azmi, a 20-year-old university student, gesturing to the tear-gas-filled streets.

But there are critical differences. Though thousands joined the protests over the weekend, their numbers paled in comparison with those who massed during the uprising, or even several protests since. And in neighborhoods just past Tahrir Square’s perimeter, life continued largely as usual; businesses and schools remained open, and pedestrians ran errands. “In Dar el-Salaam neighborhood, where I live, there is nothing happening. There is nothing happening in other places. The people are not seeing what we see,” explains Sabrine Mamdouh, who sells tea to protesters from the edge of the square. She says popular ignorance about the events in Tahrir Square may be one reason the protest had failed to garner larger numbers, but it’s also because most Egyptians, just like herself, are busy confronting the same daily struggles as before. “From the 25th of January till today, [my family is] still 11,000 LE [Egyptian pounds] in debt. I hope things calm down, because if things stay as they are, it will only get worse.” (See why confusion is marring Egypt’s impending vote.)

Egypt is set to hold its first democratic election on Nov. 28. Some predict the vote will attract a record turnout in a country long accustomed to neglecting rigged ballot boxes under Mubarak. But others — particularly the liberal youth who helped lead the January uprising — say the country is far from ready, and some have threatened to boycott the vote. Islamist parties like the one belonging to Mubarak’s longtime opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, have the advantage, they argue, because they’ve been around the longest. Many others are angry that a recent court ruling failed to bar former ruling-party members from the race.

But the outcome of the latest protests may yet determine whether they’ll even have a choice. “I think this event, if it continues, it will delay the elections,” says Ahmed Maher, the leader of the April 6 Youth Movement, which played a critical role in mobilizing youth last winter, and who participated in the protests over the weekend. Some, including the country’s transitional authorities, have warned that further protests could undermine the transition to democracy. And Maher says that like other political organizations, his is currently weighing what step to take next. “I am getting many calls right now from colleagues asking to start a sit-in in Tahrir. But we must think first,” he says. A sit-in would surely escalate the situation — potentially delaying the vote. But backing out now might cede a victory to the military. “We’re going to have a meeting to decide on the demands. And after that we will also decide about the elections.”

(www.time.com / 21.11.2011)