Wednesday, Jan. 30:
Egyptian Black Bloc Blacked Out
What’s this? The New York Times today ran an extensive story about the new group on the protest scene in Egypt called The Black Bloc, (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/world/middleeast/egypt-protests.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig) while RT and France 24 both ignore the anarchist group that claims to have 20,000 members and is causing the military to warn that the country risks disintegrating.
Digging into on-line news outlets, I found that the BBC did a lengthy story on the Black Bloc last Sunday January 28, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-21228852), but appears to have dropped the story since.
Cautious observers will claim that it is too soon to pronounce this an important development, but my sense of ‘the gist’ tells me that the appearance of a Muslim anarchist group marks a watershed. It is one more indication that we are witnessing a worldwide cultural conflict between vulgar consu-merism on one hand and aspirations for a better life that includes a higher moral plane. In Egypt that moral plane is embodied by Islam, but its foundation is the same as that espoused by Black Bloc movements worldwide, whose public face, by the way, is called Anonymous.
In a few days the reason for the news blackout that does not follow the usual international dichotomy should become clear. My first guess is that the U.S. is probably pulling many strings in the largest Muslim country in the Middle East which is also Israel’s neighbor.
Thursday, Jan. 31:
Did The New York Times Goof?
Maybe Washington isn’t sure which strings to pull today in Egypt: a propos the violent appearance of a Black Bloc (the current inter-national anarchist label) in Egypt detailed yesterday, the New York Times today bent over backwards to play down that development. Commenting on President Morsi’s trip toGermany to solicit financial help, the Times writes:
“At several public appearances, Mr. Morsi appeared defensive while describing the situation in Egypt. He attributed much of the violence to remnants of Egypt’s deposed government, or so-called infiltrators, including a little-known group that the Egyptian authorities have turned into a scapegoat and called a national security threat. (In my book a scapegoat is usually a victim, certainly not a threat. Of course a second degree reading would imply that Morsi is trying to blame the anarchists for the desperate situation of his country, still...)
Oblivious to its deteriorating writing standards, the Times continues:
“On Tuesday, Egypt’s public prosecutor declared that the group, which calls itself the Black Bloc, was a terrorist organization and issued warrants for its members’ arrests. Five people were detained on Wednesday, state news media reported.”
So now a movement that is active worldwide, including the U.S., becomes a nickname for an obscure bunch of Egyptian agitators who however constitute a ‘national security threat’.
Yesterday I wrote that Washington is probably pulling many strings in Egypt - anything to keep the country under its influence and prevent it from denouncing its treaty with Israel. It would now appears to have realized that the situation is so bad in Egypt, as it goes through the painful transition to a pluralistic society, that highlighting the existence of a worldwide anti-authoritarian movement only hurts America’s cause.
As Israel launches attacks in Syria, and dismisses the UN Human Rights quadrennial review that termed West Bank settlements a violation of international law, requiring the immediate withdrawal of all Israelis from the occupied territory, the threat from Egypt’s fledgling Black Bloc pales in comparison to the rising stakes in the neighborhood.
But as I wrote yesterday, it’s important to take the long view of the gist.