Sunday, 11 January 2009

Why I won’t be visiting Egypt

Egypt, Land of the Pyramids, the Nile, 5 Star Hotels, Sea, Sand and so much more. Over 1.2 Million people from the United Kingdom visited Egypt last year, no doubt contributing significantly towards the $4 Billion that Egypt earned from tourism. This figure represents 11% of its GDP and is its largest revenue sector for Hard Currency. The impact upon the stability of the country would be catastrophic should this tourism sector significantly decline.

Which exactly why I will not be contributing to this figure. I, as most muslims and non-muslims should, have extreme concerns about propping up a regime which is amongst the most tyrannical in the middle east, and given its competition this takes some doing. So what are the allegations?

In this article I will deal with the Gaza crisis and Egypts complete lack of support towards the muslims of Palestine. Just yesterday, a convoy of aid workers, journalists and peace campaigners were prohibited from reaching the border crossing which they as the whole world bar Israel want Egypt to open. They were met 4km from the border by police and security forces in full riot gear in a disgusting display of intimidation. In the past week, they have fired shots at refugees on the Gaza side seeking to flee, as well as arresting 200 people who managed to escape from a near constant bombardment.

They claim they are allowing aid, but this is just not simply true, other than a few trucks here and there. When asked to comment on this, Hosni Mubarak said that they will not open the border “without the Palestinian Authority and European Monitors”. This is in essence saying that they will not help the muslims of Palestine until they choose or have forced upon them a government that the US and Israel would agree with. Egypt is obliged under the Fourth Geneva Convention ( if they are not going to respect the Islamic ruling on the issue ) to protect civilians during times of war. They have ignored this.

Egypt has failed to take any action of solidarity with the people of Gaza, it has not recalled its ambassador, maintained the presence of the Israeli ambassador and associates ( even the “sheikh” of Al-Azhar university met with Shimon Peres ), and has vetoed a proposal by its own quasi-parliament to cease exporting gas to Israel. This same gas could well be forming part of the (banned) weaponry that Israel is using upon the muslims of Gaza as I write this.

It has also worked actively with the United States and Israel, taking technical advice on how to block the tunnels that the muslims of Gaza are reliant upon for humanitarian aid. This is passing yet another death sentence upon the women and children of Gaza.

Egypt will not even allow demonstrations to take place in solidarity with the people of Gaza, whilst these have been taking place all over the world from Sydney to Los Angeles. 400 people demonstrated at great risk to their personal safety in defiance of the Egyptian ban on Friday, leading to 40 persons being detained when the police violently broke it up.

And what of the official voices of the regime? On the 25th December, it was reported by Al-Quds daily that the Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleimann told the Israeli Defence ministry that it would not object to a short offensive in Gaza aimed at toppling Hamas. This is obviously what we are seeing on our screens today, and shows that Egypt is guilty of not only inaction, but active participation in the slaughter of women and children of Palestine.

However, none of this should come as a surprise. Egypt has over 20,000 political prisoners, is roundly condemned worldwide for its abuses of power, regularly arrests, tortures and murders its own citizens who even dare to write a blog, so what does it matter to them the casualties on the other side of the border?

What is surprising however is the number of people who continue to visit this fascist state, pumping it full of hard currency and propping up a regime based upon oppression and tyranny. I ask those who visit this country out choice to save their money and visit a country that respects humanity. Through your hard currency, Egypt is able to invest in its export industries which it then sells to Israel ( over $90 million in 2005 ), and which in turn is used to fund a war machine hell-bent on destroying Gaza.

Walaykum salam,

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