zaterdag 11 april 2009

Interview excerpts / interview passages

Some excerpts from the interviews I conducted since last week.*
Enkele uittreksels van de interviews die ik sinds vorige week heb afgenomen.

"The current crisis shows that capitalism has failed; even the capitalists themselves take recourse to nationalisations. This means that we should go back to the original role of a socialist party. The last five years have seen a wave of strikes, demonstrations, new NGOs [...] Mahalla is the vanguard of the movement. Tagammu should join these movements and always be at the heart of the strikes."
Ali adh-Dhib, co-founder of Tagammu, 3-4-2009

"I think that all activists have to work with the people in the companies. [...] We can't separate labour and political demands. We can't change their situation, without changing the political situation in Egypt. [...] All these years we've made the mistake, and they on facebook make it as well, in saying like the Mubarak regime that the parties are weak [...] People are scared and won't join any political party. The youth on facebook say the same; they didn't join any of the parties because they are too weak. One day some of them came to the party [Tagammu] and I said to them; if the parties are too weak, join them, make them stronger. But they refused. They are soldiers without officers, and we are officers without soldiers. This way we can't make war."

Ahmed Belal, member of the Central Committee of Tagammu and the leadership of the Union of Progressive Youth, 6-4-2009

"The press in Egypt plays a big role, because the political parties are weak. Newspapers function as NGOs and parties. [...] The media play an important role in sharing the experiences of the movement on a national level. Now people who want to strike call us for information. However, as the problem in Egypt is a political one, it has to have a political solution, and in the end the press can't take the lead in this."

Khaled al-Balshy, editor of al-Badil newspaper, 8-4-2009

"During the past years, movements escaped the legal umbrellas, as parties or newspapers cannot legally call for a demonstration. [...] The parties are afraid of stepping outside the borders which the regime defined for them. Tagammu for example was curtailed after the bread riots of 1977 [...] The parties survived because they adapated to the regime. The same goes for the unions. [...] Within three or four years Egypt will change, one way or another. The official structures will collapse, as social conflict looks for ways to express itself beyond the limited "democracy". People don't like to go on the streets and protest, but they do it out of necessity. [...] The main task of the left is to unify the movements which WILL rise due to social and economic necessities. [...] The fragmentation of the left and the divide between political activists and social movements form the biggest obstacles for a political mass movement."
Medhat az-Zahed, senior counsellor of al-Badil newspaper, 8-4-2009


* At the request of some people from now on I'll be posting in English as well. Forgive me for any spelling and grammatical errors ;-)

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