Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Before the great forgetting begins
Given the claim that, until now, the youth were freely exercising their right of freedom of expression, it may be worth recalling just how the police responded to the youth exercising their freedom of expression in the first week of the demonstrations in Cairo. Tear gas canisters were shot into the crowds with abandon; water cannon and clubs as well. What was at stake was, however, less freedom of expression (which is how these events are now being presented) than freedom of assembly and even what Americans might recognize as freedom to petition for redress of grievances. What was (and is) also at stake is not so much democracy as the will of the majority as the possibility of plurality--social, political, and cultural--which was visibly present in the extraordinarily broad assembly of people who demonstrated in the first week.