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US shell-casings tell their own story

As people across Egypt continue to rise against the brutal dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak it is quite clear they will not stop until he flies into exile. Quite clear to everyone, that is, except US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is so out of touch with what is happening on the ground that you have to wonder who is advising her.

Mrs. Clinton appears to have no idea of the burning resentment and hatred held towards America among the ordinary men and women of Egypt. More than 100 have paid the blood price, so far, for standing up to the US-backed tyrant Mubarak; two thousand others have been wounded.

It has been lost on no one that the empty shell-casings from live ammunition and tear-gas canisters which litter Tahrir ("Freedom" – oh, the irony!) Square and other streets across Egypt, were provided by the United States of America. The "Made in the USA" shell-casings tell their own story, not just of the innocents they have killed, but also of their origins and the deadly legacy of America's unwelcome interference in the region.


The Egyptian people have been fed propaganda for 30 years; the evening news on Egyptian state television is sanitized and censored, and many have been afraid to speak out freely under the US-backed dictatorship of Mubarak. But do not for one minute think that the Egyptian people are stupid, as Hillary Clinton appears to; sadly the US has once again completely misread and underestimated an entire population. These demonstrations are as much a protest against US meddling in Egyptian affairs as they are against the Mubarak regime. Despite this, Clinton showed not one ounce of compassion or humility when she made her latest blundering speech.

With the sensitivity of a bull in a china shop, she called for an orderly transition of power, but only after heaping praise on the Mubarak government which has "made and kept peace with Israel avoiding violence, turmoil and death in the region". Speaking to America's ABC News, the Secretary of State added: "Democracy, human rights and economic reform are in the best interests of the Egyptian people." These are, of course, the same people and human rights that her own government ignored as the US continued the decades-old policy of backing Hosni Mubarak with billions of American citizens' tax dollars.

The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says Clinton's comments are a sign that the Obama administration is edging towards accepting, if not openly endorsing, an end to Mubarak's rule. The truth is, the Egyptian people do not want any more US interference; they do not want any more American weapons being used against them. In any case, the US has no interest in the people of Egypt; its only concern is for the man-made pariah state next door – Israel.

Hillary Clinton has been out of step since this whole turmoil began. Both she and her boss Obama remained completely silent for four whole weeks as scores of Tunisians died in that uprising and it was only when their man, Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, caught his plane to obscurity that they condemned his brutality.

When Egypt threatened to kick off along the same route, Clinton said assuredly that the country was "stable". That was a week ago and she is beginning to learn that a week is indeed a long time in politics. She says she wants democracy, but what sort of democracy Hillary, the sort that sees another tyrant taking Mubarak's place? Or are you really going to let the people of Egypt decide for themselves?

By the way, the people are beginning to rise and resist tyranny right across the Maghreb, throughout the Middle East and on into Asia. US foreign policy has turned America into the most hated country in the world and if Washington really told Americans the truth, I know that millions upon millions of decent US citizens would be horrified by what is being done in their name. Sadly, the reality is that the truth is kept well away from the people of America, who are among the most ill-informed in the world today. Few have any idea that the current administration and the previous Bush team do not want democracy in the Middle East and never have done. In fact, they have sanctioned the collective punishment of the people of Gaza for exercising their democratic right and voting for a Hamas-dominated government. This has not been lost on the people of Egypt who, Hillary, have a great love for Palestine, a place in their heart for Gaza and an even deeper hatred and mistrust for the brutal Zionist State, a state which really does threaten peace and stability in the region.

As I write this, F16 fighter jets and attack helicopters, also "Made in the USA", are flying low over Cairo and other cities to try and intimidate the Egyptian people. Too late – there isn't an army in the world that can beat this peoples' army. Their fear has gone.

Your advisers won't tell you this Hillary and I hate to see an empowered female make such a fool of herself, so here's some free advice. The time has come when you really must step back and take a vow of silence. Every time you open your mouth you are looking and sounding even more dim-witted than the female presenter on Egyptian TV, who assures us that everything is at peace with the world and the streets of Egypt are empty and calm. She probably also thinks that America is a benign state; those empty shell-casings tell another story.

British journalist Yvonne Ridley is the European President of the International Muslim Women's Union.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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