The following is the text of a leaflet distributed by Workers Party members at demonstrations held accross New Zealand in solidarity with the uprising in Egypt.
The Arab world is on fire. The people of the Middle East are rising up against the Western supported dictatorships. Suddenly a situation that has existed quite comfortably for the last forty years has been turned on its head.
When Iran burst into revolt in 2009 over the rigged elections, the governments of the ‘West’ could not do enough to encourage the ferment. But the situation in Egypt is very different, because Egypt is the West’s most important Arab ally in the region. Each year the regime receives more than $2 billion dollars in US “aid”. When Obama states that he is “calling upon Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters”, he is referring to the weapons and munitions that the US has supplied over the last 30 years.
Bizarrely enough New Zealand Prime Minster John Key even announced his support for Egyptian dictator Mubarak on the Breakfast news programme, something even the US has pulled back from doing. Their solution is that “change must take place” but that it must be an “orderly transition”. This means that if the Dictator, Hosni Mubarak, needs to resign then so be it. But an “orderly transition” does not involve real democratic say. There has been little said about the torture and state brutality that has been part and parcel of Mubarak’s dictatorship over the last 30 years. It is only now that it is threatened that a token change of dictator is raised. In the Middle East, the European Community and the United States have propped up antidemocratic regimes and have condoned torture and severe repression against the people. Their only concern is retaining control over this strategically important area.
One of the more noticeable ways in which New Zealanders have been disrupted by the these events is by problems with Vodafone cutting their network at the request of the Egyptian regime. As much as anything else it gives an insight into whose side Vodafone and the New Zealand government are on. As well the more obvious cellphone problems, New Zealand has had troops stationed in the desert of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt as part of a little-known but strategically significant army called the Multinational Force and Observers. The role of these troops is to prevent movement of people and goods across the Rafah border, which allows Israel to maintain its siege of the Gaza strip and isolate Gaza from the outside world. The Mubarak dictatorship has maintained close ties with Israel and the United States,which are pursuing zionist and imperialist interests in the region; it is these imperialist interests that New Zealand is supporting by stationing troops in Sinai. The Workers Party calls for protests and other pressure to be placed on the government to break ties with the dictatorship, bring home New Zealand troops and support the right of the Egyptian people to choose their own government.