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SCAF’S parliament

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is the main obstacle to the revolution, and parliament is to be permanently distracted by political contestation irrelevant to the goals of the revolution.
Basil Magdy
24 January 2012

I have asked myself who will entertain people throughout all these political and social crises In Egypt, now that Tawfiq Okasha has stopped broadcasting on Al faraeen (The Pharaohs) TV station. Look carefully and you will find that the best soap opera is in fact the incoming parliament or what they call, "Parliament of the revolution". But the opening episodes at least may be hard to take. The scene where the members of parliament elected by the people applaud the commander of the armed forces, Field Marshal Tantawi in the opening session may make hearts bleed - the hearts of those who had a father, son or daughter or mother killed. 

It has become evident that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is the main obstacle to the revolution, and that its members are killers, as evidenced in the events of the Maspero massacre, and again in the protest in Mohammed Mahmoud Street as well as in the mid-December demonstration and sit-in outside the Ministerial Council.  

These political parties are sheltering behind the backs of some  members of the junta. Perhaps this is why parliamentary elections were held in this way, overlooking all the violations of the candidate parties which took place during the various electoral stages. What we see now is the formation of a Parliament in which there is the normal balancing act of political forces and parties, all of whom are to be distracted by party political contestation, rather than paying attention to the many, challenging demands of the masses who seek to achieve the goals of the revolution. 

This is evident in the coalition that the liberal parties make with other far-right and centrist parties that already had many question marks hanging over them in the days of the former regime.  

Parliament has now become divided into two rivalrous camps. One gets its strength from the army sometimes and the other from reading out its statements on television. None of this amounts to a hill of beans for the citizen him or herself, as the parliament is unable to implement any independent measures. According to the constitution, it possesses no powers when it comes either to forming a government or passing laws.  

How will Parliament respond to protests by factory workers, the explosion of Egypt's El Arish Sinai natural gas pipeline, or the dramatic hike in prices, in the economic crises that afflict the country? I liked one analogy someone drew to summarise how the Egyptian people now feel, having been packed off to vote in our elections.  He compares the experience to that of the Egyptian citizen who finds himself in a police station, forced to confess to a crime he has not committed by torture, who, when he is interrogated by the prosecution denies these confessions, because they occurred under the threat of torture.  

In exactly the same way, we have been forced under political torture to go to the ballot boxes where we will discover only that the parliament is weak when it comes to reforming the system. So we find ourselves once again heading to the streets. Let us realize this before it is too late. How is it conceivable that onJanuary 23, 2012 the revolutionary parliament will commence its meetings when there are fresh calls for a another revolution to bring down the regime on January 25? 

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To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

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