Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous Post | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next Post »

EGYPT: A call for a national strike in support of Gazans

December 15, 2008 |  7:09 am

Strike_for_gazaCyberspace activists have called for a national strike to pressure the Egyptian government to open its borders with Gaza and to eventually contribute to breaking the siege around 1.5 million Palestinians.

Groups were created on Facebook to mobilize Egyptians to hold a general strike on Dec. 20 in support of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Facebook activists have accused the Egyptian government of contributing to the plight of the Gazans.

“History will record our dishonesty towards our neighbors and our ignorance of Palestine. ... We should take a stand. ... Let us declare a strike for one day so that our message can reach Egyptian politicians. We, the great Egyptian people, will not let the Palestinian children die. ... Where is Egypt? Egypt sent natural gas to Israel and deprived the Palestinians from light,” read the mission statement of one Facebook group.

Facebook has recently become a vibrant platform for young activists. Last spring, two national strikes were called on Facebook to protest inflation, corruption and President Hosni Mubarak’s rule. Although the protests were sparsely attended, they shocked the ruling regime. Since then, the Mubarak government has been chasing Facebook activists in an attempt to silence cyber-activism.

“The siege cannot be lifted without force or pressure. This is the responsibility of the whole Ummah [community of believers] in general and Egypt in particular," read a comment on Facebook in support of Palestinians. "If protests and pressures on governments increase specially on the Egyptian government, these governments will stop collaborating with the Jews in the siege imposed on our people in Gaza.”

A blog was also created to further promote the strike.

“While foreign activists were sailing to break the siege, Egypt closed the border crossing the only Gazan gateway to the world and blocked Egyptian rescue convoys. O Egypt, is this logical?” read the blog titled “The 20th December Strike: No to the Siege of Gaza, No to the exportation of gas to Israel for the sake of Egypt and Gaza.”

—Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo

Photo: A poster promoting the strike on the Internet. The Arabic text reads: 'No to the seige on Gaza; No to the exportation of gas to Israel."