This is one aspect that beguiles me utterly: the disdain of certain governments in the region for protests against the siege of Gaza.
Yesterday Saudi police fired rubber bullets to break up a pro-Palestinian protest, injuring up to eight people on the premise that protests are banned in the Kingdom, while throughout 2008 Egyptian authorities have broken up demos.
After mocking their military records, Gheit addressed the Hezbollah leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, with the quip: “You are a man who used to enjoy respect, but you have insulted the Egyptian people.”
Despite the fact that Nasrallah’s forces withstood the Israeli invasion of south Lebanon in 2006, Gheit swaggered on to conclude that “Egypt is big and strong and no one outside it can move anything inside it. Egypt moves when the Egyptian people and the Egyptian leadership ask it to.”
Given that the biggest protests are taking place in Egypt this week, it seems that the Egyptian populace is more in tune with Nasrallah’s thoughts – that protests are essential – than the government.
In a peculiar twist of irony in Mosul, however, a suicide bomber rode his bicycle into a crowd of protesters before detonating his device and killing one person, and injuring 16 others.