Tehrir square, in Egypt, stands as a witness to history - most recently the history of the struggle of the Egyptian people that ousted their dictator, Hosni Mubarak. It is where the Arab Spring came out of its infancy, and it is the place that stood living witness to the successful, peaceful determination of a people to march towards freedom.
So what are people like David Swanson (author of "War is a Lie" and extreme anti-war activist), Jane Hamsher, and their ilk doing? Well, they are trying to plan something of a takeover of DC's Freedom Plaza to, umm, "stop the war machine" on the 10th anniversary of the Afghan war and what they call the start of the 2012 "austerity" budget. Hey, maybe they haven't heard of President Obama's long announced plan to begin withdrawal from Afghanistan in July. I mean, President Obama has only said it constantly since a year and a half ago and continues to keep that withdrawal on schedule. Maybe they haven't even noticed that President Obama isn't having any of the Republicans' austerity budget. But when you are busy planning to claw the chalkboard just for the sake of clawing the chalkboard, I guess it's helpful to stick your fingers is in your ear and yell "La la la la I can't hear you!" Or at least, fail to mention any of the facts and policy relevant to your stated reasons for discontent.
But I digress. You see, "our Tahrir Square" organizers, they're not like your Tahrir Square organizers. "Our Tahrir Square" people need something nice and comfy. After all, they are there to compare themselves to the protesters at Tahrir Square.
On October 6th, a Thursday, the Afghanistan War will complete its first decade as the United States goes into its 2012 austerity budget. Tahrir Square in Cairo Egypt translates as Liberation Square. We have in Washington, D.C., a square with the similar name: Freedom Plaza. This square is located between the Capitol and the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue, and built into its surface is a map of downtown Washington on which nonviolent resistance actions can be conveniently planned.Yes, what were the protesters and their actions at Tahrir square if not, you know, conveniently planned? Bravo, David Swanson. This is so moronic that it's sad. Look, you buffoon, people in Egypt were shot at and killed for simply demanding of the freedoms you and I enjoy everyday. Unlike David Swanson, it wasn't about convenience for them. They didn't do what was convenient; they did what was right. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without calling President Obama and US troops in Afghanistan a part of a "criminal occupation" (and therefore, by implication, war criminals) on the organizing site for this ... umm, convenience ... October2011.org.
On that site, we see the other sad, outrageous and yet funny constellation of this "conveniently planned" whatever it is they are trying to do. In their "Stop the Machine" video, one of the many things they are protesting is the President's actions in Libya in accordance with a UN Security Council Resolution and under the NATO umbrella. I guess they don't understand that the people on whose behalf we intervened in Libya are the people that are the root of the Arab Spring in Libya. Those true heirs to Tahrir square, Libyan rebels, have welcomed the air campaign against Gadhafi, both manned missions and drone strikes. But hey, why bother with the facts and the details when you just want to rail against "the machine?" Go ahead and compare yourselves with the people who ushered in the Arab spring, even if the very actions you are protesting were in support of their efforts.
So anyway, who all is going to be there? Well, that's a matter of convenience too. Evidently, according to the organizing site, you only want to pledge to show up if 50,000 others do too. Because, you know, what is standing up for what you believe in worth these days, if you can't be sure you won't be backed up by at least 50,000 others? After all, you don't want to show up in a small crowd and be embarrassed or anything. And hey, that's how the people in Tahrir Square and all across the Arab world did it anyway. They made sure 50,000 other people RSVP'ed before they showed up to protest. But speaking of who will be there, here are a few select characters that will: Jane Hamsher (of course - no "progressive" rally would be complete without Grover Norquist's best friend and Fox lover Jane Hamsher), Chris Hedges (yup, that Chris Hedges), and Cornel West (of the "Obama is too comfortable with the Joooooos" variety). How excellent!
In all seriousness, these people should be ashamed for equating themselves with the people in the Arab world who risked everything - and some of whom gave everything - to demand their basic rights. Swanson and his ilk should apologize for using their memory to trash US and allied action that has helped those very people. And they should seek the forgiveness of peaceful freedom fighters everywhere for their audacity, arrogance and ego.
If they want to protest war, fine. If they want a more rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan, fine - it is their right to demand it. If they want to ensure a fair budget, good. Heck, if they want to protest Libya, that's their right too. But it is shameless, ego-maniacal and insulting to the achievements and memory of the Arab Spring for Swanson et al to equate their self-described protest of "convenience" with those who truly sacrificed in the Arab world.