After Gov’t Response to Tax Workers, Has Pandora’s Box Been Opened?
After Gov’t Response to Tax Workers, Has Pandora’s Box Been Opened?
Friday, January 4,2008 02:48
By Nadine Abdullah
55 thousand real-estate taxmen ended on Thursday, Dec, 13th, 2007, a ten day strike after government gave an initial response to their demands, promising them to address all their demands on three stages. These tax workers staged an open sit-in that included about eight thousand employees in front of the Cabinet building and the government remained silent and reacted only after ten days.
It is worth mentioning that the sit-in of the real-estate tax men is considered the biggest among a series of sit-ins stages by Egyptian employees protesting at the deteriorating living conditions.
 A series of sit-ins has been carried out during the past three months across Egypt , bu their calls went unheeded although the public opinion backed the strikers .
2008 will witness a severe civil disobedience
George Ishak, the former general coordinator of Kifaya (Enough) Movement, said about the government response:" Unless all sections of the Egyptian society demand their rights through pressure, sit-ins and strikes, the government will not give any thing because it doesn"t have any thing ."
Ishak confirmed that such sit-ins are a very positive action that should be backed to stop injustices carried out against people.
"Unless government does its duty and addresses people"s demands, all people will close ranks and carry out a unified civil disobedience against this regime". He expected that 2008 may see a severe civil disobedience.
Asked about the government"s expected response to their demands, Ishak said:" The government must address their demands and it shouldn"t make it only a step to calm down. In case the government didn"t meet their demands, the real estate taxmen will hold another meeting next January, 9th."
Government"s Ignoring Peaceful Means a Call for Using Violence
Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Executive Office, said:" We hope that government"s latest response to strikers" demands is a real shift that emanates from an understanding of people"s will. We actually hope that this leads to make government a real representative of the Egyptian people".
Attributing Egyptians" strikes and demonstrations to the government"s recklessness in carrying out its duties, Abul Fotouh pointed out that that the government"s current reaction can"t be considered a shift of policy but he welcomed its submission to demands of some sections of the Egyptian society, like workers at Ghazl Al Mahala and real estate tax workers whose sit-in lasted more than a week.
"Staging marches, sit-ins and strikes, and all forms of civil disobedience and peaceful opposition are legitimate ways for expression views, ways which are recognized by countries all over the world. These are the mechanisms of the democratic peaceful action. Unless people use these peaceful mechanisms, the alternative will be using violence, killing and bloodshed which we fully reject" said the MB leader.
He pointed out that the government"s ignorance to people"s demands raised in the peaceful demonstrations may mean wooing people to use violence which "may plague our society with dangers".
"It is natural to see some lawbreakers in any society, but unfortunately the government has a big role in the spread of corruption, breaking law, and the breakout of unemployment in Egypt because it doesn"t sufficiently carry out its duties. This actually makes people seek illegal emigration," said Abul Fotouh who advised the government to be a role-model for reform.
"The government should work for solving people"s problems, not to be a source of problems because of the maladministration." He saw that solving people"s problems requires a political reform, spawning a government that really represents people"s will.
"What the government is doing now- of accepting people"s demands after demonstrations- is like sedatives or painkillers which don"t completely cure a disease". He urged government to know the real cause behind any popular anger and to seek a political reform to avoid any form of civil disobedience.