Friday 20 January 2017

Robert Fisk: The Arab dream has become a nightmare

Robert Fisk

Published 01/03/2011 | 05:00

An Egyptian mother and child on a bus at a refugee camp near the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir after fleeing unrest in Libya
An Egyptian mother and child on a bus at a refugee camp near the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir after fleeing unrest in Libya

Over the ship's tannoy system they played 'Al-Helmel Arabi' -- the 'Arab Dream', the old song of Arab unity -- as buses brought hundreds more Egyptian migrant workers from the border 50 miles away

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'WE WANT the Egyptian army -- why isn't our army here?' they shouted in their thousands: the refugees, the poor, the sick -- the wealthy having long ago fled Gaddafi's rump dictatorship -- as they stormed around the frontier station through refuse and muck. They are the people of Cairo and Alexandria and Sohag and Assiut and a thousand Delta villages, all with their monstrous, preposterous, overweight baggage of cheap clothes and bedding.

The Egyptian army cannot come to Tunisia, of course, to save the tens of thousands of its countrymen pushing their way over the border. Only the Egyptian navy came yesterday, in the shape of a black-painted frigate that carried just 1,000 men, women and children home over rough, wind-topped seas.

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