In Egypt for Global Conscience Convoy: Day two

In Cairo, Egypt, with the Global Conscience Convoy at the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate headquarters. SLL photo

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, two journalists from Struggle-La Lucha had the privilege and honor of spending an afternoon at the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate in downtown Cairo. The EJS is the central labor union for journalists across Egypt. We received a tour from EJS members who have also played a role in organizing the Global Conscience Convoy to the Rafah border crossing.

The first thing that stands out about the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate headquarters is the massive 50-foot-long Palestinian flag hanging from the building’s entrance. Upon approach, one can immediately feel the solidarity emanating from the building and its occupants. The struggle for union journalists in Egypt is a personal one, as the Israeli apartheid government has murdered at least 57 journalists since Oct. 7, many of whom were Egyptian

Historically, the EJS has not always been this anti-imperialist. While a relatively progressive trade union in the past, the EJS experienced a seachange in March of this year when a socialist bloc won the elections for the union’s leadership. This is the first time explicitly left-wing forces have ascended to EJS leadership. 

Under the new leadership, the EJS has taken steps to build coalitions with progressive organizations like the Popular Committee in Solidarity with Palestine, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Bread and Freedom Party, and many others. Because of these coalitions, the EJS led the only truly popular demonstrations in support of Palestine in the entire country of Egypt. This has included the first major marches on Tahrir Square in a decade

At first, the Egyptian government was not only supportive of these demonstrations but even went as far as to participate to some extent. Unfortunately, the Egyptian government changed its tune regarding pro-Palestine protests and even humanitarian convoys in the days and weeks since the Palestinian resistance commenced Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. 

Due to pressure from the U.S. government and corporate media, as well as an insidious EU anti-migration aid package, the Egyptian government has significantly cooled its support for Palestine and the corresponding solidarity movement. The over $9 billion aid package comes with the express purpose of preventing Arab migration into Europe. To that effect, the package contains millions for border security and naval patrol equipment.

One of the consequences of this Western coercion has been an indefinite delay in multiple aid convoys headed to Gaza, including the Global Conscience Convoy organized by the EJS and many other organizations. However, that has not stopped the progressive organizers on the ground from struggling for humanitarian and political intervention to stop the genocide in Gaza. 

Directly after our tour and several productive conversations with Egyptian socialists and unionists, individuals from across the globe participated in a picket line in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Our main demands: End the genocide in Gaza and allow the Global Conscience Convoy to proceed!

At the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate headquarters, a fifty-foot-long Palestinian flag hangs from the building’s entrance. SLL photo: Lev Koufax

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