Activists say Obama must tread a careful line. Direct and public criticism of his host could rile Cairo and spark a backlash, but they hope Obama will still address abuses like police mistreatment and press for freedom on some level.
You came Father Nixon Mr. Watergate They gave you so many honors These exploiters of the people. They festooned the widest path From Ras-El-Tine to Mecca So that from there you could go to Accra And that it could be said he made the pilgrimage. It was a real traveling circus, Your benediction Parents of the Prophet. The day of your arrival your agents prepared for you A beautiful exorcism ritual Where the whores strutted their stuff Homos and lowlifes And where Chamhourèche in person Made love to the priestess, there were many processions. A whole retinue of blood suckers followed Groveling by order of importance, Of course. Those who invited you said to you Come eat some candies and sweets. And since you are a little naive, You thought us easy prey. You were in ruins; They wanted to help prop you up. Undesirable partner, I spit in your face, Disguised as a blessing. Listen and remember, Even though you won't be around much longer, I won't bid you welcome or to go away. I won't tell you come, or get lost. But they say, Egyptian flesh is corrosive there, Where it's wasting away. For a real traveling circus, Your benediction, Parents of the Prophet.
President Obama should not have decided to come to Egypt. The visit is a clear endorsement of President Hosni Mubarak, the ailing 81-year-old dictator who has ruled with martial law, secret police and torture chambers. No words that Mr. Obama will say can change this perception that Americans are supporting a dictator with their more than $1 billion in annual aid. The Western press is clearly excited about Mr. Obama’s “significant” choice of Egypt, and his destination, Cairo University, which the news media seem to consider a symbol of enlightenment, secularism and freedom. The truth is that for years, Cairo University students have been demonstrating against the rising cost of education, demanding the university subsidize expensive text books, only to be rebuked by the authorities, who claim no funds are available. Yet the university somehow managed to find the money to polish up the building dome that will shine above Mr. Obama’s head when he delivers his address. As for the other host of the president’s visit, Al Azhar University, one of its students, Kareem Amer, is languishing in prison after university officials reported his “infidel, un-Islamic” views to the government, earning him a four-year sentence in 2007. In advance of the visit, Egyptian security forces have rounded up hundreds of foreign students at Al Azhar.Well, he's here now. Let's see if he can redeem himself by what he says.
"As President Obama prepares for his trip to Egypt this week, the Mubarak regime is facing unprecedented waves of social protest because life here has become intolerable for millions of Egyptians, who now have no choice but to take to the streets to proclaim their demand for a life fit for humans. Today, between 40% and 50% of Egyptians live below the poverty line; Egypt has become two different countries -- one for the poor and one for the rich. As for the regime, it is now completely incapable of serious reform, so it pushes the police to confront, repress and torture people, overlooking the simple and important fact that police officers are, first and foremost, Egyptian citizens and that what applies to Egyptians in general applies to them too. Most of them suffer in the same way as other Egyptians. I often recall the discussion I had with the State Security officer at the wedding. And I reflect that a political system that relies for its survival on repression always fails to see that the apparatus of repression, however mighty it may be, must be operated by individuals who are part of society and whose interests and opinions generally conform with those of the rest of the population. As repression increases, a day will come when those individuals can no longer justify to themselves the crimes they are committing against people. At that point the regime will lose its power to repress and will meet the fate it deserves. I believe that we in Egypt are approaching that day. "The story opened with a meeting with a State Security officer whom he confronts about working for the regime. It's worth reading in its entirety.
“We can’t deny our shock from Obama’s planned visit to Egypt,” said Abdel Halim Qandil, the spokesman for Kefaya, an opposition group. “When he comes to Cairo, he will be Mubarak’s, not the Egyptian people’s, guest. This visit will have a negative impact on Obama’s image, who is popular in Egypt.” But some other quotes in there are supportive.
"I want to go back to jail," says Ayman Nour, whom the government released in February as an apparent goodwill gesture to the Obama administration. "The government insists on getting the maximum benefit out of my liberation, but they are causing me the maximum harm.I am denied all rights. My party cannot return to the political scene. I am stalked by the police. They are even messing with my personal life. There is no ceiling to the injustice and the revenge of this regime." [He also says no invitation to meet Obama - is Obama meeting with any civil society or opposition leaders at all?]
Member of Obama's advance team in France has swine flu - Monsters and Critics: Paris - A member of the US delegation in France to prepare President Barack Obama's D-Day visit to Normandy has been diagnosed with swine flu, French authorities in the city of Caen said Friday.This is how he plans to woo Muslims?! Oh I am looking forward to the Egyptian press debating this. [Thanks, EZ]