For the last few days, Palestinian web addict Seham, who usually compiles long link-lists on what's happening in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, has been providing us with stellar compilations of links for Egypt. She wanted to send the following message after Mubarak was toppled.
My hope for Egypt
I'm glad that I am young enough that I'll be able to watch the transformation of Egypt back to it's rightful place as the epicenter of the Arab world. I can't wait to watch that place and it's beautiful people become a hub for all Arab youth who are looking for modernity, change and progress. I'm thrilled that this will occur in Egypt, that so rightfully deserves and so valiantly struggled for it. I'm trying to imagine what this new Egypt will look like, a new generation of men born without their fathers training them to be obedient and subservient to authority lest they end up in an Egyptian prison being sodomized by armed thugs. The possibilities are endless.
The youth website of al-Ahram (aka, "A Diwan of Contemporary Realignment") sends a reporter to Tahrir to investigate the identities of all those foreigners in the square. (It was published Feb 11, so it was probably commissioned a few days before). It turns out that while some of them may have been a bit Iranian-looking, they were mostly journalists asking demonstrators what they wanted, rather than foreign agents handing out cash.
Given that xenophobia-mongering was one of Mubarak's main tools in trying to delegitimize the revolution, it's nice to see that the state media is tackling the "Irano-Israeli spies in Tahrir stirring up trouble" narrative head-on.
Yet another good song--and the first music video to have been properly (and cleverly) staged in Midan Tahrir. Written and performed by, among others, Hany Adel--member of Downtown stalwarts Wust Al Balad.
(thanks to Mandouza)
Video shot by friend of the blog Dr. Karima Khalil of protestors in Tahrir Square celebrating Mubarak's departure. She turned out to be standing next to Khaled Said's uncle. (Quick subtitling mine, where I could make it out.)
Jubilation in Egypt
* Revolt overlaid with strong patriotic tones
* "I am Egyptian, I have toppled Hosni," - protest chant
Seconds after the official announcement was broadcast on state television and radio, protesters waiting at the presidential palace in the Heliopolis neighborhood of Cairo celebrate the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak.
This is something I've been working on for a while. It's not quite finished, but at least it has an ending.
A different version will be out soon.
Let's leave the analysis for tomorrow. Tahya Masr!
Pic via FLC:
Protests/Protesters/Attacks Against Them & Eyewitness Accounts
The Lede provides updates on the protests in Egypt on Friday, 18 days into the standoff between pro-democracy protesters and the Mubarak regime.
Pro-democracy campaigners march on state television and presidential palaces, as army calls for normal life to resume.
The situation is evolving so rapidly that I hesitate to put thoughts down. Still, here's my take on what's happening:
- Although we still don't have details about what powers Mubarak has transferred to Suleiman, it's become pretty evident that Suleiman is in charge.
- Why then keep Mubarak around? Aside from the loyalty the regime's key men have for Mubarak — Suleiman, Tantawi and Shafiq have 20 years of being close confidantes to him — retaining Mubarak allows them to preserve the sanctity of constitutional authority.
I think my friends Levinson and Coker at WSJ have written the best piece on how the January 25 protests were organized published thus far, continuing the Journal's excellent coverage of the events in Egypt. Rupert Murdoch does not deserve them!
In early January, this core of planners decided they would try to replicate the accomplishments of the protesters in Tunisia who ultimately ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Their immediate concern was how to foil the Ministry of Interior, whose legions of riot police had contained and quashed protests for years. The police were expert at preventing demonstrations from growing or moving through the streets, and at keeping ordinary Egyptians away.
"We had to find a way to prevent security from making their cordon and stopping us," said 41-year-old architect Basem Kamel, a member of Mohamed ElBaradei's youth wing and one of the dozen or so plotters.
Read the whole thing, it's fantastic.
I've written something for The National, looking back over the blur of the last two weeks, and trying to peak forward. I almost thought it had become obsolete last night--but as it turns out, we are still in no-man's-land. This is how it starts:
Our ruler for the last 30 years/His name is Hosni Mubarak/His description?/He's stupid, he doesn't get it/He's blind, he doesn't see/ He's deaf, he doesn't hear/If you find him/Throw him in the nearest garbage can/Set him on fire..." A tall man in a jellabiya and a traditional turban sang these lines in Tahrir Square one night last week, accompanied by a small crowd keeping the beat on pieces of scavenged metal. It was just one of dozens of impromptu chants ricocheting across the square that has become Egypt's revolutionary headquarters. When I asked someone in the group who the singer was, he answered, with finality: "An Egyptian citizen."
Hana Lotfi, a 35-year-old mother who was there with her husband and children, approached me. "The people have been quiet too long," she said. "And being quiet has done us no good. So we die here - we're already dying outside, what's the difference?"
Egypt has changed, it goes without saying. Things are being done and being said, on the airwaves and on the street, that would have been unimaginable last month. The nation is split, wavering, living "in two different time zones" - the present and the post-Mubarak - as one local academic recently put it.
After two weeks of street protests and violent clashes that have left hundreds dead and thousands injured, Egyptians are waiting - uneasily, expectantly, stubbornly - to find out if they are living through a stalled uprising or a real revolution.
(Thanks to AUC law professor Amr Shalakany, whose brilliant column was an inspiration).
Also, at The World website, you can hear me talk to some of the many women--long-time and first-time protesters-- who have taken to the streets since January 25th. I am still amazed and impressed by how many women here have fearlessly taken to the streets.
Tonight's speech by Mubarak is a reminder of how much the course of a revolution against an autocracy is shaped by the personal quirks of the autocrat. Here are a few thoughts from my end what calculations or miscalculations might have been going through Mubarak's head...
* Tone-deafness: Mubarak genuinely thought that he could defuse the situation with a hat-tip to the protesters, and that his transfer of powers would satisfy the protesters. He may also have thought back to his Feb 2 address, where he stirred up some genuine sympathy and regained the initiative, and was trying to repeat the performance. However, he so badly mangled his speech, and struck such an arrogant tone, that he made things worse.
* Cussedness: Mubarak projected arrogance and intransigence so as to call the bluffs of everyone -- the protesters, the Americans, and presumably now the military -- who are pushing him to leave. Maybe he allowed expectations to be raised, so as to make the blow fall that much harder. If you can't get rid of me after this, he is saying, then you can't get rid of me until I'm ready to go. Show your hand, or give up.
* Worse is better: Mubarak wanted to stir things up, to provoke a march on the palace and possibly trigger some violence. The regime had its greatest success undermining the uprising when the situation was at its most unstable. The return to normalcy on the other hand this week provided the opportunity for people to come together in the workplace, remember what they really dislike about the stagnant and corrupt status quo, and go on strike. So, he thought he might end the normalcy, rekindle fears of long-lasting anarchy, and put pressure on the demonstrators to quit with what concessions they have already won.
A senior member of Egypt's ruling party tells the BBC he is "hoping" that President Mubarak will transfer power to to his vice-president on Thursday.
CAIRO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Egypt's army has detained dozens of Egyptians involved in massive protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak and abused some of them in custody, a U.S. rights groups and Egyptian activists said on Thursday. The army was ordered to the streets on Jan. 28 to restore order. It was welcomed by protesters as a neutral force. The army said it would protect protesters from Mubarak supporters who have attacked them but also asked them to return home.