The view from London

This post is by longtime Arabist reader Amjad, who sent me his reflections on the British media's coverage of the events in Egypt

 

I called a few friends all around the UK and beyond, telling them there are scenes being broadcast from "Tahrir" Liberation square that are best seen as few words could describe them.

 

Most where beside themselves in astonishment and nervous laughter, I can't blame them.

 

Camels and Horses, yes I said Camels were charging anti-government protesters in the square, now Tahrir square must be at least 7 to 12 miles aways from any Camel in sight. How were they transported to the centre of the city.

 

I began thinking is this "Jahiliya" - pre Islam arabia - where tribes raided and looted on camel back, or the chants "Orrance" "Orrance" by Peter O'toole on camel back in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia.

 

Or "Janjaweed" - horseback so called Arab militia in Darfur.

 

Not much left here for a complete image of the stereotype of Egypt.

 

Camels, Horses, Tent, Desert, and Pyramids. Well the pyramids where the much smaller type made from brass and other materials found in the souvenir shops around Tahrir square, and Tea Towel headgear.

 

Just in case we haven't noticed, the regime is saying me, or chaos bitch.

 

Some great reporting throughout the day, The Guardian is reporting min by min on their website, Dominica Waghorn on Sky doing well, Aljazeera English offering the best coverage despite arrests, shutdowns, harassment, signal blocking and equipment confiscation. I wish them well.

 

Channel 4 news, had a great little interview with Samir Radwan, the newly appointed finance minister, comes across as a really good bloke, been tasked to find money that isn't there for the presidents jobs and subsides drive, well he won't be there long.

 

In his interview with Jon Snow he talked candidly about the rightful demands of the protesters and his concern for creating a future for young egyptians, the future. Now, something tell's me he's not going to be there for long.

 

Immediately after the interview Jon Snow pointed out that Redwan's views are completely out of step with the new cabinet.

 

BBC News. Now from what I could tell, they had something of a scoop. their reporter interviewed Dr. Ibrahim Kamel, close associate and adviser to Mubarak, billionaire business men, high ranked figure in the NDP and according to the BBC god father to the presidents son.

 

Interviewed on the street just behind Ramses Hilton, he was credited as organiser of the pro-mubarak protests, naturally in his view it was civil and passed with no disruptions. but at least we have on record the man responsible.

 

As for my friends in Cairo, much of whom attended the huge million man rally in the square, they are in shock. the scenes of civil society at it's best compared with yesterdays government sponsored mayhem.

 

It's also important to mention that the president's speech really did divide people, it seems to be a master stroke of speech writing. one that should be studied very carefully, as I mentioned before the old guard of the NDP do have the measure of the simple man on the street mentality, and very clearly it penetrated that psyche.