Seham's #jan25 links
Yes Wael Ghonim was released but what about those hundreds in fact thousands who were detained since January 28,2011. This is a small list made and updated frequently by the names of the missing protesters and activists. Human rights activists and lawyers are working on lists across the country to present it to the prosecutor general , of course the human rights organizations were raided in the past weeks by security forces. Here is a Facebook group dedicated to our detainees : Free Egypt’s detainees.
Thirty-four prisoners reportedly freed in move seen as part of reforms pledged by embattled government.
Human Rights Watch says government-controlled health services in Egypt have been pressured into playing down the number of casualties during anti-government protests.
(Cairo) - The Egyptian government should order military police, army officers, and State Security Investigations officers to cease arresting journalists, activists, and protesters arbitrarily, Human Rights Watch said today.
Army officers and military police arbitrarily detained at least 119 people since the army took up positions in Egyptian cities and towns on the night of January 28, 2011, and in at least five cases tortured them. What follows are accounts from two protesters interviewed by Human Rights Watch.
Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt said the opposition group would work to promote democracy and does not intend to field a candidate for the presidency, CNN reported Wednesday. "The Muslim Brotherhood are not seeking power," a member of the group's media office, Mohammed Morsi, said at a news conference.
A day after offering sweeping concessions, Omar Suleiman expresses impatience with burgeoning pro-democracy protests.
Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian Vice president, has been criticized by the White House for making remarks about Egypt was 'not ready for democracy'.
A new Gallup poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans are sympathetic to the pro-democracy protesters. Gallup is out with a new national poll on Americans' views of the pro-democracy protests in Egypt. The results show that fear-mongering by some in the media about a post-Mubarak Egypt has apparently not taken hold, with huge majorities expressing sympathy for the protesters: Overall, are you sympathetic or unsympathetic to the protestors in Egypt who have called for a change in the government? Very sympathetic 42 | Somewhat sympathetic 40 | Somewhat unsympathetic 6 | Very unsympathetic 5 | No opinion 6. So 82 percent of Americans are sympathetic to the protesters. Among those who are "following the situation in Egypt very or somewhat closely," that number actually goes up slightly, to 87 percent. The irony here, of course, is that Americans are on the side of protesters fighting a regime that the U.S. government has been propping up for decades. And it's an open question whether public opinion in the U.S. will have an impact on the Obama administration's Egypt policy, which has notably shifted in the past few days away from calls for immediate change. The rest of the poll is here (.pdf).
CAIRO — The US embassy in Cairo on Tuesday denied its staff were behind the wheel of what appeared to be an official vehicle that mowed down dozens of protesters in a high-speed hit-and-run captured on video. "We have seen a video that alleges a US diplomatic vehicle was involved in a hit-and-run incident that injured dozens in Cairo. We are certain that no embassy employees or diplomats were involved in this incident," it said.
Key members of Congress ease their threat to cut foreign aid to Cairo, as consensus grows that the U.S. needs to maintain leverage with Egypt's military. Influential U.S. lawmakers have eased their threats to cut aid to Egypt, reflecting a growing consensus in Washington for preserving U.S. leverage with Egypt's powerful military amid the country's civil upheaval.
Electric Corporation costs rise in the aftermath of the Sinai pipeline bomb.
Turkish Prime Minsiter called on the Zionist entity not to interfere in the Egyptian issues, as Egypt commented on Erdogan’s remarks on the protest in the Arab country. Speaking to a group of reporters at the opening of a "friendship bridge" between Turkey and Syria, Erdogan said on Monday that "Israel must under no circumstance interfere" in what is happening in Egypt, Turkish daily Huriyyet reported. Erdogan said he had made this point to US President Barack Obama and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, adding that they should intervene to stop Israel should it be "inclined to meddle in Egypt in a last-ditch effort to try and turn the tide against the anti-Mubarak demonstrators," the daily reported.
British Foreign Secretary Hague urges Israel to soften negative approach in wake of Egypt uprising, warns that Mideast peace process is in danger of 'losing further momentum and becoming a casualty of uncertainty in the region'.
More details on Wisner's possible conflict of interest, but it's the least of the challenges facing the Obama administration. As I indicated yesterday, the idea that just because diplomat Frank Wisner worked for the Patton Boggs law firm, that didn't necessarily mean that he was personally involved in working on matters related to Egypt. Now comes this from Justin Elliott in Salon...
Media Suppression and Repression
The only journalist known to have been killed during the Egyptian uprising was honored Monday in Cairo. Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud was a reporter for the state-owned newspaper Al Ta’awun. He was shot on January 28 when he tried to use his phone to film riot police as they fired tear gas canisters at protesters. He spent a week in the hospital before he died on February 4. On Monday, journalists, family and friends held a symbolic funeral in Cairo, marching from the Journalists’ Syndicate to Tahrir Square holding an empty coffin. We speak to Al Jazeera English producer and writer Laila Al-Arian, who has just returned from Cairo, where she interviewed Mahmoud’s widow. [includes rush transcript]
CAIRO — We had been detained by Egyptian authorities, handed over to the country’s dreaded Mukhabarat, the secret police, and interrogated. They left us all night in a cold room, on hard orange plastic stools, under fluorescent lights.
Ayman Mohyeldin, the Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera English, was detained by Egyptian police and held for seven hours. Inside the jail, Mohyeldin witnessed rampant police abuse. "We saw the military slap detainees, we saw them kick detainees, we saw them punch them," Mohyeldin said. "One of the soldiers that I was observing had with him a small Taser gun." He also talks about how the Mubarak regime has attempted to silence Al Jazeera. Despite its journalists being arrested and threatened, its offices set on fire and its satellite system cut off, Al Jazeera’s news coverage of the popular uprising has been unchallenged by other news outlets and is battling Egypt’s pro-Mubarak TV outlets for delivering truth to Egyptians. “I think Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera English have something important to offer. They’re offering the viewers around the world a context that may sometimes be missing from a lot of Western and foreign media,” Mohyeldin says, who was detained by security forces for questioning on Sunday. “More importantly, they’re offering the viewers a view of this country that I think is very hard to get in the absence of less and less media. So, if they were to take Al Jazeera off the air and silence us completely, it would be a great disservice to humanity, and particularly to information.” [includes rush transcript]
Al Jazeera's Cairo bureau chief Ayman Mohyeldin said Monday that he was blindfolded, handcuffed and taken in to custody by Egyptian military police the previous day. He was released after nine hours in detention. Mohyeldin told the network Monday that he and other detainees were treated like "prisoners of war."
More than 500 of Egyptian media professionals issued a statement denouncing state-run media coverage of the youth-led uprising staged since 25 January calling for Mubarak’s resignation.
Al Jazeera's online producer recalls the many perils he faced while reporting from the country in upheaval.
Egyptian state TV currently not showing mass demonstrations in the capital.
CAIRO -- (Ma’an) – The Egyptian satellite company Nilesat lifted Wednesday morning a ban on Al-Jazeera and Al-Jazeera Live, giving the Qatar-based channels access to the same bands widths they had used before the restrictions, Reuters reported. In the two days following the outbreak of protests at the end of January, the Egyptian Ministry of Information had given directives to Nilesat to drop Al-Jazeera signals in Egypt, and later on across the Middle East.
Protests/Protesters/Attacks Against Them & Eyewitness Accounts
Thousands of demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square gave a hero's welcome to a Google executive and activist who has become a symbol of the country's anti-government movement
CAIRO – Freed Egypt activist Wael Ghonim arrived at the epicentre of anti-regime protests in Cairo on Tuesday where he was welcomed as a hero by the crowd of hundreds of thousands. The crowd surged towards him, many weeping, clapping and shouting: "Long live Egypt, long live Egypt!" The young executive at Google was released on Monday after security services snatched him from the street 12 days ago and has been hailed as a hero of the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak.
Wael Ghonim is talkative and confident, just like many in the new generation of Arabs out to change their world — and prosper in it — by way of technology. He has pointed out that Norway, so much smaller than the Mideast in population, had more indigenous language content on the web. There was so much room to grow. "We live in a digital age, and it is important that the Arab world takes advantage of this new medium," Ghonim told an Abu Dhabi paper.
NILE DELTA, Egypt, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Beyond Tahrir Square, beyond the boundaries of the sprawling capital, beyond even the provincial cities where protesters joined the call to topple President Hosni Mubarak, rural Egypt is restless for change.
Labour unions stage country-wide strikes and pro-democracy supporters extend demonstrations to the parliament buildings.
Al Jazeera speaks to Mona Seif, one of the protesters gathered infront of the parliament building in the Egyptian capital Cairo, calling for a dissolution of the assembly:
Two protesters scale the main gate at Egypt's parliament building on Tuesday night, erecting a sign that says: "Sorry.. Closed until the downfall of the regime." Hundreds of protesters began gathering at the parliament building as a result of the overflow crowd in central Cairo's Tahrir Square, and to expand the reach of the demonstrations.
A group of around 60 protesters silently walk a convoy of blankets through the streets from Tahrir Square to Egypt's parliament to supply the newly established protest there. As onlookers applaud, they ask for quiet to hide their movements.
Hundreds of protesters began moving on Tuesday night from central Cairo's Tahrir Square several blocks southwest to the Egypt's lower house of parliament, the People's Assembly or Maglis al-Shaab. Protesters seemed ready to begin a long, Tahrir-style sit-in.
Pressure intensified on President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday, as local media reported widespread labor unrest after protesters called for workers to go on strike.
Many of the people in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday were there for the first time. Jacky Rowland reports now on the newcomers swelling the ranks of the pro-democracy movement.
The story of five days in January when the people of Egypt broke through a barrier of fear and rose in revolt.
Demonstrations enter sixteenth day, following the largest gathering so far in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
From our Doha headquarters, we keep you constantly updated on Egypt, with reporting from Al Jazeera staff.
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has been meeting the foreign minister for the United Arab Emirates and announced a roadmap for changes. Mubarak set up three different committees to tackle the changes, but for the protesters in Tahrir Square [Liberation Square] it is not enough. The protesters want the president and the government to go now, they want free elections, and a whole new beginning. Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reports.
We are paying a lot of attention to Al Tahrir and the main cities in Egypt and forget that the revolution is spreading through the country and how the regime is cracking it. News reports came yesterday that there was a huge uprising in the New valley governorate , yes the New Valley’s biggest city or rather oasis Kharga witnessed protests that were cracked violently. At least 3 were confirmedly killed while hundreds were injured yesterday and today there are reports as well that there was a massacre at the New valley prison in Kharga. The injured were transferred to Asuit governorate as far as I read.
CAIRO – Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square and towns across Egypt on Tuesday, in the biggest show of defiance to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak since the revolt began. In Cairo, the immense crowd hailed as a hero a charismatic cyberactivist and Google executive whose Facebook site helped kickstart the protest movement on January 25 and who has since been detained and held blindfolded for 12 days.
The strikes wave in Egypt has reached to Suez canal today , over 6000 service workers from the cities of Suez, Port Said and Ismailia began an open ended sit at the company HQ. Now I want to clarify something , these are not the navigation guides , these are the service workers still if the strike reaches to the navigation guides than the Suez canal will be paralyzed technically. Despite working in the most profitable company in Egypt the workers are suffering poor wages and extremely bad , I can’t imagine it , I can’t comprehend it. By the way I read that today NPR correspondent was arrested for couple of hours in his way to Suez today before he was released.
Egyptian university professors marched today from Manyal to Tahrir Square, in support of the revolution, before entering the square, they started chanting: “Hey Mubarak, you are a pilot, so from where did you get those $70 billions?”
Twelve days after being snatched from the streets of Cairo, Wael Ghonim was released Monday from secret detention. He is being hailed as a hero by the pro-democracy movement for administrating a Facebook page key to organizing Egypt’s unprecedented pro-democracy uprising. In his first interview after being released, Ghonim told Egyptian TV, “I never put my live in danger while I was typing away on the internet. The heroes are the ones in the streets. This revolution belongs to the internet youth.” [includes rush transcript]
Alaa Abdel fattah, an activist and a blogger. Speaks to Al Jazeera about the conditions in Tahrir Square.
It’s difficult not to be moved by the hope and enthusiasm in Egyptian activist Mona Seif’s voice as she speaks to Al Jazeera English at 4am on Wednesday from outside Cairo’s parliament building. Protestors gathered there on Tuesday and called for a dissolution of the assembly as well as for Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately.
Hossam el-Hamalawy is a member of the organization Revolutionary Socialists as well as of the Center for Socialist Studies in Cairo. A journalist and blogger, he is one of the "cyberguerrilla" youth at the heart of the revolutions underway in the Arab world. While constantly occupying Tahrir Square, he seeks to regularly disseminate alternative information to the whole world, via his blog, his Twitter account, and his Facebook page. He agreed to answer some of our questions by phone on Sunday, 6 February. We hope we will be able to hear his views on the mobilization soon again in the coming days. . . .
The pro-democracy protests in Egypt have entered their third week as demonstrators are holding another massive protest in Tahrir Square. While Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is refusing to resign, the German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting that preparations are underway for him to possibly leave Egypt and visit Germany for an "extended medical check-up." Human Rights Watch is reporting 297 people have died over the past two weeks of protests, an estimate far higher than the Egyptian government has acknowledged. [includes rush transcript]
Three weeks ago today, 26-year-old Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouz posted a video online urging people to protest the “corrupt government” of Hosni Mubarak by rallying in Tahrir Square on January 25. Her moving call ultimately helped inspire Egypt’s uprising. "I, a girl, am going down to Tahrir Square, and I will stand alone. And I’ll hold up a banner. Perhaps people will show some honor,” Mahfouz said. "Don’t think you can be safe anymore. None of us are. Come down with us and demand your rights, my rights, your family’s rights. I am going down on January 25th and will say no to corruption, no to this regime." [includes rush transcript]
One of my sources sends the following recommendation for on-the-ground reports from Egypt. Here are three of the many women of the Egyptian Revolution – that will counter some of those images of passive Muslim women. Change in the Middle East is being pushed forward by women like Mona, Asma, Sarah, etc., too, and they are not few. There are many more women who are actively shaping the revolution, who are blogging, twittering, writing, vlogging etc. about it here, and who have been working for years for this change, but here are three for now: Asma is said to have triggered this revolution through her vlog – which is not that she is the source of it. Either way, it’s a strong video.
Stand in solidarity with the people of Egypt and the wider Middle East and North Africa in their demands for an end to repression, for their freedom, their basic human rights, and immediate democratic reform. And stand in defiance against all those who try to suppress the growing movement of people standing up for their rights, and for decent work, facing down injustice and offering hope for a better world. Called by Amnesty International and Trade Union Congress.
This Council declares its total solidarity with the heroic democracy protesters of Egypt, and especially with those currently occupying Tahrir (Liberation) Square. It strongly supports their demands: for the immediate removal of the dictator, Hosni Mubarak, from his office as President; for the repeal of the anti-democratic Emergency Law (which since 1981 has given the notorious State Security Forces the right to detain people without charge or trial); for the dismantling of the whole Mubarak regime of murder torture and corruption; for full freedom of the press and genuine democratic elections. This Council resolves to refuse all collaboration with the illegitimate Mubarak Government or its agents .
Egyptian poet and journalist Farouk Goweida wrote a wonder poem called ‘ Leave’ demanding Mubarak to Mubarak ASAP. Goweida was one summoned to state security because of a poem he wrote. He was among the few in the official media that exposed corruption and wrote about how our land was stolen by corrupted businessmen and how Sinai was left neglected. This poem in Arabic and I will not be able to translate it in the current time. “Via : Ahmed Naguib
Friends of the Dictator/Terrified of Democracy
Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have each repeatedly pressed the United States not to cut loose Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, too hastily, or to throw its weight behind the democracy movement in a way that could further destabilize the region, diplomats say. One Middle Eastern envoy said that on a single day, he spent 12 hours on the phone with American officials.
BEIRUT: The Lebanese Forces said in a statement Tuesday that a March 8 coalition rally Monday that was organized in support of Egyptian anti-government protesters was aimed at destabilizing Egypt in favor of a regional agenda.
Israel is set to put up an electronic security barrier on the border with Egypt as the anti-Tel Aviv sentiment is on the rise in the North African nation.
As the protests in Egypt continue, its neighbour Israel is keeping a close eye on developments. It's worried about its old ally, President Hosni Mubarak - but could be eyeing up a new friend in his deputy, Omar Suleiman. Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley has more from Jerusalem.
Today's letters to the editor in the New York Times represent the wide swath of the US public that is behind the protesters in Egypt (82% according to a new Gallap poll). Of the five letters that were published, four of them call on the Obama adminstration to stand with the protesters and warn that "the United States is proving to be on the wrong side of history."
Premier Francois Fillon says he took a vacation partly paid for by Egypt's authorities. He is the second Cabinet member to draw fire over ties with a besieged Arab government. France's prime minister acknowledged Tuesday that he took a family vacation in Egypt partly paid for by Egyptian authorities shortly before the uprising erupted last month against President Hosni Mubarak.
There was a time when I thought Tamer Hosny’s songs come straight from the heart, deep down from the gut, but now I know for fact that Tamer is full of shit and lots of hot air. Tamer Hosny never believed a word of this song. About growing up in Egypt and taking reading classes, building the Aswan dam, waging the 73 war, and so on. He also sings for the armed forces--the same army he dodged and went to jail for forging armed services documents. He is still upbeat and he the the go to guy if you want to party....but when it comes to taking a stand, do not bother for he is a fool.
Yesterday, the sensationalist buffoon, Amr Adeeb, who almost ignited a war between Egypt and Algeria over a football match, who always rallied to the defense of Mubarak and the regime, tried to show up in Tahrir Square, in an opportunist move. He was expelled immediately by the revolutionaries in Tahrir… And on behalf of the Egyptian people, I’d like to apologize to our Algerian brothers and sisters for all the filth Adeeb said about the Algerian nation last November.
As'as Abukhalil's Commentary
"Although many of the protesters, foreign governments, and analysts have concentrated on the personality of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, those surrounding the embattled president, who make up the wider Egyptian regime, have made sure the state's viability was never in question. This is because the country's central institution, the military, which historically has influenced policy and commands near-monopolistic economic interests, has never balked. ... Despite the fact that a general with a megaphone stated his solidarity with the protesters while other protesters painted "Down to Mubarak" on tanks across central Cairo, no acts of organizational fragmentation or dissent within the chain of command have occurred. ... The military's rank and file, who are deployed on the streets, became part of a different regime strategy. There is no doubt that solidarities developed between protesters and soldiers as fellow citizens, but the army's aloof neutrality underscores that its role on the sidelines was intentional. This was prominently on display when the "pro-Mubarak" demonstrators attacked antigovernment protesters in Tahrir on February 2. That the siege of a major city square took place over the course of 16 hours, leaving 13 dead and more than 1,200 wounded, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health, suggests that the military's orders were conceived to cast its officers as potential saviors from the brutal violence. This containment strategy has worked. By politically encircling the protesters, the regime prevented the conflict from extending beyond its grasp. With the protesters caught between regime-engineered violence and regime-manufactured safety, the cabinet generals remained firmly in control of the situation.... This latest adaptation of autocracy in the Arab world is more honest than its previous incarnations. Before the uprising in Egypt began, the military ruled from behind the curtain while elites, represented by public relations firms and buoyed by snappy slogans, initiated neoliberal economic policies throughout Egypt. In this latest rendering, with Suleiman at the helm, the state's objective of restoring a structure of rule by military managers is not even concealed. This sort of "orderly transition" in post-Mubarak Egypt is more likely to usher in a return to the repressive status quo than an era of widening popular participation."
"Mubarak met the Emirati minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan -- brother to the current Emirati president, Abu Dhabi's emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan -- at the presidential palace in Cairo, an AFP journalist saw."
Fawzi sent me this: "The bahraini dictator is blatant in his piblic support for mubarak, every day he is either calling him or sending him an envoy or somthing, he is sweating with Feb 14 approaching".
Amer sent me this: "And [Egyptian protesters are] more authentic and individualistic and natural, they do not attempt to perform for the West as much as the Lebanese. They are also less organized and directed, unlike both sides in Lebanon, they do not do north korean tricks and draw images and flags with their bodies. But make no mistake, the westernized middle class is the same everywhere."
Up to the Carter administration, there were Middle East experts in government who could weigh in with their assessment of US interests in the Middle East, free of the considerations of what is good for Israel and its wars and massacres. It is fair to say that this is one of the most major challenges for the US in the region since WWII but there is not a single Middle East expert in the government who can give an assessment of US interests without being obsessed with "what is good for Israel" here. This is why the Israeli calculations are dominating the crisis decision-making at the White House, and the tone and substance of rhetoric. I mean, with people like Feltman and Shapiro (one at State and another at NSC--and both are Zionist fanatics), there is no Richard Parker or Richard Murphy or William Quandt or Gary Sick to offer an assessment of what is at stake for the US in this crisis. This is why the Obama ministration is following the script of Israeli best wishes--which could prove soon to be disastrous for the US. I remember on Sep. 11, I kept thinking without any realization about James Forrestal. I kept thinking of his warnings back in 1948. So there is not a single expert around Obama who can dare to offer an evaluation of the situation from outside the Zionist framework. Not one. You can argue that the Zionist lobby's biggest success since Reagan administration is to monopolize all appointments on the Middle East in the two main branches of government. But Israel's best wishes could be horrific for the US.
The guy, who does not know Arabic, landed in Egypt, and within few hours of his arrival he is offering generalizations and conclusions about the motives of the protesters. After a few hours of arriving, he reassures his Zionist friends that there is no Israel mentioned. Well, yes: the chants don't mention Israel: EVEN IF YOU DONT UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE. And when the chants talk about Mubarak being "an agent", who are they talking about? Sweden?
One more thing about that superficial and simplistic columnist. If you read his description of Tahrir Square today, you would get the impression that he is talking about people out on a picnic. As if there is no political goal of the gathering. But then again: with his shallow mind, he can turn Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind into a silly catch phrase (that makes no sense).
Mohannad sent me this: "Reading today's NYT piece by Friedman, I was struck by a statement attributed to protest signs: There are signs everywhere asking about Mubarak, a former Air Force chief. Questions such as: “Hey Mr. Pilot, where did you get that $17 billion?” I have not come across the figure $17 billion anywhere. I think that the Arabic illiterate Friedman mistook 17 for 70. Don't you reckon?"
From Tahrir Square: The lower sign says: "Let Israel benefit you."
First, why does he leave from his dispatches from the Middle East that he can't order a Falafil sandwich without using the services for interpretors? Why, Mr. Friedman? Secondly, he has been in Egypt for a mere day, and is already confidently informing you about what the Egyptian people want and feel (and yesterday, his interpretor made a mistake in the figure of $70 billion (he reported $17). But he is only obsessed with how this will affect Israel, and said: "They are not inspired by “down with” America or Israel." Oh, they are. They are chanting daily against US and Israel and are referring to Mubarak and Sulayman as "agents" of Israel and US. But maybe your interpretor was having sandwich.
"But Mr Mubarak was dealt a significant setback as the state-controlled Al-Ahram, Egypt's second oldest newspaper and one of the most famous media publications in the Middle East, abandoned its long-standing position of slavish support for the regime. In a front-page leader, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Osama Saraya hailed the "nobility" of what he described as a "revolution" and demanded that the government embark of irreversible constitutional and legislative changes." Saraya is one of those untalented people who have no chance of rising in an institution that prizes merit and qualification. He has been under pressures from the staff of Al-Ahram to distance himself, and once the regime is overthrown, he won't be writing or leading for sure, unless it is in a `Umar Sulayman republic.
"Ever since the Egyptian uprising began on 25 January, the United States government and the Washington establishment that rationalizes its policies have been scared to death of "losing Egypt." What they fear losing is a regime that has consistently ignored the rights and well-being of its people in order to plunder the country and enrich the few who control it, and that has done America's bidding, especially supporting Israel in its oppression and wars against the Palestinians and other Arabs."
When Zionists in the US and Israel mention "democracy in the Arab world," they really mean "peace with Israel." A country is then democratic to the extent to which it has peace with Israel, and anti-democratic if it opposes peace with Israel. That is their (il)logic. Thus, Anwar Sadat was a democrat at the height of his dictatorial rule.
"A week after the Obama administration demanded a swift transition to a post-Mubarak era, it has dampened the sense of urgency and aligned itself with power-brokers such as new Vice President Omar Suleiman, who are urging a more stable, if much slower, move to real democracy." Who wrote this? Suleiman himself told ABC News that Egypt is not ready for democracy and yet this article is ascribing to him what he himself does not ascribe to himself.
"Vice President Omar Suleiman of Egypt says he does not think it is time to lift the 30-year-old emergency law that has been used to suppress and imprison opposition leaders. He does not think President Hosni Mubarak needs to resign before his term ends in September. And he does not think his country is yet ready for democracy. But, considering it lacks better options, the United States has strongly backed him to play the pivotal role in a still uncertain transition process in Egypt."
"What will become of Israel if Mubarak falls?". Let me assure you that we don't care what will become of Israel, and let me assure you that people of the region only harbor ill will toward the Zionist usurping entity. PS When the Soviet Union was collapsing, imagine if newspaper were to publish articles saying: what will become of the PLO? What will become of Syria? They would have never allowed such line. But as I told the crowd at UC, Davis yesterday: don't forget the element of racism in how Western people look at Egypt.
"Israeli officials, who have long viewed Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Suleiman as stabilizing influences in a dangerous region, have made clear to the administration that they support evolution rather than revolution in Egypt. They believe it is important to make changes within the system rather than change the system first and hope stability can be maintained, a senior Israeli official said." The views of bunch of Israeli occupiers mean more in Washington, DC than the views of 85 million Egyptians.
So Aljazeera Arabic has an Egyptian psychiatrist on hand to analyze Mubarak. He has been on for a few days. Let me summarize his findings: Mubarak is a nut case and should be committed somewhere outside of Egypt.
The ongoing political crisis is leaving Egypt's economy in jeopardy. How much more can the country's economy take? And what needs to be done to solve the long-running economic crisis once and for all?
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah threw his weight fully behind the Egyptian popular uprising Monday, saying the youths trying to topple President Hosni Mubarak would change the face of the region. Addressing a rally in Beirut in “Support of the Egyptian People’s Revolution” organized by the Lebanese national parties, Nasrallah said he wished he could be among the demonstrators in one of the the squares taken over by youthful Egyptians in Cairo and other cities in the largest Arab country. “I wish I could be one of those demonstrators because I’m eager if I could to present my blood and soul for Egypt,” he said. Addressing Egyptians, Nasrallah said: “As friends and brothers, we want to express our belief, our feelings and aspirations. Our belief is that what you are doing is very great and it is one of the most important milestones in the history of the Umma [Muslim nation]. Your movement and victory will fully change the region’s face, especially Palestine, in favor of all our peoples. You are fighting the battle of Arab dignity which was humiliated by some of its rulers over decades.”
Blood turns brown with age. Revolutions do not. Vile rags now hang in a corner of the square, the last clothes worn by the martyrs of Tahrir: a doctor, a lawyer among them, a young woman, their pictures strewn above the crowds, the fabric of the T-shirts and trousers stained the colour of mud. But yesterday, the people honoured their dead in their tens of thousands for the largest protest march ever against President Hosni Mubarak's dictatorship, a sweating, pushing, shouting, weeping, joyful people, impatient, fearful that the world may forget their courage and their sacrifice. It took three hours to force our way into the square, two hours to plunge through a sea of human bodies to leave. High above us, a ghastly photomontage flapped in the wind: Hosni Mubarak's head superimposed upon the terrible picture of Saddam Hussein with a noose round his neck.
Don’t listen to those animals who ask of you to turn back! If we retreat, we wont return to our homes. That animal Hosni Mobarak and his dirty regime won’t stop. believe me, what happened in Khan Said, could happen to us 1000 times fold. The whole world is with us. The white house asked Hosni to get off the throne. Hosni is a slave to the White House and Obama. He will leave, believe me. Friday is Friday of departure. we are dying anyway, our brothers drown on their way escaping to Greece, they dying on the street… at least we can regain our dignity. You don’t know what its like on the street. People can smell the essence of dignity. Everyone go out and shout : Hosni Mubarak Leave! he must leave the country. we must make history. this never happened before where we took out a dog like Hosni. Lets make this a habit, so that the next president knows what we are capable of. this is our future, this is our children’s future!
Peace be upon you. I would like to dedicate my message to every hypocrite, every corrupt, or I do not know exactly how to describe them, all those is really touched by the president, and salutes the president. I would like to tell them I tell each one that if you defend a corrupt system, then you’re corrupt yourself. For each one who asks the president for forgiveness, I say that you are a hypocrite, and you don’t care about your people.
The naysayers who had been suggesting (or, in some cases, hoping) that the protests in Egypt were running out of steam have been proven wrong, once again, by the Egyptian people. By some accounts, the crowds in Midan Tahrir today were the largest yet — “hundreds of thousands,” according to the Guardian’s live reports — and many of those protesting today were coming out onto the streets for the first time. As I write this, protests continue in front of the Parliament building, with the possibility of a sit-in there; one tweet, from an Al-Jazeera producer, reported that a protester had “climbed on the front gate of parliament to put up a sign saying ‘closed until the downfall of the regime.’” Thousands gathered to demonstrate in Alexandria, there were protests in Ismailia, Assiut, El Mahalla El-Kubra, and Suez, and more demonstrations and strikes were scattered across the country, including a strike and sit-in by 6,000 employees of the Suez Canal Authority and a walk-out and threatened strike by thousands of Telecom Egypt employees, among other labor protests.
To help explain the thrilling developments in Egypt, Farooq Sulehria interviewed leading Arab scholar-activist Gilbert Achcar on February 4.
The news that Omar Sulaiman had a hot line to the Israeli government, that he was Israel's choice as president, even over Mubarak, and that he invited Israel to invade Sinai if it thought it could stop arms smuggling to Gaza, should surprise noone, but these revelations from the Wikileaks cables underline the rottenness of the Egyptian regime and the need to replace it without delay and without qualification.
[Arabic statement and translation originally appeared on “Liberty for Egypt” blog] Statement from Cairo University- faculty of law --Issued from the discussion forum held on 7/2/2011 around legal and constitutional solutions to meet the needs of the Peoples revolution. On Monday the 7th of February 2011 the professors of the faculty of law at Cairo university met and after many fruitful discussions and thorough analysis of the parameters of constitutional thought and what is best for our country in order for it to correspond with the great leap & the revolution of the Youth of the Nation which has both been welcomed and backed by many communities within the nation , presented to the nation from a pure conscience and in reaction to the new developments that have affected the entire nation's sentiments . Presented here to the great Egyptian nation are the results which the forum has reached in regards to what must be done for the good of the nation at this historical juncture in our beloved country.
The Egyptian street revolution proves that the ghastly "Arab exception" concept - that dictatorship and hardcore repression are intrinsic to the Arab world - was always a manufactured consensus. It's a no-brainer, between Washington-supported Omar "Sheik al-Torture" Suleiman and the protesters, who's on the right side of history.
El Mahalla el Kubra has long worried the Mubarak government. And the city's dogged labor leaders now want more than just better working conditions. The revolt shaking Cairo didn't start in Cairo. It began in this city of textile mills and choking pollution set amid the cotton and vegetable fields of the Nile Delta.
Until today the earthshaking Egyptian revolution appeared to be losing momentum. Regime propaganda, repeated on state TV and in Saudi-owned regional media, appeared to be convincing significant sections of the population that the protests were responsible for diminished security (although it was the regime that freed violent criminals and pulled police off the streets) and economic destabilisation (although it was the regime again which closed the internet, halted the trains, and dealt perhaps a long-term blow to tourism by encouraging mobs to attack foreigners). As 40% of Egyptians rely on daily wages for survival, success of regime propaganda in this area could fatally undermine the revolution.
“In memoriam, Christoph Probst, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl” reads the banner at the top of Kareem Amer’s popular Egyptian dissident blog. “Beheaded on Feb. 22, 1943, for daring to say no to Hitler, and yes to freedom and justice for all.” The young blogger’s banner recalls the courageous group of anti-Nazi pamphleteers who called themselves the White Rose Collective. They secretly produced and distributed six pamphlets denouncing Nazi atrocities, proclaiming, in one, “We will not be silent.” Sophie and her brother Hans Scholl were captured by the Nazis, tried, convicted and beheaded.
Q. How do you feel right now? A. I feel great. I feel as if I'm born. This is the dream of my life, as if this is my day, you know, because I was dreaming of this, as I was oppressed all my life, all my life, as a writer, as a doctor, as a woman, as a human being, all my life, from King Farouk to now, Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak. So, for me, it's . . . as if I'm 20 years old. I'm not tired. On ordinary days I'm tired, but now I stay there [in Tahrir Square], ten hours every day almost, speaking and shouting and discussing, I come back here, I continue, I never stop talking. Then I sleep four hours, or five, and then I'm up again. I'm never tired.
On 6 February 2011, Egypt’s hastily appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman invited in the old guard or what we could call the Businessmen’s Wing of the Muslim Brothers into a stately meeting in the polished rosewood Cabinet Chamber of Mubarak’s Presidential Palace. The aim of their tea party was to discuss some kind of accord that would end the national uprising and restore “normalcy.” When news of the meeting broke, expressions of delight and terror tore through the blogosphere. Was the nightmare scenario of both the political left and right about to be realized? Would the US/Israel surrogate Suleiman merge his military-police apparatus with the power of the more conservative branch of the old Islamist social movement? Hearing the news, Iran’s Supreme Leader sent his congratulations. And America’s Glen Beck and John McCain ranted with glee about world wars and the inevitable rise of the Cosmic Caliphate.
Since the start of mass popular protests by Egyptians against their country’s autocratic government, headed by the aging president Hosni Mubarak and his new vice president, Omar Suleiman, a great deal of attention has been paid to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun). Attention on the opposition movement has been particularly heavy and skewed in the United States where pundits from both the left and the right breathlessly claim that the Brotherhood is poised to take over Egypt in a repeat of what happened in 1979-1980 in Iran and erroneously tie the Egyptian movement to Usama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda Central. Much of this analysis is based on fallacies and conjecture rather than fact.
One of the most revealing journalistic genres is the effort by establishment media outlets to explain to their American audiences why Those Other Countries -- usually in the Middle East -- are so bad and awful and plagued by severe political and societal corruption (see here and here for examples). This morning, The New York Times has a classic entry, as it unironically details how Egypt is a cesspool of oligarchical favoritism and self-dealing. The article focuses on Ahmed Ezz, a close friend of Hosni Mubarak's son who has exploited his political connections to corner much of the nation's steel market, triggering growing resentment by the public. Along the way, we learn several disturbing things about Egypt, including this...
Hosni Mubarak is still there? The world seems nearly plastered over with signs telling him in no uncertain terms to leave, and yet he refuses to listen. He is refusing to listen to the people still thronging Tahrir (Liberation) Square.
The historic developments on the streets of Egypt in the past two weeks appeared in recent days to reflect the modern Arab tradition of the enduring incumbency of men with guns.
In this edition of Peter Lavelle's CrossTalk, he and his guests discuss and question the ultimate effectiveness of exporting and also limiting democracy due to geopolitical interests.
Back in the U.S. after an amazing front row seat in Cairo at the Egyptian revolution, I have had to translate my point of view from the street to the news stream. But I can’t help being informed by what I saw in the streets of Cairo and in Tahrir Square. It’s a parallel world out here, with mainstream media coverage of Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman as the U.S.-approved man for the transition to democracy. Clearly an amazingly versatile politician, Suleiman -- Egypt’s chief torturer and leading advocate of autocracy -- has morphed into a bridgebuilder to the opposition. It must be time and distance that lets the press and the White House propose this with a straight face. It certainly isn’t flying in Tahrir Square where the pro-democracy forces are adamant they will stay until Mubarak leaves. One chant was, “We won’t go until you go.”
Although conservatives are split on whether to support Mubarak, many are echoing Kirkpatrick's old mantra about the two kinds of dictatorships: the ones we can tolerate and the ones we can't.
Since the flight of Tunisia’s Ben Ali on January 14th, there has apparently been a breakthrough in the imaginary of the possible in the Arab world. I was in Egypt at the time, and reeling as everyone seemed to be from the bombing of the Coptic church in Alexandria, attention soon became fixed on Tunisia, and a moment of national unity in reaction to the tragic event in Alexandria, soon developed into a movement of national unity that dared to conceive of and act toward an alternative to their own regime. Like many others, I have also been riveted to coverage of the demonstrations that Tunisia’s revolution inspired in Egypt, a revolution that remained on message rather than devolving into a mess. A revolution moreover whose message is one of a real national and democratic unity, and a determination to oppose a regime that not only does not represent Egyptians, but has served its own and external interests.
Hosni Mubarak's thirty-year rule in Egypt is nearing an end and though the denouement of events there is still unclear, the new polity is almost certainly to be shaped by the military institutions and popular sentiments. This is causing considerable dismay in Jerusalem and Washington. National security institutions tend to think in worst-case scenarios, but recent events in Egypt present opportunities for the long sought after solution to the Palestinian problem.
While the drama of revolution plays out across Egypt, the capitols of former and current western imperial powers are abuzz with activity. Much of this activity is focused on preventing the success of the Egyptian uprising by replacing the man Hosni Mubarak with another agent of those powers. The top name in the hat at this time appears to be Egypt's torture chief and recently appointed vice president Omar Suleiman. As most observers of the region know (and as has been reported in media around the world) Suleiman's history includes assisting in renditions, torture and operating the Egyptian internal security apparatus.
In an attempt to win people to its side, or at least distance them from the Nile Uprising that has made its symbolic home in Tahrir Square, the Egyptian government has promised a 15% increase in the salaries of all public sector employees. This, of course, is merely the latest gesture of change offered by the ruling regime and follows far more dramatic events, including the removal of high profile political types from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), not the least of which being Mubarak himself; discussion with certain members of the opposition; and condemnations of violent acts against the protesters themselves over the last two weeks. It is not terribly likely that these moves by the government will strike many of the Egyptian people as being even remotely sincere. Over the past thirty years of his reign, Mubarak has promised change and followed up on nothing. The pay raises, however, are a craftier policy move, one that is undoubtedly intended to show an immediate change in the regime’s course of action. All in all, this is the other side of despotic rule, the side that would feign abhorrence towards the fullness of its own brutality and offer paltry fixes to the much deeper problems that lurk just at the surface.
In discovering their power to determine their future, north Africa's protesters have already opened a new age in world history. In one of his last published essays, written in 1798, the philosopher Immanuel Kant reflected on the impact of the continuing revolution in France. Kant himself was no Jacobin, and opposed extra-legal change as a matter of principle. He conceded that the future course of the revolution's pursuit of liberty and equality "may be so filled with misery and atrocities that no right-thinking person would ever decide to make the same experiment again, at such a price". Regardless of its immediate political consequences, however, Kant could at least see that the universal "sympathy bordering on enthusiasm" solicited by the spectacle of the revolution was itself a telling indication of its eventual significance. Whatever might happen next, the event was already "too intimately interwoven with the interests of humanity and too widespread in its influence upon all parts of the world for nations not to be reminded of it when favourable circumstances present themselves, and to rise up and make renewed attempts of the same kind".
Tunisia and Egypt Ripples Felt Throughout Arab World
The rare protest rally on Saturday in Saudi's capital came a week after Saudi activists launched a Facebook page demanding more jobs and political accountability in the world's biggest oil exporter. Calls on social media sites also have gone out for protests next week in Bahrain and next month in Kuwait — the two Gulf nations with the most active and organized political opposition. Even the United Arab Emirates — with almost no public voice in decision-making — is urging for new faces on a 40-member government advisory panel in a bid to show a response to the upheavals that began in December in Tunisia and now grip Egypt."
A comrade in Bahrain sent me this: "Dear Asa'ad (please do not quote name). You are aware that there have been mass calls for protest on 14 February in Bahrain. We have turned a day that is supposed to celebrate the 'imposed' constitution into a 'day of wrath'. The government is on high alert and is extremely paranoid. Bahrain TV has non-stop propoganda and cheesy songs about 'King' Hamad (his imposed constitution changed Bahrain from a 'state' to a 'kingdom' and elevated our little man from 'emir' to 'king'). Well the Bahrainis have had enough of their trickery and lies. And we are expecting a speech on the 12th in which he announces some 'concessions' like the release of political prisoners. He also just announced more subsidies, paid out of more national debt (which means our kids will end up paying because they will be introducing taxes soon). I am sure this will not be enough to appease the street. In their pathetic attempts to stave off the protests. Our buffoon foreign minister has called the Qatari Ambassador - presumably to ask the Qataris to ask Aljazeera to not cover the Bahraini protests. Aljazeera was kicked out of Bahrain last year. Also BBC correspondants have been harassed in the past. This is a call for journalists to try their best to send undercover reporters to Bahrain on 14. In other news, the Head of the National Security Agency has been to Egypt to visit his counterpart, the head of security in Egypt - presumably to get a lesson or two on managing (or not managing) the protests. I really hope we won't see camels unleashed on us. I can vouch that there is no party behind this movement, it is completely grassroot, with both sunni and shia activists. There has been a marked step change in the rhetoric on the street and it is much more nationalistic. Aljazeera and all other media MUST send reporters to Bahrain immediately. There has been some coverage so far(see below)"
DUBAI – A Facebook page urging "revolt" in Bahrain replicating similar calls elsewhere in the Arab world had by Tuesday amassed more than 6,000 "likes" on the social networking site. "This is your chance to open the door for political and standard of living reforms, especially with the changes going on now in the Middle East. We will all chant 'The people want to reform the regime' on February 14," a post said. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have played a major role in a wave of protests around the Arab world -- fanned by poverty and unemployment -- that have grown into revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.
(New York) - Governments in the Arab world have violently dispersed demonstrations apparently inspired by or in solidarity with Egypt's democracy protesters and have detained some of the organizers, Human Rights Watch said today.
A Libyan writer and political commentator arrested last week and accused of a driving offence appears to have been targeted for calling for peaceful protests in the country, says Amnesty International. A Libyan writer and political commentator arrested last week and accused of a driving offence appears to have been targeted for calling for peaceful protests in the country, Amnesty International has said.
Farag, a comrade from Libya sent me this: "Protests are scheduled for Feb. 17 in Libya around the country.....get this...there is a rumor floating around that Gadhafi said he will join in the protest because he is "one of the people". The website below has some links and articles regarding the protests..... made the website for libyan dissidents living abroad. The website also has a "mixtape" of north african musicians (rappers - don't know if you're a fan) available for free download...my personal favorite song - Ta7ya Tunis by El General.... I would love if you can get your readers to scour the internet looking for information on the Feb. 17 protest....news/media/internet are heavily censored in libya (more than egypt was), and information is slow to get out....also if there's anyway to send the information about it into libya would be greatly appreciated....the more we can get these regimes to shake and crumble the better off the world will be..."
But despite anger over ineffective government, there’s little sign of them emulating the North African revolts.
AMMAN, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday downgraded the outlook on Jordan's Ba2 foreign currency government bond rating to "negative" from " stable" due to recent political tensions in the country. Moody's said the rating reflected higher fiscal and economic downside risks related to the ongoing turmoil in Jordan and its neighboring countries.
Ashley Bates continues her excellent reporting by interviewing Hamas spokesman Ahmed Youssef. The story is an interesting variant of the “Is it good for Israel?” that we have been subjected to such a barrage of. While obviously I don’t support Hamas’s views or their actions, I think that too often they are ignored and that leads to US policy based on ignorance. It is interesting to read them during revolution in Egypt, one where the American reaction has been so dominated by fears of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Hamas is in some ways a descendant. (Though unlike Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood does not have an armed wing.)
I am not a big fan of Tunisia's Prime Minister Mohammad Ghannouchi. Yet, I very much appreciated some of what Ghannouchi had to say last Friday, 4 February 2011, to journalist Piers Morgan on his new CNN show. Nouri Gana comments for The Electronic Intifada.
IF the popular revolts spread across the Middle East, they could strike a catastrophic blow to violent ideology of al Qaeda that have long preached that peaceful protest is useless in the face of autocracy.
Arabs across the region are ready for life after the autocrats. If the west remains reticent, they will look elsewhere for support. The protests in Cairo are now in their third week, and despite everything that has happened in the furious, violent yet ultimately hopeful 15 days in the Egyptian capital, the bond between President Mubarak's regime and his western allies, the US in particular, appears if anything to be strengthening.