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It’s a revolution of the people, not of the Ikhwan, not of Baradei, not of Soliman, not of Facebook and Twitter, no this is a people’s revolution’


‘It’s a revolution of the people, not of the Ikhwan, not of Baradei, not of Soliman, not of Facebook and Twitter, no this is a people’s revolution’

Jan 30, 2011

Parvez Sharma


Video of protesters in Tahrir Square, January 30, 2011 (Video: Justimage)

Its lonely and I am thinking (and dreaming) in 140 characters or less. The only people I have spoken to in the last few days are friends in Egypt, friends from Egypt in the US, my boyfriend and a few reporters. Un-showered for three days and with little food or sleep it has even become hard to write these pieces, because all I have really been doing is sending out up to 40 tweets a minute into the ether based primarily on the fragments of conversation which till yesterday were all on landlines when friends like Yousry returned home to Zamalek after spending entire days at Midan Tahrir, the ground zero of the Egyptian revolution.

This second conversation with Yousry brings home a few points that I have stated before but are important to repeat:

·       The vast majority of protesters on the streets are not “tweeting”. Approximately seventy percent of them are not regular users of the internet and at least half of them have never had an email account—in Cairo’s slums like Mashriyat Nasser which more than a million poor call home basics like electricity are stolen from over-ground power cables and even then the supply is infrequent. Phone calls are still made from kiosks in the streets, even though having a very basic mobile phone has become increasingly common. 
·       Friday is the holiest day of the Muslim week and the first day of the Egyptian weekend. On Friday Hosni Mubarak had successfully wiped off the few Egyptians who do have internet access and social networking savvy off the map of the worldwide web. But the revolution in any case was no longer about any of that. People instinctively knew that if you were in Cairo, you needed to leave home. Taxis were not available anymore (a basic taxi ride in Cairo costs 5 Egyptian Pounds—which to many of the protesters by the way is a lot of money) so if you were near downtown you could walk to Tahrir square.
·       If you were in the further outposts like Madinat as Sādis min Uktūbar (6th of October City) it became harder to get to Midan Tahrir. If you were in Mohandessin (literally means Engineers) which also now goes by Dokki or its enclaves of Mo’alemeen (Teachers)Ateba’a (Doctors) or Sehafeyeen (journalists) you can walk. It’s a longer walk than walking from the island of Zamalek or other areas where Cairo’s rich live like Garden City or Maadi. Heliopolis where Mr. Mubarak is probably camped out in the Presidential Palace is pretty far from ground zero Tahrir. To walk to Tahrir from the outer areas of this sprawling mess of a city like Helwan, Boulaq, Muqatam, Nasr City or 6th of October city.
·       To walk from Manshiyat Naser takes a great deal of courage. Manshiyat means garbage in Arabic and Manshiyat Naser, the biggest slum in Egypt is literally Garbage City. Cairo’s garbage is sorted in Manshiyat by the industrious zabaleen or garbage collectors.
·       I now know that Zabaleen from Manshiyat have joined AUC students and journalists/bloggers from Sehafeyeen and Dokki andZamalek hipsters every day at Tahrir and even the “beards” (as my friends call members of the Ikhwan or Muslim Brotherhood) and in other parts of Cairo. This has never happened before in Egypt. This uprising and this revolt is an unprecedented popular uprising never seen before in Arab lands.

Most importantly—these different classes of people don’t usually talk to each other. To me it’s simple, really. In Egypt this is almost entirely a very popular uprising and revolution.
Here is a remarkable conversation with Yousry after he returned home at 11:30 p.m. Egypt time on Sunday night –

Me: Have been worried-managed to speak to a few others on their mobiles while they were at Tahrir, but they got cut off.
Y: Yes, some mobiles had signal today at Tahrir. I just got home. Today I took the Qasr al Nil bridge instead of 6th October. You know—now all the burnt police vehicles have become garbage cans! And someone had uprooted a stop sign and placed it in the middle of a burnt police car and it said basically-We the people are not the ones who are destroying, please keep the revolution clean, please keep it peaceful…I took a picture but cant email—still have no internet.

Me: I have some numbers being passed around for dial up—gave them to your wife earlier

Y: Cool man. Now everyone knows that when you get up in the morning you need to walk towards Tahrir-its instinctive-no one needs to text you or tweet you to tell this, and in any case most of the people anywhere in this amazing country don’t have tweet or Facebook or all that shit. So I got there by 11 and there were army checkpoints…and the men were in one line and families were in another-very organized-the men were being frisked and I asked this soldier why and he said that they did not want police or security forces in plainclothes who might be armed to disturb the “peaceful” people

Me: Fucking unbelievable!

Y: Yup. You know thugs who are probably cops anyway have been looting abandoned or partially burnt police stations and stealing weapons, man. How else would 20 year old boys get Kalashnikovs?

Me: Mubarak wants you all to know that this is what will happen if you get rid of me…

Y: Absolutely…yaani..and then we heard that Baradei was coming…and people got really excited—Parvez this is very important to understand—people are tired and impatient—so many have not slept and have been living there—there is not much food shops open or water around…so they were excited…everybody sat down…and waited…5 minutes…maybe more…no Baradei…and then we started walking away…

Me: Yes, that’s because he was on Al-Jazeera talking to TV cameras

Y: Fucking bullshit man. He lost a huge opportunity—to show leadership. Why talk to TV and not to us? I don’t think he gets it! He has been gone too long to know how really impatient and angry we are…I mean I would probably choose him over Ikhwan but he needs to really talk to people—and this is really important Parvez—he needs to show the people that he, Baradei is as determined as they are. He has been so fucking bland—I had walked away but then someone said that he did speak…I have no idea what he said.

Me: I know. I have been tweeting non-stop about it—and how people may not be imagining him as their saviour right now you know! This guy I spoke to briefly said that he was feeling unwell so I tweeted that and said maybe he should have joined the protestors for Isha or Fajr prayers and they are guaranteed to cure nausea if you pray with true niyat you know…with good intention and focus…

Y: That’s fucking funny! Anyway I think now more than any other day people know what they want. I spent the whole day talking to people—even Zalabayeen from Mashriyat who I have never spoken to! Its like –you know we want this guy to go—we are so glad that the Ikhwan has not been able to piggy-back on this and who the fuck is Baradei anyway—you know they are all saying…lets have a transitional government for 6 months or 1 year and only the army has charge of security in that time—and fire parliament and hold fresh elections and a leader will emerge FROM the elections…the people will decide…

Me: Wow…that’s so true…I just wish Al Jazeera was not focusing so much on pundits and on analyzing every word Baradei or someone says—their cameras even are all on very wide shots of Tahrir, which to me almost looks like the Kaaba sometimes with people circling around…I wish their reporters would climb down some more and walk amongst the people with their cameras…

Y: So true man! So true! Anyway I have barely seen TV. You know you can either sit and watch TV or keep on fucking tweeting or you can go out there and chant slogans! And this is very important the slogans have been changing man! First it was Fall of government-then it was Fall of President…today it was Trial of President…they want him to be punished and not to run away…sorry its hard to translate these slogans in English for me…and then also they were saying Illegitimate Soliman! Illegitimate Shafik! And then they were chanting The People want a civilian government and not a military government! You know I went to a foreign school and so did so many of my friends who are also there…but you know everyone is chanting the same things…Egypt has never been like this before…I am so proud of my country…so proud man
Me: What about all the Salah and all the beards being there? Is this about Islam?

Y: La la la not at all! Its amazing—usually the beards are so righteous and expect you to pray with them and be a good Muslim and all that bullshit…but those who want to pray at salah time, pray…others don’t…yes, when someone chants a slogan then people ask you to repeat it…but everyone respects each other—Muslim, Christian, religious, Niqabi, non –Hijabi…everyone man…There was the big charter of demands in Midan tahrir also today…and also you know that slogan from yesterday…Muslims! Christians! We are all Egyptians! Fucking amazing man…that too all day today…
Me: This really is a peaceful uprising

Y: Yes totally…all the violence is caused by them and their people…this is a peaceful revolution…it’s a revolution of the people…not of the Ikhwan, not of Baradei, not of Soliman, not of Facebook and Twitter…no this is a people’s revolution…that’s it really yaani that’s it…
Me: OK you need to sleep now…but before I go—let me give you all these numbers and things which may help you guys to get online…it will have to be dial up…and there is some tweetspeak thing as well…
Y: No man…no tweet bs for me…I don’t even know how to do it…but getting on internet and putting up my photographs would be fucking amazing…let me get a pen…shit man! Haven’t even written with a pen in so long! So used to typing…thank you Mubarak for teaching me how to write with a pen and for giving me a day off, maybe this whole week off in such a long time!…


Neocons to lecture Obama on Monday

Jan 30, 2011

Ibn Tufayl


And you’re worried about Islamists? Robert Kagan and Elliott Abrams have been invited to the White House, per Laura Rozen, to talk about Egypt. Looks like other participants are likely to be Dennis Ross and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East democracy issues Tamara Wittes. She’s sort of a mellow Zionist. If you perform a Lexis-Nexis search Wittes always provides the: both sides must move forward blah blah. So the water is muddied and when no progress is made then one can lie convincingly and say the participants didn’t move forward but not for lack of trying on the part of the US.



Now what happened in Iran in 1979?

Jan 30, 2011



Everyone’s talking about the Iranian revolution, how an American-backed dictator was brought down, and what that brought in train. A friend with Iranian roots gave us the back of the envelope on the American part in the Iranian revolution, didn’t want to be named.

1953 Mossadegh tries to nationalize oil and bring about democracy, US coup brings the Shah back – a weak man – now heavily backed/reliant on the US – making Iran the 5th largest army in the world and very repressive – stamped out lefties/ exiled/tortured/ jailed outspoken clerics etc.

By 1978 a lot of issues festering – economically, politcally and socially. The last is often not discussed but one of the things that really riled mullahs and got them to mobilize public support was the imposition of family law that gave women rights to divorce, child custody etc – against traditional Sharia. The mullahs accused the shah of moral corruption, westoxification, undermining family/women and claiming Islam would bring freedom to all people, including women etc.

Carter election in 76 brought new attention to human rights. So Shah is getting mixed messaging – to be more open politically/less repressive but not exactly reform

Carter spent New Years 1978 in Tehran saying he would back the Shah, that the Shah was his top ally etc.

Fast forward into 1978, August rumblings. Cinema Rex in Abadan burnt down. State security was accused but reality turned out it was agitators. Things got tense. By Sept 78 curfews and nightly Allah o akbars. Then an incident in Tehran: the army opened fire on protesters, everything escalated. Shah (presumably with Carter’s backing /advice /pressure etc) – started offering reforms, shuffling cabinet, even jailing long standing politicians including Prime Minister Hoveyda (13 year PM). But it was all too little too late: by Jan ’79 it was clear that things were moving towards real regime change…

Brzezinski had sent message that US would support crackdown and senior Iranian army officers asked Shah to let them crack down. There was much internal division within army – but Shah, who had cancer and was dying tho’ not letting go of power, refused to let blood be spilled. Also key army figures had link to revolutionaries and they were also unwilling. 

Lacking willingness/guts/’permission’ from US–many think the Shah was so weak willed that he really did ask what he should do–the Shah leaves…Looking for place to land Panama etc. Inside the Carter Admin a major fight between Brzezinski and Cyrus Vance about Iran strategy and what to do with the Shah, because on departure from Iran he asked permission to come to US for cancer treatment. Carter finally allows him in – enrages Iranians — who demand his return for trial (and clearly execution) in Iran…

Carter unsure – – (there is apparently a moment where they really do think about handing Shah over but it doesnt happen)… – all this leads up to hostage crisis etc and the rest is history.

In Iranian eyes Carter is seen as inept b/c he was neither willing to be tough enough about cost of keeping Iran as ally and supporting repressive measures (that were for US security too; in those days much was directed at Communist threat) and were btw very mild compared to what we see in Egypt today or in Iran in 2009. But also because he didn’t stand up strongly enough at right time to support the revolutionaries (long before it became overly Islamist, before we even understood what Islamist meant).

An aside: In US eyes Carter’s demise was to do with hostage crisis but investigative journalism/documentaries I’ve seen reveal that there were many moments where Carter admin was close to release of hostages but Republicans were backchanneling and made deal to have them released after 1980 elections.

Obama seems to be siding with the people in Egypt -as I see it frankly that’s the only solution. If Mobarak wins somehow, he will still need the US, so Obama can adjust position, but if people win and Obama is not early supporter, the US has a lot to lose. But if US an early supporter, chances that transition and new political regime will be willing to work with US is higher. NYT reporting that Robert Gates was young man in govt service (not sure where) during Carter admin days.

Obama people are definitely looking at Carter/Iran but question is are they picking up the right lessons.


Twitter revolution? Check out Parvez Sharma on CNBC

Jan 30, 2011

Philip Weiss


Parvez Sharma on CNBC talking about how the tweets and updates coming out of Egypt while critical and powerful are coming from a small percentage of 80 million Egyptians–the majority of whom don’t have internet access right now–and most of them never did. Parvez was driven to the CNBC studios (the first time he has stepped out of his apartment since Wednesday) by an Egyptian Copt driver who has been living in the US since 1983 and who says he does not “hate Mubarak, who really wanted to retire anyway.” Parvez will post vignettes of that conversation after he gets some sleep tonight.



Jan 30, 2011

Philip Weiss


A friend of mine read the Sunday papers in Israel. The summary: 

Yedioth Ahronoth, page 6: We’re on Our Own,  by Itamar Eichner

The revolution in Egypt hones Israel’s strategic distress in the Middle East: it is alone, without an ally. It began two years ago, in the wake of the collapse of the strategic alliance with Turkey following the Mavi Marmara affair. Netanyahu embraced Mubarak after taking office and managed to form an alliance with him that was based on their shared fear of an Iranian penetration of the region. Netanyahu visited Egypt a number of times……

Yedioth Ahronoth (p. 5) by Eli Shaked (a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt).

Things do not look good for Israel and the moderate Arab states. The developments from here on are not going to be good for our peace with Egypt and stability in the region. ….The only people in Egypt who are committed to peace are the people in Mubarak’s inner circle, and if the next president is not one of them, we are going to be in trouble. Even if the next president is Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt won’t be the same Egypt, and our peace won’t be the same peace.

Nahum Barnea – Yediot: 

Israel owes Mubarak and his men a lot, for what they have done both publicly and secretly.

Alex Fishman in Yediot, echoing Aluf Benn, criticizes the US:

The greatest disappointment in Israel, and in the Middle East as a whole, is in US President Barack Obama’s reaction to the revolution under way in a country that is such a close ally of the United States. The reaction was embarrassing, out of touch with reality. The Americans were decent the way President Jimmy Carter was decent with the Persian shah. Obama and Clinton called on Mubarak to introduce reforms, but in capitals across the Middle East, and in Cairo in particular, that sounded like a call on the public to continue to rampage. The Americans, after all, are with us. The relevant Arab regimes—Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Persian Gulf countries—perceived the American message as follows: when you find yourselves facing a crisis, don’t count on Washington.

Sever Plocker in Yediot:

Our fear is not of democracy as a desirable system of government in the Arab world. We welcome this. This is good for us all. Our fear is of democracy as a mere interim phase en route to a new dictatorship predicated on extremist Islam.

Ben Caspit, Maariv:

Al-Jazeera has become the greatest enemy of the old world, the world of stability and moderate Middle Eastern regimes. It’s not that the Arab rulers are enlightened. They certainly are not. The question, as always, is what is the alternative.


This revolution ‘undoubtedly means the end of Israel as a Jewish state’

Jan 30, 2011

Jack Ross


At Postright, Jack Ross has a twilight of the gods post: the events of Cairo signal that the neocons are over, Israel is doomed as a Jewish state, and the Israel lobby is imploding. 

the unabashed chutzpah award has to go to Leon Wieseltier:

The bizarre irony of Obama’s global multiculturalism is that it has had the effect of aligning America with regimes and against peoples. This was the case with our response to the Iranian rebellion in 2009, and it was the case with our response to the Egyptian opposition until a few hours ago. The striking thing about Barack Obama’s “extended hand” is how utterly irrelevant it is to the epochal events in Egypt, and Tunisia, and Iran, and elsewhere.

Apparently, the United States had never once been engaged in propping up an unpopular autocrat against the wishes of his subjects before January 20, 2009.  The very man who famously boasted of his magazine with respect to pro-Israel orthodoxy in American liberal opinion that “we’re the cops”, blames Obama for the consequences of the disastrous American policies of generations which he takes such pride in his large role in enforcing uncritical allegiance to.

But what else to expect from Wieseltier, who is now an island unto himself with even Marty Peretz out of the picture as the revolution unfolds which undoubtedly will mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. 

And exactly who are the “American liberals” Wieseltier is righteously lashing out at for being apologists of Mubarak?  The only one who comes to mind is Chris Matthews, who clearly has stopped caring whether or not anyone takes him seriously, being the only one on cable news to have a guest giving the strait-up AIPAC line, a sad task falling to B-lister Marc Ginsburg.

This development is highly significant in itself.  Amazingly, Marty Peretz ran off to find redemption exactly in the nick of time, leaving Leon completely high and dry among those who actually care about Israel in facing the Egyptian uprising.  For one can only conclude that the Israel Lobby is imploding when even the neocons can’t be counted on to try and save the Camp David regime, instead putting to undying shame Condoleezza Rice’s infamous pronouncement of the birth pangs of a new Middle East.

To be sure, one can yet find the expected ominous foreboding against the Muslim Brotherhood – Thomas Joscelyn of the Friends of Democracy Foundation for the Defense of Democracies leads the pack, with Jeffrey Goldberg also reliably in tow.   But while it was one thing for the neocons to rush headlong into their “abandonment of democracy” line during the Iran uprising, when it was so clearly cynical, it is beyond shocking to see the degree to which they have started breaking out into The Internationale with no regard at all for the implications for Israel.

My father, who knew several of the neocon standard bearers at Harvard, always insisted to me that, with such obvious exceptions as Marty Peretz and Ruth Wisse, the neocons were ultimately not so deeply committed to Israel but rather simply saw it as a means to an end.  I understood his argument academically, but never quite bought into it until the last couple of years.  The first time I realized he was right was when I attended the J Street Conference in October 2009, where I had the most emotionally draining experience of actually encountering people who were deeply committed to the point of emotional investment in saving Israel as a Jewish state, only to behold the untrammeled fury set against them by the neocons.


Homage to Cairo: ‘Ordinary people are standing shoulder to shoulder.’

Jan 30, 2011



Photo of Ghazl textile factory workers in Mahalla in 2008. (Photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy)

The word ‘surreal’ has crossed many mouths since 25 January. Egypt—a country where the minimum wage is $7 a month—harshly criminalizes the incitement and organization of protest, and yet it is the cradle of the largest, boldest and most evocative demonstrations that anyone alive can remember. Socioeconomic diagnoses of the Middle East are completely sidestepped in most Western coverage of the region (though, to be fair, little in the way of class consciousness dares get stirred in domestic coverage too). There has been due attention on the unprecedented galvanization of Egypt’s modestly comfortable middle class, though it can’t be forgotten who or what brought them to the point of leaving their houses for the streets en masse, putting their bodies in the line of tear gas and live ammunition pelted (sometimes lethally) by Mubarak’s forces.

Spanish worker’s party poster: ‘Obreros ¡A la victoria!’ (Workers: To Victory!’), 1936.

The feelings generated by the ongoing revolt in Egypt—the revolt of the poor who’ve endured stagnant wages for decades, the revolt of the young who dare not hope for better economic prospects than their parents, the revolt of any Egyptian who seeks free and fair organization and expression, and on and on—is something I’ve only heard described in books. Specifically one book, Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, and the afterlife of the Spanish Civil War. Orwell described witnessing the ending of fascism as ‘that strange and moving experience.’ When he enlisted to aid people’s militias he hadn’t known that the war would end with radical self-governance, collectivized commerce and the disappearance of class divisions. The people had eviscerated, at least temporarily, not only the heavy foot of a torturous dictator but the conventional trappings of elitism. A passage from Chapter One is worth quoting at length:

I had come to Spain with some notion of writing newspaper articles, but I had joined the militia almost immediately, because at that time and in that atmosphere it seemed the only conceivable thing to do. The Anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing. To anyone who had been there since the beginning it probably seemed even in December or January that the revolutionary period was
ending; but when one came straight from England the aspect of Barcelona was something startling and overwhelming. It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. […] Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized; even the bootblacks had been collectivized and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. Nobody said ‘Senior’ or ‘Don’ or
even ‘Usted’; everyone called everyone else ‘Comrade’ and ‘Thou’, and said ‘Salud!’ instead of ‘Buenos dias’. Tipping was forbidden by law; almost my first experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy. There were no private motor-cars, they had all been commandeered, and all the trams and taxis and much of the other transport were painted red and black. The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs of mud.

It is extremely premature to think these wild, fantastical thoughts of a free society, and the experiment of Spain was so short-lived that Orwell ended up writing Animal Farm to allegorize the totalitarian period that followed. But compare Orwell’s accounts to today’s live report from Cairo by Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous:

There is a great sense of pride that this is a leaderless movement organized by the people. A genuine popular revolt. It was not organized by opposition movements, though they have now joined the protesters in Tahrir. The Muslim Brotherhood was out in full force today. At one point they began chanting ‘Allah Akbar’ only to be drowned out by much louder chants of ‘Muslim, Christian, we are all Egyptian.’

Meanwhile, across Cairo there is not a policeman in sight and there are reports of looting and violence. People worry that Mubarak is intentionally trying to create chaos to somehow convince people that he is needed. The strategy is failing. Residents have taken matters into their own hands, helping to direct traffic and forming armed neighborhood watches, complete with checkpoints and shift changes, in districts across the city.

I want to hope for something better than my own speculative imagination running amok. For Egypt’s precariously organized workers (and their supporters), a scenario of collective cooperation is not a pipe dream. It comes up in the last major published interview with Egyptian journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy (before the 27 January internet shutdown) in which he describes the origins of the worker movement’s struggle:

The Egyptian labour movement was quite under attack in the 1980s and 1990s by police, who used live ammunition against peaceful strikers in 1989 during strikes in the steel mills and in 1994 in the textile mill strikes. But steadily since December 2006 our country has been witnessing the biggest and most sustained waves of strike actions since 1946, triggered by textile strikes in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla, home of largest labour force in the Middle East with over 28,000 workers. It started because of labour issues but spread to every sector in society except the police and military.

[O]ne major distinction between us and Tunisia is that although it was a dictatorship, Tunisia had a semi-independent trade union federation. Even if the leadership was collaborating with the regime, the rank and file were militant trade unionists. So when time came for general strikes, the unions could pull it together. But here in Egypt we have a vacuum that we hope to fill soon. Independent trade unionists have already been subjected to witch hunts since they tried to be established; there are already lawsuits filed against them by state and state-backed unions, but they are getting stronger despite the continued attempts to silence them.

Unions have always been proven to be the silver bullet for any dictatorship. Look at Poland, South Korea, Latin America and Tunisia. Unions were always instrumental in mass mobilisation. You want a general strike to overthrow a dictatorship, and there is nothing better than an independent union to do so.

For Egyptians and their supporters outside of the country, the energy of the silver bullet has been contagious. This is a circulated video of Waseem Wagdi, an Egyptian at the Egyptian embassy in London. His emotional appeal is rife with class awareness:

We are here to show solidarity with the heroes on the streets in Egypt, we are here to show solidarity with the political prisoners in Egypt, we are here to show solidarity with the the workers who declared an open strike and a sit-in until bringing down the regime of Mubarak.

I had hoped, against all hope, [this] would happen in my lifetime. And I had hoped, and I think with millions of people, that our children will live in a more human society. But this society we have, lucky enough, that the heroes in Egypt are making today, they are not waiting for our children to dream, they are bringing all of our dreams true today. In Suez, the factories, in Meydaan al-Tahrir. The biggest square in the Arab world is being liberated today from this regime.

I’m proud of all Egyptians who are cleansing themselves of all remnants of fear, who collectively and singly have raised their head up high, and no one will bring it down again. No one.

When asked if he had a message to the people of Egypt, Wagdi looks directly into the camera for the first time, and recites the celebrated revolutionary poem ‘Unadikum’ (‘I Call Upon You’) by Palestinian Tawfiq Zayyad by heart.

… My tragedy that I live
Is my share of your tragedies
I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I did not humiliate myself in my homeland
and I did not lower my shoulders
I stood facing my oppressors
orphaned, naked, and bare foot
I call on you….


Update: Since posting this last night, many reports have been coming in from Cairo that substantiate the widespread collective organization of the Egyptian people self-securing on two fronts. They continue to defy curfew and attack by Mubarak’s forces (including an aerial provocation hours ago that saw at least two fighter jets flying very low to the people in Tahrir Square) by demonstrating in head-spinning numbers. In the sudden (and very creepy) disappearance of the police they have organized neighborhood patrols to defend their municipalities, families and private property. Here are some a collection of notable tweets from Egypt (of considerable value since the internet suspension), in ascending order of timestamp:

There’s no appropriate way to make abstract predictions without watching closely, but in the words of al-Jazeera English’s Ayman Mohyeldin (live on the air at 11:08 EST): ’ordinary people are standing shoulder to shoulder.’

Monalisa blogs at South/South.



Noticing my distress, the other detainee whispered: ‘I’m sorry. This is not Egypt. This is Mubarak’

Jan 30, 2011

Ahmed Moor


Ahmed Moor wrote this article on Thursday in Cairo. It appears here for the first time.

I didn’t know where to go for today’s round of anti-regime protests. There wasn’t any question of whether they’d happen; Tuesday invigorated people. I spent some time in the morning trying to identify where demonstrators were likely going to congregate, but reports were confused so I set out for Tahrir square. That’s where the previous day’s largest protest had been.

The area was teeming with people when I got there, but they weren’t demonstrators. Tuesday had been a national holiday – Police day – and on Wednesday everyone was back at work. Looking around I wasn’t sure how the pedestrian crush and roundabout traffic congestion was going to impact things. The cars, busses, motorcycles and trucks would make it impossible for the riot police to create their human cordon in the streets. And the numbers of passersby made it difficult to identify who was there to protest and who was just there for regular life. I figured that the demonstrators would have the upper hand at the outset.

A crowd started to form near one of the subway stops on the square and I made my way over. The station had been shut down to make it difficult for people to travel to the area – it was about 2 pm now, about the same time the protest began on Tuesday. Commuters were confused about what to do and began to vent their frustration. That was how the protest began. Ironically, the first chant was, “Let us go home!”

The riot police quickly surrounded us – I was pretty close to the people chanting by then – and began to tighten the cordon. I was filming everything, and I wasn’t too concerned about being inside the circle of riot guards. They just didn’t seem that threatening after the events of the previous day.

Things began to get nasty very quickly. The riot police had been passive for the first few minutes, only holding the cordon and tightening it. But then their commanders appeared with mad eyes and preset viciousness. They snarled orders: “Hit him! Harder!” and, “Give them shit to eat!”

And they did.

I kept filming when a group of plainclothes mukhabarat men burst through the cordon and began to pummel women with their meaty fists. I recorded one woman’s screams and filmed as her face and veil were bloodied. And I filmed another woman’s panicked tears – she was so scared.

It was while I was filming that the first strike fell across my back; a policeman had hit me from behind once, then a second time. The pain was ferocious. One of the mukhabarat men joined him by tackling me and wrapping his arm around my neck.

“You like taking pictures, faggot?” he barked in Arabic.

Another mukhabarat thug began to pull me out of the circle when I started to protest in English. This was something I’d been doing – pretending to not speak or understand Arabic. I knew from earlier experiences in Egypt that claiming to be a journalist didn’t help very much. A journalist friend had been arrested despite having his credentials, and I had none so my best defense was to play dumb. And I didn’t want to get deported.

“Look, I’m an American. I’m just a tourist,” I said, feeling like a coward.

They continued to drag me and I struggled against them and wherever it was they were taking me to. Nothing I said worked so I finally told the two of them that I’d walk myself. They assented – I was yelling loudly in English at this point – which gave me an opportunity to remove the SD card from my camera and slip it into my pocket. More than anything, I regret that I didn’t have a chance to put it anywhere else.  

We approached an abandoned garage away from the square when one of them began to reach for my camera. It was in my right hand and I pulled away. I started to say, “You can’t take that” when someone hit me hard in the face with a closed fist. And then the others joined in. It turned out that there were four other mukhabarat men in the dark, fetid space along with other demonstrators who’d been worked over already.

Still, I didn’t give the camera up. They knocked me to the floor and held my legs and left arm down. One of the animals began to kick me in the ribs and stomped on my collar bone. He stood on my chest so I couldn’t breathe and I let go when I began to lose consciousness.  

I was yelling the whole time but I don’t remember what I was saying. I don’t remember a lot of what they said either, but they had a few favorite lines they repeated for the next few hours:

“We’re going to fuck your mother.”
“We know you’re an Arab, you son of a whore.”

After they got the camera they picked me up and frisked me. They missed the SD card but took my passport and tripped me into a group of men sitting on the piss-covered floor. My guess is that the mukhabarat men prepared it that way before they began to arrest us.  

The other men were all hugging their knees and facing the back wall and I was told to the do the same. I was committed to my not understanding Arabic story, so I remained unresponsive. That earned me another blow to the face and some slaps on the back of the neck and head. But I didn’t move too much and managed to continue to watch the spectacle of modern day Egypt from the vantage point of a piss-covered floor. That seemed appropriate to me.

They brought in a skinny kid a little while after that. He gave them his name and told them he was born in 1993. One of the beefy psychopaths accused the boy of trying to throw a punch and began to choke him. He choked him until he lost consciousness. The legitimate representative of the Egyptian government then let the boy fall to the floor where he began to vomit on his side. None of the animals moved to help. Instead, they picked him up after he came to and cast him into our pile.

Noticing my distress, a demonstrator turned to me and whispered in English, “I’m very sorry. This is not Egypt. This is the president Hosni Mubarak.”

I felt like weeping. Here I was taking refuge behind the Leader of the Free World, and this man who had nothing and no one to protect him, who was very likely going to be badly hurt, thought it was important to comfort me. I didn’t know how to respond.

Sometime later someone tried to interrogate me but his English wasn’t up to the task. I was frisked again which is when they found my SD card. My heart sank; I felt that it was all for nothing.

After about two hours on the floor, a high-ranking rooster came in and told the 25 other men that they were being taken to the police station. Meanwhile, I was pulled out and handed my passport. Someone who spoke English explained that it was a misunderstanding and that I shouldn’t take it too badly. Apparently, they believed the stupid tourist story. Or maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. I just felt lucky to get out with only a bloody nose and bruised ribs.

They gave me my camera and returned my cell phone without a battery or SIM card. Of course, the camera had been wiped clean. I stuck around for forty minutes or so trying to get the SD card, battery and SIM card back but I was told that they’d been lost. I’d spent the day lying, so their lies seemed proportionate.

According to the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior, 860 people were arrested in the past two days. More likely than not, they were subjected to brutality reserved only for Egypt’s native-born sons. They have no rights, no guarantees of safety, no protections from abuse and petty vindictiveness, no freedom of speech and no freedom of congregation. They have no protections against illegal seizure of things or people. They have no protection against being disappeared in the night.

They have no human rights. And that’s what this is about.


Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood vs. Al-Qaeda

Jan 30, 2011

James North


All of a sudden, middle-aged American men in suits who couldn’t find their way, unaided, from Cairo’s Ramses Station down Talaat Harb to Midan Tahrir, are posing as experts, appearing on U.S. television to insinuate that the Muslim Brotherhood is violent and extremist.

Fortunately, the Brothers have an English-language website.  Scroll down it to the lower left and you will see the feature: “MB vs. Qaeda.”  This segment is one more sign of the organization’s decades-long commitment to nonviolence, even though over the years the Mubarak regime has arrested and tortured thousands of its members.

One current post notes happily, “Al-Qaeda losing supporters in jihadi groups across the Arab world.”  There’s also an open lettter that starts off, “Dear ‘Muslim’ Terrorist.”  “Sister Jannah” pointedly asks jihadists who planned attacks on civilians, “But did you even bother to ask a single real scholar of Islam? Like the hundreds and thousands of mainstream Islamic scholars out there. — Guess what they say — That killing innocent people is Haram.”

Ignorance about the Brotherhood’s true views and recent history is one more failing by the Western mainstream media.  If thousands of members of secular, liberal organizations in Egypt had been regularly arrested in recent years, the names of their leaders would be household words.


The latest from the Egyptian revolution

Jan 30, 2011



“A historic moment in the history of my people. I urge you to say uprising or revolt and not chaos… [this is the liberation] of the Arab imagination… The future is winning…” — Mona Eltahawy’s stunning appearance on CNN and other Headlines and stories from The Egyptian revolution:


Here is a livestream twitter feed to get the latest news:


But how will the crowd react to him? Egypt’s ElBaradei to head to Cairo protest hub
CAIRO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Egyptian activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei plans join protesters later on Sunday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the hub of the protest calling for President Hosni Mubarak to quit, an opposition figure said.

Egypt Death Toll Passes 100 As Protests Continue
CAIRO — Gangs of armed men attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn Sunday, helping to free hundreds of Muslim militants and thousands of other inmates as police vanished from the streets of Cairo and other cities.  The U.S. Embassy in Cairo told its citizens in Egypt to consider leaving the country as soon as possible, and said it had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees, a display of Washington’s escalating concern about the stability of its closest Arab ally. Al Jazeera was ordered to shut down in Cairo.

Egypt shuts down Al Jazeera bureau
Network’s licences cancelled and accreditation of staff in Cairo withdrawn by order of information minister.

Americans advised to evacuate Egypt, Al Jazeera shut down
Hillary Clinton urged Egypt to respond to her people and the information minister revokes Al Jazeera’s credentials

Egypt military ‘show of strength’
The Egyptian military stages an apparent show of strength in Cairo during a sixth day of protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

Police shoot dead 17 attacking Egypt police stations
CAIRO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Egyptian police shot dead 17 people trying to attack two police stations on Saturday in Beni Suef governorate, south of Cairo, witnesses and medical sources said.

Hundreds mourn Egypt’s dead
Hundreds of mourners and protesters gathered in Cairo on Saturday for the funeral of those killed in recent violence in the Egyptian capital. The bereaved families were joined by throngs of demonstrators calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan reports from Cairo. Viewer discretion advised: This package contains images that may disturb or offend some. 

Protesters hold funeral procession in Cairo
Funeral procession was held for victim through Tahrir Square during protest.

Protesters set Egypt’s tax authority alight
Jan 29 (Reuters) – Protesters set fire to the Egyptian Tax Authority headquarters, an office tower near the Interior Ministry and other government buildings in Central Cairo, a Reuters witness said on Saturday., Flames could be seen from several blocks away and smoke was billowing out of the building. 

Pressure builds on Mubarak
Protests continue as world leaders keep up pressure, urging for sweeping reforms in Egypt. The United States and other leading European nations have urged Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, to refrain from violence against unarmed protesters and work to create conditions for free and fair elections.  Washington told Mubarak on Saturday that it was not enough simply to “reshuffle the deck” with a shake-up of his government and pressed him to make good on his promise of genuine reform.

Egypt army pleads for calm
Egyptians are witnessing the winds of change, as tens of thousands continue to rally against poverty and corruption on Cairo’s streets in defiance of a nationwide curfew imposed on the capital. Earlier, in a desperate attempt to restore a sense of normality, an army commander addressed a crowd of protesters. 

In Egypt, protesters and soldiers declare: The army and the people are one
Military men, hoisted up by the crowd, remove their helmets; demonstrators chant they they will not cease their protest until Mubarak resigns.

Egyptian demonstrators, soldiers show solidarity as Mubarak appoints VP
Jubilant pro-democracy demonstrators and gun-toting soldiers rode together atop tanks into Cairo’s main square Saturday in an extraordinary show of solidarity, even as President Hosni Mubarak took steps to engineer a possible transfer of power to one of his closest confidants. 

Egypt police target reporters
Group says Egyptian security forces mark new target to attack: Members of foreign press.,7340,L-4020838,00.html

Mubarak clings to power as violence engulfs Egypt’s capital
More than 100 people killed in five days of protests; vigilantes protect buildings from mobs of looters; army on streets but holds back.

On the ground with Egypt protesters
BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet gets caught up in protests on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the focal point of the demonstrations in the city.

Cairo protesters: ‘We’re staying here until Mubarak leaves.’
In Cairo’s Tahrir Square Saturday, protesters said President Mubarak’s appointment of a vice president and prime minister wasn’t enough, and expressed confidence that momentum was on their side. .

Egyptian protesters again defy curfew; many police stand down
The second day of a government-imposed curfew doesn’t deter thousands of demonstrators, who are essentially given free rein through the center of Cairo. For the most part, police are absent and protests in the downtown area are peaceful for much of Saturday.  Egyptian protesters defied a government-imposed curfew for a second night and lawlessness spread across Cairo as police backed off from confrontations in most areas of the capital, allowing thousands of demonstrators free rein through the city center.,0,3322228.story 

Egyptian troops let protests proceed as Mubarak names vice president
CAIRO – Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators swarmed central Cairo on Saturday in the largest demonstration yet against the rule of the country’s longtime autocratic leader, President Hosni Mubarak. The crowd went unchallenged by troops, who, in extraordinary scenes unfolding around … 

Mubarak names his deputy and new PM
Protests continue as Egyptian president appoints former spy chief as his vice-president for the first time.

`Umar Sulayman family album

ElBaradei: The people have revolted
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Egypt on a fifth day of protests, as the pro-democracy activist Mohamed ElBaradei warned that “the Egyptian people have revolted”. 

INTERVIEW-Brotherhood lawyer: Mubarak must quit or reform
CAIRO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Protests that have rocked Egypt will not abate until President Hosni Mubarak steps down or announces immediate reforms, a lawyer representing the Islamist opposition group Muslim Brotherhood told Reuters on Saturday. Protests broke out across Egypt on Saturday, the fifth day of nationwide demonstrations against Mubarak’s 30-year-rule. The Brotherhood has mostly stayed in the background, although several of its senior officials have been detained. 

World pressure on Mubarak grows
World leaders call on Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence and enact reforms as protests continue into a sixth day.

US urges Egyptian elections; no aid cutoff for now

Clinton says US wants “orderly transition” in Egypt
WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday the United States wanted to see an orderly transition of power in Egypt, where anti-government protests have threatened the rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Sacking Egyptian ministers not enough, U.S. State Department says
State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley tweets that Mubarak cabinet reshuffle must be followed by real reform.

U.S. Embassy In Cairo Urges Americans To Leave Egypt
CAIRO — The U.S. Embassy in Egypt on Sunday recommended that Americans leave the country as soon as possible, while other nations urged their nationals to avoid traveling to Cairo as days of protests descended into chaos, with looters roaming the streets and travelers stranded in the airport.

Egypt Protests: Thousands Of Tourists Swarm Cairo Airport (VIDEO)
Thousands of foreign tourists are waiting for flights out of Cairo as the Egyptian protests continue to rage. Delta, the only airline with direct flights to Cairo from the United States, indefinitely suspended flights, according to the New York Post. The scene at the Cairo airport was a maze of tourists from all over the world waiting to get out of the protest-torn country.

Egypt’s ambassador to U.S. says he hasn’t heard from Cairo
(CNN) — Egypt’s ambassador to the United States said that, after “minute-by-minute” conversations with members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday, there have been no such communications Saturday — nor has he heard from his own government in Cairo.

Egypt: End Use of Live Fire at Peaceful Protests
(Caiiro) – The Egyptian government should order security forces, especially police and plainclothes agents, not to use live fire against peaceful protesters and bystanders, Human Rights Watch said today. Following reports that dozens have been killed at demonstrations, Human Rights Watch confirmed at least 33 dead in Alexandria and heard plausible reports of at least 50 to 70 dead at a single morgue in Cairo. 

Egypt turmoil rattles Middle East stock markets (AP)
AP – Investors nervous about instability gripping Egypt drove Middle Eastern stocks down sharply Sunday as markets reopened following a weekend of violent protests.*

Iraq offers to evacuate citizens living in Egypt (AP)
AP – The Iraqi government says it will evacuate its citizens living in Egypt for free as the chaos in the North African nation enters its sixth day.*

Gaza-Egypt border sealed indefinitely
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities have closed the crossing with the Gaza Strip indefinitely as its army deploys in the northern Sinai, a Ma’an correspondent said Sunday.  Egyptian security contacted officials in Gaza to check up on the situation along the Rafah border, and Hamas authorities confirmed that large numbers of security officers were deployed at the crossing.

How To Help Egypt Get Online
Egypt is in the midst of an Internet blackout that experts are calling the “worst in history.”Renesys estimated that 93% of Egypt’s networks were still unavailable Friday evening (EST). With the country’s citizens unable to log on to the Internet as they normally would, people have turned to a variety of other means to get online, including using ham radios, fax machines, and landline phones.

Anonymous Internet Users Team Up To Provide Communication Tools For Egyptian People
“Internet not working, police cars burning,” sent out one Egyptian. “Today marks a great day for Egypt,” sent out another. These messages weren’t coming from mobile phones or computers, but from an amateur radio sending out Morse Code somewhere amidst the chaos in Egypt. The Egyptian government’s efforts to limit communications within the country has triggered a wave of activism from an international group of free speech activists on the Internet called Telecomix.

Psychological Operations against the Arab people
Watch out.  Be careful.  There has been political psychological operations against the Arabs in publications close to the Mossad (like the Telegraph in the UK and that lousy site, Debka–or whatever it is called).  They intend to imply that the US is orchestrating the protests in Egypt.  Those rumors aim at 1) Imply that Arabs have no agency. That they can’t act on their own and out of their own volition. 2) to exaggerate the ability of the US to control events in the Middle East. 3) to imply that the US never is hit in the face in the region.  4) to enhance the image of the US as one that is on the side of the people.  5) to discredit the protest movement in the eye of the Arabs to make it an American plot.  Beware.

Video and Pictures of Egypt Protests
Egypt protests press on
Egyptian military tanks rolled into cities including Cairo, in President Hosni Mubarak’s attempt to restore order. But Egyptians are angry, and Mubarak’s speech on Saturday has done little to appease them. Protests continue for a fifth day, with demonstrators still calling for an end to his 30-year reign. Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan reports. 

Al Jazeera English Video: In Pictures: Egypt in turmoil 

Women of Egypt 

Egyptian Intifada – Imbaba 

Pictures of the Massive Protests 

The Egyptian People 

Protester carrying a soldier in the streets

Protestors carry an army captain on their shoulders after he tore up a poster of President Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square 

Arabist’s Jan29th protest pictures

Other protest pics

Human Rights Watch: 2 looters were just caught in Muharram Beyh neighborhood of Alexandria who had police ID cards and were members of undercover plainclothes force 

Looting spreads in Egyptian cities
Looters seen stealing objects in various cities as residents form vigilante groups in defence.

As night falls after fifth day of riots, Egyptians seek to provide their own protection
Egypt police withdraw from the streets, government buildings set ablaze, escaped convicts run free and rumors rife with reports of at least 60 rape cases during the unrest.

Cairo citizen guards protect homes
Police appear to have withdrawn from many parts of the Egyptian capital and it is the people who now own the streets. Locals armed with sticks and knives are setting up their own neighbourhood security groups to protect their homes and property. Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland reports from Nasr City in Cairo.

Egypt Jail Break: 700 Prisoners Escape South Of Cairo
CAIRO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Egyptians armed with guns, sticks, and blades have formed vigilante groups to defend their homes from looters after police disappeared from the streets following days of violent protests.  Banks, junctions and important buildings previously guarded by the police and state security were left abandoned on Saturday and civilians have quickly stepped in to fill the void. 

Unrest puts Cairo museum at risk
Several priceless and ancient artefacts damaged during violent street protests.

Egyptian Museum Looted: Egypt Looters Rip Heads Off 2 Mummies At Famed Cairo Museum
CAIRO — Would-be looters broke into Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum, ripping the heads off two mummies and damaging about 10 small artifacts before being caught and detained by army soldiers, Egypt’s antiquities chief said Saturday.  Zahi Hawass said the vandals did not manage to steal any of the museum’s antiquities, and that the prized collection was now safe and under military guard. 

Egyptians believe Mubarak instigated looting to show only he can protect them from chaos, Parvez Sharma
American television networks and an endless parade of mostly white men pundits (brought out and dusted off with their cobwebs) should take lessons from Al-Jazeera in live reportage, in not having pundits talk over the chants of a mass of humanity, in having Arab reporters covering what they know best, in remarkably evocative and courageous camerawork and in just being able to cover history like no other television network has ever been able to do before. And yes, I also mean that CNN during the first Gulf War was not as good as this. 

World Solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution
Must watch video from the protests in London: To the Egyptian Masses: I Kiss The Dust Under Your Feet 

Arab Israelis back Egyptian protestors
Protests held across nation; former MK Makhoul: We’re showing solidarity with Arab nations.,7340,L-4020862,00.html

Egyptian flags in Jaffa
“Muslim and Christian residents, as well as Jewish left-wing activists, are charging that religious settlers who moved to Jaffa are abusing Arabs in town and stirring provocations.  Many protestors carried Egyptian and Palestinian flags, chanting “Allahu Akbar” and “we’ll liberate Jaffa with blood.”,7340,L-4020787,00.html 

From Jaffa to Cairo all people power is revolutionary, Joseph Dana
As Egypt continued its revolution on the streets, the citizens of Jaffa held a passionate march thorough the city against racism and settlements. About 800 Palestinian and Israeli residents of the city marched through the streets chanting in Arabic and Hebrew against the wave of racism taking over Israeli society. “Jews and Arabs Against the Hate and Terror of Settlers’ and ‘From Jaffa to Cairo all people power is revolutionary.” Some protesters carried Egyptian flags and many seemed energized by the events unfolding in Egypt. Despite a heavy police presence and even police helicopters, no incidents of violence were reported from the nonviolent protest. 

Solidarity with Egypt in …Tel Aviv 
Demonstration in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv in solidarity with the popular protests against the rule of Hosni Mubarak – January 28, 2011

LEBANON: Protesters at embassy support Egyptians against regime

Americans Protest In Support Of Egypt (PHOTOS)

Protest in San Francisco
The protest and march in San Francisco was quite impressive.  Hundreds of Arabs and Americans gathered to denounce Husni Mubarak and US support for the Egyptian dictatorship.  You saw Arabs from different backgrounds cheering the people of Tunisia and Egypt.   I am not good as a speak at rallies: I can’t yell to crowd in the manner of: What do we want? Etc.  But I obliged and said a few words.  Joe (six pack) Biden was mocked by all.  We then marched to UN plaza in San Francisco.   The Palestinian, Tunisian, Egyptian and US flags mixed together.  I carried one sign.  It said: “Mubarak Totters, Zionists weep.” 

San Francisco Solidarity Protest with Egyptian Revolution #Jan25 (29.1.2011)–weobcU 

San Francisco Solidarity Protest with Egyptian Revolution #Jan25 (29.1.2011) 

Hundreds at anti-Mubarak protest in Washington
WASHINGTON — Hundreds of opponents of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak called at a rally in Washington Saturday for his overthrow and urged Washington to “stand on the right side of history” and cut off aid to his regime.  Amid a sea of Egyptian and American flags and protest placards in English and Arabic with slogans including “Pharaoh no more” and “Overthrow Mubarak,” the crowd, estimated at between 900 and 1,000, took turns leading chants in front of the Egyptian embassy. 

Advocates stage local rally to back protesters
30 Jan – Hundreds of Egyptians and their supporters rallied in Cambridge and Boston yesterday, including at least one demonstrator whose brother had been wounded by Egyptian police. In a smaller-scale version of the massive revolt that has roiled Egypt over the past week, demonstrators called for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, whose 30-year reign, they said, has mired his nation in poverty, unemployment and corruption.

Great picture from Boston protests: Walk Like an Egyptian

Toronto rally echoes calls for reform in Egypt
Hundreds of people attended a peaceful rally at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday afternoon to support protesters who are clashing with police on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities. People crowded the square in a sign of solidarity for the demonstrators in Egypt and a show of concern about the growing strife that has killed more than 70 people and injured hundreds more.  Draped in flags and waving placards in the air, the crowd in downtown Toronto showed its disdain for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, chanting “Mubarak must go” before rally officially began at 1 p.m.

Australian-Egyptians tell Mubarak to go
Australian-Egyptians have added their voice to the growing calls for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, amid a mounting death toll from political protests in the troubled north African nation. 

Egyptian protesters in front o/t FreedomPalace i/t Hague,Netherlands. All screaming “Down with Mubarak

Syrian activists salute Tunisia, Egypt uprisings
DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian activists and opposition figures, including Michel Kilo and filmmaker Omar Amiralay, on Sunday hailed Tunisia’s revolution and the uprising in Egypt as an example to all Arabs.  The Syrian people “also aspire to justice and freedom,” they said in a statement sent to AFP.  “We salute the Tunisian people and their revolution and the uprising of the Egyptian people and their resistance to a corrupt and repressive regime,” read the signed statement.

The demonstrations in Egypt could end three decades of repressive rule and bring, at long last, freedom and democracy to Egypt.  The regime is attempting to starve the protest movement of two crucial sources of power: information and solidarity. But despite the internet blackout, Egyptian radios and satellite TVs can still receive broadcasts from across the border — so Avaaz will work with broadcasters whose signals reach inside Egypt to circulate the number signatures on this statement of solidarity, along with messages of support from around the world for Egypt’s people.   Every hour matters. What happens next depends of all of us. Let’s stand with those on the streets and build a deafening outcry against rampant corruption and political repression, and for democratic reform. Sign the statement of solidarity–and spread the word about this campaign! 

Mubarak’s Friends
State media: Abbas contacts Egyptian president
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas contacted his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on Saturday, state media said.  “President Abbas affirmed the Palestinian leadership’s support for Egyptian security and stability,” Abbas was quoted as saying. 

Palestinian leadership out of sync with own people over Egypt?
On Friday afternoon, a money changer sat in his office on Salah ad-din Street, the main street of East Jerusalem, watching his computer screen. But it wasn’t showing the minute-to-minute changes in the exchange rate, or the price of gold – he was watching the protests in Egypt being broadcast live on Al-Jazeera.  “Policemen have taken off their uniforms and have joined the demonstrators”, he said, his blue-green eyes widening in amazement. A taxi driver from Beit Hanina nodded in deep affirmation, and said that the protests were “good.”

The police (non)state in Ramallah
I received this email from Ramallah: “Greetings, I would like to remain anonymous regarding my name. I am writing to you  to tell you that the Palestinian Authority has yet again obstructed and threatened anyone who will show up at the peaceful protest (i3tisam) scheduled to happen today in front of the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah, Sunday February 1 at 4 pm.    This is the second time that the PA refuses to let the Palestinians express solidarity with first our Tunisian brethren and sisters in their popular uprising and now in supporting the Egyptian people in their uprising against Mubarak’s regime.”


Israeli PM says ties with Egypt must be preserved (AP)
AP – Israel’s prime minister told his Cabinet on Sunday that he is “anxiously following” the crisis in Egypt, saying in his first public comments on the situation that Israel’s three-decade-old peace agreement with its most important Arab ally must be preserved.*

U.S. wants to see an overhaul, not overthrow, in Egypt
While not objecting to Hosni Mubarak’s government reshuffle, a senior Obama administration official says far more change is needed, including giving opposition groups and activists more freedom. What the U.S. wants to avoid is a repeat of Iran’s 1979 revolution.,0,2811094.story 

Without Egypt, Israel will be left with no friends in Mideast
Without Egypt’s Mubarak and with relations with Turkey in shambles, Israel will be forced to court new potential allies. 

New York Times is freaking out: what will happen to its beloved Israel?
“American officials must already be wondering what will happen to the fight against Al Qaeda if Mr. Saleh is deposed. And what will happen to efforts to counter Iran and promote Arab-Israeli peace if Mr. Mubarak is suddenly gone?” 

GOP stands with Mubarak
“GOP Conference chairman Thaddeus McCotter voiced his support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Friday in a statementreleased on his website.  The Republican congressman from Michigan likened demonstrations in Egypt to “Iran’s 1979 radical revolution.” He cautions that those who “will be tempted to superficially interpret the Egyptian demonstrations as an uprising for populist democracy” should instead “recall how such similar initial views of the 1979 Iranian Revolution were belied by the mullahs’ radical jackbooted murderers.” 

No Longer Caring About Democracy, Bolton Disparages Egypt Protests And Defends Mubarak
During the Bush years, one of the justifications the administration most relied on for many of its policies in the world was that it was engaging in “democracy promotion.” One of the most vocal members about this supposed cause was Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton.

Obama Presses Egypt for Change, Without Calling for New Face at the Top
Concern about a potential power vacuum drove President Obama’s decision not to call for Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, officials said.

Mubarak’s appointment of military men to top posts continues Egypt’s martial style of rule, Janine Zacharia
CAIRO – The installation of military men into powerful new roles in the Egyptian government on Saturday reflected a martial style of rule unbroken in Egypt since Gamal Abdel Nasser and his young officers toppled the monarchy in 1952. 

Man in the News: Choice Likely to Please the Military, Not the Crowds, MICHAEL SLACKMAN
Omar Suleiman, President Hosni Mubarak’s choice for vice president of Egypt, is the establishment’s candidate.

Egyptians Wonder What’s Next, ANTHONY SHADID
Anxiety remains over what the protests will lead to, and what the arson and looting portend. 

A Nation in Waiting
A special programme looking at Egypt under Hosni Mubarak.

New IDF intelligence chief failed to predict Egypt uprising
Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said Mubarak’s government was not under threat and that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was not sufficiently organized to take power.

Egypt Unrest: A “Major Political Tsunami”
ISLAMABAD – As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak fights for survival in the face of rapidly growing protests on the streets of a country he has ruled with an iron hand, diplomats and analysts across the region are bracing for a period of growing instability that presents fresh challenges to a host of players.

Mona Eltahawy to CNN: Call Egypt an Uprising 
Noted Egyptian journalist and speaker Mona Eltahaway takes CNN to task for their sensational descriptions of the events in Egypt and call it for what it is: an uprising and a revolution.

Mona Eltahway to CNN: Egypt’s history of rendition and torture for the U.S. 
When Mona Eltahawy explicitly described what many of us learned from Jane Mayer–Hosni Mubarak’s appointed Vice President, Omar Suleiman, has a long history of cooperating with us in accepting and torturing people rendered to Egypt–and when Wolf asks whether this went on in the Bush Administration (it dates back to the Clinton Administration), Townsend explains the best known example is that of Maher Arar. Wolf corrects her that that involved Syria.

Live From the Egyptian Revolution, Sharif Abdel Kouddous
Cairo, Egypt—I grew up in Egypt. I spent half my life here. But Saturday, when my plane from JFK airport touched down in Cairo, I arrived in a different country than the one I had known all my life. This is not Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt anymore and, regardless of what happens, it will never be again. 

Inside Story – Egypt: The youth perspective
Inspired by the revolution in Tunisia, Egyptian youths are leading ongoing protests in their own country. Thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets across the country, demanding political change. So, how do young Egyptians view the protests and are they hopeful that change will come?

We’ve waited for this revolution for years. Other despots should quail
Change is sweeping though the Middle East and it’s the Facebook generation that has kickstarted it. 

Interview: Blogger Alaa Abdelfatah
Egyptian blogger and pro-democracy activist offers his insight into the current situation in Egypt.

Arab Executives Predict Regime Change in Egypt
The consensus among the Arab elite at the World Economic Forum was that the protests in Egypt would end the nation’s near monarchical regime.

Palestinians in Gaza react to Egypt, Tunisia uprisings
As news of the uprisings in a growing number of Arab countries spread like wildfire around the world, residents of other countries struggling under their own oppressive governments and soaring unemployment were celebrating on the streets, on Twitter and on Facebook. The occupied Gaza Strip was no exception.

Iraqis watch Egypt unrest with sense of irony (AP)
AP – Iraqis who have long suffered from high unemployment, poverty and endemic corruption, the catalysts of unrest spreading in the Arab world, called on their own government to take notice.* 

Irony in Egypt
Comrade Joseph sent me this: “What strikes me as most ironic, at least at the level of the image, is that millions of Egyptians marched in the streets of Cairo to demand of Nasir that he not resign after he lost the 1967 war, while today millions march across Egypt calling on Mubarak to resign and get the hell out of Egypt!”

From the front lines of the Egyptian uprising, Matthew Cassel
It’s been a long time coming, but change is on its way to Egypt.  In the working-class area of Imbaba in Cairo on Friday, 28 January, I and my companions joined a group of fifty or so protesters marching up and down the street. The crowd shouted “come down! come down!” to neighbors. Without even realizing that others were joining I looked back at one point to see that 50 had become 500, and not long after I couldn’t see the end of the mass marching through the streets.

‘Muslims, Christians we are all Egyptians’: Scenes from a revolution as told by one eyewitness, Parvez Sharma
My friend Yousry is in his late twenties. He and his wife would be considered affluent because they live in Zamalek. But like so many others, because all barriers of class have fallen away—he has been on the streets for the last 48 hours. He just returned home in Zamalek after patrolling the streets of the neighborhood with his prized Syrian sword that used to just hang up as souvenir in their living room. He had never thought he would have to take it off the wall and actually try to use it to defend his neighbors and his family. He did like to show it off at our late night parties in his apartment.

Dyab Abou Jahjah, “Egypt: On the Appointment of Suleiman As Vice President”
Appointing Omar Suleiman as vice president means telling everybody that Hosni Mubarak is over and out and that Gamal Mubarak will never be president. At the same time it means telling the people that Suleiman, the man for Israel and the CIA, is the candidate to succeed Mubarak and that the regime is only conceding defeat formally and not structurally. In other words, after the ouster of Mubarak, it is Suleiman who will automatically become president and elections will not be held till their scheduled date. The people will not accept this and will keep protesting even after Mubarak steps down. 

Zewail’s 4 point Plan for Egypt, Juan Cole
Nobelist in chemistry, Dr. Ahmed Zewail of the California Institute of Technology, is an Egyptian-American who has sometimes been mentioned as a candidate for president of Egypt. He has served as a science envoy to the Arab world of President Obama.  In an interview on Aljazeera Arabic, Zewail called for fundamental change in Egypt, not just cosmetic alterations. He gave as the causes for the current uprising. 

Close U.S. ally and new Egyptian VP Soliman ‘keeps the domestic beasts at bay’, Alex Kane 
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appointed Omar Soliman, the country’s head of intelligence, as vice president in Mubarak’s first big move following continuous days of protest that are threatening to end his regime.  But Soliman’s appointment will not placate the Egyptian demonstrators–Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel Kouddos, who is on the ground in Egypt, reports that Egyptians have begun “chanting against Omar Suleiman.” 

The Egyptian revolution threatens an American-imposed order of Arabophobia and false choices, Philip Weiss
I’m as thrilled as anyone by what I see in the Cairo streets, but when I turn on American television I see only grim faces. Rob’t Gibbs looked frightened during his delayed press briefing yesterday afternoon, he didn’t know what to say. Obama’s comments last night were equivocal and opaque: I’m with Mubarak, for now. This is his 9/11– the day Arabs blindsided a president. 

Robert Fisk: Egypt: Death throes of a dictatorship
The Egyptian tanks, the delirious protesters sitting atop them, the flags, the 40,000 protesters weeping and crying and cheering in Freedom Square and praying around them, the Muslim Brotherhood official sitting amid the tank passengers. Should this be compared to the liberation of Bucharest? Climbing on to an American-made battle tank myself, I could only remember those wonderful films of the liberation of Paris. A few hundred metres away, Hosni Mubarak’s black-uniformed security police were still firing at demonstrators near the interior ministry. It was a wild, historical victory celebration, Mubarak’s own tanks freeing his capital from his own dictatorship. 

Egypt tests American will / Dale McFeatters
For 30 years, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been a staunch U.S. ally and, thanks to his predecessor’s willingness to make peace with Israel, one of the largest recipients of American aid. In that time, through increasingly corrupt elections, he has cemented his hold on power and hobbled the political opposition. The U.S. made only token protests as Mubarak chiseled away at basic political rights and imprisoned opponents. As the realpolitik saying goes, he may be an S.O.B., but he’s our S.O.B. Maybe not much longer.

Egyptian fighters jets
That was cute: in the skies of Egypt: Egyptian fighter jets flying high over the cities. Oh, yeah.  The Egyptian Army should be proud of its bravery and history.  For people of my generation, we only remember the sights of this lousy Army in its lousy performance against Israel.  We remember them fleeing in droves from Sinai with their hands over their heads and we remember how some of the leaders of the Egyptian Army (people like Husni Mubarak) turned a potential victory against Israel in 1973 into a resounding defeat.  Remember that 1973 was a resounding defeat and very humiliating.  And when were those jets when Israel continues to threaten Egypt and other Arabs.  And we know that Israel still occupies Sinai along with the US.  Fighter jets over demonstrators?  Can you imagine the outcry if this was done in Iran?  The UN Security Council would have issued three resolutions by now.

Mubarak state TV
The scenario of the counter-revolution was all clear on Mubarak Nile TV yesterday.  The TV was covering (like the Saudi media like Al-Arabiyya TV–the station of King Fahd’s brother-in-law) only the looting and destruction.  Then, Mubarak TV opened up its lines and said that they were now allowing calls from around the world but that they would not allow any political talk but only about the “security of Egypt.”  Of course, calls came in and said that only “security of Egypt” matters and nothing about the demands for political change.  One of the calls almost said his name is “Jamal” and another almost said his name is “`Ala'”.  I wrote this before: Egypt is not Tunisia in the sense that the US/Israel would fight tooth and nail to preserve the Mubarak regime.  Oh, and the broadcasters on Mubarak TV kept saying that Aljazeera is spreading lies “about Egypt.”

“There is so much excitement around the Arab world. On Facebook and Twitter you see Saudis congratulating Egyptians, Iranians contratulating Tunisians,” said Asad Abu’Khalil, a professor of political science at California State University Stanislaus.  “A student at UC Davis just left everything and went to Egypt to join the revolution,” he said. “That’s the level of excitement.”” 

Haroon Moghul: 4 Reasons Why Egypt’s Revolution Is Not Islamic
Why isn’t Egypt’s revolution an Islamic one? Commentators are having a difficult time understanding the dynamics of the Arab world and the role of religion in this latest apparent revolution.

Aljazeera won the day
The New York Times has been right about one thing: that Aljazeera is now on top.  It is in ascension.  It has defeated all potential rivals hands down.  Not one channel is close.  IT has such influence although it sometimes annoys me like when it put Tele-Islamist demagogue, `Amr Khalid on today.  He claimed that he is with the youth.  The man never spoke against Mubarak.  He reminds me of those opportunists who distance themselves from the ancien regime in the last hour: like the Bin `Ali’s ambassador in UNESCO. 

“We do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back …”
“… Clinton avoided a question from CNN’s Candy Crowley on “American Morning” on whether the U.S. is beginning to back away from Mubarak. “[W]e do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is to help clear the air so that those who remain in power, starting with President Mubarak, with his new vice president, with the new prime minister, will begin a process of reaching out, of creating a dialogue that will bring in peaceful activists and representatives of civil society to, you know, plan a way forward that will meet the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people. “ The Obama administration, while not calling for Mubarak to step down, appears set to continue pushing for additional concrete steps toward democracy, human rights and economic reform. Clinton made clear that the administration regards Saturday’s steps as a start — but inadequate. Instead, the American push is for a new round of elections – though officials continue to debate the ideal timetable – in which few believe Mubarak could run, much less win….”

Dead-Enders on the Potomac
From the Editors, January 29, 2011, Every US administration has its mouthpiece in Washington’s think tank world, its courtier that will slavishly praise its every utterance. For the blessedly bygone Bush administration, that echo chamber was the American Enterprise Institute and the neo-conservative broadsheets in its orbit. For the Obama administration, it is the National Security Network, an operation founded in 2006 to bring “strategic focus to the progressive national security community.” 

Mubarak’s Options
If recent history is any indication, this is probably the conversation taking place in the Egyptian presidential palace right about now… 

Rana Rizk: Impressions of Egypt From New York
Egypt was a black hole today with no light coming out. We have no access to any information regarding arrests and violence exerted by police on protesters.

Egypt’s Class Conflict, Juan Cole
On Sunday morning there was some sign of the Egyptian military taking on some security duties. Soldiers started arresting suspected looters, rounding up 450 of them. The disappearance of the police from the streets had led to a threat of widespread looting is now being redressed by the regular military. Other control methods were on display. The government definitively closed the Aljazeera offices in Cairo and withdrew the journalists’ license to report from there, according to tweets. (Aljazeera had not been able to broadcast directly from Cairo even before this move.) The channel, bases in Qatar, is viewed by President Hosni Mubarak as an attempt to undermine him.

Cartoon: Freedom for the Egyptian People,0

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