Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Accept the presence of hunger. Do not accept the absence of dignity.

CNN - Two dead after thousands protest in rare Egypt outpouring

NPR - In Egypt, Anti-Government Day of Revolt underway

NPR - Egyptian protesters demand an end to Mubarak's rule

al-Masry al-Youm - Protesters declare open-ended sit-in in Tahrir Square; experts fear escalation

al-Masry al-Youm - Rubber bullets fail to break up massive demonstration in Alexandria

BBC - Egypt protests: Three killed in "Day of Rage" protests

The government has blocked twitter and some of facebook, the online networks which were primarily used to plan the demonstrations.  They have scrambled and shut down mobile phone service all across Cairo.  They have fired rubber bullets on protesters and plan to start using live ammunition as of 11:00 pm Cairo time.  They have scrambled al-Jazeera news and made the national networks show only video footage of cute animals.  There are tanks and riot police in the streets of Cairo.

Please, read as many of these as you can and educate yourself and the people around you about what's going on in Egypt, and in Tunisia.  This could be a huge moment - Egyptians are trying to rise to their feet, to stand up for their own denied political freedoms, their own right to a just government, the right to food and to dignity.

My friends in Egypt, who are all ok as far as I know though knowing them they're in the thick of things, tell me that the CNN coverage is a little histrionic, but not inaccurate.  CNN takes an interesting perspective, seeming almost to assume that the protests are bad and damaging to US interests - which I suppose they are.  But that is because, in my opinion, the US is on the wrong side, and I honestly foresee it staying on the wrong side.  Backing the Mubarak regime - corrupt and abusive beyond description - is not a defense of democracy in the Middle East.  It's a defense of a status quo that is destroying the lives of 80 million Egyptians and countless others in that region.  These people, inspired by the brave Tunisians, are finally passionate enough and desperate enough that they will face the government and fight.  If the United States really gave a damn about democracy in the Middle East, they would see their way through to supporting Egyptians' right to real democratic government.  Odds are, they won't - if the Mubarak government falls in Egypt, it will mean a complete reevaluation and restrategizing of US Middle Eastern policy, perhaps especially as regards Israel and Palestine.  And that's too big a risk for the US government to put in the hands of the Egyptian people - even when those people have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands to scream for change and for justice.

Read what you can.  Do what you can.  I haven't been in Egypt long, and I have very mixed feelings about the country and my experience in it, but I'll tell you this.  For the first time, I am desperate to go back to Egypt, to be part of all this.  For the first time, I am proud of Egypt.  Insha'allah, whatever comes of all this is also something that I, and more importantly Egyptians, can be proud of.


  1. Some more links for you:

    From al-Jazeera:


    From Marc Lynch's excellent column on Foreign Policy:


    I'll keep posting anything good I find.

  2. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-a-new-truth-dawns-on-the-arab-world-2194488.html

    Fiske is sort of wishy-washy on the whole thing, but raises a few interesting points.

  3. Where are you? Not in Egypt anymore? Thinking of you, knowing that you are there (?) or closely connected, and me watching from a far as people take a stand for their freedom...

    love you cuz

  4. hmmm...also, that's your cousin Anna, not the peace corps, writing you...i can't figure out how to get it back to my personal profile...