Rarely do our rulers look more absurd than when faced with a popular upheaval. As fear and apathy are broken, ordinary people – housewives, students, sanitation workers, the unemployed – remake themselves. Having been objects of history, they become its agents. Marching in their millions, reclaiming public space, attending meetings and debating their society’s future, they discover in themselves capacities for organization and action they had never imagined. They arrest secret police, defend their communities and their rallies, organize the distribution of food, water and medical supplies. Exhilarated by new solidarities and empowered by the understanding that they are making history, they shed old habits of deference and passivity.
Protests Demanding Mubarak’s Resignation Grow Stronger, Despite Some Government Concessions
Newly-appointed Egyptian vice president Omar Suleiman held talks on Sunday with opposition groups in Cairo in an attempt to stem the anti-government protests that continue across the country. Suleiman agreed to several major concessions, including ending the country’s decades-old emergency laws he did not say when, allowing a free press even as another Al Jazeera reporter was arrested, and creating a constitutional reform committee. The top demand of demonstrators–the immediate removal of President Hosni Mubarak-was not addressed. Protests continue today across Egypt, and tens of thousands of demonstrators have held their ground in Tahrir Square amidst a heavy military presence. We go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Hossam Bahgat, an Egyptian human rights activist. [includes rush transcript]
Those politically savvy people who thought strongman, Hosni Mubarak would be out before the end of the first week of the Egyptian uprising better rethink the odds. For thirty years Mubarak has developed what can be called a deeply rooted dictatorial regime with regular White House access and annual largesse of some $1.3 billion in military equipment and payroll.
Three US warships dispatched to Egypt signal that Washington is stepping up efforts to secure the embattled regime of Hosni Mubarak.
As millions of Egyptian people persist in nationwide protests against the US-backed regime, Washington’s envoy to the North African country, Frank Wisner, has said that Mubarak must remain in power to oversee an “orderly transition” that US president Barack Obama has urged.
On the 5 February, the New York Times published a piece entitled ‘West Backs Gradual Egyptian Transition‘ that illustrates exactly how the media and the state collude in presenting the imperial line.
Effectively, it’s a distillation of the corporate state’s changing public response to the Egyptian insurrection as presented by one of its leading mouthpieces, the New York Times and it doesn’t beat about the obamabush in telling it like it is.
“The Arab world is on fire,” al-Jazeera reported on January 27, while throughout the region, Western allies “are quickly losing their influence.”
The shock wave was set in motion by the dramatic uprising in Tunisia that drove out a Western-backed dictator, with reverberations especially in Egypt, where demonstrators overwhelmed a dictator’s brutal police.
If it wasn’t such a tragedy the headlines in the corporate media would be truly laughable! Led of course, by the Washington Post and the New York Times, the duel cheerleaders for US corporate capital, where we read the following titled ‘Egypt has Obama cautiously shifting world view on democracy’, Continue reading →
Despite the best efforts of Hosni Mubarak’s government, images of millions of Egyptians protesting on the streets of Cairo, Alexandra and Suez have been beamed around the world. But while the clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak protestors dominated the airwaves, the journalists covering the fighting became targets themselves. Many were harassed, arrested and beaten while others had their equipment confiscated, but they continued to cover the story.
The government pulled the plug on the country’s internet connection, cut the phone lines for a time, poured propaganda out on state-controlled media but the momentum of the demonstrators was unstoppable. We trail the coverage of one of the biggest political protests in Arab history, one that came together online, dominated the headlines and sent tremors all the way from Sanaa to Washington.
Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty.
— Howard Zinn (1922-2010)
Arguably never has a momentous event, its triumphs and blood soaked tragedies, been so instantly transmitted across the globe, panicking governments, bent on quelling it, inspiring millions with similar aspirations to Egypt’s populus, into “can do” and unstinting support mode, with, literally, a vengeance.
$60 Billion US Aid to Egypt=$60 Billion Current Net-worth of Mubarak Family
With all eyes and attention on Egypt, the unsavory ‘US Foreign Policy’ has become the topic of choice among the intelligentsia, journalists, and the overly populated US analyst colony. There are scores of analyses out there; thousands of articles, millions of blog threads and unending ‘update’ headlines on TV screens. Yet, at least in ‘popular’ outlets, reality appears to be the missing link. Don’t worry, I am not about to hit you with a long-winded article on Egypt. If you are masochistic enough to actually want my take (pages and pages of history/analyses) you can revisit a few of our pieces on the topic of nefarious US foreign policy practices here, here and here; timeless and equally applicable to what we are witnessing with Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia today. Instead, I want to share with you a few select points and coverage that got my attention:
An amateur video showing the arrest in Egypt of an alleged spy belonging to the Israeli General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, the Sayeret Matkal, indicates how worried Tel Aviv is by the turmoil engulfing the Mubarak regime and suggests that attempts are underway by outside forces to destabilise the popular revolution.
On February 1 General James Mattis, commander of United States Central Command whose area of responsibility includes Egypt on its western end, stated that Washington currently has no plans to reinforce naval presence off the coast of that country, but added that in the event of the closure of the Suez Canal:
“Were it to happen obviously we would have to deal with it diplomatically, economically, militarily….”