Egypt Revolt, The people rising…Live Blog

…and they want change…

Cairo protesters stand their ground – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

The protesters in Cairo, joined by hundreds of judges, had collected again in Tahrir Square on Sunday afternoon to demand the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent, reporting from the scene, said that demonstrators confronted a fire truck, at which point army troops fired into the air in a bid to disperse them.

He said the protesters did not move back, and a tank commander then ordered the fire truck to leave. When the truck moved away from the square, the thousands of protesters erupted into applause and climbed onto the tank in celebration, hugging soldiers.

Main roads in Cairo have been blocked by military tanks and armoured personnel carriers, and large numbers of army personnel have been seen in other cities as well.

Reporting from Cairo earlier on Sunday, Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan said it was a “long way from business as usual” in the Egyptian capital on the first working day since protests peaked on Friday.

He said that extra military roadblocks had been set up in an apparent attempt to divert traffic away from Tahrir Square, which has been a focal point for demonstrators.

This is a live blog thread, so updates will be posted regularly.

 

Live Messages from Egypt | Al Jazeera Blogs

Walking Cairo’s uncertain streets – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

 

Al Jazeera English: Live Stream – Watch Now – Al Jazeera English


84 Comments on “Egypt Revolt, The people rising…Live Blog”

  1. stacyx says:

    Secretary Clinton came out with a much stronger statement on the Sunday talk shows today, which is good. She called for free and fair elections and it would seem that the administration is finally recognizing that the Mubarak regime can’t survive. It’s a fine line they (the admin.) has to walk because we want to support democracy but we don’t want it to appear that we are trying to influence the results there. Despite what some commentators are saying, the movement in the streets really isn’t about the US and Israel, it’s about basic human rights and economic security.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Despite what some commentators are saying, the movement in the streets really isn’t about the US and Israel, it’s about basic human rights and economic security.

      Thank you Stacy! Yes, this is the point I was trying to make!

      • stacyx says:

        You’re welcome!

        I think it’s a point that needs to be constantly repeated, particularly given the US media tends to view everything through the US-Israel-Mideast lens. If we try to make it about the US and Israel it could backfire big-time.

    • I was glad David Gregory had brought up free and fair elections. Wish the Obama Admin had said it on their own earlier, but glad they’re on board now.

    • Woman Voter says:

      She is good and thank goodness she is there because VP Biden sure stuck his foot in his mouth again and even Egyptians here in the US are very upset. And to think Biden says he was the best decision Obama made. 😯

    • bostonboomer says:

      But of course the U.S. is trying to influence the results, and supposedly they supported this uprising. We’ll have to wait and see….

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    This situation is getting more and more out of control with some breaking into the prisons and permitting who knows who to be set free.
    Some inmates are jihadists with lengthy records of subversive activities. Others are the usual suspects of murderers, rapists, and the like who should never be set lose on the public under any circumstances.

    There may be many whose grievances are just but this latest action to open the jails and prisons is just another sign of the loss of any control that seems to be gaining momentum with each passing hour.

  3. stacyx says:

    The media coverage is starting to grate on my nerves. I think Al Jazeera’s coverage has been outstanding. Friday night seemed to be a highpoint for US coverage with MSNBC doing a great job of having diverse commentators on both the Cenk Unger Show and Maddow- they had professor Khalidi, Steve Clemons etc. Since then US coverage seems to have devolved into a round-robin of the usual Beltway suspects- Richard Haas, Martin Indyk, Richard Brooks, Tom Friedman. Can’t anyone find an actual Egyptian-American or Egyptian to talk to? I will say Richard Engel is providing good on-the-ground coverage. I think he was the first US journalist to pick up a gas canister and show that it said “Made in the USA” and he was clearly disgusted.

    • dakinikat says:

      The media coverage here is pathetic. You can really see the propaganda machine at work. CNN is just getting worse all the time to the point of nearly useless. And to think what kind of news organization they were during the first gulf war and compare it to right now …

      There are plenty of middle eastern studies programs throughout universities in the country, you would think they could find some one to talk to that actually knew something.

      • Sophie says:

        CNN just had the Egyptian Ambassador on. Candy C. asked him point blank, as an Egyptian did he want Mubarak out. He gave a circuitous response, not really answering,

      • bostonboomer says:

        I thought they were catapaulting the propaganda pretty well during the first Gulf War.

        • dakinikat says:

          Yes, but they’ve got it down to a tee now. Remember every one was incensed about their reporter–Peter Arnett–dared to report on how our bombardment was killing innocents on the ground? People were calling him Baghdad Pete? There’s been no offset to that recently; especially with all the embeds.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Peter Berg was also on some program and he was clearly stating what the Egyptian people are protesting. Since both he and Engel have lived for some time among the populations of these Arab states, they have a firmer grasp on the subject than some of these other pundits who just opine.

      They know the language, the people, the economic situation, and the sense of hopelessness that pervades these societies. At least one comes away with a small measure of reality when delivered by those who have actually lived and worked there.

      Which is why it is so eacy to dismiss someone like Judith Miller whose credibility and ability to analyze went down the toilet during the Bush years.

    • The US coverage has by and large been atrocious.

      I’m an Amanpour fan though and watched her in Cairo on ABC this hour. Refreshing.

      • Woman Voter says:

        The funny thing is that some pundits are saying Egypt will get an Ayatollah Khomeini like Iran, but these Gen X & Y support the uprising against Iran’s government because their counter parts have NO FREEDOM. Egyptians want Freedom and True Democracy.

      • dakinikat says:

        Egypt is not Iran and its Muslim population is NOT Shia. Once again, our pundits seem unable to distinguish between various ethnic groups, geography, and that there are distinct versions of Islam . Egypt is a huge diverse country with roots in many places. They prize their contributions to civilization above everything and are very proud of their diversity as well. You cannot compare Persians to Egyptians at all. It’s like trying to say that Germans are exactly like Italians.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I shut off the TV after watching Fareed Zakaria.

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    Manipulation – Blog – The Arabist

    To add more to the discussion:

    For now, the questions are:

    – Why was the NPD building fire not put out even though it risks spreading to the Egyptian Museum?

    – Why is Egyptian state TV terrifying people with constant pictures of criminal gangs?

    – Why was there such a small military deployment during the day yesterday?

    – Why were all police forces pulled out, and who made that decision?

    – What is the chain of command today in the military? Is Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Enan still in position?

    – If the reports about prison breakouts are true, how come these facilities have not been secured?

    – Why are we getting reports of intelligence offices burning documents, CDs and tapes?

    The situation is obviously very confusing at the moment. All I can say is that I have a hard time believing that Mubarak is still in charge, and that the hard core of the regime is using extreme means to salvage its position.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    It appears that the only option open to Mubarak at this time is a show of military might which could easily turn this whole thing into a bloodbath. The question is is how far he would go to maintain his power even in the face of overwhelming opposition coming through loud and clear from the streets.

    Should he go that route it will be interesting to see how the military will react against its own people. According to reports, the higher ups are still with Mubarak but the lower level of soldier is a product to the Arab street.

    • dakinikat says:

      I can’t imagine that the Egyptian Military will go after Egyptians. They’re a source of pride for the country because they’ve defended Egypt’s borders.

  6. Okay Hillary on Candy Crowley CNN just now just said/stressed something on her own in ending her interview with Crowley that I’m glad to hear from her:

    “it needs to be done IMMEDIATELY” (re: transitioning from where the Egyptian protesters are right now to where they want to be and what they’re protesting for).

    • Pat Johnson says:

      She is couching her rhetoric but she fears what I fear: the match has yet to be lit over there, just a little glimmer of flame that may send this entire region into a conflagration that would be difficult to put out. And I am not referring to democracy spreading but untold death, chaos, and economic hardship that could easily last for years to come.

      If Mubarak pushes the military into a response, this could very easily trigger the spread of that flame that has been heating up for decades. And we will find ourselves in the thick of it.

      • I think we’re all concerned about that here…I know I am, and that’s why I want to see the people’s demands fulfilled sooner rather than later. But it’s like Hillary Rodham said in her Wellesley speech:

        “Fear is always with us but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.”

  7. zaladonis says:

    It’s continuing to deterioriate.

    I would really love to know what protesters and those criticizing ObamaCo want to happen that’ll bring this into control. “Free and fair elections” is a lovely bumpersticker but it’s not going to happen today or this week even if Mubarak was hauled off this afternoon, so what happens now? Somebody has to be in charge. Is the whole notion of “leader” something that the Age of Social Networks thinks is unnecessary? Should we force Mubarak to leave his office and Egypt, and see what happens?

    Mubarak is being weakened, and I think that’s just fine because he’s a tyrant and Egypt has fallen into economic hardship under his rule, but that’s only one side of the page. The other side remains blank.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Yep.

      • zaladonis says:

        Maybe Hillary should fill in for a while. I’m good with that – I’d move to Egypt!

      • Woman Voter says:

        😆 Egypt here we go…

      • dakinikat says:

        That’s actually my point. Mubarak wasn’t doing this on a day to day level. That’s what bureaucrats do. There’s infrastructure there in the ministries. It just has to be given different overarching direction. The only dysfunctional ministry should be the homeland security stuff which includes the police, hence the need for peacekeepers. My guess is the judiciary still functions. There are laws in place. Mubarak can’t create the kind of directional change that’s need to move the bureaucracy because he represents the priorities of the ruling party. The bureaucracy is there but needs to function with direction from someplace other than the ruling party. Good ministers can change this and ministers giving orders from a unity government can make the direction change more swiftly. We learned that from Iraq. We kicked out the entire bureaucracy which made everything collapse. Only the higher ups need to go. The minions will take direction from whomever.

      • zaladonis says:

        Kat, I think it’s naive to think that after 30 years of dictatorial power Mubarak’s government is only corrupt and tyrannical at the top. A few years, maybe, but 30 years is a generation – in today’s terms it’s maybe two generations. I’m not saying nobody is any good in Egypt’s government, but assuming the trustworthy good people (however many there are of them) would naturally take power simply by removing Mubarak is, I think, asking for trouble.

        I thought all along that everything Bush did in Iraq was a big mistake from the minute he pulled out the inspectors onward. I’m not saying the entire bureaucracy in Egypt should be kicked out but I also think it’s foolhardy to trust that the government Mubarak put in place, any part of it, can be counted on to run the country and elections smoothly in the good non-corrupt way we all want. IMO a better solution is needed. I think a leader or leaders the protesters trust is needed.

        • dakinikat says:

          They have a parliament. They have politicians. This is not a country without a system and its a huge one. If the police part of the state is gone, then I think there’s still enough left standing that a unity government with a prime minister standing should be fine. If they need something symbolic, Mohamed ElBaradei or some one neutral. At this point, if Mubarak resigns, it goes to his newly appointed VP. This puts the military in charge, basically.

      • zaladonis says:

        Well they’ve been running the government that the people are protesting to get rid of.

        Italy’s trains ran on time while Mussolini was in power but that doesn’t mean the transportation authority was fit to run the country. Oh wait, Mussolini’s trains didn’t run on time – that turned out to be a myth, oops. We have no idea what will be revealed once Mubarak is gone, what ran well, what didn’t, and how.

        What evidence do we have that Mubarak and the police are the only bad or corrupt elements of the Egyptian government? After 30 years of Mubarak picking and choosing who he wants in government, assuming he didn’t fill parliament with corrupt people as well is a stretch and a half. In fact, since the big problem was the top elite having all the power, it strains the imagination that parliament wasn’t lousy with those elites as well. It doesn’t make sense that Mubarak would stock his parliament with have-nots with the character to do the right thing. When the country’s in chaos, needs security and leadership for Democratic elections they haven’t had for 30 years, we better have more than assumption that the people taking over are competent and trustworthy.

    • The free and fair elections isn’t a bumper sticker, it signals distancing from Mubarak without them having to say the words “Mubarak should resign.”

      • zaladonis says:

        HIllary is pointedly NOT saying Mubarak should resign. She’s not just mincing words, she’s smart enough to know that whatever his faults, and clearly she’s well aware he has many faults, you can’t just kick out the guy who’s been in the driver’s seat for 30 years without having a plan for who’s going to take over the pedals and the steering.

        Saying “free and fair elections!” does not provide that.

        Egypt needs a leader to restore order and then to plan and implement reforms.

      • I did not say she said Mubarak should resign, I said she signaled distance between the Administration and Mubarak.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Wonk,

        I was busy yesterday and working today but trying to catch Hillary. Will you do a post on your site of he videos for those of us with crazy work/volunteer schedules. Thanks, as I have been on break trying to find her on the TV and can’t.

      • Woman Voter, check secretaryclinton.wordpress.com. She should have all the videos up there–if not now then as soon as they become available.

      • stacyx says:

        I have all the videos up on my site by the way.

        I really think the admin. at this point has said what they needed to say. Elections have been on the Egyptian calendar for a while the only problem is in the past they have been sham elections. Hillary was clearly trying to send the signal that this time Mubarak should not stop in and determine the results.

        Mubarak has spent 30 years doing a great job of preventing any real opposition from forming or creating a political network and having the experience to navigate the Egyptian bureaucracy and we are seeing the results of that right now. I think all the people on the internet and on TV saying “but where is their leader?!?” should keep that in mind.

        The big question is where the military fits in all of this- even if elections took place in a post-Mubarak situation, what role would they play?

      • Mubarak has spent 30 years doing a great job of preventing any real opposition from forming or creating a political network and having the experience to navigate the Egyptian bureaucracy and we are seeing the results of that right now. I think all the people on the internet and on TV saying “but where is their leader?!?” should keep that in mind.

        Exactly. Removing Mubarak is a means to break through that barrier so they can even get to the point where they can choose their leader.

      • zaladonis says:

        Wonk are you purposefully missing my point?

        The point is not whether Mubarak is good or bad, of course he’s bad.

        And the point is not what he has oppressed.

        The point is a country like Egypt, especially in the volatile situation it’s in today, cannot be without a leader. And the protesters do not have a leader to replace Mubarak.

        • dakinikat says:

          I’m not sure if you read my points, but a unity government can create a decision making body to take care of things until elections can be held. There’s no indication that that Egyptian institutions and federal bureaucracies aren’t functional with the exception of the police. The UN may have to step in to help the army peacekeeping or some other available institution like the ones already in play in African nations. That’s the missing component right now. Egypt may have a national guard … that’s something that could be called up to. It has a prime minister, ministers, and parliaments. It’s not without institutions like say, a North Korea would be or a post Soviet Russia was. There will not be a vacuum of leadership. In most countries, the Presidential position is somewhat symbolic unless it’s held by a strong man.

      • zaladonis says:

        Mubarak has spent 30 years doing a great job of preventing any real opposition from forming or creating a political network and having the experience to navigate the Egyptian bureaucracy and we are seeing the results of that right now. I think all the people on the internet and on TV saying “but where is their leader?!?” should keep that in mind.

        Stacy, keep it in mind to what end? This is a practical concern.

        Egypt needs someone in authority, at the very least somebody in charge to deal with security and to organize or delegate the organization of the next election. That’s absolute bare minimum.

        The protesters clearly don’t want Mubarak and from what I’ve seen they’re not keen on Suleiman, which is understandable, but then whom?

      • zaladonis says:

        Kat @ 12:38 – where are the points you referred to? I missed them and I’d like to read them.

        What you say makes sense but I haven’t seen that laid out in terms of what’s left of Egypt’s government. Mubarak just fired everyone and appointed a VP the protesters are unhappy about. Mubarak’s been a very strong leader; I don’t know the individuals left in government right now who he didn’t fire but I’d be surprised if the protesters want them (Mubarak’s government) to lead Egypt by committee – unless maybe, as Hillary seemed to be saying this morning, some non-government people the protesters feel speak for them would be included.

        • dakinikat says:

          It’s in a 12:20 reply to Sophie.

        • dakinikat says:

          Basically, the institutions and the laws are still in tact with or without Mubarak. They may eventually have to amend the constitution to remove the leader for life provision, but other than then need for police or peacekeepers, I can’t see that Egypt isn’t governable by a unity government that holds together until elections are held. They need UN peacekeepers to supplement and train the military. The other things is the possibility of an Egyptian national guard, if it exists.

          • dakinikat says:

            guess they don’t have an Egyptian national guard … it was disbanded years ago and the republican guard has replaced it which is typical of strong man governments … they’d need to establish a national guard, but UN peacekeepers could help with that.

          • dakinikat says:

            oh, and the unity government would have to appoint ministers until a new government could be formed which would like be a unity government any way because so many political parties were disbanded and their leaders basically exiled. It would take awhile for each of those political parties to get more established and seek legal status.

      • zaladonis says:

        They have a parliament. They have ministers. They have civil servants, etc. They can form an interim unity government to hold elections fairly soon.

        Well you say that easily but I haven’t seen any evidence that an “interim unity government” made up of Mubarak’s government leftovers would be acceptable to the protesters, or even that those unnamed ministers, civil servants, etc, are up to the task or what one or more of their agendas might be.

        Again, just assuming that unknown people are going to do the right thing is way naive. I mean, of course we all hope whoever takes over will do the right thing, will bring peace to Cairo and elsewhere, will set up elections, will keep the government running smoothly internationally and domestically, but assuming there’s a great group in government just waiting to do that after 30 years of Mubarak choosing his government seems to me a stretch.

        I think you’re dismissing a legitimate and important concern as canard.

      • zaladonis says:

        Kat all that takes planning and agreement. Who’s going to do that, who’s going to mediate and make the final decision about who rules what?

        This, as I’ve been trying to explain, is so complicated it’s not like Mubarak can be ushered out and someone, or a unity government that’s sort-of pre-formed, will step in.

        And I also don’t think the UN can be called in as easily as you suggest. I mean it’s not like calling Roto Rooter to unclog a drain, these things take planning and coordination and time.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Well, it isn’t up to the US to force anything or anyone over in Egypt. The Egyptian people will need do this. Egypt is not a newly developed country, there is a strong sense of culture and history. The people need to be supported and allowed to make their own choices.

      I really get a sense that they want Mubarak out and then go from there.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I have to get lunch on for the kids. Will be right back…very exciting.

      • zaladonis says:

        Yes they want Mubarak out and then go from there, but that’s totally irresponsible. I mean, it’s like the whole online social network thing – just join the crowd and say what you want and then some wonderful unseen Big Giant Head will take care of all the businessey stuff and it’ll all be okay. I certainly don’t want the US government sanctioning that kind of foolishness. It’s not like some very smarmy people wouldn’t love to take over Egypt. Now, if someone’s ready to step in Mubarak’s place, someone responsible who the people will accept as authority, I’m not so concerned that the bad folks could gain power. But it’s insane to just leave a vacuum.

    • dakinikat says:

      Do you realize they’re unemployment rate–the one they are protesting–is lower than ours? They have 9.4 with a nearly 6% GDP growth rate. They have terrible food price inflation too. They have like 40% poverty … this should be a cautionary tale to a bunch of folks. Believe me. We have about 14 percent poverty and it’s rising.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I saw this morning (honestly the interviews are meshing together so I don’t remember exactly who said it…it may have been British PM) They were discussing the economy. That there was some growth and that part of the revolt stems from so many years of horrible economic situations, then a little boost in employment and GDP which the dictatorship was not willing to deal with. I will see if I can find it.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I think most people are missing the fact Dak, that even aid being sent into Egypt was being tapped into by corruption and that the top 1% was keeping the wealth. The middle class was sacrificing to get their children through college and their children couldn’t gain access due tot he nepotism and the wealth/cash/resources being kept by a few.

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    I trust no one, not even myself!

    Yesterday I was lamenting about needing a sabbatical in order to refresh my outlook on life due to the overwhelming glut of newscasts that deliver little beyond the gloom and doom of life.

    Just listened to my local weather forecast predicting another huge storm heading my way by Tuesday night. Am beginning to identify with the Donner Party!

    Yet here I am,constantly commenting on a situation in another part of the world that may have disastrous consequence for global stability and I need to get dressed.

    I need to learn to “stifle it Edith” before my kids find me plunked across the computer in my bathrobe, egg stains and all.

    • zaladonis says:

      I was dressed but after shoveling the roof again my pants were soaking wet so now I’m chillin in underwear and t-shirt. It happens.

  9. Sophie says:

    CNN keeps flashing this video of GWB saying, “America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies.”

    He must have said that before we implemented Homeland Security, Gitmo, TSA, and the Banker Bailout.

  10. Edward Walker former ambassador to Egypt is saying good stuff on CNN right now. Says this isn’t about us, this is about Egypt.

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    Ironic isn’t it that we would all much rather listen to Hillary, even if she is representing the Obama administration, than having to listen to Obama himself. Shows us just how wrong they were in 2008 by pushing her aside in favor of him.

    He probably told her to go out and say whatever she felt best today since he had other pressing matters at hand. Must be a basketball game on somewhere.

    I have a strong suspicion that she has a far greater grasp on the issue than he could ever manage to digest. I’d rather listen to her than him any day of the week.

    • Pilgrim says:

      Yes, Pat. As I watched Hillary, once again I thought how refreshing to listen to her, and watch her, as she formulates clear thoughts from her clear-thinking mind, and doesn’t groan and gurgle and um and ah and struggle along painfully (for the viewer/hearer) from one word to the next.

  12. Woman Voter says:

    plz RT | Please support
    http://www.free-egypt.net follow
    @Freeegypt_net &
    http://www.freetunisia.net
    follow @freetunisia_net | #opegypt

    Check out the two sites on this tweet via wikileaks.

  13. Woman Voter says:

    avinunu Ali Abunimah
    by dredeyedick
    VIDEO: Democracy protests in Amman, Jordan on Friday, Jan 28
    post.ly/1YLtN
    #jan25 #ReformJO

    Protests in Jordan too.

    • Woman Voter says:

      MORE REUTERS RESULTS FOR:
      “King abdullah, that darn freedom of expression”
      http://tiny.cc/phw1j

      This is the most telling quote for me, and one that says the meme of the ‘Islamists’ will take over is fear mongering. 80% of Egyptians are not Islamists and want Democracy. The Egypt Revolution could be the future and I hope that it will lead to Peace.

  14. Sophie says:

    ElBaradei is saying Mubarak needs to leave today or tomorrow. (CNN)
    (And yes, if it’s the people’s will, he’s willing to lead.)

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m not getting this canard being passed around on US television that there’s a vacuum if Mubarak leaves. They have a parliament. They have ministers. They have civil servants, etc. They can form an interim unity government to hold elections fairly soon. The only thing that appears to be dysfunctional is the police. I’m sure UN peacekeepers could be sent to supplement and train the army until a new police force can be established. It’s not like they don’t do that now in the places we’ve invaded and in other places in Africa. I’m sure other nations could send peacekeeping forces.

    • Woman Voter says:

      ElBaradei would be a good transition person and he isn’t full of himself like others.

      • dakinikat says:

        Ayman Nour is another possibility.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Yup, but for some reason, maybe his own past oppression more international orgs are showing confidence in him. Who ever does, they should only serve until the Egyptians hold their elections and I do agree with ElBaradei on the need for a new constitution, to eradicate some of the oppressive laws and especially the law that allows for a life time dictator.

      • Fannie says:

        Can I suggest another Nobel Peace Prize winner?

  15. Woman Voter says:

    LaraABCNews Lara Setrakian
    by dredeyedick
    US govt evacuations RT @TravelGov #Egypt: Those wishing to depart via USG chartered transportation should contact us 1-202-501-4444.

    OK, if Mubarak doesn’t step down and a Unity government organized, I suspect things will get hotter in Egypt and those wishing to leave may wish to do so now as per the above tweet is my take.

  16. Tom Boone says:

    Received yesterday from Dr. Iman Bibars, Director, Ashoka MENA:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Tom Boone
    Sent: Wed, Feb 2, 2011 11:06 am
    Subject: WORD FROM INSIDE EGYPT : Please share

    Dear Friends and colleagues
    This is a letter to all of my friends and colleagues who sent warm and kind words of encouragement to me , my family and all of the Egyptians at these very tough times.
    What has happened in Egypt the last week or more is unprecedented and is a wonderful and revitalizing experience for all Egyptians who love this country. This is our first real people revolution and it is fueled by wonderful and great young men and women from all walks of Egypt. The liberation square has become a symbol for all our sufferings and also our victories. I cannot claim that I have suffered as many Egyptians did and many of the young revolutionaries asked me why am I supporting them although I have been benefiting (their words) or have not been harmed by the old regime. My only answer was that I loved Egypt and that to be loyal and patriotic to this country means that you want the best for her and you want her to be free and her people to be liberated and treated as humans. For me Egypt is a she, a her and the mother of all Egyptians and the matriarch that has kept us all in her bosom and nurtured us whether we were grateful or not. And what the regime of husni Mubarak and the security apparatus headed by the war criminal habib al adly have done to us and to the people of Egypt for 30 years is unparalleled in any other country. The humiliation and destruction of the Egyptian character and the spirit of the people in a calculated and organized way took place for 30 years in a relentless and very evil way. Egyptians stopped laughing or smiling from their hearts, you could see and touch helplessness and hopelessness among the old and the young. Phenomena such as sexual harassment, looting and predominance of thugs spread because they were encouraged by the security that wanted to break the pride and self respect of all Egyptians. The murdering and killing was not only of peoples bodies and lives but of their souls and spirits. Corruption and lack of ethical fiber and self respect became the norm, became the traits most respected.
    I am as you all know quite mature (i.e. old) and have been here since the 60s and I have worked with the people and in the streets and was naïve enough to try to enter politics believing that this country needed those who loved her and who would give more then they would take. I was burnt and burnt hard and not only from the government but from the pretenders or those who played the roles of defenders of human rights or of the people but who in many cases found it lucrative to play that role. My mistake was that I always followed my conscience and what I thought was right and was neither extreme left nor extreme right. What happened in Egypt during the last 5 years at least what I found out broke my heart and I started thinking and acting seriously to leave the country to go and live somewhere else. I did not feel there was any hope left.
    But then on the 25th and when I was home and discovering the internet world , face book and you tube for the first time in my life, I also rediscovered Egypt, the Egypt I have read about and dreamed about. The brave and noble youth of Egypt have resurrected our pride and soul. They have revived the real spirit and soul of Egypt. They have taken away our shame of being so spineless and useless for decades. They have and for the first time in our history carried a real people’s revolution at least during my life time.
    They managed to reveal the true face of our security and police forces, those traitors who abandoned their posts and allowed our children and families to die, be attacked and vandalized. Many of the looters and thugs were reported were associated one way or the other with the police. They did not mind that mothers, elders and children be terrorized in a an effort to abort the revolution and scare all of the liberation square heroes away from their main battle. They did not care and frankly this is what the last regime had shown over and over again, that they do not care for us, for the Egyptians or for Egypt. That is why they should not stay, they should go , they should not be allowed to rule or govern as they are in reality traitors who hate us. No one who loves his country and its people would have allowed the scandal and shameful behavior of the security forces not only in murdering and torturing the protesters but more so in terrorizing the kind people of Egypt by opening the prisons, and sending their own thugs to steal, loot and vandalize shops, homes and the nice and simple Egyptian families.
    Now at this moment and after the maneuvers of the state , a peaceful transition of power is becoming less of a reality and clashes between the youth of Egypt, the real revolutionaries and those pushed and prompted by the state and the NDP is going on now. I just learned that the liberation square is completely blocked and the army tanks are around it and also blocking any means to go in or out.
    The state TV is sending wrong images and stories and lying to the people of Egypt, the regime and its NDP are sending thugs and some paid youth to start fights with the heroes of the liberation square and our youth are in deep danger. They are being under siege now and are being attacked by disguised thugs and security forces, the army has blocked all inroads to the liberation square and the mercenaries of the regime are beating and attacking women, girls and young men whose only demand was freedom and liberty.
    If we can reach all Egyptians everywhere and tell them that the revolution is not and will not be over, I met several young people and they said that they are willing to die for Egypt in the liberation square but we do not want to sacrifice those clean souls. Please lets all see a way to save them and tell all of Egypt that the mercenaries of the regime are the ones taking to the street now and that no one should give up the demands for a better and more liberated and free Egypt. Please do not believe the state TV for there are no outside forces or traitors among the revolutionaries who wanted our pride and self worth and respect to return to us.

    Iman Bibars, PhD
    Leadership Team Member
    Vice President, Ashoka
    Regional Director, Ashoka Arab World
    ibibars@ashoka.org
    93 Abdel Aziz Al Saud St., 7th floor, Apt 1
    Manial, Cairo, Egypt.
    Tel: (+202) 25328586 – 23655336 – 25314775 – 25314779
    Fax: (+202) 32654404
    http://www.ashoka-arab.org
    http://ashokaarabworld.wordpress.com
    Nominate a Fellow!
    http://ashokaarabworld.wordpress.com/nominate-a-fellow/

    • dakinikat says:

      From Juan Cole:

      It should be remembered that Egypt’s elite of multi-millionaires has benefited enormously from its set of corrupt bargains with the US and Israel and from the maintenance of a martial law regime that deflects labor demands and pesky human rights critiques. It is no wonder that to defend his billions and those of his cronies, Hosni Mubarak was perfectly willing to order thousands of his security thugs into the Tahrir Square to beat up and expel the demonstrators, leaving 7 dead and over 800 wounded, 200 of them just on Thursday morning.
      It might seem surprising that Mubarak was so willing to defy the Obama administration’s clear hint that he sould quickly transition out of power. In fact, Mubarak’s slap in the face of President Obama will not be punished and it is nothing new. It shows again American toothlessness and weakness in the Middle East, and will encourage the enemies of the US to treat it with similar disdain.

      The tail has long wagged the dog in American Middle East policy. The rotten order of the modern Middle East has been based on wily local elites stealing their way to billions while they took all the aid they could from the United States, even as they bit the hand that fed them. First the justification was the putative threat of International Communism (which however actually only managed to gather up for itself the dust of Hadramawt in South Yemen and the mangy goats milling around broken-down Afghan villages). More recently the cover story has been the supposed threat of radical Islam, which is a tiny fringe phenomenon in most of the Middle East that in some large part was sowed by US support for the extremists in the Cold War as a foil to the phantom of International Communism. And then there is the set of myths around Israel, that it is necessary for the well-being of the world’s Jews, that it is an asset to US security, that it is a great ethical enterprise– all of which are patently false.