Sunday Reads Chaos in the streets….Posted: January 30, 2011
*Update* The situation is escalating in Egypt, so here are some updated links:
The United States on Sunday said it will evacuate any of its citizens who want to leave Egypt. In a statement on its website, the US embassy in Cairo said flights would depart from various locations across the country on Monday.
Egypt today shut down the operations of the Arabic satellite TV channel al-Jazeera, blaming it for encouraging the country’s uprising – and demonstrating that the repressive powers of central government are still functioning.
Mubarak’s allegation that these demonstrations and arson – this combination was a theme of his speech refusing to leave Egypt – were part of a “sinister plan” is clearly at the centre of his claim to continued world recognition. Indeed, Obama’s own response – about the need for reforms and an end to such violence – was an exact copy of all the lies Mubarak has been using to defend his regime for three decades. It was deeply amusing to Egyptians that Obama – in Cairo itself, after his election – had urged Arabs to grasp freedom and democracy. These aspirations disappeared entirely when he gave his tacit if uncomfortable support to the Egyptian president on Friday. The problem is the usual one: the lines of power and the lines of morality in Washington fail to intersect when US presidents have to deal with the Middle East. Moral leadership in America ceases to exist when the Arab and Israeli worlds have to be confronted.
Good Sunday Morning, what a week it has been! So much going on in the news, so many Middle Eastern countries, in upheaval. Egypt reportedly has over 100 dead in the protest, and Australia is urging its citizens to leave. I had to take a break from it all yesterday, so I started a new puzzle. There is something about the chaos of those puzzle pieces, you have some control and can put the pieces together. You get a sense of completion and wholeness. Well, is that a bit over the top? Then truth be told, I just enjoy to do those suckers. Although, I am not as obsessed about working puzzles as Marion Davies, they sure are fun. Anyway, on with the show…Al Jazeera English has been doing some amazing coverage on the revolt in Egypt. The first three links are from that news organization.
Washington told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday 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.
“The Egyptian government can’t reshuffle the deck and then stand pat,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a message on Twitter.com after Mubarak fired his government but made clear he had no intention of stepping down.
China has blocked the word “Egypt” from the country’s wildly popular Twitter-like service, while coverage of the political turmoil has been tightly restricted in state media.
China’s ruling Communist Party is sensitive to any potential source of social unrest.
A search for “Egypt” on the Sina microblogging service brings up a message saying, “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown”.
As the revolt continues to expand and gain momentum in major Egyptian cities and protestors demand no less than the removal of his regime, it’s now the military’s choice to allow for the change to be peaceful or violent.
So far, it has opted for merely policing the streets without confronting the demonstrators, whether this will turn into a Tiananmen scenario of tough crackdown or not, will be decided in the next few hours or days.
The Egyptian military could follow the Tunisian military by refusing orders to shoot at demonstrators or impose the curfew.
The military can replace Mubarak with a temporary emergency governing council or leave it for civilian opposition groups to form government in consultation with the military.
This depends on the cost and benefits of keeping Mubarak who’s long been the military man at the helm of the regime. Appointing intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as his vice president, and hence ending his son’s chances for succession, will make little difference on the long term.
There is direct correlation between continued momentum of the uprising and the need to remove Mubarak, his family and his political leadership from the helm. Also, the military will make its calculation on the basis of delicate balancing act that insures its own influence and privileges while not allowing the country to descend into chaos.
In Israel, it looks like the pressure is starting to show. Obama will go down in history as the president who lost Egypt – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as “the president who lost Iran,” which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic Republic. Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who “lost” Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America’s alliances in the Middle East crumbled.
The superficial circumstances are similar. In both cases, a United States in financial crisis and after failed wars loses global influence under a leftist president whose good intentions are interpreted abroad as expressions of weakness. The results are reflected in the fall of regimes that were dependent on their relationship with Washington for survival, or in a change in their orientation, as with Ankara.
Ouch, that is some tough criticism. I honestly would be scared to death if I lived in Israel. One of the only buffers (Egypt) is going down in flames, and the other (Jordan) seems to be just heating up. I won’t get into a debate about Aluf Benn’s, the article’s author, choice of words regarding a “leftist” president.
Here is a couple more links about the response from Obama, and how the Egyptian People feel about his “stand back and wait” or should I say, let Hillary take all the heat on the Sunday Morning news shows. (Wonk mentioned yesterday that she is going on all the Sunday talk shows.)
If you have missed the coverage that Dakinikat has done on this crisis in Egypt, I urge you to check out her live blog post. She has really been on top of things. Wonk also posted about a young girl’s message to Mubarak. I tell you, the Sky Dancing Blog has been cooking lately. I am so proud to be part of this team.
Speaking of which, I have to give some props to Front Pagers Boston Boomer and Zaladonis and Sima. Give these links a look-see! Each of them wrote a very good blog post this weekend, you might have missed them with all the activity over in Northern Africa. Here are a few other interesting links that might have gone unnoticed.
FT.com / Companies / Banks – Blankfein awarded $12.6m in shares – The first line of the article mentions that the US must have gotten over the big money paid to big bank executives. Yeah? I don’t know about that…most people probably don’t even know about the pay off, I mean bonus guys like Goldman Sachs’ Blankfein are getting. Check out the grin on his face in this link: Blankfein Gets $13.2 Million for 2010 – NYTimes.com
Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report Lacks Analysis – NYTimes.com This story has really been lost in the shuffle. I guess it will at least give some time for people to review the massive report. I wonder if it will get any attention during the next news cycle.
Greg Mitchell: WikiLeaks Is Holding Me Hostage Well I don’t know about that. Grey Mitchell has a new book out, and it seems like “hostage” is a bit over the top…so the cables have been coming out a little at a time, I could make a crude connection to this and the massive “dump” at the beginning of the recent State Dept Cable leak…but I won’t.
This next link is for Dakinikat. She has joked about the fact that the recent disastrous events have not taken place in her own back yard. Well, she may very well know first hand about the emotional cost of dealing with a tragic situation. Weighing the costs of disaster
Disasters — both natural and humanmade — can strike anywhere and they often hit without warning, so they can be difficult to prepare for. But what happens afterward? How do people cope following disasters? In a new report in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, George Bonanno, Chris R. Brewin, Krzysztof Kaniasty, and Annette M. La Greca review the psychological effects of disasters and why some individuals have a harder time recovering than do others.
But why do individuals respond to disasters so differently? There may be a number of factors that influence how people react following disasters, such as age and socioeconomic status. For example, children react to disasters differently than do adults: Initially they tend to show more extreme psychological distress than do adult disaster survivors, but as with adults, such severe psychological problems are often only temporary. At the other end of the age spectrum, older adults tend to overcome disasters with fewer psychological costs than do younger adults. Economic resources may also play a role in people’s outcomes to disasters. Low socioeconomic status is consistently identified as a predictor of PTSD. Economically underdeveloped areas’ lack of infrastructure hampers the ability of emergency response teams to provide aid and death tolls tend to be larger in poorer nations than in wealthier nations following natural disasters.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: It has been 25 years since another disaster, the Challenger explosion…can you believe 25 years? I was a Sophomore in High School, we saw the explosion live. Our little group of 12 “gifted” students in Mr. Brooks class got to see it first hand. It had one effect on me, I would never watch a shuttle take off or land live again. Well, save for one time in 2003. The first time I would watch a shuttle landing since 1986, the Columbia landing. Anyway, give this link a read…I find it interesting cause it is written by a guy from my generation. Jim Noles: Twenty-Five Years Ago, We Lost More Than a Space Shuttle
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link: Appalachian History >> I won’t take a picture unless the moon is right, to say nothing of the sunlight and shadow
Born on January 15, 1864 in Grafton, WV, Frances Benjamin Johnston transcended both regional and national notions about women’s place in the 19th century to become a pioneer in American photography and photojournalism, and a crusader with her camera for the historic preservation of the Old South. Through her active encouragement of women who wised to enter her chosen profession, she helped to transform women’s sphere. The photographic record she compiled in over than fifty years as a working photographer continues to serve as a guide to the American past and to document her wide-ranging interest and achievements.
In an interview with Maud O’Bryan Ronstrom from the New Orleans ‘Times-Picayune’ in 1947, Johnston, then 83 years old, talked about her achievements. Typically, she looked ahead to her completion of works in progress (such as the restoration of her house on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter and a book on ‘The Early Architecture of the Lower Mississippi Valley’) rather than to her retirement. Johnston’s sense of humor emerges in this interview in her description of the lengths to which she sometimes had gone to capture a photograph.
This is such a cool post. Give this blog a read, it is called: Appalachian History. Living in this historic area of the US is a wonderful, even if I tend to joke about living in banjoland…with the sounds of squealing pigs in the distance.
And just one more…My Aunt called me late last night to alert me to my Cousin’s 15 minutes of fame. Seems Loren was walking his puppy Bonnie and came across a 15 foot, 200 pound Burmese Python. Dang, that could eat a small child…or at least a happy go lucky midget out for a stroll in the FLA woods…oops, I mean one of those happy go lucky “short people.” 😉
So what are you reading today? Lets have it loud and proud!