Saturday: a time for prayers

Click Image to go to Al Jazeera Live Blog on Egypt for Feb. 5th

Photo: A wounded antigovernment protester joined fellow demonstraters for Friday prayer at Tahrir square in Cairo. Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered for sweeping “Day of Departure” demonstrations to try to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit. (Mohammed Abed/AFP-Getty)

Good morning, news junkies!

So the story this week is still Egypt, and I thought I’d start off with a first-person account that Bloomberg ran yesterday from reporter Maram Mazen:

A policeman looked me in the eye and said: “You will be lynched today,” running his finger across his neck.

But, that wasn’t Mazen’s most frightening moment on Thursday in Cairo. Click over to find out what it was.

Next up, a youtube of the protesters in Tahrir square breaking into song yesterday, led by a guitarist off-camera, amidst cries for Mubarak’s immediate exit during Friday’s ‘Day of Departure’ demonstrations. It’s almost at a 100,000 views already. Please go give it another. It’s just plain enjoyable music too. Rough translation of what they’re singing, from the comments:

Let’s make Mubarak hear our voices. We all, one hand, requested one thing, leave leave leave … Down Down Hosni Mubarak, Down Down Hosni Mubarak … The people want to dismantle the regime …. He is to go, we are not going … He is to go, we won’t leave … We all, one hand, ask one thing, leave leave.

Click Image to see more pictures of the day for Feb. 4th from the NYT Lens

Photo: Iranian women participated in Friday prayer outside Tehran University (Behrouz Mehri/AFP-Getty)

Here’s the latest word from Secretary Clinton on Egypt, speaking at a Munich security conference this Saturday — Hillary characterizes the unrest that the Mideast is facing as a “perfect storm of powerful trends” and says:

This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable.

Al Jazeera English also reports that she said there must be clear progress toward “open, transparent, fair and accountable systems” across the region not to risk even greater instability.

While we’re on the Middle East, did you hear? Rand Paul wants to end “welfare to Israel.” Hey, don’t shoot, I’m just relaying the news here. And, before anyone on the other side of that issue goes goo goo over Paul following in his father’s isolationist footsteps, remember the libertarian catch that it comes with–Paul is also calling for dramatic education cuts.

There’s an interesting blog piece on Egypt, Obama, and Indonesia at the New Statesman that I’m still thinking on, but I thought I’d put it out there for Saturday reading. I have to say, I have yet to see any indication that Obama has much of a plan when it comes to Egypt. The deer-in-the-headlights look coming from this White House has been hard to miss.

This next item didn’t seem to generate much buzz, but I thought I’d put it in here and get your reactions… a Mississippi federal judge threw out a challenge to HCR on Thursday.

Here’s a story I’d been meaning to cover last week but didn’t get to, and there’s an update on it this weekend too. You may or may not know but Indian human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen is facing life imprisonment. Here is the report Democracy Now’s Anjali Kamat filed from Chhattisgarh in advance of the global day of protest calling for Binayak’s release last Sunday. And, here is the update on Binayak’s wife, Ilina Sen, who has been under a witchhunt by the Maharasthra Police. An FIR against her has been reportedly thrown out:

Illina was named as an accused for her alleged failure to inform the police of the participation of foreign delegates at a conference of the Indian Association for Woman Studies ( IAWS) in Wardha.

Illina, who had termed the FIR an vindictive act of the state, told Mail Today on Thursday that she was unaware of the development. ” But if it is happening, it is a welcome step,” she said.

” The home ministry has intervened in the matter… Illina’s name will be dropped from the FIR,” a government source said.

Looks like a bit of good news we can hang our hats on as the rest of the world spins out of control. Speaking of women’s studies…

This Saturday in Women’s and Children’s Health headlines

BYU School of Family Life researchers Sarah Coyne and Laura Padilla-Walker find that teen girls who play video games with their parents are less depressed (Truthdig), as part of the Flourishing Families project that began in 2007. Here’s the pdf to the actual study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health this month for anyone who is interested. According to Coyne, et al. (2011), for girls there is a link between playing age-appropriate games with parents and lowered internalizing (anxiety/depression) and aggression. There is no correlation for boys, and further studies are still needed to determine causality and long term effects for girls. Two years ago, the larger study that this research is a part of found a link between frequent gaming and relationship difficulties. This summer the project led to research that found having a sister may counter depression. Let’s hear it for sisterhood! Which brings me to…

Cinematherapy…in Feminist Perspective

Click poster to go to

A great op-ed last week on Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s documentary Missrepresentation, by Ashley Chappo in The Cavalier Daily — “Showgirls.” Here’s a teaser of Chappo’s piece:

As the American activist Marian Wright Edelman once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Our national misconceptions about the value of women have contributed to the fact that the United States currently ranks 90th world-wide when it comes to women’s representation in politics. This year, Newsom’s documentary is a must-see because it challenges all Americans to reconsider their values and confront institutions that perpetuated inferior images of female capability.

Another film featured last month at the Sundance festival that you might want to take a look at is Lynn Hershmann’s !Women Art Revolution. Also, if you have a chance, check out: “Global Girls Go Sundance.”

This last one is really a review of a review of a book, but I’m sticking it here because it goes with feminist reads. Historiann: “Rebecca Traister on Stephanie Coontz’s A Strange Stirring.”

This day in history (February 5)

1871: Mary Sewall Garnder, pioneer of public health nursing, was born.

(If you click on Mary’s name, the link will take you to more women’s history trivia for February 5th.)

Closing thought

With all the upheaval going on in the world these days, I thought I’d share the Gayatri mantra before I go… I grew up on it, and though I’m agnostic and don’t believe in a “creator god,” this one stuck for me, perhaps because Gayatri is a girl goddess and the prayer is about asking her to dispel the darkness of ignorance. I like this translation:

Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

Mother who subsists as all three Kalas, in all three Lokas, and all three Gunas, I pray to you to illuminate my intellect and dispel my ignorance, just as the splendorous sunlight dispels all darkness. I pray to you to make my intellect serene and bright.

And, to make this roundup even more cross-cultural…

La fin and merci beaucoup if you made it to the end. Let’s hear what you’re reading this Saturday in the comments.

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]

66 Comments on “Saturday: a time for prayers”

  1. The youtube I posted of the Egyptian protesters breaking into song is already up to 122,654 views! It was just shy of a 100,000 earlier this morning when I put it in my roundup.

  2. mablue2 says:

    Morning everyone.

    I’ve been enjoying a lot of good reading about the sainted Reagan.

    Ronald Reagan Myth Doesn’t Square with Reality

    Reagan is perhaps most often invoked by those who cast him as having held the line against tax increases. Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, for example, often points to Reagan when calling for lower taxes and spending cuts; he says, by contrast, “tax hikes are what politicians do when they don’t have the determination or the competence to govern.” Conservatives also hail Reagan as a budget cutter willing to make hard choices to keep spending in line.


    But following his party’s losses in the 1982 election, Reagan largely backed off his efforts at spending cuts even as he continued to offer the small-government rhetoric that helped get him elected. In fact, he went in the opposite direction: His creation of the department of veterans affairs contributed to an increase in the federal workforce of more than 60,000 people during his presidency.

    Ronald Reagan cared more about UFOs than AIDS

    If Ronald Reagan was a genuine UFO nutter or simply in thrall to a simplistic sci-fi plot makes no difference to me. But the fact remains that he spent a lot of time talking about spacemen. Spacemen killed, according to my estimates, no Americans, at all, during Reagan’s presidency.

    Reagan never mentioned AIDS until he was directly questioned about it in his second term, and he never gave a public statement on the epidemic until 1987, when 20,000-30,000 people had already died from it.

    Five myths about Ronald Reagan’s legacy

    On Sunday, America celebrates the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan, whose presidency is a touchstone for the modern conservative movement. In 2011, it is virtually impossible for a major Republican politician to succeed without citing Reagan as a role model. But much of what today’s voters think they know about the 40th president is more myth than reality, misconceptions resulting from the passage of time or from calculated attempts to rebuild or remake Reagan’s legacy. So, what are we getting wrong about the Gipper?

    • The worst part is that so many, including our current and ostensibly Democratic president, think Reagan is someone to emulate.

      • Oh goodness, it quotes Douglas Brinkley… has he still not gotten over his Obama thing?

        Brinkley says Obama is wise to identify himself with the 40th president any way he can.

        “Reagan is in the water, it’s in the air, he’s in the DNA of America at the moment,” Brinkley says. “He’s beloved by the American people.”


        Thanks for the link, Sophie.

      • dakinikat says:

        Don’t get me started on what a DIVA Douglas Brinkely is and why our university was glad to be rid of him and his big fat head. There was obvious bristling reactions whenever he showed up to meetings back in the day.

  3. BTW, if you click on the link to Mary Sewall Gardner at the end, it will take you to more women’s history trivia for Feb. 5th. I’m going to go and add a note in the post, too.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    And Sarah Palin wants to return us to the “glory days of yesterday” by invoking Reagan in her latest screech.

    I never could understand the “sanctification” of Ronald Reagan. If the GOP could dig him up now they would, run him once again for president, and install his corpse in the Oval Office.

    People tend to forget that his presidency was all about making his rich friends richer (remember his fancy Kitchen Cabinet and those who inhabited it?)

    How about Nancy who appealed to soothsayers in guiding his decisions? Come on!

    He rose to the rank of mediocrity at best. The same track Obama is headed down and he sure isn’t worthy of emulation.

    • A lot of Sarah Palin’s fanatics and Barack Obama’s worshippers are my age and seem completely confused — they think out of the last 30 years, the decade to fear is not the Reagan or W. years but those dreaded Clinton 90s.

      • HT says:

        Just goes to show how the education system has failed. Reagan was a senile man. He was also a man that didn’t know where he belonged. He held his finger up to the wind and finally decided on being a republican – after all that is where the money and power was. Much like Obama held his finger up. Neither men are praiseworthy.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Democracy Now is saying that Mubarak has resigned as head of his party. I’m not sure what that means.

    • Laura Rozen:

      Mubarak resigns as head of ruling NDP party

      Hosni Mubarak has resigned as head of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party, Egyptian state television and several media report.

      The development comes amid reports that Egyptian officials have been discussing Mubarak assuming a figurehead role as a way to ease him from power during the transition. Among the possibilities reportedly discussed are that Mubarak might move to his residence in Sharm-el-Sheikh or take medical leave in Germany.

      The shake-up of Egypt’s ruling party leadership is not a resignation of his government role, Middle East analyst Hussein Ibish said.

      • dakinikat says:

        I just got this tweet.

        SultanAlQassemi Sultan Al Qassemi
        Al Arabiya reporter says that President Mubarak has not resigned as head of the NDP

  6. grayslady says:

    I happen to agree with Rand Paul on foreign aid to Israel, and I don’t consider myself an isolationist–although an anti-interventionist, certainly. I think it is worthwhile to look at supporting specific, non-military programs in developed countries, but, otherwise, I don’t believe any developed country should be receiving U.S. tax dollars when our own people here need that money so desperately.

    I’m even becoming concerned about USAID. At Davos, it was announced that the U.S. has formed a new “public/private partnership” for agriculture, including such sterling, well-respected private partners as Monsanto and Wal-Mart. /s Let’s just let these behemoths ruin everyone else’s agricultural output, as well.

    • I actually agree a lot on Israel…but I think Rand and his father tend to come from an isolationist perspective, though it’s certainly possible to arrive to a similar conclusion on Israel coming from other perspectives. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. I just meant to straddle both sides to say that it comes with all kinds of libertarian string attached to cut everything, so Rand really isn’t the right messenger on this, even if part of it I agree with…at least from my POV.

      • put differently: I don’t think they make as compelling a case on the issue when in the same breadth as cutting money to Israel they talk about all but ending public education.

      • grayslady says:

        Once in awhile Ron and Rand come up with some decent ideas. I agree that it’s a pity the remainder of their platforms are so counter-productive.

      • I even have some grudging respect for Ron, though Rand seems dumber. At least Ron Paul is perceptive enough to note that Obama is NOT a socialist. To be fair, I don’t keep up enough with Rand to know what exactly he says about Obama’s economic policy, after he was foolish enough to discuss civil rights act as if it were a business’ rights issue. It’s just kind of sad when the only people in gov’t who will touch the Israel elephant are people who aren’t going to be listened to… it just reinforces the whole elephant in the room status.

    • Sophie says:

      I think our foreign “aid” is a joke. (And if we stopped “giving” it, no one would make those resources available to anyone here at home.) Our aid comes with strings attached–we control how the recipient spends it (on military goods, GM seeds, and so on). The money goes right back to the large corporations.

      • Sadly, I agree with that assessment, too. In the end, it’s the problem of corporate influence on our gov’t that supercedes everything, even left/right ideological differences.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Members of leadership of Egypt’s ruling party, including President Hosni Mubarak, submit resignations, state TV reports.

    from CNN

  8. dakinikat says:

    Bush Cancels Geneva Trip in Advance of Torture Suit

    Just days before George W. Bush’s scheduled arrival to Geneva, the former United States President decided to cancel his trip. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) sent the following statement:

    “CCR, with the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), have spent weeks preparing a 2,500 page torture case against Bush that would have been filed on Monday, February 7 – the anniversary of the day, nine years ago, when Bush decided the Geneva Conventions didn’t apply to ‘enemy combatants.’ Bush was due to be in Geneva on the 12th, and his presence on Swiss territory is required for the prosecutor to take action.

    “The complaint, brought under the Convention Against Torture with the support of 50 NGOs, two former UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and two Nobel Prize winners, was on behalf of two torture victims, one who is still at Guantánamo.

    “Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he cancelled his trip to avoid our case. The message from civil society is clear – If you’re a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It’s a slow process for accountability, but we keep going.”

  9. dakinikat says:

    Iraq: Secret Jail Uncovered in Baghdad

    Elite security forces controlled by the military office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq are operating a secret detention site in Baghdad, Human Rights Watch said today. The elite forces are also torturing detainees with impunity at a different facility in Baghdad, Human Rights Watch said.

    Beginning on November 23, 2010, and continuing over the next three to four days, Iraqi authorities transferred more than 280 detainees to a secret site within Camp Justice, a sprawling military base in northwest Baghdad, interviews and classified government documents obtained by Human Rights Watch reveal. The Army’s 56th Brigade, also known as the Baghdad Brigade, and the Counter-Terrorism Service, both under the authority of the prime minister’s office, control this secret site. The hurried transfers took place just days before an international inspection team was to examine conditions at the detainees’ previous location at Camp Honor in the Green Zone. Human Rights Watch has also obtained a list of more than 300 detainees held at Camp Honor just before the transfer to Camp Justice. Almost all were accused of terrorism.

    • dakinikat says:

      Democracy!! Bush/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz style!

      Notice the date too. Sure glad we’ve still got all those ‘advisers’ and non military troop troops in there

  10. dakinikat says:

    PJCrowley Philip J. Crowley
    #SecClinton today: Young people in the #MiddleEast are rightly demanding that their governments become more effective, responsive and open.

  11. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hola, I just got the code to fix the header and the post info (the stuff under the header) so if you see any weirdness, it is not on your end. I can’t wait until this theme is sorted out. I am missing some damn good post and comments.

  12. dakinikat says:

    I guess our new policy is if you can’t beat them, join them …

    Egypt unrest: Hosni Mubarak must stay – US envoy

    US special envoy Frank Wisner has said that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should remain in power to oversee a transition.

    The remarks appear to contradict previous US calls for Mr Mubarak to begin an immediate transition, as demanded by protesters.

    The State Department has not yet commented.

    Mr Wisner also welcomed the resignation en masse of Egypt’s ruling party politburo.

    Senior figures including Mr Mubarak’s son Gamal have left their posts.

    • …this, the “superior judgment” that Obama had to offer.

      • HT says:

        Yup, and isn’t that the saddest statement. Superior judgment? I don’t think that the O-man knows what judgment is, and he has certainly proven himself to be less than “superior”.

        I thought that Gamal had fled from Egypt to the U.K. when the protests got a foothold. Is he still around?

  13. LIVE NOW: Several People Injured at Cowboys Stadium:

    Five people have been taken to the hospital after being injured at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. We re being told they were injured by falling ice from the top of the stadium. Lt. Pedro Arezalo, with the Arlington fire departmenttells, four of the injuries are minor and one of the victims has been taken to the trama unit at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Cowboys Stadium is the site of Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, February 6. North Texas has been plagued by severe weather all week including up to 7 inches of snow on Thursday in some part of the metroplex.

  14. dakinikat says:

    Amazing pictures of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon in Peru.

    It seems they’re being ran off their land by loggers.

  15. dakinikat says:

    William Kristol Hammers Beck as a paranoid John Bircher in the right wing Mag TWS.

    Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it’s a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.

    But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

    Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.

    It was not so long ago, after all, when conservatives understood that Middle Eastern dictatorships such as Mubarak’s help spawn global terrorism. We needn’t remind our readers that the most famous of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, was an Egyptian, as is al Qaeda’s number two, Ayman al Zawahiri. The idea that democracy produces radical Islam is false: Whether in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories, or Egypt, it is the dictatorships that have promoted and abetted Islamic radicalism. (Hamas, lest we forget, established its tyranny in Gaza through nondemocratic means.) Nor is it in any way “realist” to suggest that backing Mubarak during this crisis would promote “stability.” To the contrary: The situation is growing more unstable because of Mubarak’s unwillingness to abdicate. Helping him cling to power now would only pour fuel on the revolutionary fire, and push the Egyptian people in a more anti-American direction.

    sad day when Kristol is the voice of reason in the right

  16. dakinikat says:

    It Ain’t Just Mubarak — 7 of the Worst Dictators the U.S. Is Backing to the Hilt
    From Saudi Arabia to Uzbekistan to Chad, the U.S. keeps some very bad autocrats in power.

  17. This is kinda amazing… a picture of how the Tahrir protesters charge their cells!!

  18. jawbone says:

    Re: Assassination attempt on Suleiman (chief of intel, torture, renditions) and now VP — completely shot down by Eyptian government sources.

    Seems FOX News was the only MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) to run with the assassination story; others who mentioned it hedged with possible, alleged, etc.

    But Hillary used it to justify supporting existing gov’t in Egypt, which disappointed me greatly. And will disappoint the protesters. Predictions have been made that if Mubarek’s crew are not removed, the backlash against that will lead to extremists.

    Alas, if Mubarek’s crew keeps power for the duration of a “transition,” I fear 1) terrible imprisonments and torture, disappearances and deaths of those protesting, and 2) installation of a new gov’t not that different from the old. But satisfactory for the requirements of the Obama and the US empire.

    Now, did Mubarek et al play Obama et al? Or did someone else plant the assassination story for use in demanding “stability”? Or…?

    (Cartoon from Egypt: What part of “stability” don’t you protesters like? Answer; The “STAB” part.” Heh.