Saturday Night Specials

The Martini dakini

There’s a lot going on to think about during this weekend that’s generally reserved to celebrate the sale of mattresses, bad candy, and greenhouse flowers.

First, Is Algeria the next democracy domino in the MENA region? Also, why can’t I get any newspaper or TV news channel in this country to tell me about it?  Let’s start helping these folks out too!!

Internet providers were shut down and Facebook accounts deleted across Algeria on Saturday as thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested in violent street demonstrations.

Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s repressive regime.

Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

“The government doesn’t want us forming crowds through the internet,” said Rachid Salem, of Co-ordination for Democratic Change in Algeria.

It’s interesting that so many countries are aiming for what we’re losing every day. Meanwhile, the US Presidential assertion of the day is: FBI can get phone records without oversight.

The Obama administration’s Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy.That assertion was revealed — perhaps inadvertently — by the department in its response to a McClatchy request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo.

Critics say the legal position is flawed and creates a potential loophole that could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006.

The controversy over the telephone records is a legacy of the Bush administration’s war on terror. Critics say the Obama administration appears to be continuing many of the most controversial tactics of that strategy, including the assertion of sweeping executive powers.

So, this is an open thread, but I thought I’d share something with you. This is the famous Emma Lazarus poem that is etched into the pedestal of the statue of Liberty.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Do you think it still applies?


12 Comments on “Saturday Night Specials”

  1. Funny you should post that–I wrote about the Statue of Liberty inscription in my morning post: Gone with Mubarak is the mythology that Arab peoples don’t want democracy and have to have it imposed on them, as if they were somehow intrinsically “different” from Lady Liberty’s tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

    • Branjor says:

      I wrote about the Statue of Liberty inscription in a letter to the editor years ago, about the street in front of the hospital in the town I used to live in, where cars sped by unregulated by any traffic signal while the huddled masses (in front of the hospital) yearned to cross the street.

      I guess being a native New Yorker has made me blase about the Statue of Liberty, but the inscription on her base really is beautiful and representative of the aspirations of humanity to be free.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yup. Your post and BB’s post both were part of the inspiration for this. I thought I’d open this up for further discussion down here. I was even more worried about these things with these continued assaults on programs designed to help people find and stay in the middle class. Like FHA/VA loans and social security. You can’t miss the theme of others wanting what our politicians are dismantling.

      • Reminds me of the peter daou quote from awhile ago: “It’s a nightmarish joke that Republicans and Tea Partiers want to assail President Obama for denying American exceptionalism, while doing everything possible to undercut it.” At the time, I also pointed out that while what Daou said is perfectly said and spot on, the other side of the problem is that Obama himself wants to be considered a “Blue Dog” and undo the social policy legacy of FDR and LBJ, so he himself is no great upholder of the things that once made us the envy of the world in terms of quality of life.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        @Dak, that is so true.

  2. Dario says:

    I’m more inclined towards Yemen being the next state to boot out its president, and thought we’ve not heard anything from Saudi Arabia, I suspect things will heat up in that reign.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yemen’s the odd country out in the region. There’s less of a struggling middle class and educated youth there. It’s the one that’s more of a powder keg than the others.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Four Year Old Nina Explains Egypt:

  4. MnarviDZ says:

    Just a comment on the Telegraph’s alleged information of internet being shut down in Algeria and which is not correct. Many Algerians were tweeting and posting on FB yesterday from Algeria without any problem. All that was reported were some service disruptions.

    Check Mashable or Renesys reports.
    http://mashable.com/2011/02/12/algeria-facebook-shutdown-2/
    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2011/02/watching-algeria.shtml