Egypt today

Sandmonkey skriver:

We managed to get over 2 million protesters in Cairo alone and 3 million all over Egypt to come out and demand Mubarak’s departure. Those are people who stood up to the regime’s ruthlessness and anger and declared that they were free, and were refusing to live in the Mubarak dictatorship for one more day. That night, he showed up on TV, and gave a very emotional speech about how he intends to step down at the end of his term and how he wants to die in Egypt, the country he loved and served. To me, and to everyone else at the protests this wasn’t nearly enough, for we wanted him gone now. Others started asking that we give him a chance, and that change takes time and other such poppycock. Hell, some people and family members cried when they saw his speech. People felt sorry for him for failing to be our dictator for the rest of his life and inheriting us to his Son. It was an amalgam of Stockholm syndrome coupled with slave mentality in a malevolent combination that we never saw before. And the Regime capitalized on it today.

Today, they brought back the internet, and started having people calling on TV and writing on facebook on how they support Mubarak and his call for stability and peacefull change in 8 months. They hung on to the words of the newly appointed government would never harm the protesters, whom they believe to be good patriotic youth who have a few bad apples amongst them. We started getting calls asking people to stop protesting because “we got what we wanted” and “we need the country to start working again”. People were complaining that they miss their lives. That they miss going out at night, and ordering Home Delivery. That they need us to stop so they can resume whatever existence they had before all of this. All was forgiven, the past week never happened and it’s time for Unity under Mubarak’s rule right now.

To all of those people I say: NEVER! I am sorry that your lives and businesses are disrupted, but this wasn’t caused by the Protesters. The Protesters aren’t the ones who shut down the internet that has paralyzed your businesses and banks: The government did. The Protesters weren’t the ones who initiated the military curfew that limited your movement and allowed goods to disappear off market shelves and gas to disappear: The government did. The Protesters weren’t the ones who ordered the police to withdraw and claimed the prisons were breached and unleashed thugs that terrorized your neighborhoods: The government did. The same government that you wish to give a second chance to, as if 30 years of dictatorship and utter failure in every sector of government wasn’t enough for you. The Slaves were ready to forgive their master, and blame his cruelty on those who dared to defy him in order to ensure a better Egypt for all of its citizens and their children. After all, he gave us his word, and it’s not like he ever broke his promises for reform before or anything.

Then Mubarak made his move and showed them what useful idiots they all were.

You watched on TV as “Pro-Mubarak Protesters” – thugs who were paid money by NDP members by admission of High NDP officials- started attacking the peaceful unarmed protesters in Tahrir square. They attacked them with sticks, threw stones at them, brought in men riding horses and camels- in what must be the most surreal scene ever shown on TV- and carrying whips to beat up the protesters. And then the Bullets started getting fired and Molotov cocktails started getting thrown at the Anti-Mubarak Protesters as the Army standing idly by, allowing it all to happen and not doing anything about it. Dozens were killed, hundreds injured, and there was no help sent by ambulances. The Police never showed up to stop those attacking because the ones who were captured by the Anti-mubarak people had police ID’s on them. They were the police and they were there to shoot and kill people and even tried to set the Egyptian Museum on Fire. The Aim was clear: Use the clashes as pretext to ban such demonstrations under pretexts of concern for public safety and order, and to prevent disunity amongst the people of Egypt. But their plans ultimately failed, by those resilient brave souls who wouldn’t give up the ground they freed of Egypt, no matter how many live bullets or firebombs were hurled at them. They know, like we all do, that this regime no longer cares to put on a moderate mask. That they have shown their true nature. That Mubarak will never step down, and that he would rather burn Egypt to the ground than even contemplate that possibility.

Læs det hele. Read it and weep.

Update: Sandmonkey er åbenbart anholdt, og hans blog er nede. Ifølge dette link ringede hans far til hans mobil, og Mubaraks Gestapo-folk tog telefonen. Lisa Goldman skriver:

Sandmonkey, Egypt’s most famous English-language blogger, was arrested on 3 February 2011 while attempting to deliver medical supplies to Tahrir Square. About one hour later, his blog was suspended. The obvious conclusion is that his arrested was not at all random – that Hosni Mubarak’s security forces were following him online and planned his arrest (the Sandmonkey tweeted that he was on his way to deliver medical supplies to Tahrir shortly before he was arrested).

The crackdown has begun. Du kan læse hele det oprindelige indlæg på Lisas blog.

Update, II: Sandmonkey er nu åbenbart løsladt igen. Check ham evt. på Twitter.

I dag Ægypten, i morgen den arabiske verden?

Den ægyptisk/amerikanske journalist Mona Eltahawy skriver i The Guardian:

To understand the importance of what’s going in Egypt, take the barricades of 1968 (for a good youthful zing), throw them into a mixer with 1989 and blend to produce the potent brew that the popular uprising in Egypt is preparing to offer the entire region. It’s the most exciting time of my life.

How did they do it? Why now? What took so long? These are the questions I face on news shows scrambling to understand. I struggle with the magnitude of my feelings of watching as my country revolts and I give into tears when I hear my father’s Arabic-inflected accent in the English of Egyptian men screaming at television cameras through tear gas: “I’m doing this for my children. What life is this?”

And Arabs from the Mashreq to the Maghreb are watching, egging on those protesters to topple Hosni Mubarak who has ruled Egypt for 30 years, because they know if he goes, all the other old men will follow, those who have smothered their countries with one hand and robbed them blind with the other. Mubarak is the Berlin Wall. “Down, down with Hosni Mubarak,” resonates through the whole region.

In Yemen, tens and thousands have demanded the ousting of Ali Abdullah Saleh who has ruled them for 33 years. Algeria, Libya and Jordan have had their protests. “I’m in Damascus, but my heart is in Cairo,” a Syrian dissident wrote to me.

My Twitter feed explodes with messages of support and congratulations from Saudis, Palestinians, Moroccans and Sudanese. The real Arab League; not those men who have ruled and claimed to speak in our names and who now claim to feel our pain but only because they know the rage that emerged in Tunisia will soon be felt across the region.

Aljazeera rapporterer, at tropperne i Alexandria og Cairo afviser at skyde på demonstranterne, hvis der kommer ordrer til det:

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the capital, said that soldiers deployed to central Cairo did not intervene in the protests.

“Some of the soldiers here have said that the only way for peace to come to the streets of Cairo is for Mubarak to step down,” he said. (…)

In Suez, Al Jazeera’s Jamal ElShayyal reported that 1,000-2,000 protesters had gathered, and that the military was not confronting them.

ElShayyal quoted a military officer as saying that troops would “not fire a single bullet on Egyptians”.

The officer also said the only solution to the current unrest was “for Mubarak to leave”.

Her er en noget optimistisk besked om opfordring til oprør i andre arabiske lande, der nu cirkulerer på Twitter:

hashtag dates already being planned for Arab world – Sudan Yemen Syria Algeria Bahrain

Det er selvfølgelig alt, alt for tidligt at sige, om der vitterlig kommer til at ske noget andre steder end Ægypten og  Tunesien – og det er også for tidligt at sige, om disse lande overhovedet ender med at blive bedre steder, eller om endnu værre kræfter står og venter i kulissen, som Jarle Petterson er inde på.

Tariq Ramadan har udtrykt en lignende bekymring i en kommentar til udviklingen i Tunesien:

The Tunisian revolution is widely praised ; the former dictator disgraced. But behind the scenes of the public and media theatre, political maneuvering and meddling are continuing apace. The American administration is following developments closely, and is close to events as they unfold in Tunisia. It will do whatever is necessary to protect its interests, and those of Israel and of its allies in Egypt, Jordan and throughout the Middle East. While the issues of Iran and Lebanon appear to have monopolized American and European media attention, we must not minimize the second U.S. front, that of African and regional policy at the risk of naively hailing a “Tunisian revolution” without taking strict account of what remains to be done to ensure its political independence and democratic transparency. And of smiling at the bright promised victory while other forces cynically count, in the shadows, the dividends of their newfound influence and windfall profits.

Noget lignende gælder naturligvis og i endnu højere grad Ægypten.

Mubarak er allerede nu i en situation, hvor han ikke kan drukne oprøret i titusinders blod, som det skete under pariserkommunen i slutningen af det 19. århundrede. Og der er heller ingen, der siger, det behøver blive lige så blodigt som den franske revolution ca. 100 år før.

Det virker oplagt, at de ægyptiske demonstranter blot ønsker et bedre samfund: Jobs, frihed, åbenhed, retssikkerhed, væk med undertrykkelse, censur og politivold. Men: Står der også denne gang en Napoleon (eller en ayatollah Khomeini) klar i kulissen, som kan tage magten, når demonstranterne har jublet ud.

Man kan udtænke alle mulige blide overgange, når først Mubarak er rejst – og det ser det indtil videre ud til, at han faktisk kommer til. Spændende bliver det i hvert fald, og farligt.

Og lad mig dog alligevel slutte i en optimistisk stemning, nemlig med overskriften til Mona Eltahawys førstciterede Guardian-artikel: We’ve waited for this revolution for years. Other despots should quail.

Lidt baggrund om Tunesien

Kevin Ovenden skriver på Lenin’s Tomb:

He moved in to the Presidential Palace with his official wife, but Leila [hans elskerinde] kicked up such a stink that he divorced and she moved in. Her brother, a small time mafiosi, overnight was transformed into one of Tunisia’s leading businessmen. Stellar advancement beckoned for the rest of the Trabelsi clan as Tunisia itself sank into the nightmare of police repression, corruption on a Croesian scale and slavish adherence to US/French policy interests, all glossed over in Washington, London and Paris, of course, as they encouraged tourism and then latterly the enforced one way flights of rendition to the black jails of the Tunisian desert.

So – an endearing first family for life. Somehow I don’t hear a Lloyd-Webber musical in the wings, a la Evita: Eva Peron had in contrast infinite redeeming features.

Ben Ali was not alone at the top of a pyramid of sadistic repression, grand corruption internally and pimping the country externally. The core of the movement of demonstrations and strikes is surely right in focusing the next steps on the complete clearing out of all those tainted by association with the regime. The caretaker President is already being targeted and the protests continuing.

It is enormously significant that one of the most pro-western and seemingly stable dictators in the Arab world has fallen in a revolution. Only belatedly do events seem to be entering the calculus of Western policy makers and of potentates and princes in the Middle East. Sarkozy was looking forward to playing kingmaker in the unfolding crisis in another former French possession, Lebanon, as Western forces vainly try to get their ducks in a row to isolate Hizbollah and turn back the strengthening alliance between Turkey, Syria and Iran, thus shoring up their own interests and those of Israel.

Se også TV-klippet herover. En politistat falder; et historisk øjeblik.

Oprør i Tunesien

Den udmærkede Bahraini Mahmood udtrykker utvivlsomt mange araberes følelser under overskriften: “An Arab Revolution! WTF!“:

Bye bye dictator.

Good luck to Tunisia and Tunisians over the critical coming few weeks and months. Keep your head, for goodness sake and don’t turn it into a North African Iraq. You have an unbelievable chance to make things better and inculcate popular modern democracy. Don’t fall into the theocracy trap, it won’t do you good. One Iraq and one Iran is enough for our world.

Bonne chance Tunisie.

Brian Whitaker forklarer i The Guardian (28. december), hvordan opstanden begyndte:

The riots and demonstrations that have swept through Tunisia during the past 10 days also began with a small incident. Twenty-six-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi, living in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, had a university degree but no work. To earn some money he took to selling fruit and vegetables in the street without a licence. When the authorities stopped him and confiscated his produce, he was so angry that he set himself on fire.

Rioting followed and security forces sealed off the town. On Wednesday, another jobless young man in Sidi Bouzid climbed an electricity pole, shouted “no for misery, no for unemployment”, then touched the wires and electrocuted himself.

On Friday, rioters in Menzel Bouzaiene set fire to police cars, a railway locomotive, the local headquarters of the ruling party and a police station. After being attacked with Molotov cocktails, the police shot back, killing a teenage protester.

By Saturday, the protests had reached the capital, Tunis – and a second demonstration took place there yesterday.

Egyptian Chronicles har bemærket, at der er tale om et historisk øjeblik:

Do you follow what is happening currently in Tunisia ?? You do not , then you are missing a lot.
Forget about the Lebanese government ,forget about the South Sudan , even forget about Egypt for now because we are now in front of a history making moment. The Tunisians.
Currently there is a revolution in Tunis, the capital , thousands are protesting in front of the ministries and central bank demanding Ben Ali to step down immediately. The clashes in the capital are violent and yet the people are not giving up nor they are deceived by Ben Ali’s tricks …”

Selvfølgelig fumler der også nogle danske bonderøve rundt dernede til skam og skændsel for alle danskere med to brikker at flytte rundt med og  blot antydningen af et hjerte. TV2 beretter således om de heltemodige danske golfturister, der svæver i yderste livsfare på deres luksushoteller.

Hvordan kan det være, at jeg ikke har ondt af disse velhavende mennesker, der ser folk kæmpe for deres frihed og mod det diktatur, deres egne turistkroner går til at støtte, og ikke tænker på andet end, hvor traumatisk og ubehageligt, det er for dem selv? Hvad har disse golfturister gjort eller tænkt sig at gøre for at støtte demonstranterne? – spørger man uvægerligt sig selv. De kunne faktisk gøre en betydelig forskel i retning af at sprede ordet om oprøret og dets baggrund – i stedet sidder de og ryster på deres hoteller og venter på, at rejsebureauet skal komme og redde dem.

Meget apropos spørger Mark Lynch aka Abu Aardvark, hvor demokratiets forkæmpere dog er blevet af i spørgsmålet om Tunesien:

Barely a month goes by without a Washington Post editorial bemoaning Egypt’s authoritarian retrenchment and criticizing the Obama administration’s alleged failure to promote Arab democracy. But now Tunisia has erupted as the story of the year for Arab reformers. The spiraling protests and the regime’s heavy-handed, but thus far ineffective, repression have captured the imagination of Arab publics, governments, and political analysts. Despite Tunis’s efforts to censor media coverage, images and video have made it out onto social media and up to Al Jazeera and other satellite TV. The “Tunisia scenario” is now the term of art for activist hopes and government fears of political instability and mass protests from Jordan to Egypt to the Gulf.

But the Post‘s op-ed page has been strikingly silent about the Tunisian protests. Thus far, a month into the massive demonstrations rocking Tunisia, the Washington Post editorial page has published exactly zero editorials about Tunisia. For that matter, the Weekly Standard, another magazine which frequently claims the mantle of Arab democracy and attacks Obama for failing on it, has thus far published exactly zero articles about Tunisia. Why are the most prominent media voices on Arab democracy so entirely absent on the Arab reform story of the year?

Hvis du gerne vil holde dig generelt opdateret, er Aljazeera ikke det værste sted.

Denne video – som kun er én blandt rigtig mange – kan også give et indtryk af stemningen og ikke mindst den voldsomhed, demonstrationer slås ned med i disse dage:

Dagens citat: Samfundsklasser

Eugene V. Debs, udtalelse i den retssag, hvor han blev dømt for undergravende virksomhed:

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

Hvad kan vi gøre for Iran? Om troskabseder og selvpromovering

I betragtning af, at adskillige politikere nu åbenlyst forsøger at slå plat på den tilspidsede situation i Irak ved krav om “troskabseder” fra herboende muslimer og tilsvarende krav om, at regeringen skal “gøre” noget, er det måske værd at erindre om dette, sakset fra hr. Kommentar:

…consider the following thought experiment. In 1963, as King delivers his famous speech to the March on Washington, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev delivers a public message of his own to the protesters. “We would like to tell these brave voices of freedom,” Khrushchev says, “that they have the full support and solidarity of the USSR. The Soviet Union and the United States Communist Party are ready and willing to perform any measures within our power to help our American brothers and sisters obtain their rights from this oppressive regime. And although Dr. King pretends that he holds no hostility toward the American capitalist system of government itself, and wishes only to secure the ideals of the American founding for all of its citizens, we all know that he and his supporters really yearn for complete regime change in Washington. We in Moscow will do whatever it takes to help you achieve this goal.”

Let us ignore the question of Khrushchev’s intentions here: whether he is motivated by genuine sympathy and desire to aid the civil rights marchers, or a more cynical hope of destabilizing a rival government, or a narcissistic and self-righteous wish to take credit for the marchers’ achievement in order to feel better about himself and appease his domestic critics. (And before anyone gets up in arms about “moral equivalence,” let me note than I am not equating Obama’s America and Khrushchev’s Russia, merely noting that Obama and Khrushchev occupy structurally similar positions as leaders of distrusted rival powers.)

Let us focus only on a simple tactical question: would Khrushchev’s statement aid the civil rights movement? Would it be welcomed by King and his associates? Why or why not?

Hvis Krustjov dengang havde haft et ønske om at støtte King og borgerretsforkæmperne, ville han nok have holdt sin mund. Og vi kan så tage bestik af situationen og tænke tilsvarende.

I virkeligheden er det måske mere ligetil for enkeltpersoner og organisationer (uden statsstøtte) at gøre en forskel, hvis man vil: Skriv til den iranske ambassade og protester over undertrykkelsen. Og bed regeringen åbne grænsen for de iranske flygtninge, der desværre let kunne komme temmelig mange af i den kommende tid.

Læs også: Iran: This Is Not a Revolution (via Lenin’s Tomb).


To ting:

1. Det er stadig slet ikke sikkert, at Ahmadinejad virkelig tabte det valg. Det ved vi ikke, med mindre der kommer en pålidelig omtælling.

2. Folk er meget, meget vrede i Iran, og der er mange af dem.

Det spiller bare ikke længere så stor en rolle, om der blev svindlet med valget eller ej. Det er tydeligvis slet ikke længere det, men hele regimet, det handler om. Hvordan vil det ende?

Jeg vil ikke kloge mig på det. Må præstestyret give sig, eller ender vi med at se en jernnæve, der knuser al videre modstand? Begge muligheder står åbne lige nu. Men Iran er et stort land med en meget gammel kultur – det kunne være rart at se det vende politisk og kulturelt tilbage til verden som et frit land, som det ikke har været i hvert fald siden 1953; det år, shahen kom til magten ved et kup.