Archive | January 31st, 2011

Egypt: By Way of Deception



The J-factor


By J  Bruce Campbell STAFF WRITER

The uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen are the inevitable results of the J-factor, which destroys everything. As I was told by a Saudi army general many years ago, all Arab countries are secretly controlled by Israel, including his own. (I hadn’t known back then that the Saudi “royal family” are themselves descendants of converts to Islam from Judaism and my partner didn’t tell me.) It is Jewish control of Arab countries that was the exact reason the Russian Jews were forced into the region following WWI: to destabilize Arabs and eventually control their huge oil resources.

Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) for making a treaty with the most infamous Jewish terrorist, Menachem Begin, a couple of years earlier. His tyrannical successor, Mubarak, has made himself very useful to Israel and the CIA ever since, which is the reason the Egyptians hate him so and why Leslie Gelb, the head of the Council on Foreign Relations, just said that Mubarak should stay in power. Gelb says Mubarak must be supported to prevent the MB from coming to power. Netanyahu is also afraid that the MB may take over the Egyptian government, so they are reportedly planning to invade and seize the huge Sinai Peninsula again while the Egyptian army is distracted. Gelb is Jewish and Netanyahu is Jewish. Does it matter to us which one says the same thing? Yes. What matters is who controls the money, and that is Gelb’s gang. Netanyahu’s gang gets our money as a result of US policy made by Gelb’s gang.

For some crazy reason, Ron Paul’s fortunate son has just pulled a Kennedy-style double cross and called for ending foreign aid to Israel, after running on a support-Israel position! The Kennedys did that to their Mafia supporters, too. But the point is, foreign aid CAN be cut off, especially in our ludicrous debt position. It will be decided by Gelb’s gang. Israel has always performed a very important job for the oil bankers and has been given the widest possible latitude to perform that job. They have been given that latitude by the mysterious super-Jews who control our money system, so it has seemed that America is actually controlled by Israel. This is just a part of the ongoing deception and disinformation program of the masters of deceit.

Up until 2006, Jewish thought-control of Internet content was still quite strong – strong enough to induce self-censorship by the various bloggers and webmasters. The word “Jew” pretty much had to be replaced with some euphemism, usually “Zionist.” I was writing for and produced something I called “Jewish Rule.” Jeff Rense initially rejected the piece, saying he couldn’t run it unless I softened it with other words for “Jew.” So I added some reasons why Jews should be called Jews. Jeff ran it without changes. Judicial-inc added pictures and that website has since been attacked and taken down. It’s available on Gnostic Liberation Front.

This piece broke the dam and led to what has become a flood of anti-Jewish material on the Internet. “Zionist” and “Zionism” are very good and legitimate words and should be used to describe the practice of Russian Jews, descendants of converts to Judaism, emigrating from Russia to Palestine and sadistically occupying that ancient country and re-naming it “Israel,” whence they would run the World Jewish Revolution. Some of my friends don’t like to use the word “Zionist” for any reason, but I disagree. It should be used in the strict meaning of the word.

One of the most deceptive phrases the Jews have is “anti-Semitism.” But it’s very easily sidestepped. On a special radio show in LA hosted by Susan Estrich she entitled “Anti-Semitism,” I called in and confronted her and her guest, Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and expert on “anti-Semitism.”

“Does either of you have one drop of Semitic blood in your body?”

Dershowitz quickly answered, “I must admit, I’m uncomfortable with the term…”

“Then why do you use it?”

“I just think there should be a better word.”

“But you didn’t say that on this show called ‘Anti-Semitism’ until I asked you that.”

Susan Estrich to the rescue: “So you don’t want to be called an ‘anti-Semite…” You just hate Jews.”

“I do think we need to be Jew-wise.”

“’Jew-wise?’ Well, I’m ending this call right now!”

But that’s how to deal with someone calling you an “anti-Semite.” If I can make Alan Dershowitz shut up with one little question, you can see how powerful it is. The accusation of “anti-Semitism” has a dual-use. The first is to suggest very subtly that Russian Jews have some blood right to invade and occupy Semite-land. No Ashkenazi Jew will ever say that he is a Semite, if you ask him or her. That would be a very offensive idea. But you’re an “anti-Semite” if you criticize Jews. So the second use is to make you shut up. A total deception.

Anyway, the real Semites are revolting, all over Semite-land. The anti-Semites in Tel Aviv are getting ready to reap what they have sown since 1948. The Semites have nothing left to lose, which means they’re free. They’re free to rise up and kill the tyrants installed by Jews in the United States. Soon they will be free to remove the Zionist cancer from the page of history. Will the Israeli Jews nuke them to save themselves? Maybe not. I suspect that they will prefer to live out their days in Hollywood, Phoenix and Miami rather than go Samson Option. The Jewish Problem will continue for us, even if the Forever Persecuted Ones have to decamp once more for friendlier lands, meaning here.

In Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, the thing that kept messing everything up was the “K-factor.” “K” stood for “kaffir,” the slang term for “African.” We in the security forces and most people in the country, white and black, pretty much agreed that Rhodesia could never be run by Africans due to the K-factor, except run into the ground. And Robert Mugabe has proven it so.

If it weren’t for that meaning of “K-factor,” I could probably use the term for the subject of this piece: the hyper-destructive and self-defeating trait in the Jewish personality. The term “kike” apparently came from the immigration officials at Ellis Island, where millions of Eastern and Western Jews entered the US. Since they didn’t speak English, the Jews were instructed to sign their entry forms with an “X.” But “X” to them signified Christianity and they refused to do so, instead making a circle as the signature. The Yiddish word for “circle” is “kikel,” and the kikel-signers were eventually nicknamed “kikes” by the immigration clerks. Jewish merchants for several decades continued the use of the circle that signified their antipathy to Jesus and affectionately referred to each other as “kikes.”

But K-factor is already used so I’ll go with J-factor. The word “Jew” has become just as odious in the public mind as “kike,” and just as taboo. Jews dislike the use of the word by non-Jews. Jews behave as if they are guilty of something and try to avoid being named in public what they are. They prefer to be called “Jewish,” and that word itself should be spoken softly and reverently. Gentiles, not wishing to offend, obliged them for several decades after World War II for only one reason, and that was the Holocaust (the H-factor). The Jewish position was, if you use the word “Jew” or are disrespectful to us in any way, we assume you harbor sympathies with what the Nazis of Germany did to us. Disrespect would be in tying us to organized crime or to Communism or to any form of disloyalty.

Joe McCarthy enraged American Jews not because he went after Jews but because he went after Communists, the majority of which were Jews, represented by Jewish attorneys. McCarthy revealed, just by doing his job, the link between Jews and disloyalty, Communism and organized crime. Communism is a criminal conspiracy, not a political movement, which is characterized by a willingness to participate in the democratic process rather than slaughtering rivals or sending them to the Gulag to be worked to death.

The Anti-Defamation League was formed by a Jewish doctor in Chicago back in 1913 after another Jewish doctor was lynched in Atlanta by residents who didn’t care for the lenient sentence he got for raping and murdering a young girl who worked for him. By the 1920s, the ADL was busy concealing the Jewish nature of organized crime, which was franchised by Arnold Rothstein and Meyer Lansky. In those days, Maurice Samuels described the basic conflict we have with our only natural enemy in his book, You Gentiles…

“We Jews, we, the destroyers, will remain destroyers forever. Nothing that you do will meet our needs and demands. We will forever destroy because we need a world of our own.”

American Gentiles, especially Christians, were not up to this challenge of dealing properly with Jewish needs and demands and gave Jews everything they demanded, mainly because of the H-factor. The American Conservatives, led by the John Birch Society, tried to be anti-Communist without being anti-Jew and this lead to cognitive dissonance. Linking Communism and Judaism, such as mentioning this book, in the Birch Society was cause for immediate expulsion.

This virus in the Conservative movement allowed its takeover by Jews, who started calling themselves “Neo-Conservatives.” It was these people who revealed the J-factor to the world. Until the Bush administration, Americans had never been so openly and boldly confronted with Jewish treachery, starting with the attack of 9-11.

Every single aspect of this attack was Jewish, beginning with a position paper delivered exactly one year before 9-11 by the Zionist think tank called the Project for a New American Century entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” This is the infamous document that suggested “a new Pearl Harbor” that would remove any moral resistance to the US military taking over the world. Of course, these guys assumed that the US military would be working for them. Fifteen of the original twenty-five members were Jews and the rest guys like Cheney, Jeb Bush, Rumsfeld, etc. And what do you know? Four months later, they were the bosses and eight months after that we had the new Pearl Harbor.

The Jewish nature of the attack was right in our faces and has become so obvious that even the most respectable Conservative can’t deny it. From PNAC to Mike Harari to Odigo to Larry Silverstein to the “Arab hijackers” to the Dancing Israelis to Kenneth Feinberg and everything in between, such as Netanyahu’s insane admission that 9-11 was “Very good,” which is the definition of “J-factor,” or insatiable and reckless power-lust with no self-control. We would think that Netanyahu could have put on a sad face and pretended to commiserate with Americans but his Jewish joy could not be concealed. The J-factor is frightening to behold up close.

When Victor Ostrovsky’s book on the Mossad came out twenty-one years ago, it was read with astonishment by people such as I, who had a sketchy, if negative, idea of the Israeli NKVD. For those who harbored some admiration for Israel, it must have been a cold shower. I’m re-reading a paperback version of it now.

This particular copy was left in the bed of my truck after it was vandalized in Las Vegas in 2003. It was vandalized by Israelis and the book was a calling card. I came to realize it was done by Israelis because they were the ones who tried to kill me that day and twice after that.

The vandalism was a diversion, and a very effective one. It is quite a distraction to come out and find your vehicle totally trashed inside. All papers, all items, which had been stored away were pulled out and scattered on the floor of the crew-cab truck. My wife’s Jeep got the same treatment, the only two vehicles out of a thousand in the apartment complex parking lot on Flamingo, and they were parked quite a way from each other. Same treatment except hers had no poison on the steering wheel, thank goodness. Maybe husband and wife dying of kidney failure would have raised eyebrows, even in Las Vegas.

But leaving the Mossad book in the bed of the truck was a typical example of the J-factor. No self-control. They can get by for a while with no self-control. After the third poison job, I faced facts and made a police report. The Las Vegas police were interested until I told them it was Israelis, who as we know have the green light to assassinate in America. You can catch them with explosives in their vans on 9-11, with camcorders that recorded the first plane hitting the North Tower and they will be quietly released when no one is looking, and sent back to Israel. And then allowed back here. Dominick Suter and his wife are back in the US despite having been wanted for questioning for employing the Dancing Israelis. The Suters somehow got away to Israel despite the airlines being shut down after the attacks. Fat Butts Inc doesn’t want to question them now that they’re back.

Here’s an excerpt from the Ostrovsky book starting on page 320:

“…In the summer of 1983, this same informant told the Mossad about a large Mercedes truck that was being fitted out by the Shi’ite Muslims with spaces that could hold bombs. He said it had even larger than usual spaces for this, so that whatever it was destined for was going to be a major target. Now, the Mossad knew that, for size, there were only a few logical targets, one of which must be the US compound. The question then was whether or not to warn the Americans to be on particular alert for a truck matching the description.

“The decision was too important to be taken in the Beirut station, so it was passed along to Tel Aviv, where [Nahum] Admony, then head of Mossad, decided they would simply give the Americans the usual general warning, a vague notice that they had reason to believe someone might be planning an operation against them. But this was so general, and so commonplace, it was like sending a weather report; unlikely to raise any particular alarm or prompt increased security precautions. In the six months following receipt of this information, for example, there were more than 100 general warnings of car-bomb attacks. One more would not heighten US concerns or surveillance.

“Admony, in refusing to give the Americans specific information on the truck, said, ‘No, we’re not there to protect Americans. They’re a big country. Send only the regular information.’

“At the same time, however, all Israeli installations were given the specific details and warned to watch for a truck matching the description of the Mercedes.

“At 6:20 a.m. on October 23, 1983, a large Mercedes truck approached the Beirut airport, passing well within sight of Israeli sentries in their nearby base, going through a Lebanese army checkpoint, and turning left into the parking lot. A US Marine guard reported with alarm that the truck was gathering speed, but before he could do anything, the truck roared toward the entrance of the four-storey reinforced concrete Aviation Safety Building, used as headquarters for the Eighth Marine Battalion, crashing through a wrought-iron gate, hitting the sand-bagged guard post, smashing through another barrier, and ramming over a wall of sandbags into the lobby, exploding with such a terrific force that the building was instantly reduced to rubble.

“A few minutes later, another truck smashed into the French paratroopers’ headquarters at Bir Hason, a seafront residential neighborhood just two miles from the US compound, hitting it with such an impact that it moved the entire building and killed 58 soldiers.

“The loss of 241 US Marines [sic], most of them still sleeping in their cots at the time of the suicide mission, was the highest single-day death toll for the Americans since 246 died throughout Vietnam at the start of the Tet offensive on January 13, 1968.

“Within days, the Israelis passed along to the CIA the names of 13 people who they said were connected to the bombing deaths of the US Marines and the French paratroopers, a list including Syrian intelligence, Iranians in Damacus and Shi’ite Mohammed Hussein Fadlalah.

“At Mossad headquarters, there was a sigh of relief that it wasn’t us who got hit. It was seen as a small incident so far as the Mossad was concerned – that we had stumbled over it and wouldn’t tell anybody. The problem was if we had leaked information and it was traced back, our informant would have been killed. The next time, we wouldn’t know if WE were on the hit list.

“The general attitude about the Americans was: ‘Hey, they wanted to stick their nose into this Lebanon thing, let them pay the price.’

“For me, it was the first time I had received a major rebuke from my Mossad superior, liaison officer Amy Yaar. I said at the time that the American soldiers [sic] killed in Beirut would be on our minds longer than our own casualties because they’d come in with good faith, to help us get out of this mess we’d created. I was told: ‘Just shut up. You’re talking out of you league. We’re giving the Americans much more than they’re giving us.’ They always said that, but it’s not true. So much of Israeli equipment was American, and the Mossad owed them a lot.”

But even this account by Ostrovsky is flawed. And that’s the entire account of the massacre of 220 marines, 18 sailors and 3 soldiers in his book, as if it’s an afterthought to his ultimate Jewish adventure, four years in the Mossad. Ostrovsky exhibits that Jewish dismissive attitude about non-Jews’ lives being not so important. A pity, really – they’ll be on our minds. The “good faith” he cites is because they were helping Jews. “Good Germans” were the ones who died helping Jews. Even Ostrovsky is infected with this sense of Jewish superiority, that American help is to be expected but should be more appreciated. The Mossad appreciates nothing.

The Israelis tried all their tricks to prevent the publication of Ostrovsky’s book, no doubt worried that this Beirut revelation alone could sink them. However, their worries were groundless. The Jewish-owned media didn’t publicize By Way of Deception, other than to suggest that it was made up. Did it have an effect on the Marine Corps? Did the Corps wonder if our only Democratic allies in the Middle East were behind the biggest one-day loss of marines since Iwo Jima?

The marines obviously didn’t have much in the way of intelligence regarding the local situation in Beirut – thanks to the Mossad, which knew about the truck being fitted with explosives for at least three months and decided not to give a specific warning to the marines. Consider that for a minute: their informant described the truck, where the work was being done and how much space for explosives was being built – and they let the work continue, fully aware that the truck bomb was meant for the marines, whom they refused to warn. That’s if you buy the Mossad’s version, which I don’t.

I think the marines got payback for what Captain Charles Johnson did in February of that year when a couple of IDF tanks threatened to go through marine lines and attack Arafat’s HQ at the airport. Johnson jumped up on the lead Israeli tank and held his .45 to the unit commander’s head, telling Lt. Col. Rafi Landsberg that his brains were about to decorate the vehicle if he didn’t turn them all around and forget about wiping out the Palestinians. Landsberg complied. But the Mossad took it personally and needed to get even.


Will Mubarak go to Israel? Seems hard to believe, but maybe that’s the only place he could be safe from the Muslim Brotherhood, which has vowed to hunt him down wherever he goes and force him to give back all that he has stolen from Egypt.

What about the ninety-six billion dollars he stole from us since he’s been the puppet of the Council on Foreign Relations? He’s their puppet but the money didn’t come out of their back pocket.

The Egyptian people are covering themselves in glory right now. But we Americans are in disgrace for allowing the Council on Foreign Relations to exist in Manhattan for the past ninety years. This den of iniquity must be removed from the page of history. When the CFR disappears, Israel will follow.

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Egypt Uprising a Two Minute Warning For Old World Order


by Allen L Roland  

Egypt’s current uprising is a two minute warning for the old world order which controlled the populace by force and US military aid but are now being crushed by growing public dissent and a long simmering desire for true change, individual liberty and political freedom ~ the times are

 a changing: Allen L Roland

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’
Bob Dylan from Times They Are A Changing  (1964)

Revolution is in the air and particularly in the Middle East. The flood waters of discontent as well as the desire for true change is rising throughout the world and that includes the United States. President Obama still does not get that millions of Americans voted for true change in 2008 and saw him as a self proclaimed agent of that change. Instead, Obama has offered token change and has become a champion of the status quo as well as the economic and moral abuses of power that were the trademark of the Bush/Cheney administration and the rapidly decaying old World order.

Those waters of discontent are still rising and are fueled by worldwide poverty, unemployment and political disenfranchisement as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer under an obviously outdated old world order ~ which holds onto its power through force, fear and propaganda.

As Charles Angoff once wrote ~ “History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard.  It is a poem with events as verses.”

Well, history is now being made with the recent uprisings in Tunisia and particularly Egypt and its echoes are being heard globally ~ particularly in the middle East. As I have argued for many years, truth and transparency are always the first step in social revolution as well as an eventual evolution in consciousness. The worldwide internet, Wikileaks and other sources have fully revealed the rusting infrastructure of the old world order which still relies on force, economic manipulation and propaganda to maintain its hold over the people. Of course, the Global financial elite see the handwriting on the wall and have chosen Obama to be the interim leader of the transition from the old world order to the new world order ~ with America and the secretive Federal Reserve still firmly in financial control of the restless seething masses seeking true change.

Egypt, however, is a game changer because the truth of Egypt’s role as a key staging post for US military actions and Imperialistic designs in the Middle East is now becoming known to the world ~ as Finian Cunningham writes in Global Research ~ “There is clear evidence from international human rights groups that countless “suspects” rendered by US forces in their various territories of (criminal) operations are secretly dumped in Egypt for “deep interrogation”. The country serves as a giant “Guantanamo” of the Middle East, conveniently obscured from US public interest and relieved of legal niceties over human rights. In collaboration with Israel, and openly described as an “ally” by Tel Aviv, Egypt has shown itself to be the anvil to Israel’s hammer against the Palestinian people. In keeping the Raffah Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip closed, thus denying badly needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the aftermath of Israel’s murderous 2009 assault, Mubarak has shown unspeakable callousness and willingness to collaborate with the criminal US/Israeli policy of “collective punishment” of this civilian population.”  See article

Obama is a political pragmatist who is much more comfortable reacting to events versus taking a firm leadership role. He rationalizes his reluctance to initiate needed action by politically straddling the middle which infuriates his dwindling base and emboldens his opposition. Egypt is the perfect example in that Obama concluded that there was no real chance of serious reform under strongman Mubarak and seriously underestimated the rapidly growing secular opposition which has rallied around former U.N. nuclear director Mohamed ElBaradei who clearly sees Washington’s hypocrisy ~ “ The Obama administration has been at best luke-warm towards our cause of democracy ~ Clinton’s statement on Tuesday~ calling Mubarak’s government “ stable “ and that it was responding to the needs and interests of the Egyptian people ~ reflects the Obama policy for the past two years”. That’s the Obama straddle and Mubarak was so emboldened that he staged a rigged parliamentary election last November, setting himself up for re-election, while the Obama administration muted any criticism, as the old world order lumbered on choosing to ignore the growing public dissent and their rightful demands ~ that is, until now!  Incidently, ElBaradei is a moderate who doesn’t share Washington’s allergy to Islamist parties and has publicly questioned the Obama Administration’s strategy on Iran’s nuclear program.

Obama has done exactly the same political straddle since his election with his failed promises, infuriating his base and emboldening the opposition which led to his devastating defeat in the mid term elections. Let’s get this straight ~ Obama is not a change agent, Obama is a maintainer of the status quo who answers to the financial elite and the old world order. Right now, Obama’s only choice is to embrace change or be eventually overrun by it ~ there is no more room to straddle.

Yes, the times, they are a changing ~ and the truth and transparency of a decaying old world order, based on military force and financial manipulation, is finally becoming apparent to the masses and they are revolting or as Zbigniew Brzezinski recently declared ~ the entire world has become politically awake !

As Jeff Cohen writes in Truthout ~ “For decades beginning during the Cold War, US policy in the Islamic world has been aimed at suppressing secular reformist and leftist movements. Beginning with the CIA-engineered coup against a secular democratic reform government in Iran in 1953 (it was about oil), Washington has propped up dictators, coaching these regimes in the black arts of torture and mayhem against secular liberals and the left…. One of the mantras on US television news all day this Friday was: Be fearful of the democratic uprisings against US allies in Egypt (and Tunisia and elsewhere). After all, we were told by Fox News and CNN and Chris Matthews on MSNBC, it could end up as bad as when ‘our ally’  ( the Shah ) was overthrown and the extremists came to power in 1979.”  See article ~

Egypt’s corruption goes deep ~ Their vice president Vice President Omar Suleiman was the C.I.A.’s point man in Egypt for renditions ~ the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances.

In regards to current American policy in the Middle East, Columnist Gilad Altzmon rightfully attributes U.S.’ failed approach’ to a foreign policy that is shaped by Israeli interest and exploited by such Zionist lobbies as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), so expect more U.S. supported force before Mubarak bends to the demands of the masses in the street. But the die has been cast, meaning a irrevocable choice has been made by the Egyptian people and they will not relent. For example, the Israeli embassy has been shut down in Egypt’s capital and its diplomatic staff has been flown to Tel Aviv (allegedly) disguised as tourists.The Star of David has been lowered and is no longer visible anywhere in Cairo.

The times they are indeed a changing ~ but some anticipated it.

Naguib Mahfouz , the great Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote of this eventual uprising many years ago ~ We are like a woman with a difficult pregnancy. We have to rebuild the social classes in Egypt, and we must change the way things were.

And it was Teilhard de Chardin who wrote about the chain reaction when the truth finally becomes obvious to all ~ “ Sooner or later there will be a chain reaction, for the truth has to appear only once, in one single mind ( or nation ) for it to be impossible for anything ever to prevent it from spreading universally and setting everything ablaze.”

And the truth is that we are all one with a common urge to unite ( the  Unified Field ) which transcends all nationalities, restrictive monarchies and totalitarian regimes. Egypt has just signaled a two minute global warning to the old world order that their controlling days are numbered, the people are marching ~ they will no longer be oppressed ~ they will no longer be a lap dog for the West !

There are moments when history is written not by the powerful, but by the people. This is one of them. The actions of ordinary Egyptians in the coming hours and days will have a massive effect on their country, the region, and our world. Let’s cheer them on with our own pledge to stand with them in their struggle for freedom from oppression:

If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

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Crisis in Egypt


CRISIS IN EGYPT: Gordon Duff on Revolution, Islam, and America


Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff interviews Harry Erivona from the UK/Nigeria and Jim W. Dean, Associate Editor of on the Crisis in Egypt, islam on the Rise in Nigeria, and Guns in America.

*Each work day, Veterans Today plans on offering an audio opinion from one or more it’s editors.  Please let us know how you like and what you’d like to hear and see.

Posted in WorldComments Off on Crisis in Egypt





By Gordon Duff

Egypt is a lesson for America, teaching us to look at ourselves, at how free we really are.  We are not so different, Egypt under Mubarak and America under what ever gang of financial criminals and foreign thugs is controlling the government today.  Egyptians have known thousands of years of slavery.  They recognize it when they see it.  Slavery, for most Americans, is something new.  Americans woke up one day and weren’t so free anymore, maybe not at all.  Some didn’t see it coming.  Others screamed a warning and were pounded into the ground for it.

Seeing what is going on in Egypt reminds me of how I thought America was going to be.  The 60′s were confusing, for those of us who were around then and still have the brain cells left to reminisce.  John Kennedy’s America was going to save the world, not so much from Communism but from slavery and dictatorship.  Africa had “de-colonialized” and the dictatorships, the banana republics, Franco, Tito, whoever that guy in Korea was, all those oppressive folks were going to be tossed aside and Americans would lead the way, Peace Corps if possible, Special Forces if it came down to it.

We were the guys with democracy to sell and Kennedy had the credibility to pull it off.  Then “they” killed him and we got Johnson, the USS Liberty, deeper into Vietnam and, eventually another dead Kennedy, killed to put Nixon in office and end all that foolishness, hope and moral righteousness.

America was going to be about bombing.

This is the America we now know but don’t love quite as much as we might.  Not everyone is happy about blowing poor people up for money, not everyone but enough are quiet about it so that it can go on year after year.

We all thought the Cold War was a big deal, fighting for the “hearts and minds’ of the poor of the world, democracy vs. communism.  All we really sold was slavery, debt and endless dictatorships.  Mubarak is one of the hold overs from the Cold War, America’s “place holder” in an Egypt we “won” from Soviet influence.  Mubarak’s continued survival into the 21st century was predicated on America’s new game, Islamic extremism, supposedly a “disease” threatening the world, one born in Egypt at the hands of the Muslim brotherhood.

This was to be the new “Cold War,” the fight to protect western civilization from billions of militant extremists ready to blow themselves up at a second to earn their way to martyrdom and paradise.  I am now ready to rethink the Cold War, may be it was as phony as this one too.  Vietnam certainly was and I know that one “up front and personal.”

Every time we find a suicide bomber or a terror cell, the money behind it seems to trace back to an insurance company tied to the FBI, CIA, RAW, Mossad or some other handler.  In fact, 99.99% of terrorism seems to be aimed AT Muslims.

If there really is a “clash of civilizations,” it is between human beings and the monsters our press never reports but we all know are out there.  Monsters?  What do you call people who, not only profit from war and terrorism but make sure it happens even if they have to hire the terrorists themselves as we see with 9/11, or as any sane person sees with 9/11 anyway.

If America wasn’t in Afghanistan, there wouldn’t be a war in Afghanistan.  There wouldn’t be a war in Pakistan either for that matter.

Think about Smedley Butler, so many years ago, ‘War is a Racket.’  This had to be the smartest man in the world.  If you don’t know Butler, take a moment, open a browser and do a search.  Read that.  If you don’t ever come back here to finish this, you are forgiven.  If you believe war is about security or honor or patriotism, read Butler several times until you know nothing else.

If you think there were ‘clean’ wars, I suggest you read  David Irving’s biography of Winston Churchill. This link I will supply as this isn’t a simple search.  Irving is, perhaps, the best researcher on World War II around, if anything too good.  When Churchill turned out to be mostly alcohol and “hot air,” Irving made some folks mad.  When everything we know about Hitler came into doubt also, Irving, a best selling author, was blacklisted and later imprisoned.  He is a “truth teller.”

The point?  There are no clean wars, there were no clean wars, war is a racket and people who make war do so to keep mankind enslaved.  The people of Egypt are out there, being what Americans ought to be, should have been when elections were stolen, should have been when Kennedy was killed and we had that outrageous “lone gunman” story foisted on us, should have been when the cover story for 9/11 fell apart.  With a clear majority of Americans believing that our own government murdered thousands of people in order to get American into a war, years of demonstrations still don’t get 300 people in the streets.  The families of the dead have to buy TV commercials.

Our failure to speak up is far worse than simply burning the flag.


YouTube – Veterans Today –

Since this commercial hit, national television broke the 9/11 conspiracy wide open but it is Egyptians standing up, perhaps even for us.  We can’t speak, not here in America.  Even writing this borders on a violation of our new laws.  Not even congress read them, even when they passed them.  Half the things you say to your neighbors during the Super Bowl are considered “terrorism” now and you can be locked up for life without a trial, your lawyer jailed with you.  This is how it is in Egypt, this is also how it has become in the United States.

Egyptians, by the millions, have hit the streets to bring down 30 years of a government that wasn’t hated 30 years ago, not by so many.  30 years is a long time, trading stability and security for freedom, and getting neither.  30 years of Mubarak

America is ten years into the same cycle, patriot acts, habeas corpus gone, a Department of Homeland Security, demonstrations only allowed in “free speech zones.”

I so envy the people of Egypt and the pride they are feeling, no matter how this ends.  They stood on their feet, something the people of America have failed at since the early 1970s.  I don’t count the Tea Party, with its financing from billionaires and its love of war and the frightening ambivalence it has shown for the real constitution, real American rights, real American freedoms.

What good are guns when those who have them watch censored news all day and have become little more than an informal militia for the corporate thugs?

Ever see a gun owner at an anti-war rally?  What good are guns when gun owners care nothing for real freedoms?  All the guns in Egypt are with the police and army and its Egypt standing up for our freedoms.  Few Americans seem to care.  Maybe its too cold outside.

Few in America were aware that Egypt was part of a political nexus in the Middle East, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United States and several more, more “regimes’ than governments with Israel alone maintaining the appearance of democracy, only at the hands of a controlled press and censored news in the US.  It was Egypt that stood erect and declared their manhood.

I so envy the people of Egypt and the pride they are feeling,no matter how this ends.

What could be at the end of the road, well, it could be democracy, a word seldom used in America, not anymore.  That ship has sailed, Americans talk about being a republic, accept rigged elections, defacto foreign rule, multi-national corporations, powerful foreign lobbies and a government of cowards and bunglers who pander to the weak and fearful.

Almost all Americans have written America off, declared it bankrupt, bereft of money for sure, drowning in debt, owing money that never existed to those that don’t deserve it.

That 15 trillion dollars of debt makes all Americans indentured servants, slaves now as our generations to follow will also be.  Americans still work, they toil, those with jobs, Americans dream and Americans sacrifice.  What Americans don’t do, not anymore, is enjoy the fruits of their labor.  America is a land of petty criminals, small time con-men, not petty in theft but small of mind, body and spirit.  Listen to the radio, read the job ads in the paper.  Everything is a scam.  America is a nation of scamsters.

All those guns, all that power and there is no nation on earth as victimized as America, no people who have lost as much, no people forced to endure as much as Americans, with our cheap food and our world class medical care for the rich.  Try getting a kidney transplant  by showing up at an emergency room.  No advanced medical care is available for people that don’t have an “adequate support system.”

That means, if you aren’t rich, you die.  You should see the level of health care we give our veterans.  As a totally disabled combat vet, I have heard “you don’t qualify for that” or “we don’t pay for that” or ‘that medication isn’t available for veterans” so many times that trying to get health care is a joke.  Now our new “Tea Party” congress is planning to cut medical care and benefits for veterans even more.  Good luck with that.

We expected it.  Whenever there is flag waving and speeches, we know a truckload of manure is coming.  Speaking for America’s veterans, which I actually do, I thank those of you who supported the politicians who have turned on those who gave so much to defend their country.  You say you were too busy worrying about “Obamacare” to think about veterans and our military?  They’re only starting with us, veterans are always an easy target.  They have plans for the rest of you.  Watch gas prices rise, health care standards plunge, watch criminals of every kind operate with “Madoff” impunity, just as they did during the Bush years.

Thanks.  We will remember you for this.

A decade after Americans watched the TV spectacular of the century, more a Las Vegas magic act, disappearing buildings, destroyed lives and a nation’s descent into lies and dishonor, 9/11 is the watershed for America’s decline.

It started.  We were told to be afraid and given reason.  Airline hijackings had been a reality for decades, we thought our government could handle it.  Were told there were still sky marshals, and the world’s largest air force could intercept an airliner in a few moments, just take a F 15 to afterburner, 1700 miles per hour plus, just like chasing a moped with a Ferrari, one with a NORAD navigation system.

But we learned NORAD didn’t exist, not that day and we didn’t really have an air force either.  They were gone, maybe on vacation with the sky marshals, Bermuda or maybe Tel Aviv?  We were told we were defenseless and they were right, we were defenseless, but against whom?

Americans buy guys because they feel defenseless and are frightened to death of their own government.  This is how things have been in Egypt for a long time and they don’t have guns.

Ten years later, I know how the people of Egypt feel because I feel the same way, oppressed by a government that has made a sham out of elections, a government that cares nothing about people or laws, one that only serves the pack of criminals crawling the sewers of Washington DC.  Turn an ear that direction?  Do you hear them slithering?

I wonder how many Americans are feeling what I feel.

In the last ten years, the right to own guns has become more important than ever.  Do you ever wonder why?

Do you know what most American gun owners think?  I can tell you.  They think about how they are going to die with a gun in their hand and how it is going to go down;

Millions of Americans are thinking the same thing.  They expect to see the black vans on their street, blue and red lights blinking, doors opening, a lethal cargo of faceless automatons, riot shields, submachine guns, SWAT types.

What will it take, use the shotgun?  No real American trusts a 9mm anymore.  Do you have any idea how many gun owners have searched the web looking for rounds that will penetrate body armor?

American gun owners, millions of them, expect to die at the hands of their government.

How they see it coming down?  Laws will be passed legalizing illegal immigrants.  Then speaking up with be consider “hate speech.”  The more controlling and oppressive the government becomes, perhaps even worse than it is now, the more need it will have to end free expression, end free thought and control all communication, even worse than it is today.

It is very bad today, don’t fool yourself.  If you are getting your news from “the news” and many still are, it will be a big surprise.  For others, it will be expected, in fact, millions expect it now.

Will it be “liberals” or “conservatives?”  Millions worry about that too.  Problem is, those telling them to worry about liberals and conservatives are the ones plotting.

Do this, imagine, not just big cities, but small towns, all across America.  Imagine everyone hitting the street, not just socialists, or “gun nuts” or anti-government fanatics but regular people, sick and tired of feeling powerless, feeling duped.  Imagine reaching for your coat, wanting to see what it is all about and the hope that it might just be possible to undo, to pull it all down.

Imagine hitting the streets, all Americans, not out of hate but out of love for America.  Imagine finding that all those things you believed made us different no longer mattered.  What if everyone wanted to live in a free country, to live in peace, to want only to work hard and earn their own way.

What if we all got sick and tired of being slaves.  You say you aren’t a slave?

Funny, America doesn’t seem like a country run by a free people, in fact, I can’t say I have heard anyone crazy enough to say that in years.

Free, in America, means you one of the lucky few not to be in prison, millions are, or on probation of some kind.  20 million Americans have some kind of problem with the law.  Millions of Americans learned that if you have a mortgage on your home, you own nothing.

Americans are prisoners, living from paycheck to paycheck or unemployment check to unemployment check or, as with so many, wondering where food or shelter is going to come from, how their kids are going to live.  Some Americans, many Americans are actually facing starvation today.  You don’t think so?

Look down your block.  How many people there haven’t paid car insurance?  How many are behind in rent or house payments?  How many are buried in credit card debt?

You think this was an accident?  When trillions of dollars left America, and it did, half of America’s money went overseas during the last 10 years, you are now living through the aftermath.  The equity in your home, gone, what was equity is now debt.  You can’t move, you can’t sell, you have nothing.  Slavery.

Americans have had their wages cut each years since Reagan got into office.  Our standard of living has lowered each years since then after 200 years of meteoric rise.  The stock markets increased 10 fold in value and Americans made less, and became poorer.  Few Americans own anything at all, a house, a car, even decent clothing.

This was the game all along.  You don’t think you are a slave?  Try being independent.  “They” will give you two choices, live under a bridge or in prison.

People of Egypt, thank you for reminding us.

Posted in USAComments Off on AMERICA IS EGYPT

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It’s a revolution of the people, not of the Ikhwan, not of Baradei, not of Soliman, not of Facebook and Twitter, no this is a people’s revolution’


‘It’s a revolution of the people, not of the Ikhwan, not of Baradei, not of Soliman, not of Facebook and Twitter, no this is a people’s revolution’

Jan 30, 2011

Parvez Sharma


Video of protesters in Tahrir Square, January 30, 2011 (Video: Justimage)

Its lonely and I am thinking (and dreaming) in 140 characters or less. The only people I have spoken to in the last few days are friends in Egypt, friends from Egypt in the US, my boyfriend and a few reporters. Un-showered for three days and with little food or sleep it has even become hard to write these pieces, because all I have really been doing is sending out up to 40 tweets a minute into the ether based primarily on the fragments of conversation which till yesterday were all on landlines when friends like Yousry returned home to Zamalek after spending entire days at Midan Tahrir, the ground zero of the Egyptian revolution.

This second conversation with Yousry brings home a few points that I have stated before but are important to repeat:

·       The vast majority of protesters on the streets are not “tweeting”. Approximately seventy percent of them are not regular users of the internet and at least half of them have never had an email account—in Cairo’s slums like Mashriyat Nasser which more than a million poor call home basics like electricity are stolen from over-ground power cables and even then the supply is infrequent. Phone calls are still made from kiosks in the streets, even though having a very basic mobile phone has become increasingly common. 
·       Friday is the holiest day of the Muslim week and the first day of the Egyptian weekend. On Friday Hosni Mubarak had successfully wiped off the few Egyptians who do have internet access and social networking savvy off the map of the worldwide web. But the revolution in any case was no longer about any of that. People instinctively knew that if you were in Cairo, you needed to leave home. Taxis were not available anymore (a basic taxi ride in Cairo costs 5 Egyptian Pounds—which to many of the protesters by the way is a lot of money) so if you were near downtown you could walk to Tahrir square.
·       If you were in the further outposts like Madinat as Sādis min Uktūbar (6th of October City) it became harder to get to Midan Tahrir. If you were in Mohandessin (literally means Engineers) which also now goes by Dokki or its enclaves of Mo’alemeen (Teachers)Ateba’a (Doctors) or Sehafeyeen (journalists) you can walk. It’s a longer walk than walking from the island of Zamalek or other areas where Cairo’s rich live like Garden City or Maadi. Heliopolis where Mr. Mubarak is probably camped out in the Presidential Palace is pretty far from ground zero Tahrir. To walk to Tahrir from the outer areas of this sprawling mess of a city like Helwan, Boulaq, Muqatam, Nasr City or 6th of October city.
·       To walk from Manshiyat Naser takes a great deal of courage. Manshiyat means garbage in Arabic and Manshiyat Naser, the biggest slum in Egypt is literally Garbage City. Cairo’s garbage is sorted in Manshiyat by the industrious zabaleen or garbage collectors.
·       I now know that Zabaleen from Manshiyat have joined AUC students and journalists/bloggers from Sehafeyeen and Dokki andZamalek hipsters every day at Tahrir and even the “beards” (as my friends call members of the Ikhwan or Muslim Brotherhood) and in other parts of Cairo. This has never happened before in Egypt. This uprising and this revolt is an unprecedented popular uprising never seen before in Arab lands.

Most importantly—these different classes of people don’t usually talk to each other. To me it’s simple, really. In Egypt this is almost entirely a very popular uprising and revolution.
Here is a remarkable conversation with Yousry after he returned home at 11:30 p.m. Egypt time on Sunday night –

Me: Have been worried-managed to speak to a few others on their mobiles while they were at Tahrir, but they got cut off.
Y: Yes, some mobiles had signal today at Tahrir. I just got home. Today I took the Qasr al Nil bridge instead of 6th October. You know—now all the burnt police vehicles have become garbage cans! And someone had uprooted a stop sign and placed it in the middle of a burnt police car and it said basically-We the people are not the ones who are destroying, please keep the revolution clean, please keep it peaceful…I took a picture but cant email—still have no internet.

Me: I have some numbers being passed around for dial up—gave them to your wife earlier

Y: Cool man. Now everyone knows that when you get up in the morning you need to walk towards Tahrir-its instinctive-no one needs to text you or tweet you to tell this, and in any case most of the people anywhere in this amazing country don’t have tweet or Facebook or all that shit. So I got there by 11 and there were army checkpoints…and the men were in one line and families were in another-very organized-the men were being frisked and I asked this soldier why and he said that they did not want police or security forces in plainclothes who might be armed to disturb the “peaceful” people

Me: Fucking unbelievable!

Y: Yup. You know thugs who are probably cops anyway have been looting abandoned or partially burnt police stations and stealing weapons, man. How else would 20 year old boys get Kalashnikovs?

Me: Mubarak wants you all to know that this is what will happen if you get rid of me…

Y: Absolutely…yaani..and then we heard that Baradei was coming…and people got really excited—Parvez this is very important to understand—people are tired and impatient—so many have not slept and have been living there—there is not much food shops open or water around…so they were excited…everybody sat down…and waited…5 minutes…maybe more…no Baradei…and then we started walking away…

Me: Yes, that’s because he was on Al-Jazeera talking to TV cameras

Y: Fucking bullshit man. He lost a huge opportunity—to show leadership. Why talk to TV and not to us? I don’t think he gets it! He has been gone too long to know how really impatient and angry we are…I mean I would probably choose him over Ikhwan but he needs to really talk to people—and this is really important Parvez—he needs to show the people that he, Baradei is as determined as they are. He has been so fucking bland—I had walked away but then someone said that he did speak…I have no idea what he said.

Me: I know. I have been tweeting non-stop about it—and how people may not be imagining him as their saviour right now you know! This guy I spoke to briefly said that he was feeling unwell so I tweeted that and said maybe he should have joined the protestors for Isha or Fajr prayers and they are guaranteed to cure nausea if you pray with true niyat you know…with good intention and focus…

Y: That’s fucking funny! Anyway I think now more than any other day people know what they want. I spent the whole day talking to people—even Zalabayeen from Mashriyat who I have never spoken to! Its like –you know we want this guy to go—we are so glad that the Ikhwan has not been able to piggy-back on this and who the fuck is Baradei anyway—you know they are all saying…lets have a transitional government for 6 months or 1 year and only the army has charge of security in that time—and fire parliament and hold fresh elections and a leader will emerge FROM the elections…the people will decide…

Me: Wow…that’s so true…I just wish Al Jazeera was not focusing so much on pundits and on analyzing every word Baradei or someone says—their cameras even are all on very wide shots of Tahrir, which to me almost looks like the Kaaba sometimes with people circling around…I wish their reporters would climb down some more and walk amongst the people with their cameras…

Y: So true man! So true! Anyway I have barely seen TV. You know you can either sit and watch TV or keep on fucking tweeting or you can go out there and chant slogans! And this is very important the slogans have been changing man! First it was Fall of government-then it was Fall of President…today it was Trial of President…they want him to be punished and not to run away…sorry its hard to translate these slogans in English for me…and then also they were saying Illegitimate Soliman! Illegitimate Shafik! And then they were chanting The People want a civilian government and not a military government! You know I went to a foreign school and so did so many of my friends who are also there…but you know everyone is chanting the same things…Egypt has never been like this before…I am so proud of my country…so proud man
Me: What about all the Salah and all the beards being there? Is this about Islam?

Y: La la la not at all! Its amazing—usually the beards are so righteous and expect you to pray with them and be a good Muslim and all that bullshit…but those who want to pray at salah time, pray…others don’t…yes, when someone chants a slogan then people ask you to repeat it…but everyone respects each other—Muslim, Christian, religious, Niqabi, non –Hijabi…everyone man…There was the big charter of demands in Midan tahrir also today…and also you know that slogan from yesterday…Muslims! Christians! We are all Egyptians! Fucking amazing man…that too all day today…
Me: This really is a peaceful uprising

Y: Yes totally…all the violence is caused by them and their people…this is a peaceful revolution…it’s a revolution of the people…not of the Ikhwan, not of Baradei, not of Soliman, not of Facebook and Twitter…no this is a people’s revolution…that’s it really yaani that’s it…
Me: OK you need to sleep now…but before I go—let me give you all these numbers and things which may help you guys to get online…it will have to be dial up…and there is some tweetspeak thing as well…
Y: No man…no tweet bs for me…I don’t even know how to do it…but getting on internet and putting up my photographs would be fucking amazing…let me get a pen…shit man! Haven’t even written with a pen in so long! So used to typing…thank you Mubarak for teaching me how to write with a pen and for giving me a day off, maybe this whole week off in such a long time!…


Neocons to lecture Obama on Monday

Jan 30, 2011

Ibn Tufayl


And you’re worried about Islamists? Robert Kagan and Elliott Abrams have been invited to the White House, per Laura Rozen, to talk about Egypt. Looks like other participants are likely to be Dennis Ross and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East democracy issues Tamara Wittes. She’s sort of a mellow Zionist. If you perform a Lexis-Nexis search Wittes always provides the: both sides must move forward blah blah. So the water is muddied and when no progress is made then one can lie convincingly and say the participants didn’t move forward but not for lack of trying on the part of the US.



Now what happened in Iran in 1979?

Jan 30, 2011



Everyone’s talking about the Iranian revolution, how an American-backed dictator was brought down, and what that brought in train. A friend with Iranian roots gave us the back of the envelope on the American part in the Iranian revolution, didn’t want to be named.

1953 Mossadegh tries to nationalize oil and bring about democracy, US coup brings the Shah back – a weak man – now heavily backed/reliant on the US – making Iran the 5th largest army in the world and very repressive – stamped out lefties/ exiled/tortured/ jailed outspoken clerics etc.

By 1978 a lot of issues festering – economically, politcally and socially. The last is often not discussed but one of the things that really riled mullahs and got them to mobilize public support was the imposition of family law that gave women rights to divorce, child custody etc – against traditional Sharia. The mullahs accused the shah of moral corruption, westoxification, undermining family/women and claiming Islam would bring freedom to all people, including women etc.

Carter election in 76 brought new attention to human rights. So Shah is getting mixed messaging – to be more open politically/less repressive but not exactly reform

Carter spent New Years 1978 in Tehran saying he would back the Shah, that the Shah was his top ally etc.

Fast forward into 1978, August rumblings. Cinema Rex in Abadan burnt down. State security was accused but reality turned out it was agitators. Things got tense. By Sept 78 curfews and nightly Allah o akbars. Then an incident in Tehran: the army opened fire on protesters, everything escalated. Shah (presumably with Carter’s backing /advice /pressure etc) – started offering reforms, shuffling cabinet, even jailing long standing politicians including Prime Minister Hoveyda (13 year PM). But it was all too little too late: by Jan ’79 it was clear that things were moving towards real regime change…

Brzezinski had sent message that US would support crackdown and senior Iranian army officers asked Shah to let them crack down. There was much internal division within army – but Shah, who had cancer and was dying tho’ not letting go of power, refused to let blood be spilled. Also key army figures had link to revolutionaries and they were also unwilling. 

Lacking willingness/guts/’permission’ from US–many think the Shah was so weak willed that he really did ask what he should do–the Shah leaves…Looking for place to land Panama etc. Inside the Carter Admin a major fight between Brzezinski and Cyrus Vance about Iran strategy and what to do with the Shah, because on departure from Iran he asked permission to come to US for cancer treatment. Carter finally allows him in – enrages Iranians — who demand his return for trial (and clearly execution) in Iran…

Carter unsure – – (there is apparently a moment where they really do think about handing Shah over but it doesnt happen)… – all this leads up to hostage crisis etc and the rest is history.

In Iranian eyes Carter is seen as inept b/c he was neither willing to be tough enough about cost of keeping Iran as ally and supporting repressive measures (that were for US security too; in those days much was directed at Communist threat) and were btw very mild compared to what we see in Egypt today or in Iran in 2009. But also because he didn’t stand up strongly enough at right time to support the revolutionaries (long before it became overly Islamist, before we even understood what Islamist meant).

An aside: In US eyes Carter’s demise was to do with hostage crisis but investigative journalism/documentaries I’ve seen reveal that there were many moments where Carter admin was close to release of hostages but Republicans were backchanneling and made deal to have them released after 1980 elections.

Obama seems to be siding with the people in Egypt -as I see it frankly that’s the only solution. If Mobarak wins somehow, he will still need the US, so Obama can adjust position, but if people win and Obama is not early supporter, the US has a lot to lose. But if US an early supporter, chances that transition and new political regime will be willing to work with US is higher. NYT reporting that Robert Gates was young man in govt service (not sure where) during Carter admin days.

Obama people are definitely looking at Carter/Iran but question is are they picking up the right lessons.


Twitter revolution? Check out Parvez Sharma on CNBC

Jan 30, 2011

Philip Weiss


Parvez Sharma on CNBC talking about how the tweets and updates coming out of Egypt while critical and powerful are coming from a small percentage of 80 million Egyptians–the majority of whom don’t have internet access right now–and most of them never did. Parvez was driven to the CNBC studios (the first time he has stepped out of his apartment since Wednesday) by an Egyptian Copt driver who has been living in the US since 1983 and who says he does not “hate Mubarak, who really wanted to retire anyway.” Parvez will post vignettes of that conversation after he gets some sleep tonight.



Jan 30, 2011

Philip Weiss


A friend of mine read the Sunday papers in Israel. The summary: 

Yedioth Ahronoth, page 6: We’re on Our Own,  by Itamar Eichner

The revolution in Egypt hones Israel’s strategic distress in the Middle East: it is alone, without an ally. It began two years ago, in the wake of the collapse of the strategic alliance with Turkey following the Mavi Marmara affair. Netanyahu embraced Mubarak after taking office and managed to form an alliance with him that was based on their shared fear of an Iranian penetration of the region. Netanyahu visited Egypt a number of times……

Yedioth Ahronoth (p. 5) by Eli Shaked (a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt).

Things do not look good for Israel and the moderate Arab states. The developments from here on are not going to be good for our peace with Egypt and stability in the region. ….The only people in Egypt who are committed to peace are the people in Mubarak’s inner circle, and if the next president is not one of them, we are going to be in trouble. Even if the next president is Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt won’t be the same Egypt, and our peace won’t be the same peace.

Nahum Barnea – Yediot: 

Israel owes Mubarak and his men a lot, for what they have done both publicly and secretly.

Alex Fishman in Yediot, echoing Aluf Benn, criticizes the US:

The greatest disappointment in Israel, and in the Middle East as a whole, is in US President Barack Obama’s reaction to the revolution under way in a country that is such a close ally of the United States. The reaction was embarrassing, out of touch with reality. The Americans were decent the way President Jimmy Carter was decent with the Persian shah. Obama and Clinton called on Mubarak to introduce reforms, but in capitals across the Middle East, and in Cairo in particular, that sounded like a call on the public to continue to rampage. The Americans, after all, are with us. The relevant Arab regimes—Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Persian Gulf countries—perceived the American message as follows: when you find yourselves facing a crisis, don’t count on Washington.

Sever Plocker in Yediot:

Our fear is not of democracy as a desirable system of government in the Arab world. We welcome this. This is good for us all. Our fear is of democracy as a mere interim phase en route to a new dictatorship predicated on extremist Islam.

Ben Caspit, Maariv:

Al-Jazeera has become the greatest enemy of the old world, the world of stability and moderate Middle Eastern regimes. It’s not that the Arab rulers are enlightened. They certainly are not. The question, as always, is what is the alternative.


This revolution ‘undoubtedly means the end of Israel as a Jewish state’

Jan 30, 2011

Jack Ross


At Postright, Jack Ross has a twilight of the gods post: the events of Cairo signal that the neocons are over, Israel is doomed as a Jewish state, and the Israel lobby is imploding. 

the unabashed chutzpah award has to go to Leon Wieseltier:

The bizarre irony of Obama’s global multiculturalism is that it has had the effect of aligning America with regimes and against peoples. This was the case with our response to the Iranian rebellion in 2009, and it was the case with our response to the Egyptian opposition until a few hours ago. The striking thing about Barack Obama’s “extended hand” is how utterly irrelevant it is to the epochal events in Egypt, and Tunisia, and Iran, and elsewhere.

Apparently, the United States had never once been engaged in propping up an unpopular autocrat against the wishes of his subjects before January 20, 2009.  The very man who famously boasted of his magazine with respect to pro-Israel orthodoxy in American liberal opinion that “we’re the cops”, blames Obama for the consequences of the disastrous American policies of generations which he takes such pride in his large role in enforcing uncritical allegiance to.

But what else to expect from Wieseltier, who is now an island unto himself with even Marty Peretz out of the picture as the revolution unfolds which undoubtedly will mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. 

And exactly who are the “American liberals” Wieseltier is righteously lashing out at for being apologists of Mubarak?  The only one who comes to mind is Chris Matthews, who clearly has stopped caring whether or not anyone takes him seriously, being the only one on cable news to have a guest giving the strait-up AIPAC line, a sad task falling to B-lister Marc Ginsburg.

This development is highly significant in itself.  Amazingly, Marty Peretz ran off to find redemption exactly in the nick of time, leaving Leon completely high and dry among those who actually care about Israel in facing the Egyptian uprising.  For one can only conclude that the Israel Lobby is imploding when even the neocons can’t be counted on to try and save the Camp David regime, instead putting to undying shame Condoleezza Rice’s infamous pronouncement of the birth pangs of a new Middle East.

To be sure, one can yet find the expected ominous foreboding against the Muslim Brotherhood – Thomas Joscelyn of the Friends of Democracy Foundation for the Defense of Democracies leads the pack, with Jeffrey Goldberg also reliably in tow.   But while it was one thing for the neocons to rush headlong into their “abandonment of democracy” line during the Iran uprising, when it was so clearly cynical, it is beyond shocking to see the degree to which they have started breaking out into The Internationale with no regard at all for the implications for Israel.

My father, who knew several of the neocon standard bearers at Harvard, always insisted to me that, with such obvious exceptions as Marty Peretz and Ruth Wisse, the neocons were ultimately not so deeply committed to Israel but rather simply saw it as a means to an end.  I understood his argument academically, but never quite bought into it until the last couple of years.  The first time I realized he was right was when I attended the J Street Conference in October 2009, where I had the most emotionally draining experience of actually encountering people who were deeply committed to the point of emotional investment in saving Israel as a Jewish state, only to behold the untrammeled fury set against them by the neocons.


Homage to Cairo: ‘Ordinary people are standing shoulder to shoulder.’

Jan 30, 2011



Photo of Ghazl textile factory workers in Mahalla in 2008. (Photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy)

The word ‘surreal’ has crossed many mouths since 25 January. Egypt—a country where the minimum wage is $7 a month—harshly criminalizes the incitement and organization of protest, and yet it is the cradle of the largest, boldest and most evocative demonstrations that anyone alive can remember. Socioeconomic diagnoses of the Middle East are completely sidestepped in most Western coverage of the region (though, to be fair, little in the way of class consciousness dares get stirred in domestic coverage too). There has been due attention on the unprecedented galvanization of Egypt’s modestly comfortable middle class, though it can’t be forgotten who or what brought them to the point of leaving their houses for the streets en masse, putting their bodies in the line of tear gas and live ammunition pelted (sometimes lethally) by Mubarak’s forces.

Spanish worker’s party poster: ‘Obreros ¡A la victoria!’ (Workers: To Victory!’), 1936.

The feelings generated by the ongoing revolt in Egypt—the revolt of the poor who’ve endured stagnant wages for decades, the revolt of the young who dare not hope for better economic prospects than their parents, the revolt of any Egyptian who seeks free and fair organization and expression, and on and on—is something I’ve only heard described in books. Specifically one book, Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, and the afterlife of the Spanish Civil War. Orwell described witnessing the ending of fascism as ‘that strange and moving experience.’ When he enlisted to aid people’s militias he hadn’t known that the war would end with radical self-governance, collectivized commerce and the disappearance of class divisions. The people had eviscerated, at least temporarily, not only the heavy foot of a torturous dictator but the conventional trappings of elitism. A passage from Chapter One is worth quoting at length:

I had come to Spain with some notion of writing newspaper articles, but I had joined the militia almost immediately, because at that time and in that atmosphere it seemed the only conceivable thing to do. The Anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing. To anyone who had been there since the beginning it probably seemed even in December or January that the revolutionary period was
ending; but when one came straight from England the aspect of Barcelona was something startling and overwhelming. It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. […] Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized; even the bootblacks had been collectivized and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. Nobody said ‘Senior’ or ‘Don’ or
even ‘Usted’; everyone called everyone else ‘Comrade’ and ‘Thou’, and said ‘Salud!’ instead of ‘Buenos dias’. Tipping was forbidden by law; almost my first experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy. There were no private motor-cars, they had all been commandeered, and all the trams and taxis and much of the other transport were painted red and black. The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs of mud.

It is extremely premature to think these wild, fantastical thoughts of a free society, and the experiment of Spain was so short-lived that Orwell ended up writing Animal Farm to allegorize the totalitarian period that followed. But compare Orwell’s accounts to today’s live report from Cairo by Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous:

There is a great sense of pride that this is a leaderless movement organized by the people. A genuine popular revolt. It was not organized by opposition movements, though they have now joined the protesters in Tahrir. The Muslim Brotherhood was out in full force today. At one point they began chanting ‘Allah Akbar’ only to be drowned out by much louder chants of ‘Muslim, Christian, we are all Egyptian.’

Meanwhile, across Cairo there is not a policeman in sight and there are reports of looting and violence. People worry that Mubarak is intentionally trying to create chaos to somehow convince people that he is needed. The strategy is failing. Residents have taken matters into their own hands, helping to direct traffic and forming armed neighborhood watches, complete with checkpoints and shift changes, in districts across the city.

I want to hope for something better than my own speculative imagination running amok. For Egypt’s precariously organized workers (and their supporters), a scenario of collective cooperation is not a pipe dream. It comes up in the last major published interview with Egyptian journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy (before the 27 January internet shutdown) in which he describes the origins of the worker movement’s struggle:

The Egyptian labour movement was quite under attack in the 1980s and 1990s by police, who used live ammunition against peaceful strikers in 1989 during strikes in the steel mills and in 1994 in the textile mill strikes. But steadily since December 2006 our country has been witnessing the biggest and most sustained waves of strike actions since 1946, triggered by textile strikes in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla, home of largest labour force in the Middle East with over 28,000 workers. It started because of labour issues but spread to every sector in society except the police and military.

[O]ne major distinction between us and Tunisia is that although it was a dictatorship, Tunisia had a semi-independent trade union federation. Even if the leadership was collaborating with the regime, the rank and file were militant trade unionists. So when time came for general strikes, the unions could pull it together. But here in Egypt we have a vacuum that we hope to fill soon. Independent trade unionists have already been subjected to witch hunts since they tried to be established; there are already lawsuits filed against them by state and state-backed unions, but they are getting stronger despite the continued attempts to silence them.

Unions have always been proven to be the silver bullet for any dictatorship. Look at Poland, South Korea, Latin America and Tunisia. Unions were always instrumental in mass mobilisation. You want a general strike to overthrow a dictatorship, and there is nothing better than an independent union to do so.

For Egyptians and their supporters outside of the country, the energy of the silver bullet has been contagious. This is a circulated video of Waseem Wagdi, an Egyptian at the Egyptian embassy in London. His emotional appeal is rife with class awareness:

We are here to show solidarity with the heroes on the streets in Egypt, we are here to show solidarity with the political prisoners in Egypt, we are here to show solidarity with the the workers who declared an open strike and a sit-in until bringing down the regime of Mubarak.

I had hoped, against all hope, [this] would happen in my lifetime. And I had hoped, and I think with millions of people, that our children will live in a more human society. But this society we have, lucky enough, that the heroes in Egypt are making today, they are not waiting for our children to dream, they are bringing all of our dreams true today. In Suez, the factories, in Meydaan al-Tahrir. The biggest square in the Arab world is being liberated today from this regime.

I’m proud of all Egyptians who are cleansing themselves of all remnants of fear, who collectively and singly have raised their head up high, and no one will bring it down again. No one.

When asked if he had a message to the people of Egypt, Wagdi looks directly into the camera for the first time, and recites the celebrated revolutionary poem ‘Unadikum’ (‘I Call Upon You’) by Palestinian Tawfiq Zayyad by heart.

… My tragedy that I live
Is my share of your tragedies
I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I did not humiliate myself in my homeland
and I did not lower my shoulders
I stood facing my oppressors
orphaned, naked, and bare foot
I call on you….


Update: Since posting this last night, many reports have been coming in from Cairo that substantiate the widespread collective organization of the Egyptian people self-securing on two fronts. They continue to defy curfew and attack by Mubarak’s forces (including an aerial provocation hours ago that saw at least two fighter jets flying very low to the people in Tahrir Square) by demonstrating in head-spinning numbers. In the sudden (and very creepy) disappearance of the police they have organized neighborhood patrols to defend their municipalities, families and private property. Here are some a collection of notable tweets from Egypt (of considerable value since the internet suspension), in ascending order of timestamp:

There’s no appropriate way to make abstract predictions without watching closely, but in the words of al-Jazeera English’s Ayman Mohyeldin (live on the air at 11:08 EST): ’ordinary people are standing shoulder to shoulder.’

Monalisa blogs at South/South.



Noticing my distress, the other detainee whispered: ‘I’m sorry. This is not Egypt. This is Mubarak’

Jan 30, 2011

Ahmed Moor


Ahmed Moor wrote this article on Thursday in Cairo. It appears here for the first time.

I didn’t know where to go for today’s round of anti-regime protests. There wasn’t any question of whether they’d happen; Tuesday invigorated people. I spent some time in the morning trying to identify where demonstrators were likely going to congregate, but reports were confused so I set out for Tahrir square. That’s where the previous day’s largest protest had been.

The area was teeming with people when I got there, but they weren’t demonstrators. Tuesday had been a national holiday – Police day – and on Wednesday everyone was back at work. Looking around I wasn’t sure how the pedestrian crush and roundabout traffic congestion was going to impact things. The cars, busses, motorcycles and trucks would make it impossible for the riot police to create their human cordon in the streets. And the numbers of passersby made it difficult to identify who was there to protest and who was just there for regular life. I figured that the demonstrators would have the upper hand at the outset.

A crowd started to form near one of the subway stops on the square and I made my way over. The station had been shut down to make it difficult for people to travel to the area – it was about 2 pm now, about the same time the protest began on Tuesday. Commuters were confused about what to do and began to vent their frustration. That was how the protest began. Ironically, the first chant was, “Let us go home!”

The riot police quickly surrounded us – I was pretty close to the people chanting by then – and began to tighten the cordon. I was filming everything, and I wasn’t too concerned about being inside the circle of riot guards. They just didn’t seem that threatening after the events of the previous day.

Things began to get nasty very quickly. The riot police had been passive for the first few minutes, only holding the cordon and tightening it. But then their commanders appeared with mad eyes and preset viciousness. They snarled orders: “Hit him! Harder!” and, “Give them shit to eat!”

And they did.

I kept filming when a group of plainclothes mukhabarat men burst through the cordon and began to pummel women with their meaty fists. I recorded one woman’s screams and filmed as her face and veil were bloodied. And I filmed another woman’s panicked tears – she was so scared.

It was while I was filming that the first strike fell across my back; a policeman had hit me from behind once, then a second time. The pain was ferocious. One of the mukhabarat men joined him by tackling me and wrapping his arm around my neck.

“You like taking pictures, faggot?” he barked in Arabic.

Another mukhabarat thug began to pull me out of the circle when I started to protest in English. This was something I’d been doing – pretending to not speak or understand Arabic. I knew from earlier experiences in Egypt that claiming to be a journalist didn’t help very much. A journalist friend had been arrested despite having his credentials, and I had none so my best defense was to play dumb. And I didn’t want to get deported.

“Look, I’m an American. I’m just a tourist,” I said, feeling like a coward.

They continued to drag me and I struggled against them and wherever it was they were taking me to. Nothing I said worked so I finally told the two of them that I’d walk myself. They assented – I was yelling loudly in English at this point – which gave me an opportunity to remove the SD card from my camera and slip it into my pocket. More than anything, I regret that I didn’t have a chance to put it anywhere else.  

We approached an abandoned garage away from the square when one of them began to reach for my camera. It was in my right hand and I pulled away. I started to say, “You can’t take that” when someone hit me hard in the face with a closed fist. And then the others joined in. It turned out that there were four other mukhabarat men in the dark, fetid space along with other demonstrators who’d been worked over already.

Still, I didn’t give the camera up. They knocked me to the floor and held my legs and left arm down. One of the animals began to kick me in the ribs and stomped on my collar bone. He stood on my chest so I couldn’t breathe and I let go when I began to lose consciousness.  

I was yelling the whole time but I don’t remember what I was saying. I don’t remember a lot of what they said either, but they had a few favorite lines they repeated for the next few hours:

“We’re going to fuck your mother.”
“We know you’re an Arab, you son of a whore.”

After they got the camera they picked me up and frisked me. They missed the SD card but took my passport and tripped me into a group of men sitting on the piss-covered floor. My guess is that the mukhabarat men prepared it that way before they began to arrest us.  

The other men were all hugging their knees and facing the back wall and I was told to the do the same. I was committed to my not understanding Arabic story, so I remained unresponsive. That earned me another blow to the face and some slaps on the back of the neck and head. But I didn’t move too much and managed to continue to watch the spectacle of modern day Egypt from the vantage point of a piss-covered floor. That seemed appropriate to me.

They brought in a skinny kid a little while after that. He gave them his name and told them he was born in 1993. One of the beefy psychopaths accused the boy of trying to throw a punch and began to choke him. He choked him until he lost consciousness. The legitimate representative of the Egyptian government then let the boy fall to the floor where he began to vomit on his side. None of the animals moved to help. Instead, they picked him up after he came to and cast him into our pile.

Noticing my distress, a demonstrator turned to me and whispered in English, “I’m very sorry. This is not Egypt. This is the president Hosni Mubarak.”

I felt like weeping. Here I was taking refuge behind the Leader of the Free World, and this man who had nothing and no one to protect him, who was very likely going to be badly hurt, thought it was important to comfort me. I didn’t know how to respond.

Sometime later someone tried to interrogate me but his English wasn’t up to the task. I was frisked again which is when they found my SD card. My heart sank; I felt that it was all for nothing.

After about two hours on the floor, a high-ranking rooster came in and told the 25 other men that they were being taken to the police station. Meanwhile, I was pulled out and handed my passport. Someone who spoke English explained that it was a misunderstanding and that I shouldn’t take it too badly. Apparently, they believed the stupid tourist story. Or maybe they didn’t. I don’t know. I just felt lucky to get out with only a bloody nose and bruised ribs.

They gave me my camera and returned my cell phone without a battery or SIM card. Of course, the camera had been wiped clean. I stuck around for forty minutes or so trying to get the SD card, battery and SIM card back but I was told that they’d been lost. I’d spent the day lying, so their lies seemed proportionate.

According to the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior, 860 people were arrested in the past two days. More likely than not, they were subjected to brutality reserved only for Egypt’s native-born sons. They have no rights, no guarantees of safety, no protections from abuse and petty vindictiveness, no freedom of speech and no freedom of congregation. They have no protections against illegal seizure of things or people. They have no protection against being disappeared in the night.

They have no human rights. And that’s what this is about.


Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood vs. Al-Qaeda

Jan 30, 2011

James North


All of a sudden, middle-aged American men in suits who couldn’t find their way, unaided, from Cairo’s Ramses Station down Talaat Harb to Midan Tahrir, are posing as experts, appearing on U.S. television to insinuate that the Muslim Brotherhood is violent and extremist.

Fortunately, the Brothers have an English-language website.  Scroll down it to the lower left and you will see the feature: “MB vs. Qaeda.”  This segment is one more sign of the organization’s decades-long commitment to nonviolence, even though over the years the Mubarak regime has arrested and tortured thousands of its members.

One current post notes happily, “Al-Qaeda losing supporters in jihadi groups across the Arab world.”  There’s also an open lettter that starts off, “Dear ‘Muslim’ Terrorist.”  “Sister Jannah” pointedly asks jihadists who planned attacks on civilians, “But did you even bother to ask a single real scholar of Islam? Like the hundreds and thousands of mainstream Islamic scholars out there. — Guess what they say — That killing innocent people is Haram.”

Ignorance about the Brotherhood’s true views and recent history is one more failing by the Western mainstream media.  If thousands of members of secular, liberal organizations in Egypt had been regularly arrested in recent years, the names of their leaders would be household words.


The latest from the Egyptian revolution

Jan 30, 2011



“A historic moment in the history of my people. I urge you to say uprising or revolt and not chaos… [this is the liberation] of the Arab imagination… The future is winning…” — Mona Eltahawy’s stunning appearance on CNN and other Headlines and stories from The Egyptian revolution:


Here is a livestream twitter feed to get the latest news:


But how will the crowd react to him? Egypt’s ElBaradei to head to Cairo protest hub
CAIRO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Egyptian activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei plans join protesters later on Sunday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the hub of the protest calling for President Hosni Mubarak to quit, an opposition figure said.

Egypt Death Toll Passes 100 As Protests Continue
CAIRO — Gangs of armed men attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn Sunday, helping to free hundreds of Muslim militants and thousands of other inmates as police vanished from the streets of Cairo and other cities.  The U.S. Embassy in Cairo told its citizens in Egypt to consider leaving the country as soon as possible, and said it had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees, a display of Washington’s escalating concern about the stability of its closest Arab ally. Al Jazeera was ordered to shut down in Cairo.

Egypt shuts down Al Jazeera bureau
Network’s licences cancelled and accreditation of staff in Cairo withdrawn by order of information minister.

Americans advised to evacuate Egypt, Al Jazeera shut down
Hillary Clinton urged Egypt to respond to her people and the information minister revokes Al Jazeera’s credentials

Egypt military ‘show of strength’
The Egyptian military stages an apparent show of strength in Cairo during a sixth day of protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

Police shoot dead 17 attacking Egypt police stations
CAIRO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Egyptian police shot dead 17 people trying to attack two police stations on Saturday in Beni Suef governorate, south of Cairo, witnesses and medical sources said.

Hundreds mourn Egypt’s dead
Hundreds of mourners and protesters gathered in Cairo on Saturday for the funeral of those killed in recent violence in the Egyptian capital. The bereaved families were joined by throngs of demonstrators calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan reports from Cairo. Viewer discretion advised: This package contains images that may disturb or offend some. 

Protesters hold funeral procession in Cairo
Funeral procession was held for victim through Tahrir Square during protest.

Protesters set Egypt’s tax authority alight
Jan 29 (Reuters) – Protesters set fire to the Egyptian Tax Authority headquarters, an office tower near the Interior Ministry and other government buildings in Central Cairo, a Reuters witness said on Saturday., Flames could be seen from several blocks away and smoke was billowing out of the building. 

Pressure builds on Mubarak
Protests continue as world leaders keep up pressure, urging for sweeping reforms in Egypt. The United States and other leading European nations have urged Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, to refrain from violence against unarmed protesters and work to create conditions for free and fair elections.  Washington told Mubarak on Saturday that 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.

Egypt army pleads for calm
Egyptians are witnessing the winds of change, as tens of thousands continue to rally against poverty and corruption on Cairo’s streets in defiance of a nationwide curfew imposed on the capital. Earlier, in a desperate attempt to restore a sense of normality, an army commander addressed a crowd of protesters. 

In Egypt, protesters and soldiers declare: The army and the people are one
Military men, hoisted up by the crowd, remove their helmets; demonstrators chant they they will not cease their protest until Mubarak resigns.

Egyptian demonstrators, soldiers show solidarity as Mubarak appoints VP
Jubilant pro-democracy demonstrators and gun-toting soldiers rode together atop tanks into Cairo’s main square Saturday in an extraordinary show of solidarity, even as President Hosni Mubarak took steps to engineer a possible transfer of power to one of his closest confidants. 

Egypt police target reporters
Group says Egyptian security forces mark new target to attack: Members of foreign press.,7340,L-4020838,00.html

Mubarak clings to power as violence engulfs Egypt’s capital
More than 100 people killed in five days of protests; vigilantes protect buildings from mobs of looters; army on streets but holds back.

On the ground with Egypt protesters
BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet gets caught up in protests on Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the focal point of the demonstrations in the city.

Cairo protesters: ‘We’re staying here until Mubarak leaves.’
In Cairo’s Tahrir Square Saturday, protesters said President Mubarak’s appointment of a vice president and prime minister wasn’t enough, and expressed confidence that momentum was on their side. .

Egyptian protesters again defy curfew; many police stand down
The second day of a government-imposed curfew doesn’t deter thousands of demonstrators, who are essentially given free rein through the center of Cairo. For the most part, police are absent and protests in the downtown area are peaceful for much of Saturday.  Egyptian protesters defied a government-imposed curfew for a second night and lawlessness spread across Cairo as police backed off from confrontations in most areas of the capital, allowing thousands of demonstrators free rein through the city center.,0,3322228.story 

Egyptian troops let protests proceed as Mubarak names vice president
CAIRO – Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators swarmed central Cairo on Saturday in the largest demonstration yet against the rule of the country’s longtime autocratic leader, President Hosni Mubarak. The crowd went unchallenged by troops, who, in extraordinary scenes unfolding around … 

Mubarak names his deputy and new PM
Protests continue as Egyptian president appoints former spy chief as his vice-president for the first time.

`Umar Sulayman family album

ElBaradei: The people have revolted
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Egypt on a fifth day of protests, as the pro-democracy activist Mohamed ElBaradei warned that “the Egyptian people have revolted”. 

INTERVIEW-Brotherhood lawyer: Mubarak must quit or reform
CAIRO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Protests that have rocked Egypt will not abate until President Hosni Mubarak steps down or announces immediate reforms, a lawyer representing the Islamist opposition group Muslim Brotherhood told Reuters on Saturday. Protests broke out across Egypt on Saturday, the fifth day of nationwide demonstrations against Mubarak’s 30-year-rule. The Brotherhood has mostly stayed in the background, although several of its senior officials have been detained. 

World pressure on Mubarak grows
World leaders call on Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence and enact reforms as protests continue into a sixth day.

US urges Egyptian elections; no aid cutoff for now

Clinton says US wants “orderly transition” in Egypt
WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday the United States wanted to see an orderly transition of power in Egypt, where anti-government protests have threatened the rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Sacking Egyptian ministers not enough, U.S. State Department says
State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley tweets that Mubarak cabinet reshuffle must be followed by real reform.

U.S. Embassy In Cairo Urges Americans To Leave Egypt
CAIRO — The U.S. Embassy in Egypt on Sunday recommended that Americans leave the country as soon as possible, while other nations urged their nationals to avoid traveling to Cairo as days of protests descended into chaos, with looters roaming the streets and travelers stranded in the airport.

Egypt Protests: Thousands Of Tourists Swarm Cairo Airport (VIDEO)
Thousands of foreign tourists are waiting for flights out of Cairo as the Egyptian protests continue to rage. Delta, the only airline with direct flights to Cairo from the United States, indefinitely suspended flights, according to the New York Post. The scene at the Cairo airport was a maze of tourists from all over the world waiting to get out of the protest-torn country.

Egypt’s ambassador to U.S. says he hasn’t heard from Cairo
(CNN) — Egypt’s ambassador to the United States said that, after “minute-by-minute” conversations with members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday, there have been no such communications Saturday — nor has he heard from his own government in Cairo.

Egypt: End Use of Live Fire at Peaceful Protests
(Caiiro) – The Egyptian government should order security forces, especially police and plainclothes agents, not to use live fire against peaceful protesters and bystanders, Human Rights Watch said today. Following reports that dozens have been killed at demonstrations, Human Rights Watch confirmed at least 33 dead in Alexandria and heard plausible reports of at least 50 to 70 dead at a single morgue in Cairo. 

Egypt turmoil rattles Middle East stock markets (AP)
AP – Investors nervous about instability gripping Egypt drove Middle Eastern stocks down sharply Sunday as markets reopened following a weekend of violent protests.*

Iraq offers to evacuate citizens living in Egypt (AP)
AP – The Iraqi government says it will evacuate its citizens living in Egypt for free as the chaos in the North African nation enters its sixth day.*

Gaza-Egypt border sealed indefinitely
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities have closed the crossing with the Gaza Strip indefinitely as its army deploys in the northern Sinai, a Ma’an correspondent said Sunday.  Egyptian security contacted officials in Gaza to check up on the situation along the Rafah border, and Hamas authorities confirmed that large numbers of security officers were deployed at the crossing.

How To Help Egypt Get Online
Egypt is in the midst of an Internet blackout that experts are calling the “worst in history.”Renesys estimated that 93% of Egypt’s networks were still unavailable Friday evening (EST). With the country’s citizens unable to log on to the Internet as they normally would, people have turned to a variety of other means to get online, including using ham radios, fax machines, and landline phones.

Anonymous Internet Users Team Up To Provide Communication Tools For Egyptian People
“Internet not working, police cars burning,” sent out one Egyptian. “Today marks a great day for Egypt,” sent out another. These messages weren’t coming from mobile phones or computers, but from an amateur radio sending out Morse Code somewhere amidst the chaos in Egypt. The Egyptian government’s efforts to limit communications within the country has triggered a wave of activism from an international group of free speech activists on the Internet called Telecomix.

Psychological Operations against the Arab people
Watch out.  Be careful.  There has been political psychological operations against the Arabs in publications close to the Mossad (like the Telegraph in the UK and that lousy site, Debka–or whatever it is called).  They intend to imply that the US is orchestrating the protests in Egypt.  Those rumors aim at 1) Imply that Arabs have no agency. That they can’t act on their own and out of their own volition. 2) to exaggerate the ability of the US to control events in the Middle East. 3) to imply that the US never is hit in the face in the region.  4) to enhance the image of the US as one that is on the side of the people.  5) to discredit the protest movement in the eye of the Arabs to make it an American plot.  Beware.

Video and Pictures of Egypt Protests
Egypt protests press on
Egyptian military tanks rolled into cities including Cairo, in President Hosni Mubarak’s attempt to restore order. But Egyptians are angry, and Mubarak’s speech on Saturday has done little to appease them. Protests continue for a fifth day, with demonstrators still calling for an end to his 30-year reign. Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan reports. 

Al Jazeera English Video: In Pictures: Egypt in turmoil 

Women of Egypt 

Egyptian Intifada – Imbaba 

Pictures of the Massive Protests 

The Egyptian People 

Protester carrying a soldier in the streets

Protestors carry an army captain on their shoulders after he tore up a poster of President Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square 

Arabist’s Jan29th protest pictures

Other protest pics

Human Rights Watch: 2 looters were just caught in Muharram Beyh neighborhood of Alexandria who had police ID cards and were members of undercover plainclothes force 

Looting spreads in Egyptian cities
Looters seen stealing objects in various cities as residents form vigilante groups in defence.

As night falls after fifth day of riots, Egyptians seek to provide their own protection
Egypt police withdraw from the streets, government buildings set ablaze, escaped convicts run free and rumors rife with reports of at least 60 rape cases during the unrest.

Cairo citizen guards protect homes
Police appear to have withdrawn from many parts of the Egyptian capital and it is the people who now own the streets. Locals armed with sticks and knives are setting up their own neighbourhood security groups to protect their homes and property. Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland reports from Nasr City in Cairo.

Egypt Jail Break: 700 Prisoners Escape South Of Cairo
CAIRO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Egyptians armed with guns, sticks, and blades have formed vigilante groups to defend their homes from looters after police disappeared from the streets following days of violent protests.  Banks, junctions and important buildings previously guarded by the police and state security were left abandoned on Saturday and civilians have quickly stepped in to fill the void. 

Unrest puts Cairo museum at risk
Several priceless and ancient artefacts damaged during violent street protests.

Egyptian Museum Looted: Egypt Looters Rip Heads Off 2 Mummies At Famed Cairo Museum
CAIRO — Would-be looters broke into Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum, ripping the heads off two mummies and damaging about 10 small artifacts before being caught and detained by army soldiers, Egypt’s antiquities chief said Saturday.  Zahi Hawass said the vandals did not manage to steal any of the museum’s antiquities, and that the prized collection was now safe and under military guard. 

Egyptians believe Mubarak instigated looting to show only he can protect them from chaos, Parvez Sharma
American television networks and an endless parade of mostly white men pundits (brought out and dusted off with their cobwebs) should take lessons from Al-Jazeera in live reportage, in not having pundits talk over the chants of a mass of humanity, in having Arab reporters covering what they know best, in remarkably evocative and courageous camerawork and in just being able to cover history like no other television network has ever been able to do before. And yes, I also mean that CNN during the first Gulf War was not as good as this. 

World Solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution
Must watch video from the protests in London: To the Egyptian Masses: I Kiss The Dust Under Your Feet 

Arab Israelis back Egyptian protestors
Protests held across nation; former MK Makhoul: We’re showing solidarity with Arab nations.,7340,L-4020862,00.html

Egyptian flags in Jaffa
“Muslim and Christian residents, as well as Jewish left-wing activists, are charging that religious settlers who moved to Jaffa are abusing Arabs in town and stirring provocations.  Many protestors carried Egyptian and Palestinian flags, chanting “Allahu Akbar” and “we’ll liberate Jaffa with blood.”,7340,L-4020787,00.html 

From Jaffa to Cairo all people power is revolutionary, Joseph Dana
As Egypt continued its revolution on the streets, the citizens of Jaffa held a passionate march thorough the city against racism and settlements. About 800 Palestinian and Israeli residents of the city marched through the streets chanting in Arabic and Hebrew against the wave of racism taking over Israeli society. “Jews and Arabs Against the Hate and Terror of Settlers’ and ‘From Jaffa to Cairo all people power is revolutionary.” Some protesters carried Egyptian flags and many seemed energized by the events unfolding in Egypt. Despite a heavy police presence and even police helicopters, no incidents of violence were reported from the nonviolent protest. 

Solidarity with Egypt in …Tel Aviv 
Demonstration in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv in solidarity with the popular protests against the rule of Hosni Mubarak – January 28, 2011

LEBANON: Protesters at embassy support Egyptians against regime

Americans Protest In Support Of Egypt (PHOTOS)

Protest in San Francisco
The protest and march in San Francisco was quite impressive.  Hundreds of Arabs and Americans gathered to denounce Husni Mubarak and US support for the Egyptian dictatorship.  You saw Arabs from different backgrounds cheering the people of Tunisia and Egypt.   I am not good as a speak at rallies: I can’t yell to crowd in the manner of: What do we want? Etc.  But I obliged and said a few words.  Joe (six pack) Biden was mocked by all.  We then marched to UN plaza in San Francisco.   The Palestinian, Tunisian, Egyptian and US flags mixed together.  I carried one sign.  It said: “Mubarak Totters, Zionists weep.” 

San Francisco Solidarity Protest with Egyptian Revolution #Jan25 (29.1.2011)–weobcU 

San Francisco Solidarity Protest with Egyptian Revolution #Jan25 (29.1.2011) 

Hundreds at anti-Mubarak protest in Washington
WASHINGTON — Hundreds of opponents of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak called at a rally in Washington Saturday for his overthrow and urged Washington to “stand on the right side of history” and cut off aid to his regime.  Amid a sea of Egyptian and American flags and protest placards in English and Arabic with slogans including “Pharaoh no more” and “Overthrow Mubarak,” the crowd, estimated at between 900 and 1,000, took turns leading chants in front of the Egyptian embassy. 

Advocates stage local rally to back protesters
30 Jan – Hundreds of Egyptians and their supporters rallied in Cambridge and Boston yesterday, including at least one demonstrator whose brother had been wounded by Egyptian police. In a smaller-scale version of the massive revolt that has roiled Egypt over the past week, demonstrators called for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, whose 30-year reign, they said, has mired his nation in poverty, unemployment and corruption.

Great picture from Boston protests: Walk Like an Egyptian

Toronto rally echoes calls for reform in Egypt
Hundreds of people attended a peaceful rally at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday afternoon to support protesters who are clashing with police on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities. People crowded the square in a sign of solidarity for the demonstrators in Egypt and a show of concern about the growing strife that has killed more than 70 people and injured hundreds more.  Draped in flags and waving placards in the air, the crowd in downtown Toronto showed its disdain for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, chanting “Mubarak must go” before rally officially began at 1 p.m.

Australian-Egyptians tell Mubarak to go
Australian-Egyptians have added their voice to the growing calls for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, amid a mounting death toll from political protests in the troubled north African nation. 

Egyptian protesters in front o/t FreedomPalace i/t Hague,Netherlands. All screaming “Down with Mubarak

Syrian activists salute Tunisia, Egypt uprisings
DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian activists and opposition figures, including Michel Kilo and filmmaker Omar Amiralay, on Sunday hailed Tunisia’s revolution and the uprising in Egypt as an example to all Arabs.  The Syrian people “also aspire to justice and freedom,” they said in a statement sent to AFP.  “We salute the Tunisian people and their revolution and the uprising of the Egyptian people and their resistance to a corrupt and repressive regime,” read the signed statement.

The demonstrations in Egypt could end three decades of repressive rule and bring, at long last, freedom and democracy to Egypt.  The regime is attempting to starve the protest movement of two crucial sources of power: information and solidarity. But despite the internet blackout, Egyptian radios and satellite TVs can still receive broadcasts from across the border — so Avaaz will work with broadcasters whose signals reach inside Egypt to circulate the number signatures on this statement of solidarity, along with messages of support from around the world for Egypt’s people.   Every hour matters. What happens next depends of all of us. Let’s stand with those on the streets and build a deafening outcry against rampant corruption and political repression, and for democratic reform. Sign the statement of solidarity–and spread the word about this campaign! 

Mubarak’s Friends
State media: Abbas contacts Egyptian president
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas contacted his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on Saturday, state media said.  “President Abbas affirmed the Palestinian leadership’s support for Egyptian security and stability,” Abbas was quoted as saying. 

Palestinian leadership out of sync with own people over Egypt?
On Friday afternoon, a money changer sat in his office on Salah ad-din Street, the main street of East Jerusalem, watching his computer screen. But it wasn’t showing the minute-to-minute changes in the exchange rate, or the price of gold – he was watching the protests in Egypt being broadcast live on Al-Jazeera.  “Policemen have taken off their uniforms and have joined the demonstrators”, he said, his blue-green eyes widening in amazement. A taxi driver from Beit Hanina nodded in deep affirmation, and said that the protests were “good.”

The police (non)state in Ramallah
I received this email from Ramallah: “Greetings, I would like to remain anonymous regarding my name. I am writing to you  to tell you that the Palestinian Authority has yet again obstructed and threatened anyone who will show up at the peaceful protest (i3tisam) scheduled to happen today in front of the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah, Sunday February 1 at 4 pm.    This is the second time that the PA refuses to let the Palestinians express solidarity with first our Tunisian brethren and sisters in their popular uprising and now in supporting the Egyptian people in their uprising against Mubarak’s regime.”


Israeli PM says ties with Egypt must be preserved (AP)
AP – Israel’s prime minister told his Cabinet on Sunday that he is “anxiously following” the crisis in Egypt, saying in his first public comments on the situation that Israel’s three-decade-old peace agreement with its most important Arab ally must be preserved.*

U.S. wants to see an overhaul, not overthrow, in Egypt
While not objecting to Hosni Mubarak’s government reshuffle, a senior Obama administration official says far more change is needed, including giving opposition groups and activists more freedom. What the U.S. wants to avoid is a repeat of Iran’s 1979 revolution.,0,2811094.story 

Without Egypt, Israel will be left with no friends in Mideast
Without Egypt’s Mubarak and with relations with Turkey in shambles, Israel will be forced to court new potential allies. 

New York Times is freaking out: what will happen to its beloved Israel?
“American officials must already be wondering what will happen to the fight against Al Qaeda if Mr. Saleh is deposed. And what will happen to efforts to counter Iran and promote Arab-Israeli peace if Mr. Mubarak is suddenly gone?” 

GOP stands with Mubarak
“GOP Conference chairman Thaddeus McCotter voiced his support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Friday in a statementreleased on his website.  The Republican congressman from Michigan likened demonstrations in Egypt to “Iran’s 1979 radical revolution.” He cautions that those who “will be tempted to superficially interpret the Egyptian demonstrations as an uprising for populist democracy” should instead “recall how such similar initial views of the 1979 Iranian Revolution were belied by the mullahs’ radical jackbooted murderers.” 

No Longer Caring About Democracy, Bolton Disparages Egypt Protests And Defends Mubarak
During the Bush years, one of the justifications the administration most relied on for many of its policies in the world was that it was engaging in “democracy promotion.” One of the most vocal members about this supposed cause was Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton.

Obama Presses Egypt for Change, Without Calling for New Face at the Top
Concern about a potential power vacuum drove President Obama’s decision not to call for Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, officials said.

Mubarak’s appointment of military men to top posts continues Egypt’s martial style of rule, Janine Zacharia
CAIRO – The installation of military men into powerful new roles in the Egyptian government on Saturday reflected a martial style of rule unbroken in Egypt since Gamal Abdel Nasser and his young officers toppled the monarchy in 1952. 

Man in the News: Choice Likely to Please the Military, Not the Crowds, MICHAEL SLACKMAN
Omar Suleiman, President Hosni Mubarak’s choice for vice president of Egypt, is the establishment’s candidate.

Egyptians Wonder What’s Next, ANTHONY SHADID
Anxiety remains over what the protests will lead to, and what the arson and looting portend. 

A Nation in Waiting
A special programme looking at Egypt under Hosni Mubarak.

New IDF intelligence chief failed to predict Egypt uprising
Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said Mubarak’s government was not under threat and that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was not sufficiently organized to take power.

Egypt Unrest: A “Major Political Tsunami”
ISLAMABAD – As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak fights for survival in the face of rapidly growing protests on the streets of a country he has ruled with an iron hand, diplomats and analysts across the region are bracing for a period of growing instability that presents fresh challenges to a host of players.

Mona Eltahawy to CNN: Call Egypt an Uprising 
Noted Egyptian journalist and speaker Mona Eltahaway takes CNN to task for their sensational descriptions of the events in Egypt and call it for what it is: an uprising and a revolution.

Mona Eltahway to CNN: Egypt’s history of rendition and torture for the U.S. 
When Mona Eltahawy explicitly described what many of us learned from Jane Mayer–Hosni Mubarak’s appointed Vice President, Omar Suleiman, has a long history of cooperating with us in accepting and torturing people rendered to Egypt–and when Wolf asks whether this went on in the Bush Administration (it dates back to the Clinton Administration), Townsend explains the best known example is that of Maher Arar. Wolf corrects her that that involved Syria.

Live From the Egyptian Revolution, Sharif Abdel Kouddous
Cairo, Egypt—I grew up in Egypt. I spent half my life here. But Saturday, when my plane from JFK airport touched down in Cairo, I arrived in a different country than the one I had known all my life. This is not Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt anymore and, regardless of what happens, it will never be again. 

Inside Story – Egypt: The youth perspective
Inspired by the revolution in Tunisia, Egyptian youths are leading ongoing protests in their own country. Thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets across the country, demanding political change. So, how do young Egyptians view the protests and are they hopeful that change will come?

We’ve waited for this revolution for years. Other despots should quail
Change is sweeping though the Middle East and it’s the Facebook generation that has kickstarted it. 

Interview: Blogger Alaa Abdelfatah
Egyptian blogger and pro-democracy activist offers his insight into the current situation in Egypt.

Arab Executives Predict Regime Change in Egypt
The consensus among the Arab elite at the World Economic Forum was that the protests in Egypt would end the nation’s near monarchical regime.

Palestinians in Gaza react to Egypt, Tunisia uprisings
As news of the uprisings in a growing number of Arab countries spread like wildfire around the world, residents of other countries struggling under their own oppressive governments and soaring unemployment were celebrating on the streets, on Twitter and on Facebook. The occupied Gaza Strip was no exception.

Iraqis watch Egypt unrest with sense of irony (AP)
AP – Iraqis who have long suffered from high unemployment, poverty and endemic corruption, the catalysts of unrest spreading in the Arab world, called on their own government to take notice.* 

Irony in Egypt
Comrade Joseph sent me this: “What strikes me as most ironic, at least at the level of the image, is that millions of Egyptians marched in the streets of Cairo to demand of Nasir that he not resign after he lost the 1967 war, while today millions march across Egypt calling on Mubarak to resign and get the hell out of Egypt!”

From the front lines of the Egyptian uprising, Matthew Cassel
It’s been a long time coming, but change is on its way to Egypt.  In the working-class area of Imbaba in Cairo on Friday, 28 January, I and my companions joined a group of fifty or so protesters marching up and down the street. The crowd shouted “come down! come down!” to neighbors. Without even realizing that others were joining I looked back at one point to see that 50 had become 500, and not long after I couldn’t see the end of the mass marching through the streets.

‘Muslims, Christians we are all Egyptians’: Scenes from a revolution as told by one eyewitness, Parvez Sharma
My friend Yousry is in his late twenties. He and his wife would be considered affluent because they live in Zamalek. But like so many others, because all barriers of class have fallen away—he has been on the streets for the last 48 hours. He just returned home in Zamalek after patrolling the streets of the neighborhood with his prized Syrian sword that used to just hang up as souvenir in their living room. He had never thought he would have to take it off the wall and actually try to use it to defend his neighbors and his family. He did like to show it off at our late night parties in his apartment.

Dyab Abou Jahjah, “Egypt: On the Appointment of Suleiman As Vice President”
Appointing Omar Suleiman as vice president means telling everybody that Hosni Mubarak is over and out and that Gamal Mubarak will never be president. At the same time it means telling the people that Suleiman, the man for Israel and the CIA, is the candidate to succeed Mubarak and that the regime is only conceding defeat formally and not structurally. In other words, after the ouster of Mubarak, it is Suleiman who will automatically become president and elections will not be held till their scheduled date. The people will not accept this and will keep protesting even after Mubarak steps down. 

Zewail’s 4 point Plan for Egypt, Juan Cole
Nobelist in chemistry, Dr. Ahmed Zewail of the California Institute of Technology, is an Egyptian-American who has sometimes been mentioned as a candidate for president of Egypt. He has served as a science envoy to the Arab world of President Obama.  In an interview on Aljazeera Arabic, Zewail called for fundamental change in Egypt, not just cosmetic alterations. He gave as the causes for the current uprising. 

Close U.S. ally and new Egyptian VP Soliman ‘keeps the domestic beasts at bay’, Alex Kane 
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appointed Omar Soliman, the country’s head of intelligence, as vice president in Mubarak’s first big move following continuous days of protest that are threatening to end his regime.  But Soliman’s appointment will not placate the Egyptian demonstrators–Democracy Now! producer Sharif Abdel Kouddos, who is on the ground in Egypt, reports that Egyptians have begun “chanting against Omar Suleiman.” 

The Egyptian revolution threatens an American-imposed order of Arabophobia and false choices, Philip Weiss
I’m as thrilled as anyone by what I see in the Cairo streets, but when I turn on American television I see only grim faces. Rob’t Gibbs looked frightened during his delayed press briefing yesterday afternoon, he didn’t know what to say. Obama’s comments last night were equivocal and opaque: I’m with Mubarak, for now. This is his 9/11– the day Arabs blindsided a president. 

Robert Fisk: Egypt: Death throes of a dictatorship
The Egyptian tanks, the delirious protesters sitting atop them, the flags, the 40,000 protesters weeping and crying and cheering in Freedom Square and praying around them, the Muslim Brotherhood official sitting amid the tank passengers. Should this be compared to the liberation of Bucharest? Climbing on to an American-made battle tank myself, I could only remember those wonderful films of the liberation of Paris. A few hundred metres away, Hosni Mubarak’s black-uniformed security police were still firing at demonstrators near the interior ministry. It was a wild, historical victory celebration, Mubarak’s own tanks freeing his capital from his own dictatorship. 

Egypt tests American will / Dale McFeatters
For 30 years, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been a staunch U.S. ally and, thanks to his predecessor’s willingness to make peace with Israel, one of the largest recipients of American aid. In that time, through increasingly corrupt elections, he has cemented his hold on power and hobbled the political opposition. The U.S. made only token protests as Mubarak chiseled away at basic political rights and imprisoned opponents. As the realpolitik saying goes, he may be an S.O.B., but he’s our S.O.B. Maybe not much longer.

Egyptian fighters jets
That was cute: in the skies of Egypt: Egyptian fighter jets flying high over the cities. Oh, yeah.  The Egyptian Army should be proud of its bravery and history.  For people of my generation, we only remember the sights of this lousy Army in its lousy performance against Israel.  We remember them fleeing in droves from Sinai with their hands over their heads and we remember how some of the leaders of the Egyptian Army (people like Husni Mubarak) turned a potential victory against Israel in 1973 into a resounding defeat.  Remember that 1973 was a resounding defeat and very humiliating.  And when were those jets when Israel continues to threaten Egypt and other Arabs.  And we know that Israel still occupies Sinai along with the US.  Fighter jets over demonstrators?  Can you imagine the outcry if this was done in Iran?  The UN Security Council would have issued three resolutions by now.

Mubarak state TV
The scenario of the counter-revolution was all clear on Mubarak Nile TV yesterday.  The TV was covering (like the Saudi media like Al-Arabiyya TV–the station of King Fahd’s brother-in-law) only the looting and destruction.  Then, Mubarak TV opened up its lines and said that they were now allowing calls from around the world but that they would not allow any political talk but only about the “security of Egypt.”  Of course, calls came in and said that only “security of Egypt” matters and nothing about the demands for political change.  One of the calls almost said his name is “Jamal” and another almost said his name is “`Ala'”.  I wrote this before: Egypt is not Tunisia in the sense that the US/Israel would fight tooth and nail to preserve the Mubarak regime.  Oh, and the broadcasters on Mubarak TV kept saying that Aljazeera is spreading lies “about Egypt.”

“There is so much excitement around the Arab world. On Facebook and Twitter you see Saudis congratulating Egyptians, Iranians contratulating Tunisians,” said Asad Abu’Khalil, a professor of political science at California State University Stanislaus.  “A student at UC Davis just left everything and went to Egypt to join the revolution,” he said. “That’s the level of excitement.”” 

Haroon Moghul: 4 Reasons Why Egypt’s Revolution Is Not Islamic
Why isn’t Egypt’s revolution an Islamic one? Commentators are having a difficult time understanding the dynamics of the Arab world and the role of religion in this latest apparent revolution.

Aljazeera won the day
The New York Times has been right about one thing: that Aljazeera is now on top.  It is in ascension.  It has defeated all potential rivals hands down.  Not one channel is close.  IT has such influence although it sometimes annoys me like when it put Tele-Islamist demagogue, `Amr Khalid on today.  He claimed that he is with the youth.  The man never spoke against Mubarak.  He reminds me of those opportunists who distance themselves from the ancien regime in the last hour: like the Bin `Ali’s ambassador in UNESCO. 

“We do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back …”
“… Clinton avoided a question from CNN’s Candy Crowley on “American Morning” on whether the U.S. is beginning to back away from Mubarak. “[W]e do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is to help clear the air so that those who remain in power, starting with President Mubarak, with his new vice president, with the new prime minister, will begin a process of reaching out, of creating a dialogue that will bring in peaceful activists and representatives of civil society to, you know, plan a way forward that will meet the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people. “ The Obama administration, while not calling for Mubarak to step down, appears set to continue pushing for additional concrete steps toward democracy, human rights and economic reform. Clinton made clear that the administration regards Saturday’s steps as a start — but inadequate. Instead, the American push is for a new round of elections – though officials continue to debate the ideal timetable – in which few believe Mubarak could run, much less win….”

Dead-Enders on the Potomac
From the Editors, January 29, 2011, Every US administration has its mouthpiece in Washington’s think tank world, its courtier that will slavishly praise its every utterance. For the blessedly bygone Bush administration, that echo chamber was the American Enterprise Institute and the neo-conservative broadsheets in its orbit. For the Obama administration, it is the National Security Network, an operation founded in 2006 to bring “strategic focus to the progressive national security community.” 

Mubarak’s Options
If recent history is any indication, this is probably the conversation taking place in the Egyptian presidential palace right about now… 

Rana Rizk: Impressions of Egypt From New York
Egypt was a black hole today with no light coming out. We have no access to any information regarding arrests and violence exerted by police on protesters.

Egypt’s Class Conflict, Juan Cole
On Sunday morning there was some sign of the Egyptian military taking on some security duties. Soldiers started arresting suspected looters, rounding up 450 of them. The disappearance of the police from the streets had led to a threat of widespread looting is now being redressed by the regular military. Other control methods were on display. The government definitively closed the Aljazeera offices in Cairo and withdrew the journalists’ license to report from there, according to tweets. (Aljazeera had not been able to broadcast directly from Cairo even before this move.) The channel, bases in Qatar, is viewed by President Hosni Mubarak as an attempt to undermine him.

Cartoon: Freedom for the Egyptian People,0

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Normal Day in the Lives of My Palestinian Neighbors



Hebron :  A Normal Day in the Lives of My Palestinian Neighbors

Paulette Schroeder


A Normal Day in the Lives of My Palestinian Neighbors

Our neighbor Haniya shrugged her shoulders as she spoke in a disheartened way:  “This is all normal for us now. What can we do anyway?” Yet, when I see armed Israeli soldiers on the rooftops, and when I witness Palestinians going through checkpoints to go to the Mosque, I see this Occupation as an ongoing, huge human tragedy.

It’s been a long 40+ years now that the Israeli Occupation has ruled a huge section of the West Bank . Here Martial law governs thousands of people’s lives in almost every aspect of their days:  travel: to their families, to schools, to health services, to their farms or to their stores.

My friend Fatima lived in a small outlying village, but due to lack of money, she moved to H2, Hebron , where she could work in a small shop owned by her sister. Fatima ’s 7 children are now all teens, and one daughter is married.  The two sons, though certainly bright enough, have quit high school.  The reality of finding a good job after schooling is almost nonexistent, they reason.  Because there is no mandatory schooling for Palestinian children, the children roam the streets, smoke, or help their family. Two times in the recent past, the Military snatched two of these working young men.  One of these boys was using a cutting knife to help his father unpack boxes of store goods.  The other boy was sent by his father on an errand, but the child’s coat resembled a policeman’s coat. The Military took him and questioned him for hours while his father reasoned with the soldiers.

          Fatima , like many shopkeepers, opens her shop each morning very early, hoping that tourists will buy a dress or an embroidered pillow case or small purse or shawl that day. She and her sister have plenty of women who want to embroider for them, but Fatima barely makes enough money for her own family.  Since her husband is not able to work, the family depends entirely on Fatima ‘s scant income.  She and internationals constantly assure visitors there is no need for them to fear entering the Old City . Visitors see guns and soldiers throughout H2, but they soon learn that only the Palestinians are the target of M-16’s.

Fatima , like most parents, tries to live through the day as “normally” as possible with a good sense of humor. Already, one of her two sons, 15 years old, has been accused of throwing a stone at a soldier and despite all his insistence and those of eye witnesses who said  he did not throw the stone, he served 2 ½ months in an Israeli prison.  Like many other families this family too borrowed and paid 1200 shekels on the release of their son.   Israel makes a fortune from the “stone throwing” accusations dished out to young Palestinian men.

The day isn’t over when it’s over for these people.  Parents with teenage sons rarely sleep soundly.  Like a mother with a newborn baby, they worry that the night will bring soldiers breaking  into their home, awakening everyone, locking the family into one room and then taking their teenage son with them to a prison.  CPT’s 1st. year University friend, grabbed from his home at 1:30am, served 6 months in prison with no official charge against him. I ask myself:  “How can anyone, any country not hear the cries of these people for compassion and justice?” Don’t they deserve a truly normal life also?


p.s.  Paulette welcomes comments or questions from readers:

link for an example of a Palestinian child threatened by soldiers:


Christian Peacemaker Teams. Hebron
Land line 00972 (0) 22228485
Mobile     00972 (0) 543420117

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The Egyption Intifada


The uprising in Egypt has caught most – if not all – of us by surprise.

The material provided below should give a glimpse into events on the ground; some analysis regarding who the participants are; the US role in the propping up of the Mubarak regime, and further resources and links for the reader to consult.

First, a deeply moving youtube piece:
I think it’s important to get clued into the emotional significance of the unfolding events, and this piece does an especially good job at conveying this.

Next, links to two pieces by Joel Beinin. The first provides a short history of US-Egypt relations, and the second elaborates on Obama’s position, so far, in regards to the the ongoing events in Egypt:

We received permission to post an email from Shana Minkin, a professor of Middle East history at Swarthmore College. Shana wrote the email to family and friends the day before yesterday. Since she wrote it, a number of things have changed, including:  opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood have come together in support of Mohamed El Baradei as the leader of a transition government; protests have spread to the south of Egypt; there have been reports of prison breaks, some of which suggest that political prisoners are being released (members of the Muslim Brotherhood) and others that the regime is opening up the prisons to generate chaos, so that people think their only choice is between chaos or Mubarak’s iron fist; there’s been looting, and reports suggest that a lot (most?) of it has been done by the thugs (the baltagiah, literally “thugs” who are plainclothes police) – again, so that people think that their choice is either chaos (looting and lawlessness) or Mubarak, and people have organized neighborhood patrols in response; the US continues to equivocate; and the protests are just getting stronger. Air force jets flew over Tahrir Square today, but Al Jazeera reports that hundreds of thousands of people are still out protesting. 

In a situation that will undoubtedly continue to change, we think this email is very useful in providing historical and political context for the revolution we’re witnessing. 

Racheli Gai.

Shana Minkin writes:

Many of you have asked me for some of my thoughts about Egypt. I am going to address a few things here – and would be happy to answer specific questions – and attach a few links. There is much more where this is coming from, but I didn’t want to overwhelm with too many articles.  For any of you on facebook, I have been purposefully filling my facebook page with articles and photos (and some videos) about Egypt.  If you can’t read everything I’ve piled on here, I would recommend you at least read some of the overviews of the situation from the newspaper of your choice – and that you read the Merip piece about the US administration. It is an incredibly important piece of journalism for understanding our role as American citizens (those of us who are).

So, a few of my thoughts: The Egyptian people have been under a state of emergency law for 30 years now, with increasing oppression and decreasing quality of life. The state is complete chaos and a completely unreliable and random bureaucracy.  A good, if very old, movie about how Egypt functions is called “Terrorism and Kabab.” The Mugamma, or government building, in this movie is on Midan Tahrir, or Liberation Square, which has been the focal point of so many of the protests. 

Several factors have led up to these protests. The terrible conditions have been around – and deteriorating – for years, but this past year has marked some major events. 

1. The killing of Khaled Said.  The police killed Khaled Said in June 2010. (See for more information – the Arabist is also a good blog in general about what is going on). He was beaten to death in Alexandria when police tried to extort him and he refused (or had no money).  The police then tried to paint him as a drug user/dealer at various moments.  

2. The spectacularly corrupt elections in December. The regime didn’t even try to pretend these weren’t rigged. See

3. The new years eve bombing in Alexandria.  There has been increasing sectarian violence in Egypt in the last year, and the government refuses to recognize it as such. Instead the government claims its al-Qaeda working in Egypt. See It is worth noting that following these bombings, many Muslims went to surround churches on Coptic Christmas a few days later. And unconfirmed reports had Coptic Christians surrounding Muslims at prayer yesterday in the same sign of solidarity. Who knows what will come of sectarian relations should the revolution succeed???

4. Tunisia. Tunisia is an inspiration, undoubtedly.

The protests began on January 25, or National Police Day.  The Great Cairo Fire was Jan 26, 1952, but the National Police Day was set the day before.  The fire is seen as one of the first steps leading to the ousting of the King and the British in 1952 and thus a worthy celebration. The protest of the police is particularly poignant because the police are the regime’s internal army. There is a strict split between the police and the army, with the army focused on external only. The police, on the other hand, are known to be especially brutal and nasty towards Egyptian citizens. They are the ones who torture political dissidents and others, who are the general on-the-street repressors. No one in Egypt goes to a police for anything – I never even asked a police for directions; it was known the police would leer at you and wouldn’t protect you. Also, a note: there is within the police the battalion of thugs – literally, their name means thugs in Arabic. They are the plain clothes police who travel with batons and spiked sticks and who are responsible for general mayhem in a way that the regular police don’t want to be connected to – it was the Thugs who molested several women during the round of democracy protests in 2005.

They would corner women protesters, rip off their clothes, fondle them, and then announce to everyone that these women were now “used sluts.” A very close friend of mine was one of the women fondled and later interviewed on CNN. You can probably find it archived if you’re interested. Point is, the Thugs have been around for years, doing the things that allow the regime to claim a need for emergency law. 

But you don’t need to go that far back to see what the thugs do. Many reports on the ground currently claim that the thugs are setting fires to cars, looting, and causing general mayhem, allowing the regime to blame it on the protesters.  See this blog for some details:

Another note about the protesters – these are NOT the Islamists. They are not the Brotherhood. They are representative of all the people of Egypt. Or, I should say, the people of Northern Egypt. For some reason – and I neither know why nor have I found anyone writing about it – the protests haven’t spread south.  It is a leaderless protest for the most part – meaning there are some natural leaders of the opposition, such as el-Baradei. But el-Baradei smartly said, when he returned Thursday, that he was there as an ordinary citizen and not to lead. Ayman Nour, the last prominent opponent of Mubarak’s (see articles about the 2005 elections – is a good place to start) was smashed in the back of his head yesterday and is in the hospital in critical condition. No one knows his update. See also a really interesting article that just came out about why this is NOT an Islamic revolution:’s_revolution_is_not_islamic/.

Returning to the protesters, equating them with the regime’s violence is wrong and dangerous. It allows for a continuation of the notion of Arabs as violent and irrational. The protests have been for the most part violence-free and the protesters are loudly chanting that they are there for peaceful purposes. Equating the regime and the protests is one of many mistakes – serious, dangerous mistakes in my opinion – of the American government. See the analysis I’ve attached below for more information. It is worth noting that during the burning of the National Democratic Party headquarters threatened the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities last night, throngs of Egyptians protected it, putting their bodies between the museum and fires and the museum and would-be looters.

Speaking of the Brotherhood, although they joined Friday, they are clearly NOT in charge. Their chants weren’t heard, 350 of their leadership was arrested before the protests began. They are the best-organized opposition, but they aren’t the only one. And they certainly are but a fraction of what we see going on in the streets.  I don’t believe that they will be able to simply take over Egypt in the event of a vacuum – for starters; they have no relationship with the military. But I also don’t believe they are an ultimate evil. (Merip also has a series of wonderful articles on the Brotherhood by Samer Shahata and Joshua Stacher dating from a few years back – again, its: 

The latest news, by the way, as of 8am EST is that some of the police have entered the political prisons where the Brotherhood leaders are being held and have started to shoot randomly. Its thought that between 40-70 are dead, but this is unconfirmed. 

And speaking of the US, I believe that our government is on the side of wrong here. Standing with the regime delegitimizes anything America may want from the Arab world in the future and further delegitimizes America in the eyes of many Arab citizens. Telling the protesters that they have a fundamental right to twitter – and that they have the fundamental right to twitter complaints about their dictator – is not an answer from our administration. We don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, of course, but perception is a large part of any political battle – and the Obama administration has certainly lost the perception battle in this one.  See the merip article attached below for more on this.  However, it is worth noting that Marc Lynch, a preeminent analyst at Foreign Policy, thinks the administration is doing a great job on the policy/governance/government level. You can read his latest analysis, “Obama’s handling Egypt Pretty Well,” at

A note about Israel, as well – the assumption that keeping 80 million people under a “state of emergency” with no civil or political rights for 30 years will keep Israel safer suggests that some people are less equal, or less human. It may be rationalized as a harsh realist stance, but it is a counterproductive one. Not only do I politically disagree, but also I think it’s an untenable solution. Those who approach the Middle East from the point of view of what’s good for Israel should be focused on democracy and freedom for all peoples. And this is not a revolt about Israel. It’s about Egypt alone. 

As of now, reports have at least 50,000 people in Midan Tahrir. There are still protests in Alexandria, Suez and several other cities despite a 4pm curfew (9am EST) throughout the country. The business leadership (whatever that means) has left the country on private jets. Gamal Mubarak’s closest confidante has quit the National Democratic Party. Mubarak’s shallow, arrogant, irrelevant offer to force a puppet government to resign and replace it with a new puppet government has been rejected by all but the US administration (publicly – again, who knows what is happening privately). People apparently literally laughed at it – well, Egyptians have always been known for their sense of humor! (Joke that went around yesterday: Why was the speech by Mubarak so delayed? He sent an aide out for more black hair dye and the aide joined the protests). Omar Suleiman is the new Vice President but is thought of as a regime man. Ahmed Shafiq is the new Prime Minister. We haven’t seen the end of this one; that was just the end of the beginning of this revolution in my estimation.

So I hope this helps. I have written this quickly and apologize for any ambiguity or unanswered questions – please let me know if you have any more questions or what your thoughts/reactions to Egypt are.  Unfortunately I can’t spend another day watching only al-Jazeera and twitter as I have to get some other work done (lectures about the Ottoman Empire unfortunately don’t write themselves), but I will try to get back to you asap.

I want to leave by saying that I am so incredibly proud of the courageous people of Egypt. I don’t think it’s easy for us as Americans to understand protests like this – our lives have simply been too cushy and lucky from the get-go. I am exhilarated and scared, wanting to cry with joy and throw up with fear. I have been calling and emailing my representative, senators, the President and Secretary Clinton repeatedly. I hope you will, too.

White House: 202-456-1111 ( – click “contact us”)
Secretary of State: 202-647-4000

Overviews of Jan 28th: (The Guardian has been amazing. See the audio from their correspondent, Jack Shenker, from Jan 25th. Shenker was arrested and beaten and managed to get most of the long ride in the police van and subsequent escape on his Dictaphone.)

And of course – (the NYTimes has been very good as well, considering. Look for articles with either a byline or reporting by Liam Stack). I happen to especially like this one: (I appreciate the father’s explanation of why he is protesting).

About the army:’t-go

Very important piece about the administration:

Another good commentary on Biden:
And speaking of Foreign Policy, I would watch for commentaries from Blake Hounshell and Marc Lynch. Both are very good. 

Photographs of Jan 28th:

Videos of Jan 25th and 28th: (the boy is yelling a very popular chant – one that I have heard countless times – which rhymes in Arabic and translates to: Freedom, Freedom, Where are you? Where are you? Hosni Mubarak is between you and me) This has been called the Tiananmen Square moment – men taking the water cannon for themselves to try to stop the truck. It’s from Jan 25th.

Finally, for the best continual coverage, try Al Jazeera English live on line. No one can touch them on this one – this is their moment in news-speak. 


Jewish Peace News editors:
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Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
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Lincoln Z. Shlensky
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Posted in WorldComments Off on The Egyption Intifada

Dorothy Online Newsletter



Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC


Dear Friends,

While the Egyptian uprising is hard to ignore, other things are happening in our part of the world, too.  The first 4 of 6 items deal with these.

Item one is Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi’s response to the Al Jazeera leaks about supposed PA agreement to concessions.  In short, Zoabee argues that Palestinians will not give up their rights, and that the PA has no right to dispense with them.

In item 2 the wife of Ameer Makhoul, Janan Abdu, relates that “My husband and other Palestinian prisoners are being denied basic rights and subjected to harsh treatment in detention” in the name of Israel security.  His trial and sentencing (9 years in jail) are reminiscent of Tali Fahima’s and others.  Israel will punish anyone who ‘threatens its security’ by showing leadership qualities, or by doing something (as in Tali’s case) that threatens Israel’s lies and propaganda,

Item 3 relates that the PA is denying Palestinians to demonstrate against the Egyptian authority.  The PA is, in other words, becoming as repressive as Mubarak.

In item 4 Akiva Eldar depicts a situation that for the present is fictional, but is not impossible, particularly given the news in the previous item.  Will the Palestinians follow in the footsteps of the Egyptians and revolt against Israel’s military occupation?  It could happen.  The question is how Israel will react.

In item 5 Fisk relates what he sees in Egypt and expresses his doubts or reservations.

Item 6 is an invitation from the Interfaith Peace-Builders to join a delegation to Israel and the OPT.

The 7th item contains 3 links to additional articles that might interest you regarding Egypt and Washington, Egypt and the EU.

May it end for the best for the Egyptian people.  Israel’s leaders did not prepare for this situation, and are pathetic in recommending to Europe and the United States to prop up Mubarak.  But, then, wisdom has never been a shining quality of Israel’s leaders.

All the best,



1.  The Guardian,

31 January 2011

Palestinian negotiators must not take key decisions on our behalf

We Palestinians in Israel will not stand for our rights being given away by so-called representatives

Haneen Zoabi

Had the offer made by “representatives” of the Palestinian people to Israel during peace negotiations – revealed this week in the Palestine papers – been accepted, the resulting agreement would have been in conflict with international law. It would also have had a profound impact on all Palestinians: not only those under occupation or refugees in the diaspora, but also Palestinians like myself – the 1.2 million of us who make up 18% of the population of Israel.

First, giving up the refugees’ right of return – as was apparently accepted by the Palestinian negotiators – would mean giving up the demand for the reunification of Palestinian families divided by the nakba, our expulsion from Israel in 1948. At this time some Palestinians remained in Israel, while others were displaced. Israel has since refused to allow hundreds of divided families to be reunited.

Furthermore, Israel currently prevents one Palestinian from marrying another from Gaza, the West Bank, Syria or Lebanon and remaining within the borders of Israel, on the pretext of preventing the right of return. So I, for example, can marry a British citizen and live in Nazareth but cannot do the same with a Palestinian who does not hold Israeli nationality.

Second, the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – which was also apparently accepted by the negotiator Saeb Erekat – would delegitimise the citizenship of Palestinians in Israel. In practice, Israel has acted as a Jewish state since its founding, and undermined the rights of Palestinian citizens for more than 60 years, with chronic, institutionalised discrimination. International recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would give this discrimination a legal and ethical justification. Arab Israeli citizenship would become conditional, and the inferior status of Palestinian citizens and residents as non-Jews, and thus by definition excluded outsiders, would become entrenched. Indeed, it would call into question their very future in such a state, their homeland.

Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by concerned international parties would serve to legitimise the series of racist laws and bills currently before the Knesset, and would turn the legal, political struggle of the Palestinian national minority into an illegal and illegitimate struggle – a move that would be fatal to democracy. It would become far easier to criminalise any party, individual or action that sought the establishment of genuine democracy and equality. Ultimately, it would effectively block the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. Israel should be a democratic state, not an ethnic state.

Third, we reject the proposed exchange of populations between Israel and the West Bank, championed, among others, by Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. This proposal has increasingly pervaded Israel’s political culture. According to a recent poll, 53% of the Jewish Israeli public believes that the state is entitled to encourage Palestinian citizens to emigrate. Making our citizenship a subject of negotiations would send out the clear and dangerous message that it is temporary, and open to question. As with residents of the occupied Palestinian territory – whose temporary legal status has become permanent, after 43 years of Israeli occupation – making Palestinian citizenship in Israel temporary totally ignores the basic fact that we are indigenous people living in our homeland, not an immigrant minority.

Moreover, raising this question now carries particular dangers, given the politics of hatred and persecution towards the Palestinian minority. When a letter was published by a group of publicly funded rabbis calling on Israeli Jews not to rent flats and houses to Palestinians, the Israeli political leadership took no practical action against them. A further poll found that 46% of the Jewish public would not want to live next to Arabs.

It has been clearly established by the international community that any decisions that have a direct impact on the future status of a national minority must be taken after full consultation, and with their consent – including through a referendum. We therefore reject any proposal that would involve other parties taking such decisions on our behalf.

We, as Palestinian people living inside Israel and on the basis of our historic right and international law, have full right of veto – not only on matters that affect our lives, such as the return of the refugees, the Jewish identity of the state and population exchange, but also on all matters affecting and infringing the rights of the Palestinian people.



31 January 2011

Israel’s human rights abuses in the name of security

My husband and other Palestinian prisoners are being denied basic rights and subjected to harsh treatment in detention

Janan Abdu

“Israeli security” is the sacred cow of the Israeli street and ruling establishment. Practically all the manifestations of Israeli racism directed at the state’s Palestinian citizens, as well as those living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, fall within this elastic slogan. In the name of this slogan, too, Israeli human rights organisations working to expose the practices of the state and army have recently had restrictions placed upon them.

The case of my husband Ameer Makhoul, which has received considerable media coverage and widespread local and international support, has played out against such a background. His arrest took place on 6 May 2010, but the story goes back to the time of the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008 and the death of thousands of Gazans.

At that time, Palestinian streets and the Arab and outside world rose up at the pictures of the killing of children and the terrible destruction. There were demonstrations, marches and protests. It was then that Ameer was summoned by Shabak (GSS), the Israel security service, for questioning on his various activities and political work. After several hours, he was released in the middle of the night with a warning that he was walking a fine line by inciting young people – yet all he was doing was making them aware of their national identity.

He was told that the next time he was summoned for questioning, he would have to bid his family farewell for a long time. On 6 May, the Israel security service carried out its threat. At three in the morning, our home in Haifa was raided by a force of 16 police and armed security personnel. Ameer, our two young daughters, aged 12 and 17, and I were woken up by a violent knocking at the door and he was taken away before our eyes.

Ameer was held in the security service interrogation centre at Petah Tikva for 12 days and his basic legal rights, accorded by international and domestic law, were violated, including the right to see a lawyer and an independent doctor. When he felt unwell, he asked for a blood test but his request was rejected. Only after the legal defence team, in consultation with us, the family, decided to boycott the court, were they allowed to see Ameer. They found him stressed and in poor physical condition. It was clear to them from the statement he made that he had been subjected to cruel and harsh interrogation, coming within the definition of torture.

His confession having been extracted under these conditions, on 27 May 2010 Ameer was charged with spying for Hezbollah. Since then, he has languished in an Israeli prison with more than 7,000 other Palestinian prisoners charged with similar security offences. We await the results of the trial and the verdict of the judges.

It is not only those charged with violating security in Israel who are punished – their family and community are punished too.

Ameer is being tried in the midst of a vicious wave of racism against Palestinians. A recent report by the Israeli organisations B’tselem and HaMoked into human rights abuses in the same interrogation centre in Petah Tikva found that there have been 645 complaints filed by detainees over their treatment in the facility, but none have led to any criminal investigation. In fact, these very Israeli organisations are being targeted by parliament today because of their work in exposing the practices of various state institutions, including the police, security services and army.

The Israeli parliament (the Knesset) took a further step in this direction recently by announcing the establishment of a parliamentary committee to investigate the work of human rights organisations. Furthermore, the Israeli security cabinet decided to extend for a further six months the ban on the reunification of Palestinian families where spouses are Israeli Arabs or inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, West Bank or Arab States. This will mean the continued suffering and fragmentation of these families on the pretext of “Israeli security”.

Under these difficult circumstances, Ameer agreed to strike a plea bargain with the public prosecutor whereby the sentence would be limited to between seven and 10 years. Legal experts told us that, were Ameer not well-known as a political activist who speaks to the world at conferences and international forums, the deal would have been more favourable for him.

Ameer is on trial and the big question remains: can the judiciary and the bench rise above the prevailing atmosphere to deliver a just verdict?

• This article was written before Sunday’s sentencing, at which Ameer Makhoul was jailed for nine years


3.  Forwarded by the JPLO List

January 31, 2011

Is the Palestinian Authority cracking down on Egypt solidarity
demonstrations? (Updated, and yes they are) 

> On 01.30.11, By Max Blumenthal

Update: Human Rights Watch was there and has confirmed
> that the PA crushed the demo.

I received this message from a friend in Ramallah yesterday. For obvious
reasons, he can’t be identified (I hope I’ll have time to follow
up; right now I’m working on a number of fronts. The Angry Arab has
another report
<> from
the suppressed demo:

“We, a group of Independent, liberal leaning Palestinian youth,
organized a demonstration near the Egyptian embassy using social media
tools such as Facebook, to our surprise one of the organizers was upheld
unlawfully and threatened by the Police, Intelligence service and
Preventive force on separate basis that if the event takes place he will
be tortured and made to pay a heavy price. According to their
conversations, they claimed that the order came directly from President
Abbas office. We are under constant surveillance and harassment since

After forcing one of the members to cancel an event on Facebook sending
a message to thousands of `confirmed attendees’, we still went
near the Egyptian embassy today at 4:00 pm. During the protest the
police violently assaulted several peaceful protesters and threatened
the use of brutal force if anyone raised any slogans.

These and other actions relating to the arrest of Journalists, activists
and not as the PA claims only from the Islamist ranks, but also includes
activists in Liberal and other leftist youth groups. Palestinians who
used to express their opinions freely despite measures of occupation are
now under the tutelage of two occupations suffocating our political,
economic and social rights.”

To subscribe or re-subscribe,  send an email to:

4. Haaretz,

January 31, 2011

Doesn’t the West Bank have Facebook?

Don’t the Al Jazeera on-the-scene reports about the riots in Egypt spark thoughts of uprising among unemployed Palestinians in the West Bank?

By Akiva Eldar

The riots began in Silwan, spread to Sheikh Jarrah, moved on to Shuhada Street in Hebron and reached their peak in Ramallah. College students and the jobless, along with former Hamas prisoners and embittered Fatah activists, took over the Muqata. Masses of people bearing placards condemning the occupation marched toward the settlement of Psagot. A small group of soldiers who were stationed along the way took fright and fired live bullets at the protesters. News about the death of 10 youths inflamed the Arab towns in the Galilee and the Triangle region, and the outrage spread to Jaffa and Ramle. The Israel Defense Forces seized control of the territories and restored military rule. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced his resignation and dismantled the PA.

A hallucination? The product of a wild imagination? If only. Just last week, who among us anticipated the earthquake that has since rocked Egypt? Are the residents of Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah and Shuhada Street, who are living under foreign occupation, in a better situation than the Egyptians suffering under a cruel regime? Don’t the students at Birzeit University have Facebook accounts?

Don’t the Al Jazeera on-the-scene reports about the riots in Egypt spark thoughts of uprising among unemployed Palestinians in the West Bank (especially since the unemployment rate in the West Bank is 16.5 percent, compared to 9.7 percent in Egypt )? And don’t the lucky ones, who have permits to stand in a packed line at the roadblock in the wee hours of the morning to get a day of work at a Jewish construction site, understand that even Arabs can revolt against infringement of their basic rights?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday that he was making an effort to maintain stability and security in the region. How will he do that? For example, is he going to help strengthen the moderate secular coalition in the region by announcing that he accepts the Arab League peace initiative – the same initiative that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been begging us to respond to for eight years – as a basis for negotiations?

Come on, really, how could he? After all, it doesn’t say there that they’ll recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people and a united Jerusalem as our eternal capital.

So maybe, as a gesture to Mubarak, Netanyahu will invite Abbas to his home and present him with a fair proposal for permanent borders?

What does that have to do with it? The Palestinians should be thankful that the prime minister is considering approving an access road to the future Palestinian city of Rawabi.

And what about this idea: Netanyahu convinces members of Congress to increase financial aid to Egypt. He could tell them it’s not fair that Israel gets $3 billion a year from the United States while Egypt, whose population is 11 time bigger and whose per capita gross national product is about one-fifth that of Israel’s ($6,200 vs. $30,000 ), gets less than $2 billion.

What kind of nonsense is that? Where will we get the money to buy more combat planes? What, are we going to take it from the new roads we’re paving for the settlers?

It’s not really reasonable, or even fair, to expect that Netanyahu will really make an effort to maintain regional stability and security; the human rights situation in the territories interests him as much as last year’s heat wave. The option of withdrawal from most of the territories as part of a regional peace, accompanied by security arrangements and the promotion of financial projects, does not sit well with his political agenda. The “Big Brother” contestant who was kicked off the show yesterday interests Israeli voters more than the risk that Abbas will be ousted tomorrow. The turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt serve as further proof for the voters that in our violent part of the world, we have to build up our muscles – and that there isn’t any room for terror collaborators or people who are overly fastidious.

The responsibility for not geting dragged away in the wave of fanaticism and anarchy falls on U.S. President Barack Obama. In June 2009, he pledged that “America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.” At the same time, he called for a total halt to settlement construction, which he said undermines peace efforts. Twenty months later, in his State of the Union address last week, Obama didn’t mention the Palestinians or even imply anything about them, while his representatives in the United Nations are working on holding off a proposal to condemn Israel over continued unrestrained construction in the settlements.

The only thing left is to hope that Obama learned something from what’s going on in Egypt and will not wait until the territories are aflame before muttering something about the need for confidence-building steps.


5. The Independent,

31 January 2011

How much longer can Mubarak cling on?

Robert Fisk reports from Cairo on the protests that refuse to die

The old lady in the red scarf was standing inches from the front of am American-made M1 Abrams tank of the Egyptian Third Army, right on the edge of Tahrir Square. Its soldiers were paratroops, some in red berets, others in helmets, gun barrels pointed across the square, heavy machine guns mounted on the turrets. “If they fire on the Egyptian people, Mubarak is finished,” she said. “And if they don’t fire on the Egyptian people, Mubarak is finished.” Of such wisdom are Egyptians now possessed.

Shortly before dusk, four F-16 Falcons – again, of course, manufactured by President Barack Obama’s country – came screaming over the square, echoes bouncing off the shabby grey buildings and the giant Nasserist block, as the eyes of the tens of thousands of people in the square stared upwards. “They are on our side,” the cry went up from the crowds. Somehow, I didn’t think so. And those tanks, new to the square, 14 in all that arrived with no slogans painted on them, their soldiers sullen and apprehensive, had not come – as the protesters fondly believed – to protect them.

But then, when I talked to an officer on one of the tanks, he burst out with a smile. “We will never fire on our people – even if we are ordered to do so,” he shouted over the roar of his engine. Again, I was not so sure. President Hosni Mubarak – or perhaps we should now say “president” in quotation marks – was at the military headquarters, having appointed his new junta of former military and intelligence officers. The rumour went round the square: the old wolf would try to fight on to the end. Others said it didn’t matter. “Can he kill 80 million Egyptians?”

Anti-American sentiment was growing after Mr Obama’s continued if tepid support for the Mubarak regime. “No, Obama, not Mubarak,” posters read. And Mr Mubarak’s face appeared with a Star of David superimposed over his face. Many of the crowd produced stun-gun cartridge cases fired last week with “Made in the USA” stamped on the bottom. And I noticed the lead tank’s hull bore markings beginning “MFR” – at this point a soldier with a rifle and bayonet fixed was ordered to arrest me so I ran into the crowd and he retreated – but could “MFR” stand for the US Mobile Force Reserve, which keeps its tanks in Egypt? Was this tank column on loan from the Americans? You don’t need to work out what the Egyptians make of all this.

Yet there were extraordinary scenes earlier in the day between protesters and tank crews of another unit (this time, the machines were older American M-60 Pattons of Vietnam vintage), which appeared to be about to protect a unit of water cannons sent to clear the streets. Hundreds of young men overwhelmed one tank, and when a lieutenant in sun glasses began firing into the air, he was pushed back against his armoured vehicle and had to climb on top to avoid the men. Yet the crowd quickly became good natured, posed for pictures on the tank and handed the soldiers fruit and water.

When a long line of troops assembled across the road, a very old, hunch-backed man sought and gained permission to approach them. I followed him as he embraced the lieutenant and kissed him on both cheeks and said: “You are our sons. We are your people.” And then he walked down the row of troops and kissed each one and embraced each one and told each one that he was his son. You need a heart of stone not to be moved by such scenes and yesterday was replete with them.

At one point, a group of protesters brought a man they said was a thief – of which Cairo seems full at the moment – and he was trussed up and handed to the soldiers. “You are here to protect us,” they chanted. When one of the soldiers hit the man in the face, his officer slapped him. Then the soldier sat down, shaking his head in despair. All day, an Egyptian Mi-25 helicopter – this time a relic of Soviet ordnance – circled the crowds, six rockets in the pods, but did nothing. Later a French-built Gazelle of the Egyptian air force flew low over the crowds, and the people waved at the place and the pilot could be seen waving back.

And all the time Egyptians walked up to foreigners – and a grey-haired Englishman doesn’t look very Egyptian – and insisted that a people who had lost their fear could never be reinjected with fear.

“We will never be afraid again,” a young woman shouted at me as the jets screamed over again. And a former cop now claiming to be a liaison man between the demonstrators and the army said that “the army will be with us because they know Mubarak must go”. Again, I am not so sure.

And the looting and burning go on. The former policeman – who should know – told me that many of the looters are members of a group which belonged to the Mr Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, whose previous role had been to bully Egyptians to go to polling stations and vote for their beloved leader. So why, we all wonder now, are these men trying to loot and burn, crimes which are being blamed on all those who demand that Mr Mubarak leave the country? Those demands, incidentally, now include the expulsion of Omar Suleiman, his former top spy, who is Vice-President.

Across Egypt, and on almost every street in Cairo, there are now vigilantes – not Mubarak men, but ordinary civilians who are tired of the semi-official gangs who are robbing their own people at night-time. To get back to my hotel last night, I had to pass through eight checkpoints of men, young and old – one was stooped, with a walking stick in one hand and an old British .303 Lee Enfield rifle in the other – who are now attacking thieves and handing them to the army. But this is no Dad’s Army.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, a group of armed men turned up at the Children’s Cancer Hospital near the old Roman aqueduct. They wanted to take the medical equipment, but within minutes, local people ran down the road and threatened the men with knives. They retreated at once. Dr Khaled el-Noury, the chief operating officer at the hospital, told me that the armed visitors were disorganised and apparently frightened of being harmed.

They were right. The reception clerk at the children’s hospital showed me the kitchen knife he kept on his desk for protection. Further proof of fighting power lay outside the gate where men appeared holding clubs and sticks and pokers. A boy – perhaps eight years old – appeared brandishing an 18-inch butcher’s knife, slightly more than half his height. Other men holding knives of equal length came to shake hands with the foreign journalist.

They are no third force. And they believe in the army. Will the soldiers go into the square? And does it matter if Mr Mubarak goes anyway?


6.  Join a delegation to Israel/Palestine

May 21 – June 3, 2011

July 16 – July 29, 2011

October 29 – November 11, 2011

Find us on Facebook

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Travel to Israel/Palestine in Summer 2011

Since 2000, Interfaith Peace-Builders has sent over 550 people (students, educators, working professionals, activists, retirees) on 35 fact-finding delegations to Israel/Palestine. We started the program when Israelis and Palestinians first invited us into their homes, offices, and places of worship to learn from them about their lives and their work for justice.

Today, our delegations continue as a testament to the transformative power of learning directly from those living in Israel/Palestine. Travel with us in May or July to learn more, gain skills for advocacy on this issue, and meet and network with organizations and individuals working in Israel/Palestine.

Also, spend time with Interfaith Peace-Builders, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and many dedicated activists in DC for the Grassroots Advocacy Training, March 6-7, 2011.

Delegation Details

May 2011 Delegation ~ A Few Spaces Left!

Voices of the Peacemakers: From Roots to Reconciliation

May 21 – June 3, 2011
Delegation Leaders: Huwaida Arraf & Adam Horowitz

This delegation will explore Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace and a resolution to their conflict based on justice.  The delegation will feature meetings with Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers – leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, religious leaders and more.  IFPB’s May-June delegation also traditionally focuses on the annual commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and the founding of the State of Israel.


Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian with American and Israeli citizenship. She received her Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Michigan, and her Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law, where she focused her studies on international human rights and humanitarian law. In 2001 Huwaida co- founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Huwaida is co- author of the book “Peace Under Fire: Israel, Palestine, and the International Solidarity Movement.”  She previously taught in a human rights law clinic at Al- Quds University in Jerusalem, the first legal clinic in the Arab World, and is currently the Chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement. Since August 2008, she has led 5 successful sea voyages to the Gaza Strip.

Adam Horowitz is a writer and co-editor of the website Mondoweiss, a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective. Prior to Mondoweiss, Horowitz was Director of the Israel/Palestine Program for the American Friends Service Committee. He is the co-editor (along with Philip Weiss and Lizzy Ratner) of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict (Nation Books) and his work has appeared in The Nation, Alternet, The Huffington Post, and The Horowitz has a master’s degree in Near Eastern Studies from New York University.

Deadline to Apply: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until late March. Spaces are already filling up, so we can’t guarantee spots will be available. Apply soon to reserve your space!


July 2011 Delegation

Today’s Realities, Tomorrow’s Leaders

July 16 -29, 2011

Delegation Leaders: Mohammed Abu-Nimer & Emily Siegel

This delegation will explore current realities of life for Israelis and Palestinians, including settlements, the occupation, and the peace process—by learning directly from those living there.  We will also explore issues relevant to young people in the region, including efforts to educate and empower future generations working towards a just resolution to the conflict.  Our itinerary will feature meetings with leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, Palestinian and Israeli youth, religious leaders and more.

Academic credit is also available!  Contact Mohammed Abu-Nimer for details.


Mohammed Abu-Nimer is a full professor at American University’s School of International Service in International Peace and Conflict Resolution in Washington, DC. He is the Director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute.  Dr. Abu-Nimer is also the Founder and Director of the Salam: Peacebuilding and Justice Institute, and the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. He has written, edited, and co-authored many books including: Peace-Building By, Between and Beyond Muslims and Evangelical Christians, Reconciliation, Coexistence, and Justice: Theory and Practice, Unity in Diversity: Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East, and Peacebuilding and Nonviolence in Islam.

Emily Siegel is Delegations Coordinator at IFPB. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University’s School of International Service and a BA in International Relations, with minors in Sociology and Jewish Studies, from the University of Delaware.   Her research has focused on the intersection of justice and peace-building through education in Israel/Palestine.  Emily has previously worked for organizations such as Partners for Peace, CODEPINK, and the United States Institute of Peace.  She is also a trained facilitator and has co-facilitated dialogues focusing on US-Islam relations and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  She previously co-led an IFPB delegation in 2009.

Deadline to Apply: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until late May. Spaces are already filling up, so we can’t guarantee spots will be available. Apply soon to reserve your space!


African Heritage Delegation

July 16 – 29, 2011
Delegation Leaders: Gerald Lenoir and Zoharah Simmons

Individuals of African descent are encouraged to apply.

This delegation will raise awareness, heighten activism, and further link struggles between African Heritage communities in the US and those working for justice in Israel/Palestine. This program is built upon existing efforts within African Heritage communities and will strengthen work focusing on Apartheid in Israel, justice in Palestine, and the growth of boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns nationally.


Gerald Lenoir serves on the Board of Directors of Interfaith Peace-Builders and is the director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration in Oakland.  He is also a board member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and a co-founder of the Priority Africa Network, which advocates for progressive US policies toward Africa and organizes dialogues between African Americans and black immigrants. Gerald is the former executive director of the Black Coalition on AIDS in San Francisco and co-founder/board chair of the HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County. He was a member of the editorial board of War Times/Tiempos de Guerra, an anti-Iraq war newspaper, and a long time leader in the racial justice and anti-apartheid movements.

Dr. Zoharah Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Religion and affiliated faculty in the Women Studies Department at the University of Florida. Her primary academic focus is on the Shari’ah (Islamic Law) and its impact on Muslim women.  She has traveled extensively in the Middle East to conduct research and fieldwork.  Zoharah is a disciple in Sufi Islam and is an active member of the Bawa Muhaiyadeen Fellowship and Mosque.  She has a long history in the area of civil rights, human rights, and peace work. She was on the staff of theAmerican Friends Service Committee for twenty-three years, was active with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and spent seven years working full time on Voter Registration and desegregation activities in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.




Join Interfaith Peace-Builders, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation at the 3rd Grassroots Advocacy Training & Lobby Day on March 6-7, 2011 in Washington DC!

This event features analysts and activists at the forefront of the movement for Israeli-Palestinian peace and gives you a unique opportunity to make a difference.  Be the change you want to see!  Click here for more information and to register today!


Nothing better prepares activists to work on the conflict than eyewitness experience. Your donation will further the education and engagement of new participants and build a larger, more diverse movement! Click here to donate online!

Would you give an hour each month towards peace with justice in Israel/Palestine? If so, join IFPB’s Hour-A-Month Program and donate an hour of your salary each month. Every donation helps us towards our goal of raising $5,000 by October 30 and furthers the cause of peace in the Middle East. Click here to donate monthly!


7.  Washington and Mr. Mu-Barak


LA Times,

January 31, 2011

U.S. cautiously prepares for post-Mubarak era

Mindful of other allies in the region, U.S. officials have been careful not to abandon the Egyptian leader, urging him to implement a transition to democracy. But they are also preparing for the possibility of his ouster.,0,2980806.story

By Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington


Al Jazeera Last Modified: Monday 31 Jan 2011 15:47 GMT

EU warns Egypt over protests

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

Dorothy Online Newsletter



Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC


Dear Friends,

With so much happening in Egypt, it is tempting not to focus on anything else.  I have seldom in the past spent as much time watching TV news updates as now.  The other times that I have, have also been emergency situations: Israel’s war on Lebanon, Israel’s attack on Gaza, not misnamed ‘Cast Lead,’ though it also could have been called ‘Cast phosphorus.’  So today’s post is a bit top-heavy with Egypt.  But is not entirely devoted to the subject.

Tonight’s 6 items are of two categories: boycott actions, and, Egypt.  Of the latter (items 3-6), all are opinion pieces.  The first three of these discuss the present situation in Egypt with reference to Israel—not, that is, about whether the present uprising in Egypt is good or bad for Israel, but are critical of Israel, and one at least, of the West in general.  As Zvi Bar’el’s final comment states, “we need a revolution in the way the West views the region.”  The final item, 6, is from the Washington Post.  In it Anne Applebaum praises the Egyptians on the streets and argues that uprisings as the one in Egypt are a good thing.

As for items 1 and 2, both are letters.  Item 1 is a response to a letter by Ian McEwan (published in the Guardian) justifying his coming to Israel to accept the Israel award.   The signatories of this letter explain why they do not accept his reasons.  In item 2, Tali Shapiro attempts to show Macy Gray why she should not perform in Israel, and in the process gives a clear picture of what Israel does to Palestinians in one village.  The letter is beautifully written, and if after reading it Macy Gray still insists on performing here in Israel, then nothing will change her mind.  Her willingness to sing in Israel will then be pure stubbornness and irrationality.

Let’s hope that in the end she listens to reason and joins others who have heeded the call to boycott Israel.




1.The Guardian,

29 January 2011

Ian McEwan Can’t Escape the Politics

We thank Ian McEwan for responding to our letter (Letters, 24 January), but we, the undersigned, must continue to express our profound disagreement with his decision to accept the Jerusalem prize. Courtesy does not oblige us to respect a decision that fails the Palestinian people by rejecting their call for an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the Israeli state. BDS was launched by over 170 civil society organisations in 2005: after Susan Sontag and Arthur Miller received the prize.

In reply to Ian McEwan’s claim that literature transcends political considerations, we put three questions to him. First, as the prize is awarded by the Jerusalem municipality, isn’t accepting it a fundamentally political action? Second, would he have accepted a prize funded by apartheid South Africa? And finally, isn’t it now abundantly clear that the long slow process of “dialogue and engagement” with intransigent Israeli governments has only enabled them to tighten their stranglehold on Gaza and the West Bank?

Art, we believe, may change the hearts and minds of individuals; in the callous hands of politicians it is but a tin trophy. Boycott, however, worked in South Africa, and now our Israeli friends tell us BDS is forcing senior Israeli journalists and politicians to anxiously recognise the shift in world opinion against their country’s decades of human rights abuses. Ian McEwan opposes the illegal settlements that may soon make an independent Palestinian state nothing but a ruined dream. Please, we ask him, do not co-author another disgraceful chapter in the west’s ugly elegy to Palestine. Stay home and help to build a just Jerusalem at last!

Rowyda Amin

John Berger

Prof Mona Baker

Naomi Foyle

Fred Johnston

Judith Kazantzis

Eleanor Kilroy

Wendy Klein

Diane Langford

Dr Nur Masalha

China Miéville

Dr Khadiga Safwat

Seni Seneviratne

Tom Vowler

Irving Weinman

Robin Yassin-Kassab


2,  January 27, 2011

Dear Macy,

Border Police officers arresting Ouday Tamimi. Picture credit: Bilal Tamimi from Joseph Dana’s blog

I’ll say it again, I truly appreciate that you took your contemplations public. I can tell by what you write that you’ve been thrown into a world that its intensity is unknown to you. I write to you consistently because your heart is on your sleeve, and even though you seem to have made up your mind, I feel the doubt in every public utterance you make.

I’ll introduce myself; My name is Tali Shapiro. I’m an Israeli citizen and I just came back from the village of Nabi Salleh in the West Bank and read your latest blog post. I’m an activist that joins the weekly demonstrations in the village. There are weekly demonstrations in many villages. Though it’s a part of a movement for Palestinian human rights, each village wakes to dissent for individual reasons. Nabi Sallah has had its land annexed by the near by Halamish settlement and its water spring closed off from them by military force. Ever since then, they’ve been demonstrating.

Demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories come with a heavy price. Whether its the wounded and dead, or the constant harassment. Nabi Saleh has been subject to military closure, houses sprayed with putrid water (another method of “crowd dispersal”), night raids, arrests of activists (regardless of age), and torture which includes threats, beatings and contorted body positioning.

I write to you as I come back from one of these night raids. I live in Tel Aviv by choice. I choose to come to a war zone at night, to witness exactly what is being done in the name of my security:

At 3:30 the army invaded the village. We all jumped from our sleeping positions, put on our shoes and rushed to the scene. Incidentally, the “scene” was taking place at the neighbors’. The neighbors are all family, because Nabi Saleh is a small village. By the time we got there, Omar Tamimi, a young man of 20, was already in hand cuffs. His mother, father and sister, running around frantically, yelling in Hebrew and Arabic, trying to understand why their son and brother is being arrested?

As we got there, the soldiers, ranking between Private to Brigadier, their faces painted with camouflage paints, yelled at us to get lost, and when we made it clear that we won’t, they threatened to arrest us. One of the officers called two of his men to have their rifles aimed at us at all times:

“Point your rifles at them all the time. One wrong move, stick a bullet in them.”

I guess now that they have their man they could just leave. But for some reason they entered another neighbor’s house. Some of us followed them inside and I’m still not clear on what they wanted to do there in the first place. Just for the sake of harassment, a military police officer was brought to speak with me, when the soldiers realized I was Israeli. I was officially detained for several minutes, because they arbitrarily decided that it’s illegal for me to be where I was. Fortunately, I’m hardly what they were coming after, so a threat sufficed as they were leaving with Omar Tamimi cuffed and blind-folded in the back seat of a jeep:

“Tali, we’ll come visit you, don’t worry.”

The 3 jeeps didn’t even leave yet and we got the message that another house, on the other side of the village is being raided. As we crossed the fields to get to the house, yells came from the dark field:


“Stop!” Then a gun was cocked and I could see that little red light, we all know from the movies, trail over my body and face. I raised my hands and yelled that we’re not armed. It took them a while, but then one yelled: “It’s women!” I wonder what would have happened if we weren’t.

We got to the house after the raid was over. The person they were looking for wasn’t in there. Again, it took them another 20 minutes to disperse. At around 4:00 it was all over.

The story of this night raid isn’t complete without the context of the village demonstrations. In the past 2 weeks the army has been raiding Nabi Saleh every night. Waking up the villagers to take their photos. This week, every night raid ended with an arrest. An 11 year old, a 14 year old, and two 15 year olds have already been yanked out of their bed in the middle of the night and interrogated. The 14 year old Islam Tamimi and one of the 15 year olds are still in Ofer military prison. There are about 8,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails at any given time. Over 300 are children.

Yesterday, the village committee coordinator, Bassem Tamimi, was arrested at a checkpoint (a common form of civil repression by the Israeli army) at Ramallah city. He was taken back to the watchtower, at the outskirts of his village, where he was beaten for 2 hours and told that they know he’s the one responsible for the demonstrations, and every time there’s a demonstration they’ll take him back to the tower and beat him.

To us activists this isn’t new. It’s all a replay of last year, when the village of Bil’in suffered nightly raids and an arrest of their children. The Bil’in children were also intimidated and beaten throughout interrogation, their forced confessions put together, made an “incitement” case against Abdallah Abu Rahma, one of the Bil’in committee coordinators.  Abdallah was arrested on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, in front of his wife and small children. He was about to finish his sentence  in Ofer military prison for 16 months, when the military court decided to extend his imprisonment for another 3 months. Many of us are asking, is Bassem next?

Macy, you’re probably asking yourself, what will not playing in Tel Aviv do to change this? What all this has to do with you? I’d like to answer these and other questions you’ve asked in your latest blog post.

To the question of why you’re being asked to boycott now and were never asked before:

Asking the international community to boycott a state is a serious action, which entails widespread organization. It’s also a last resort tactic. So incredibly enough, it took Palestinians 60 years to unite around this one. How many were killed, wounded, tortured, or had their homes and lands stolen from them, in the process, is a question that’s answer is almost impossible to grasp. 2005 will be remembered in the history books as the year Palestinian civil society said “enough is enough”, and that’s why this request hasn’t been extended to you before. Now that it has, many people are expecting you to take it seriously.

Why it’s not OK to play in Tel Aviv and visit the occupied West Bank:

On the face of it, it’s like a win-win situation: You get to entertain your Israeli fans, while educating yourself on the subject of Palestinian life under Israeli military rule. But here’s the kicker, Macy: The majority of your audience in Reading, Tel Aviv will be ex-soldiers and reservists. Who knows, maybe one of the young men holding a gun to my head yesterday will be there to sing along to “I Try”. You see Macy, you entertaining Israelis in civilian clothing will always amount to you entertaining the troops, because 75% of the youth in Israel are constricted at the age of 18. And this is what they do with their time- “manage” population.

Many American citizens have decided to visit the occupied territories and see it for themselves. They have no business opportunity in Israel and they don’t come for a whiff of touristic Tel Aviv. They take 2 weeks-4 months out of their lives to participate in life at the end of the barrel of a gun.

About your comment of all of us living under a government we don’t agree with:

This is true for you, me and the rest of the Israeli population, but for Palestinians in the occupied territories, this is not the case. Palestinians in the occupied territories live under military rule. Their lives are regulated by 18 year olds, carrying weapons. This is why it’s called occupation. They don’t get to vote who’s the next Israeli Prime Minister, who’ll continue choking them under his military boot.

You say we have a choice; “We can act on our opinions forcibly, passively or not at all.” You forget “actively.” The occupation won’t end on its own. Some of us choose to act on our opinions actively and not forcibly, even non-violently. To our dismay, we are reacted to in violent means by the state, and passively by members of the international community. This is why you’re so important, Macy. In a twisted world like our’s a hit single attains you a world-wide stage. Unfortunately, those who attain it, often use it for the benefit of themselves and only themselves. Don’t misunderstand me, Macy, I respect that you, as a woman of color in the United States, have worked exceedingly hard to attain what you have. You can view this as an unlucky incident in which you were put on the spot for something you have absolutely nothing to do with; Or you can understand this to be an opportunity to learn about the world around you and to connect with other human beings. An opportunity to do the right thing in a certain moment in time.

Music as building bridges:

Cliches are often rooted in truth and this statement has truth in it. I’m a huge fan of World Music. I love gypsy music, South American music, Arabic music and other categories deemed exotic enough to get into this category of music. I love it because it’s beautiful and unfamiliar and it makes me want to see these places and meet these people and submerge in a culture that is richer than today’s capitalist, cosmopolitan culture- the one I grew up in. I also believe political music builds bridges, usually because it gives voice to the voiceless, so I can see their world for a slight second.

All this is well and good, but how does this apply in our case, Macy? We are not alone in this world, experiencing solely from within ourselves. Your unique music will be played for soldiers of one of the most highly armed states in the world, that when they are masquerading as individual civilians, they’re seemingly individual privilege to listen to music is simultaneously taking collective freedoms away from a population of a few millions. The night you are bridging to the Israeli population, another child will be kidnapped from their bed in Nabi Saleh, about a 45 minute drive away.

Unfortunately, music will not be an agent of change for Palestinians. Yours is but one performance in a plethora of performances that creates a feeling for Israelis and an image to the international community that everything is alright. It is all the white noise that whitewashes the crushing of lives. Believe it or not, if an artist of your caliber says “I won’t do business as usual with Israel until it checks itself”, it will have a tremendous effect on the realities here. Yours will be one small step for a woman and one giant leap for human kind… how about that?

People who visit the occupied territories often ask me how I can stay so positive, I always reply the same: Revolutions don’t happen over night, but with the consistent work of many people over a long period of time. Or in your own words:

With great faith in you,



3.  Haaretz,

January 30, 2011

The Egyptian masses won’t play ally to Israel

As long as the masses in Egypt and in the entire Arab world continue seeing the images of tyranny and violence from the occupied territories, Israel will not be able to be accepted, even it is acceptable to a few regimes.

By Gideon Levy

Three or four days ago, Egypt was still in our hands. The army of pundits, including our top expert on Egypt, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said that “everything is under control,” that Cairo is not Tunis and that Mubarak is strong. Ben-Eliezer said that he had spoken on the phone with a senior Egyptian official, and he assured him that there’s nothing to worry about. You can count on Fuad and Hosni, both about to become has-beens.

On Friday night everything changed. It turned out that the Israeli intelligence estimates, which were recited ad nauseum by the court analysts, were again, shall we say, not the epitome of accuracy. The people of Egypt had their say, and had the nerve not to fall in line with Israeli wishes. A moment before Mubarak’s fate is sealed, the time has come for drawing the Israeli conclusions.

Not a plague of darkness in Egypt but the light of the Nile: the end of a regime propped up by bayonets is foretold. It can go on for years, and the downfall sometimes comes at the least expected time, but in the end it will happen. Not only Damascus and Amman, Tripoli and Rabat, Tehran and Pyongyang: Ramallah and Gaza are also destined to be shaken.

The hypocritical and sanctimonious division of countries by the U.S. and the West between the “axis of evil” on the one hand, and the “moderates” on the other, has collapsed. If there is an axis of evil, then it includes all the non-democratic regimes, including the “moderates” and the “stable” and the “pro-Western.” Today Egypt, tomorrow Palestine. Yesterday Tunis, tomorrow Gaza.

Not only is the Fatah regime in Ramallah and the Hamas regime in Gaza destined to fall, but perhaps also, one day, the Israeli occupation, which certainly meets all the criteria of criminal tyranny and an evil regime. It too relies only on guns. It too is hated by all levels of the ruled people, even if they stands helpless, unorganized and unequipped, facing a big army. The first conclusion: Better to end it well, with agreements based on justice and not on power, a moment before the masses have their say and succeed in banishing the darkness.

A second, no less important conclusion: Alliances with unpopular regimes can be torn up overnight. As long as the masses in Egypt and in the entire Arab world continue seeing the images of tyranny and violence from the occupied territories, Israel will not be able to be accepted, even it is acceptable to a few regimes.

The Egyptian regime became an ally of the Israeli occupation. The joint siege of Gaza is irrefutable proof of that. The Egyptian people didn’t like it. They never liked the peace agreement with Israel, in which Israel committed itself to “respect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” but never kept its word. Instead, the people of Egypt got the scenes of Operation Cast Lead.

It is not enough to have a handful of embassies in order to be accepted in the region. There also have to be embassies of goodwill, a just image and a state that is not an occupier. Israel has to make its way into the hearts of the Arab peoples, who will never agree to the continued repression of their brothers, even if their intelligence ministers will continue to cooperate with Israel.

If there’s one thing shared by all factions of the Egyptian opposition, it is their seething hatred of Israel. Now their representatives will rise to power, and Israel will find itself in a difficult situation. Neither will anything remain of the virtual achievement that Netanyahu often paraded – the alliance with the “moderate” Arab regimes against Iran. A real alliance with Egypt and its sister-states can only be based on the end of the occupation, as desired by the Egyptian people, and not on a common enemy, as an interest of its regime.

The masses of the Egyptian people – please note: on all levels – took their fate in their hands. There is something impressive and cheering in that. No power, not even that of Mubarak, who Ben-Eliezer likes so much, can overcome them. In Washington the gravity of the moment has already been understood, and they were quick to dissociate from Mubarak and tried to find favor in the eyes of his people. That should happen at some point in Jerusalem.


4.  Haaretz,

January 30, 2011

An Arab revolution fueled by methods of the West

The Arab street suddenly uses ‘our’ methods: Facebook and Twitter – the tools of democracy we have invented – to present us with a situation of disorder.

By Zvi Bar’el

So what has happened so far? A corrupt president in Tunisia flees, to cheers from around the world. Protests erupt in Egypt, and gloom descends. Protests are held in Iran, and the world cheers. A prime minister is deposed in Lebanon, to fear and dread. An Iraqi president is overthrown in a military offensive, and it’s called democracy. Raucous demonstrations take place in Yemen, and they’re called interesting but not terribly important.

Why the different reactions? This is supposedly the new Middle East the West always wanted, but something still isn’t working out. This isn’t the Middle East they dreamed of in the Bush administration, and not what nourished Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wildest dreams. A new, unexpected player has appeared: the public.

Up to now, the world has been divided into two camps: “complicated” countries where the government represents the public and every decision is subject to public oversight, and “easy” countries where business is conducted at the top and the public is just window dressing. The dividing line between the two has always been starkly clear. Everything north of the Mediterranean belonged to the first group and everything to the south and east to the second.

The north had political parties and trade unions, a left wing and a right wing, important intellectuals, celebrities who shaped public opinion, and of course, there was public opinion itself. In the south the division was simple. It was the distinction between moderates and extremists, meaning pro-Westerners and anti-Westerners.

If you’re a Saudi king who buys billions of dollars of American weapons, you’re pro-Western and therefore entitled to continue to rule a country without a parliament, one where thieves’ hands are amputated and women aren’t allowed to drive. If you’re an Egyptian president who supports the peace process, you’re pro-Western and have permission to continue to impose emergency rule in your country, jail journalists and opposition members, and fix elections.

And what if you’re the ruler of Qatar? There’s a problem classifying you. On the one hand, Qatar hosts the largest American military base in the Middle East. But it has close relations with Iran and Syria. On the one hand, its ruler promotes democratic values and its foreign minister occasionally meets with top Israeli officials. But it nurtures Al Jazeera.

Of course, we love Al Jazeera when it shows us exclusive pictures of mass demonstrations, discloses secret documents, and is open to interviewing Israeli and Jewish spokespeople. But we hate it because it covers Hamas and Hezbollah’s successes. The huge challenge of categorizing Qatar shows that the terms pro-Western and moderate have no connection to the universal values the West seeks to export. They only represent the degree of the fear and the threat posed by the values the anti-Westerners send to the West.

And all of a sudden, into the whirlwind, into the era of certainty and the lexicon in which the region’s countries are neatly packaged, the Arab “street” erupts, a sophisticated street. It uses “our” methods: Facebook and Twitter – the tools of democracy we have invented – to present us with a situation of disorder. How do you defend yourself against this? This Arab street has already used these tools to depose Tunisian President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, and its ideas have gone viral. What if it manages to establish democracy in Egypt? In Yemen? Look what happened to the Shah of Iran, albeit using now-outmoded cassettes.

And when Al Jazeera’s cameras come close to the demonstrators, it also becomes clear that these are not religious radicals. Lawyers, journalists, university students, women with their heads uncovered, high school students, the secular and the religious are taking to the streets. They’re not shouting “God is great,” but “corruption out,” “dictator out” and “we want jobs.” Such nice slogans make you identify with them. In the words of “The Internationale”: “arise ye workers from your slumber.” It makes us want to join them until we remember that, as U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt described Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, he “may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” It’s disrupting the order of things.

We don’t have to wait for other regimes to fall to understand that the revolution is happening before our very eyes. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will not fall due to demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and Yemen’s ruler will also continue to rule by force. But it’s a revolution of awareness and of the fundamental notions of what the Middle East is. Most importantly, we need a revolution in the way the West views the region.


5.  Haaretz,

January 29, 2011

Without Egypt, Israel will be left with no friends in Mideast

Without Egypt’s Mubarak and with relations with Turkey in shambles, Israel will be forced to court new potential allies.

By Aluf Benn

The fading power of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government leaves Israel in a state of strategic distress. Without Mubarak, Israel is left with almost no friends in the Middle East; last year, Israel saw its alliance with Turkey collapse.

From now on, it will be hard for Israel to trust an Egyptian government torn apart by internal strife. Israel’s increasing isolation in the region, coupled with a weakening United States, will force the government to court new potential allies.

Israel’s foreign policy has depended on regional alliances which have provided the country with strategic depth since the 1950s. The country’s first partner was France, which at the time ruled over northern Africa and provided Israel with advanced weaponry and nuclear capabilities.

After Israel’s war against Egypt in 1956, David Ben-Gurion attempted to establish alliances with non-Arab countries in the region, including Iran, Turkey and Ethiopia. The Shah of Iran became a significant ally of Israel, supplying the country with oil and money from weapons purchases. The countries’ militaries and intelligence agencies worked on joint operations against Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s rule, which was seen as the main threat against Israel and pro-Western Arab governments.

Israel’s next alliances were forged with Jordan’s King Hussein and Morocco’s King Hassan. These ties were operated in secret, as well as ties with leaders in Lebanon’s Christian community. The late 1970s saw the fall of the Shah of Iran, with an anti-Israel Islamic republic created in his stead.

Around the same time, Egypt and Israel broke their cycle of conflict by signing a peace agreement. Egypt positioned itself on the side of Saudi Arabia, as head of the pro-American camp.

Mubarak inherited the peace agreement after President Anwar Sadat’s assassination. Mubarak was cold in his public relations with Israel, refusing to visit the country except for Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral, which decelerated normalization between the countries.

Relations between the Israel Defense Forces and the Egyptian army were conducted on a low level, with no joint exercises. Egyptian public opinion was openly hostile towards Israel and anti-Semitic terminology was common. Civil relations between the countries were carried out by a handful of government workers and businessmen.

Despite all of this, the “cold peace” with Egypt was the most important strategic alliance Israel had in the Middle East. The security provided by the alliance gave Israel the chance to concentrate its forces on the northern front and around the settlements. Starting in 1985, peace with Egypt allowed for Israel to cut its defense budget, which greatly benefited the economy.

Mubarak became president while Israel was governed by Menachim Begin, and has worked with eight different Israeli leaders since then. He had close relations with Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu. In the last two years, despite a stagnation in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and worsening relations between Netanyahu and the Arab world, Mubarak has hosted the prime minister both in Cairo and in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The friendship between Mubarak and Netanyahu is based on a mutual fear over Iran’s strengthening and the rising power of Islamists, as well as over the weakening and distancing of the U.S. government with Barack Obama at its head.

Now, with Mubarak struggling over the survival of his government, Israel is left with two strategic allies in the region: Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. These two allies promise to strengthen Israel’s Eastern battlefront and are also working to stop terror attacks and slow down Hamas.

But Israel’s relationship with these two allies is complicated. Joint security exercises are modest and the relationship between the leaders is poor. Jordan’s King Abdullah refuses to meet Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is waging a diplomatic struggle against Israel’s right-wing government. It’s hard to tell how Jordan and the PA could fill the role that Egypt has played for Israel.

In this situation, Israel will be forced to seek out new allies. The natural candidates include Syria, which is striving to exploit Egypt’s weakness to claim a place among the key nations in the region.

The images from Cairo and Tunisia surely send chills down the backs of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his cronies, despite the achievement they achieved with the new Hezbollah-backed Lebanon government. As long as the Arab world is flooded with waves of angry anti-government protests, Assad and Netanyahu will be left to safeguard the old order of the Middle East.


6.  Washington Post,

January 31, 2011;

Egypt’s uprising should be encouraged

By Anne Applebaum


As fate would have it, I am in Davos, at the World Economic Forum, and not in Cairo. All around me is gloom. The markets are down. Oil is up. A thorny bundle of uncertainties has just been thrown at the fragile economic recovery – just as it was all going so well! Last night, I heard a famous economic pundit admit that someone had asked him only a few days earlier whether events in Tunisia had any significance for the world economy. No, he had said. None whatsoever. But now he was busily eating his words: If Egypt blows, anything could happen.

I don’t know what people were saying in Davos or its equivalent in November 1989, because I was in Berlin. But I bet it was more or less the same thing. In 1991, when Ukraine was about to declare its independence from the Soviet Union, President George H.W. Bush made a declaration (this was the infamous “chicken Kiev” speech) in praise of the Soviet Union. For years, he and his advisers ran around Eastern Europe and the Balkans doing duct-tape diplomacy, trying to piece together again a fracturing world.

Politicians like stability. Bankers like stability. But the “stability” we have so long embraced in the Arab world wasn’t really stability. It was repression. The benign dictators we have supported, or anyway tolerated – the Zine el-Abidine Ben Alis, the Hosni Mubaraks, the various kings and princes – have stayed in power by preventing economic development, silencing free speech, keeping tight control of education and above all by stamping down hard on anything resembling civil society. More books are translated every year into Greek – a language spoken by more than 10 million people – than into Arabic, a language spoken by more than 220 million. Independent organizations of all kinds, from political parties and private businesses to women’s groups and academic societies, have been watched, harassed or banned altogether.

The result: Egypt, like many Arab societies, has a wealthy and well-armed elite at the top and a fanatical and well-organized Islamic fundamentalist movement at the bottom. In between lies a large and unorganized body of people who have never participated in politics, whose business activities have been limited by corruption and nepotism, and whose access to the outside world has been hampered by stupid laws and suspicious bureaucrats. Note that the Egyptian government’s decision to shut down the country’s Internet access over the weekend – something it can do because Internet access is still so limited – had almost no impact on the demonstrators. For all the guff being spoken about Twitter and social media, the uprising in Cairo appears to be a very old-fashioned, almost 19th-century revolution: People see other people going out on the streets and decide to join them.

We are surprised, and no wonder. For the past decade, successive American administrations have sometimes paid lip service to democracy and freedom of speech in the Arab world. Some American organizations, official and unofficial – the National Endowment for Democracy comes to mind – have supported independent human rights activists in Egypt and elsewhere. Some American journalists, such as my Post colleague Jackson Diehl, have cultivated Egyptian democrats, interviewed them, written about them. But to American presidents and secretaries of state of both political parties, other issues – oil, Israel and then the war on terrorism – always seemed more important. Our aid subsidized the Egyptian army and police, and the Egyptians know it. In Cairo, police were firing tear gas labeled “Made in the USA” at protesters.

Hence the gloom. If there are potential leaders in Egypt, other than the stuffy and somehow unlikely Mohamed ElBaradei, then we don’t really know them. If there is an alternative elite, we haven’t worked with it, as we had worked with the alternative elites in Central Europe in the 1980s. George W. Bush’s administration spoke a good deal about “democracy promotion,” but then allowed the idea to become confused with the invasion of Iraq. Real democracy promotion – support for journalists, judges and educators; financing of independent media and radio; encouragement of open discussion and debate – has never been a priority in the Arab world.

Our options are now limited. But there are a few, and we should exercise them immediately. We should speak directly to the Egyptian public, not only to its leaders. We should congratulate Egyptians for having the courage to take to the streets. We should smile and embrace instability. And we should rejoice – because change, in repressive societies, is good.


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