Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: "Orderly transition" in #Egypt

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  • Lucy Stewart,

    Put a fork in him, he's done. The Army seem to have had a strong hand in it - so what happens next?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Tamsin6,

    Seems like the people out and about in Cairo are pretty happy with it for now. Were they expecting everyone to just go home now?

    London • Since Dec 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Phew, sleep in tomorrow!

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Christiaan: reckon. I've been glued to the internet for days and days now. I am so relieved -- I thought I would wake up to news of a massacre. Still plenty of chance for things to turn horrible, but today is a frabjous day.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz,

    Wonderful news. Next question: Will the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ensure that the upcoming constitutional changes give Egyptians a form of democracy that is both acceptable and sustainable?

    Am I the only one that finds it irritating that the media seems fixated on what foreign leaders (particularly those in the "West") have to say? [Even before Mubarak's resignation, there seemed to be a perverse need to scrutinise the US reaction.] Why? Is it at all relevant for what the people of Egypt want?

    On a more long term note, I hope that the eventual political setup in Egypt gives rise to a democratic country that effectively gives the finger to US foreign policy (in the nicest possible way), showing the RWNJs that democracy doesn't mean thinking like Limbaugh or O'Reilly.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Am I the only one that finds it irritating that the media seems fixated on what foreign leaders (particularly those in the "West") have to say?

    No you are not. And isn't that part of what this has all been about - a frustration with leaders who are there at the whim of the 'west'.

    And, more, a world that is structured at the whim of the 'west'. Those times are passing.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    the media seems fixated on what foreign leaders (particularly those in the "West") have to say? [Even before Mubarak's resignation, there seemed to be a perverse need to scrutinise the US reaction.] Why? Is it at all relevant for what the people of Egypt want?

    Shouldn't be but often is, as many smaller nations have found to their cost during times of political upheaval.

    However, the global landscape has changed and might be interesting to watch play out in this situation. What are the other regional stakeholders after and what will China support, for instance?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    that effectively gives the finger to US foreign policy

    And if something worthwhile does eventually come from this - not just a transfer from one authoritarian regime to another which still seems possible, you would hope some of it tumbles down the continent as well as sideways through the ME.

    This, courtesy of wikileaks, perhaps illustrates the self serving US disconnect in the region which certainly seems less than helpful:

    A U.S. diplomat called Equatorial Guinea's dictator of 31 years one of "the good guys" in leaked diplomatic cables and urged Washington to engage with its third largest oil supplier or risk endangering energy security.

    In 2009 cables published by WikiLeaks, Anton K. Smith, the ranking U.S. diplomat at the time, described a country beset by foreign and homegrown predators, "sharks ... buccaneers and adventurers," since U.S. wildcatters discovered oil in 1994.

    "There are good guys and bad guys here. We need to strengthen the good guys - for all his faults, President Obiang among them - and undercut the bad guys," Smith wrote in a May 9, 2009 cable.

    President Teodoro Obiang is accused of making his family and a small group of people fabulously wealthy off oil, while U.N. figures show child mortality has increased and a third of children do not finish primary school.

    FDR's 'he may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch' retort in 1939 still seems to ring through Washington.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    On a more long term note, I hope that the eventual political setup in Egypt gives rise to a democratic country that effectively gives the finger to US foreign policy (in the nicest possible way), showing the RWNJs that democracy doesn't mean thinking like Limbaugh or O'Reilly.

    Like, for instance, Turkey? It seems to get on fine with most Western, Mid-Eastern and Far Eastern nations. With the possible exception of Armenia & Cyprus.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    and Greece

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Good piece by Pankaj Mishra with a good spattering of history:

    The tyrant has gone. Now the real struggle begins for Egypt
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/12/mubarak-egypt-roots-of-despotism

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    My friend Glen Johnson in Egypt, with his take on the unfolding events, just two days ago. I can't wait for the follow-up piece. This observation seems particularly acute.

    ...[R]emarkable was the virtual replacement of religious references by civic ethics that wpresumed to be universal and self-evident. This development appears more surprising than in the case of Tunisia, since in Egypt the religious opposition had always been strong and reached virtually all sectors of life. The Muslim Brotherhood itself joined after the beginning of the protests, and like all other organized political forces in the country seemed taken aback by the developments and unable to direct them, as much as the government (along with its regional allies) sought to magnify its role.

    This, I think, is substantially connected to the two elements mentioned previously, spontaneity and marginality. Both of those processes entailed the politicization of otherwise unengaged segments, and also corresponded to broad demands that required no religious language in particular. In fact, religion appeared as an obstacle, especially in light of the recent sectarian tensions in Egypt, and it contradicted the emergent character of the Revolution as being above all dividing lines in society, including one’s religion or religiosity. Many people prayed in public, of course, but I never saw anyone being pressured or even asked to join them, in spite of the high spiritual overtones of an atmosphere saturated with high emotions and constantly supplied by stories of martyrdom, injustice, and violence.

    Like in the Tunisian Revolution, in Egypt the rebellion erupted as a sort of a collective moral earthquake—where the central demands were very basic, and clustered around the respect for the citizen, dignity, and the natural right to participate in the making of the system that ruled over the person. If those same principles had been expressed in religious language before, now they were expressed as is and without any mystification or need for divine authority to justify them. I saw the significance of this transformation when even Muslim Brotherhood participants chanted at some point with everyone else for a “civic” (madaniyya) state—explicitly distinguished from two other possible alternatives: religious (diniyya) or military (askariyya) state.

    May we live in interesting times....

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Going beyond tolerance, one of my favourite images from Tahrir is of Christians protecting Muslims as they pray.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Indeed, what a powerful image. Just a minor correction from me, the article was by one of Glen's cowrkers, not Glen. Still, astonishing stuff all the same.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Glen Johnson’s account on the ground, published in today’s Herald on Sunday.

    On day 10 I had stood on the roof of the building, the main frontline of the clashes below me. The stink of petroleum, from the hundreds of petrol bombs thrown over the past few hours, lingered in the air.

    I headed back to Talaat Harb and along downtown Cairo's main street. It was filled with cars. Hundreds of flags waving from windows. An unbelievable blaring of horns. Celebratory gunshots.

    I headed east to a human rights centre I had visited a few days earlier. The door had been kicked in, computers wrecked and papers strewn around.

    But now I saw two elderly women - one wearing the abbayya and niqab, the other with a modern haircut and denim jacket, arm in arm.

    Finally, I walked to a street I had visited on day two of the protests. A woman wearing the niqab passed me. Through the small slit in the garment, her eyes beamed. For the first time in weeks I felt safe.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Just catching up with the news, been busy building.
    Oh bejezus, I am crying tears of joy for the people of Egypt, uncontrollable tears of joy.
    I am so happy for them I could kick Micheal Lawhs in the face repeatedly and feel no shame..

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Ok. I retract the Micheal Lawhs thing but I am so happy for Egypt I feel ecstatic.
    It's almost like 1966 again. Love and peace.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Going beyond tolerance, one of my favourite images from Tahrir is of Christians protecting Muslims as they pray.

    First time I've had to wipe tears from my keyboard in ages.

    Like, for instance, Turkey? It seems to get on fine with most Western, Mid-Eastern and Far Eastern nations. With the possible exception of Armenia & Cyprus.

    Yes, despite showing considerable backbone in resisting American requests to provide another launching point for the Iraq invasion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Anyone one see this?

    How to run a street demonstration and keep the roving hoards under control.

    Got it off aldaily.com

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Just for the record and to keep the archives neat and tidy, Ill put this here...
    U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings
    By RON NIXON
    Published: April 14, 2011
    New York Times

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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