Way OT – Egypt
I’m sure I don’t need to say this to most people, but I sincerely hope everyone takes some time out to look into the events going on in Egypt, it’s huge. This is history in the making, like the fall of the Berlin wall, as we sit here in the snow. You owe it to yourself to see this, and since the U.S. response to this will affect everyone, become informed.
I highly recommend the BBC as a source of objective journalism, especially since locally these events barely get a footnote to SB7, sadly.
Favorite picture of the so far
I prefer the Al Jazeera reporting. running circles round everyone else…
I’ve somewhat following the events, mostly using stumbleupon and twitter. This is my favorite update so far:
I agree that Al Jazeera has the best coverage (despite the fact that the Egyptian gov’t shut down their offices). Check out their TV live feed.
They also tend to have better coverage of regions not consistently covered by US (or BBC UK|US) media. A good place to go when something “unexpected” happens.
Even though these events may seem far away, a lot of the tear gas being used is made about an hour and a half north of here, in Jamestown. So, people are picking up canisters that say “Made in USA” right on them.
It isn’t clear to me what a democracy in Egypt would be like.
In Algeria, last time they had an election, the fundamentalist moslems won. The military taking over after the elections was supported by the west.
It is possible that Egypt could become “democratic” with no rights for any minorities. It’s possible Egypt would adopt a anti-western policy along the lines of Iran (only Sunni, not Shi’ite, like Iran.)
Egypt is not Algeria, of course. Egypt has a higer per capita income and higher literacy rate. Algeria has a more oppressive and violent history. So my fears might be unfounded.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a major force in Egypt. It is currently pushing for democracy and seems to be working in a parlimentarian fashion. On the other hand, the motto of the Brotherhood was (and maybe still is ): “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”
When the Berlin Wall fell, there were a vast number of people that were suddenly allowed to be pro-western. Democracy in the streets was rabidly pro-US.
In Egypt, as in much of the mid-East, the dictatorships are be more pro-western than the population. US allies that are monarchies (not a whole lot different from dictatorships) include Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Will the House of Saud fall soon?
If the House of Saud falls, you can be certain the price of oil will rise. I suppressed saying “will double” but feel safe in saying “will rise”. Let’s just leave it at that.
Oil going to $150 to $200 a barrel makes this thread much less OT.
the dictatorships are be more pro-western than the population
maybe it’s all the [western] subsidies for that tear gas?
But Egyptians are a bit more sophisticated than that; they do take into account US politics.
I have no doubt that the Egyptians are sophisticated and intelligent enough to make their way through this thing. Cradle of civilization, Library of Alexandria, and all that. Based on the fact that the person who seems to be emerging as sort of the spokesperson for the movement is Mohammed el Baradei, one of the most rational and intelligent human beings on the planet, it bodes well for the West.
Regardless of how you may feel about Hillary Clinton not attaining the presidency, the winds of fate have put her at the position to be the most important person of the time, I can’t think of a better person for it. If the U.S. responds appropriately to the events, I think we have an opportunity to come out the other side with a stronger, better ally than ever before. My take on this is that the Egyptian people are handing us a trapdoor out of the shitstorm we have made out of the Middle East. But that’s me being an optimist, dang.
Americans just need to decide if we believe all this hoo ha we talk about democracy and stuff or if we’re just talking.
Last night the Travel Channel re-ran an episode of Anthony Bourdain in Egypt, great TV. When something happens in the world they will throw something into their programming that relates, they are awesome like that, really trying to be more than mindless entertainment.
So, as I think this through, if you really want an equitable, democratic society, the women have to be empowered. So imagine, the rep for the most powerful country on earth rolls into Cairo for talks, Hillary. How do you think that’s going to fly with Egyptian women? Fkn’ right. This is at least as exciting as a 50 mph downhill. The cards are laid out, this deal is pretty much ours to screw up.
the king of jordan has now fired the government. how big will this get?
@ edmunds This is at least as exciting as a 50 mph downhill
Not quite as safe, though.
I hope the results don’t resemble Iran when it had it’s revolution.
It’s education to review how the Shah got into power.
Wiki doesn’t mention that the major oil plant whose nationalization ired the Brits and the US so much was owned by BP. They’re still bringing us good things!
Salient quote: “The coup was the first time the US had openly overthrown an elected, civilian government”
Analogous to Egypt right now might be what happened after the butally repressive Shah was removed. The removal of the Shah was widely applauded as a giant step toward a free society in Iran.
Quote: “Although both nationalists and Marxists joined with Islamic traditionalists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were killed and executed by the Islamic regime afterward…”
The part of the Iranian revolution that most affected the US, and continues to influence attitudes in the State department towards Iran is this:
Quote:”You have no right to complain, because you took our whole country hostage in 1953.”
Wiki is a questionable source, but with the exception of “tens of thousands,” I’ve seen all of this in other more reputable places. Including the idea that many nationalists and Marxists were killed.
@hiddenvariable: the king of jordan has now fired the government. how big will this get?
The situation reminds me of politics in the Balkans in the 1910-14 era. This could get bigger than that because of the massive energy resources and the nuclear arms in the area.
@ahlir: That NYT article was reassuring. The comments make an intersting read – it’s rare to see comments after an article that are thoughtful and moderate like that.
I’m sitting here trying, and I absolutely cannot fathom staying in a place where literally millions of people are calling for me to leave. I can’t even picture a million people.
I can’t even think of a crappy analogy to my life where I wasn’t wanted somewhere and stayed anyway – at the first sign of that “unwelcome” vibe I skedaddle – I’m not wired to tolerate or overlook that.
Does the guy not have (offshore) savings and a plan B? Wouldn’t any head of state, no matter the state, do well to have a solid plan B (other than the lecture circuit)? Would’t any plan B be better than what’s headed his way?
I can’t believe this isn’t a bigger deal here. Everybody here is talking about the snow or football. I think it’s both too far away, and “isn’t there always unrest in the middle east?”
I find it bitterly ironic that the stated aim of Gulf2 was to bring a beacon of liberty and freedom to the Middle East, and yet, it seems that the real impetus for the pro-democracy activity in Northern Africa right now has been the reviled Wikileaks.
On topic, I suspect that in the short term, the odds of oil going over $200/bbl after a revolution in an oil-rich nation are just about the same as a new government opening the spigots and buying public satisfaction. It’s hard to say which would carry the day: “screw the West” idealism, or self-interest. Course, the long-term effects of the latter would be dramatic.
So far, this activity hasn’t been overtly anti-western. That could change.
This is a somewhat bigger topic in the local Jewish community than it might be in Penn Hills. Personally, I think Israel has misplayed this one.
Mr M has plenty of plan Bs. The Egyptians want him out, they want his regime ended, but I don’t think they particularly want him dead. Yet. He could probably negotiate a retirement package, if he acted now.
A primer on the matter at hand by author John Green [video], which starts with 7 seconds of a packed Carnegie Lecture Hall last Friday night. (I’m in the audience, too blurry even for me to recognize.)
In Friday’s lecture, he talked about the 1789 French Revolution and actually played this video.
Anyone who showed up for the “mini-Flock” ride last Friday who was approached by people looking for the John Green thing, this is what they were headed to.
things are heating up! the huffington post has an amazing slideshow on their front page right now
+1 for Al Jazeera but also guardian.co.uk. They are the best western source by far
Just saw this in todays Trib (the Trib?[gasp])
“Another solidarity march and “teach-in” supporting the democracy movement are planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh’s Posvar Hall in Oakland.”
By any chance does anybody know any local links regarding this? The article doesn’t mention any organizers.
Ok, when I got up this morning I could get on Al Jazeera english, 1/2 hr later I can’t get on. wtf? I suppose it could just be net traffic.
Democracy Now! has a reporter in Cairo also.
This is what it’s all about, listen. This should be our national anthem as far as I’m concerned.
“None of us are free if one of us is chained.”
Goes for cyclists, too, if the “people still in darkness / And they just can’t see the light” continue to treat us like would-be road kill.
Goes for all the downtrodden here, who can’t get a break.
Goes for anyone in Egypt, or anywhere for that matter, who’s under the thumb of some regime or power broker.
+1 edmonds for finding that song!
“None of us are free if one of us is chained.”
Reminds me of the MLK quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Some people really inspire me to try to try to change myself (and the world arouns me) for the better. Most of them are musicians, or MLK.
Stu, I just had a chance to watch the video you put up, and noticed the guy has a picture of Woody Guthrie on the wall behind him. Sweet.
That machine may kill facists, but can it get anything it wants at Alice’s Restaurant?
(I know, wrong guthrie)
Here’s an article that lays out the counter-argument, that Egypt will not go the way of Iran in 1979.
Even if you don’t agree with Prof Cole, he does provide an excellent breakdown of the political forces and demographics.
I’d heard a lot of that before, but never in such a succinct and thorough spread. thank you for that link.
I’m starting to have hope from what I’ve read of blogs from people in the square. The current regime’s supporters only have violence on their side. The revolution seems to be taking the high ground. This is sort of the antidote I’d always envisioned when I wonder to myself why people tolerate governments like Myanmar and North Korea. Granted, in those countries they’d get summarily slaughtered. Thank god their Army is protecting the people, not terrorizing them.
Yeah, that’s a good write-up.
One of the explanations I’ve heard for the army sympathizing with the protesters is that they have mandatory military service, every male (I assume) must serve time, so the guys on the tanks can literally envision themselves on the other end of the barrel, or a brother, or father. I’ve never been in favor of mandatory service, but that aspect seems to have some advantages over the “pay the poor to serve” system we have.
I was looking through some photos and found this incredible photo. Is this someone?
just got this on stumbleupon:
there are a lot of pictures there, here are my favorites:
The women involved in protesting are total badasses
removing batteries from police trucks
Protester kissing a police officer
In most middle eastern cultures, to point your heel at someone is an insult, basically saying “you are lower than the sole of my shoe.” Which is why a few years back, Bush had shoes thrown at him, and there is a shoe on Mubarak.
To me, this is patriotism in it’s raw form: when people love their country and care about it and its people enough to take drastic steps to change it, hopefully for the better.
I don’t know much about Mubarak and his politics, but I feel that I should start reading more about him, and Egypt in general.
I think Combined Systems, Inc. of Jamestown, PA should place a terrible towel in every box of tear gas canisters they send to the Egyptian government paid for with U.S. aid. That way, pundits would have more fodder for ad hominem debates as well as hyperbolic or simplistic characterizations of the scene in Egypt while I enjoy my morning coffee.
Or, the US could ask its domestically-based suppliers and vendors to put all munitions on backorder until the people install a democratically-elected leader that meets our approval.
Am at a Pitt rally now. Good turnout. I can’t post a pic from here.
until the people install a democratically-elected leader that meets our approval.
I dunno…kinda short-circuits the meaning of “democracy”, if their choice has to meet our approval.
That’s the double-edged sword: when people are given a choice, sometimes the choices they make aren’t the ones we’d prefer.
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