Posts tagged ‘Cairo’

February 11, 2011

Hosni Mubarak – deaf to the voice of his people

Today the people of Egypt and the rest of the world were subjected to the greatest letdown in recent history as Hosni Mubarak defiantly ignored the voices of his people in Tahrir Square and refused to step down. What did he do? He handed over some of his powers to VP Sulieman – a man described as his vice-torturer by an interview subject on TV today.

How a leader can be so disconnected from the voice of his people when he can see millions of them protesting on TV ( admittedly not on state TV – but I am sure even Mubarak has access to Al Jazeera or CNN) and then give them the finger is beyond me. How he can have his state information agencies say that eleven people have died when he must know that it is over three hundred – because his secret police killed them – is equally beyond me.

What Mubarak doesn’t understand is that ordinary Egyptians are calling for him to leave. That ordinary Egyptians are leaving their families ( or even taking them with them), the comfort of their homes,  their jobs and their safety to lie in the cold in Tahrir Square. The world can learn a lesson from the people of Egypt – that the best interest of your fellow citizens and your country is more important than yourself. The same can be seen for other groups fighting for rights.

When Mubarak refers in his speech to those trying to create a bad image of Egypt and suggesting that foreign satellite stations are doing it, he is being a fool. All the world sees is the people of Egypt demanding their rights and for him to get the hell out of their country.

A  guest on BBC World Service radio today said that Mubarak is “old, senile and stupid”. I honestly can’t disagree.

And while I was serial tweeting the happenings in Egypt today I noted that some were suggesting  that people should be concentrating on things in their own homelands if they were not Egyptian.. I think not. We are all part of humanity, and thanks to social networking we can be part of events around the world.  There is something called solidarity and it means a lot to the people who are struggling – whether to reclaim their country or to be given basic human rights like the LGBT community or the elderly or the dispossessed. We are all part of humanity and thus, thanks to the internet, part of a human struggle for rights. If my library card price goes up it isn’t more  important than people sleeping in the streets of Cairo or Alexandria to be given a real representative government.

And on a side note, on Facebook a friend with Egyptian connections asked me what I thought about the events today. I am not saying I am politically correct or diplomatic but I answered “As a journalist, I would say he is a desperate Despot. As a person I would say he is a fucktard.”

Right now  we are all Egyptian.

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February 9, 2011

Anderson Cooper tells it like it is on 360

When Anderson Cooper gets passionate he transforms from being an excellent journalist into something much more. As was the case with his Katrina coverage he lets his feelings show sometimes and that makes for powerful television. Last night he aimed his guns at Mubarak’s repressive regime.

( embedding has been disabled so just click through to see it on YouTube.

And for anyone who didn’t see Anderson getting angry during Katrina coverage  here is an example:

February 2, 2011

They’re at the gate and you can’t ignore them.

The events in Cairo have been unsettling today to put it mildly. Anyone who has the slightest belief that all people have a right to be heard by their government  and to have their fundamental rights protected cannot fail to be horrified. After over a week of relatively peaceful protest so-called pro-Mubarak rental mobs have suddenly appeared on the scene inciting violence. A situation that an Al Jazeera anchor has described as the Egyptian Government  exploring the Nero option.

I don’t have many connections with Egypt, but like many around the world who believe in human rights and the rights of people to have decent governments I am gripped by developments.  To see a leader so enamored with power after thirty years that he will cut off  the internet and set the police on his own people  speaks volumes about the depth of his own evil.

To me it is analogous  to numerous other  struggles going on within countries by groups of people who demand the right to be heard.  In the US and worldwide LGBT people are engaged in a battle for their own rights – often in countries where doing so puts their own lives in peril.  Just as  the poor and dispossessed around the world are also demanding that their governments provide a path to economic and social improvement. There is something about the human spirit that forces us to eventually reach the end of our leash and demand our rights. The threshold may take years to reach or sometimes it only comes when some other factor like technology allows for empowerment and organization.

Facebook and Twitter may have been accelerants for the  initial protests in Egypt and Tunisia but they just made things more convenient for activists. History will tell us that Russia, the USA and France didn’t need  modern social networking to have real change and neither do Tunisia or Egypt.  Successful activists of all sorts will make use of any tools available. In this case they were also able to use emergency tools provided by tech giants like Google and ISPs in other countries that reached out to countermand Mubarak’s censorship of  free communication.

Mubarak must come to terms that the Barbarians may well be at the gate – but he’s in their house.