Photos from Cairo where Medea, Tighe, Kit and some other CODEPINK activists postponed their plan to deliver aid to Gaza and have instead been documenting the uprising.
Here on the grand stage of the world's Al-Jazeera live feed we watch Egypt dance. The police waltzed out, the army waltzed in, and the peaceful multitude gathered and gathered. Random acts of kindness broke out all over. Joy and exuberance emanated from their signs, their faces, their shouts calling for Mubarak and his hastily appointed government all to stand down.
Here's the video purported to have organized Egypt, where Asmaa Mahfouz called on her fellow Egyptians to join her in Tahrir Square, Jan 25, 2011.
Then last night the dictator went on the state controlled television and made a speech. It was a little less empty than the pronouncements of our own naked emperor have been; for one thing, Mubarak swore he would die on Egyptian soil. But the main points of his speech were that outside political influence had manipulated two million or more Egyptians to hold nonviolent protests for days on end, and that he promised he wouldn't run for office again come September. Far too little, 30 years too late.
Immediately armed thugs entered the public square in Alexandria and began knifing and beating nonviolent demonstrators. Ah, it was time for the police to again make their entrance, this time disguised as pro-Mubarak demonstrators. Today in Cairo they stormed into Tahrir Square. In plainclothes they tore up the streets and hurled them at people's heads, poured boiling water down from rooftops, and attacked with molotov cocktails and animal charges. Police i.d.'s were found on some of them but was it really necessary in order to identify them? The dictator was playing the same hand that had worked for so long up until last Tuesday.
In his state of the union address Obama told us we need to win the future. Immediately vast popular uprisings began to happen across the Arab world. “Things that have not happened for thousands of years,” gibbered Robert Gibbs today, managing to sound both clueless and prevaricating at the same time. He was not-responding to questions from reporters after announcing that the U.S. was finally throwing the used up dictator under the bus of popular revolt. Gibbs, like most Americans, lacks a basic knowledge of his country's history and could be genuinely unaware of past popular uprisings that have been quashed by other dictators propped up by U.S. military aid.
I read that a portion of the Connecticut Air National Guard was deployed to the Sinai help Mubarak suppress an uprising of epochal proportions. Sounds like winning hearts and minds might be abandoned for a bombing mission. The tear gas canisters used by the hated police are laying on Egyptian streets labeled: Made in the USA.
The people rising up in Egypt is really beyond the ability of the mass media to conceal, at least here at the inception, where everyone is caught by surprise. They say the Egyptian army at 400,000 strong is the key player, and also the closest to the people. So far it has stood by and watched civil unrest break out. The police / security forces are said to number 350,000 – conscripts mostly, like the army. If the police turned it would be even more profoundly revolutionary – and we may see some of it yet.
In his speech last night Mubarak pretended not to notice the army standing idly by, just as he pretended not to notice that he had shut off the internet and cell phones. As if it isn't happening until the naked emperor acknowledges it.
Meanwhile our very own naked emperor appeared not to notice democracy thundering in as people threw off the yoke of fear that secret police and torture in prisons instills. In counterpoint, WikiLeaks released more U.S. State Department cables showing that such knowledge is far from secret.
In the state of the union address our naked emperor appeared not to notice that the masses think their economy is in the toilet, that they don't want ROTC on every college campus, and that they know when he doesn't mention the need to bring our war dollars home, he is lying by omission.
It's creepy watching the heads of state shuffle and dither, like bad actors saying lines they can't believe in, empty, hollow lines.
In one Orwellian moment among many, as Mubarak was announcing he would not run for re-election, on Al-Jazeera he was visible just above a crawl announcing that Obama had said Mubarak should not run in the next election.
Who does the p.r. for the evil empire anyway? They need a new shop.
|Cairo, Jan. 31, 2011|