As I write this, the Egyptian revolution of January 25 continues in the streets of Egypt, and anything that is written these days will bear the characteristic traits of that moment, and will be proven wrong in one way or another by the further course of events. This is one lesson academics can take from this and other revolutions: realities change in a way that forces us to change our way of thinking much faster than we are used to, and to recognize how historically specific our theories are. In this essay, I try to offer some preliminary conclusions about how the revolutionary momentum has already changed the way Egyptians view their possibilities of action. To put it in more romantic words, I try to make some preliminary sense of the revolutionary spirit, but also of some of its limits.
Defying the will of the people that have come out in their millions throughout Egypt in premature celebration of President Mubarak’s widely rumored resignation.
Mubarak announced in his speech on Egyptian state TV tonight that we would not step down as president as the people have been demanding.
from FP Passport by Elizabeth Dickinson
from FP Passport by Joshua Keating
from FP Passport by Joshua Keating
Written by Amira Al Hussaini
This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011.
A defiant Mubarak addressed the people of Egypt tonight, saying he will continue to remain president until presidential elections in September, but would delegate presidential responsibilities to newly appointed vice-president Omar Sulieman.
Many years ago ? 43 to be exact ? Phil Jones and I, both Peace Corps volunteers stationed in Tunis at the time, walked into a reception in the garden of the US embassy there where Hubert Humphrey was doing his best to give a pro-Vietnam War pep talk, trying to explain how the February 1968 Tet Offensive wasn?t a U.S. military setback despite Walter Cronkite?s suggestion on national television that indeed it was. As Humphrey launched into his remarks, Jones and I, somewhat nervous and uncertain as to our impending fate, took out our anti-war posters from under our sports coats and held them high in the air.
Until the recent eruption along the Nile of the hugest pro-democracy protests ever to shake the Arab world, Egyptian officials arrogantly trumpeted that their country was immune against an uprising similar to the one that forced Tunisia?s dictator into exile in mid-January.
Most analyses of Tunisia?s ?Jasmine Revolution? and the ongoing turmoil in Egypt – as well as similar upheavals in Algeria, Jordan, and Yemen – have framed it as an ?Arab crisis? in the ?Arab world.? It is convenient to use Arab and Arabic in making sweeping generalizations about countries and societies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The riots and protests have spread like a contagion throughout ?Arab societies,? we are told, and ?Arab countries? are in crisis in no small part because they are, well, ?Arab.?
While the uprising in Egypt caught most observers of the Middle East off guard, it did not come out of the blue. The seeds of this spectacular mobilization had been sown as far back as the early 2000s and had been carefully cultivated by activists from across the political spectrum, many of these working online via Facebook, twitter, and within the Egyptian blogosphere. Working within these media, activists began to forge a new political language, one that cut across the institutional barriers that had until then polarized Egypt?s political terrain, between more Islamicly-oriented currents (most prominent among them, the Muslim Brotherhood) and secular-liberal ones. Since the rise of the Islamist Revival in the 1970s, Egypt?s political opposition had remained sharply divided around contrasting visions of the proper place of religious authority within the country?s social and political future, with one side viewing secularization as the eminent danger, and the other emphasizing the threat of politicized religion to personal freedoms and democratic rights. This polarity tended to result in a defensive political rhetoric and a corresponding amplification of political antagonisms, a dynamic the Mubarak regime has repeatedly encouraged and exploited over the last 30 years in order to ensure a weak opposition. What was striking about the Egyptian blogosphere as it developed in the last 7 or so years is the extent to which it engendered a political language free from the problematic of secularization vs. fundamentalism that had governed so much of political discourse in the Middle East and elsewhere.
from Global Voices Online by Salam Adil
Guest post by Graham Hough-Cornwell
This post is not a content analysis of the recent tweets about Egypt. Their volume is staggering and would demand a more rigorous analysis, both qualitative and quantitative, than is possible at this time. Just click on the hash tag ?#Egypt,? wait a minute to refresh, and you will have hundreds of new tweets in dozens of different languages.
A great deal has been said and blogged about the role of social media in the Tunisia and Egypt uprisings. Missing from the debates so far is a key dimension of all political struggles, namely the fact that they go through developmental stages. This is what members of the now defunct Manchester School of Anthropology referred to as the ?processual form? of a political conflict.
At WAN-IFRA’s Middle East Publishing Conference underway in Dubai, one of the speakers pointed out how the ongoing demonstrations in the Middle East illustrate misconceptions about digital media.
My blogs and columns deal mainly with issues of European political economy. I don?t have any pretensions to expert knowledge of Arab/Middle Eastern societies and their political processes. But I don?t think that is why I am at a loss to understand Mubarak?s bid to hang on to power.
The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has published a set of cables that shed light on Omar Suleiman?s willingness to serve the interests of Israel. The man recently appointed as vice-president of Egypt, according to a cable from 2005, was willing to help former head of security in the Israeli Defense Ministry Amos Gilad by guaranteeing there would be no democratic elections in Gaza in 2006. He was also willing to help Israel better manage the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
2011-02-07 UPDATE Google Executive Wael Ghonim in Tahrir Square & the Mubarak Regime’s Repression of Bloggers
For many in Tahrir Square, his presence was why they had come out February 8. Ghonim, who was released on February 7 by authorities, played a key role in organization demonstrations against the regime before being arrested in late January.
from The Jadaliyya Ezine by Paul
Congressional delegation meeting in June 2008 detailed in cable
A recently released cable describes three congressional delegation meetings with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman and Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit. The congressional delegation present at the meetings included Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), and professional staff members David Adams, Jamie McCormick and Howard Diamond.
A February 20 protest has been planned to restore “the dignity of the Moroccan people and for democratic and constitutional reform and the dissolution of parliament.” One of Morocco?s leading Islamist movements, Justice and Charity, which has an estimated 200,000 members and is banned from politics but tolerated, has called for ?urgent democratic change.? It?s website states ?It is unjust that the country?s riches should be monopolised by a minority.?
from FP Passport by Joshua Keating