Saturday, February 5, 2011

Special Saturday Morning Ed.: Egypt in Turmoil

Welcome to the 12th day of protests in Egypt.

In watching LinkTV today, on Democracy Now!, they had Mohamed Abdel Dayem on from the Committee to Protect Journalists, for the African and Middle East areas, talking about the first Journalist to die, who was shooting from his apartment balcony, hit by a sniper bullet, who finally died yesterday after being coma for days.
Mohamed Abdel Dayem
He said that many journalists have been treated poorly, arrested (two were just released two hours ago) and they have given the names to the US government, who has been advocated on their behalf.

Senior Producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous from Cairo said that even famous journalists like Christine Amanpour have been harassed. He said that Al Jazeera has again been shut down, their web site has been shut down [which I've seen myself this week, but right now it is up and I'm watching live streaming video]. Kouddous said when they first arrived they proudly announced they were journalists but now they hide their cameras and its gotten very hard to report from Cairo now.

He said they have had Army and plain clothed police question them as they were leaving the square the other day, his team having almost gotten taken away but they talked their way out of it. He said he heard the Army guy say in Egyptian "take them away" but they were able to keep that from happening. He said spoke to one cameraman who was detained twice, the last time, police took his cameras, erased parts of what was recorded, even copied photos from his cameras, for whatever later unknown but easily speculated upon purpose. He said the "atmosphere here is darkening, typical of the Mubarak regime."

Al Jazeera has been physically attacked repeatedly at their Cairo offices. Mubarak's people have harassed all the news media trying to shut them down. Mohamed said, that after people are tired, and watched enough of the foreign news, switch over to the State news agency "for a laugh" before getting rest or returning to the protest.

On HBOs "Real Time with Bill Maher" last night, Bill had on Egyptian journalist, Mona Eltahawy, who in the strongest terms said this is an amazing and wonderful thing that is happening in her home country. Eltahawy said if we can get "our Berlin wall to fall, and we will, I'm confidant that we will, you can imagine the "freedom fever" that will spread across the region, this is incredibly important."
Mona Eltahawy as on Real Time with Bill Maher
Eltahawy said this is not just Egypt and Alexandria, but the entire country uprising at all levels. She also mentioned that the US has always

82% of Egyptians favor stoning for adultery. 84% favor the death penalty for Muslims who leave the religion. Shria law should be the only source of legislation. 7% in Turkey, 14% in Iran 64% in Egypt are for Shria Law.
Eltahawy as previously on Al Jezeera
Eltahawy said, "I've got to tell you something, Bill. Nobody is in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, or anywhere else in Cairo, braving the brutal forces of Hosni Mubarak to get stoning or Shria Law; they're out there for freedom and dignity....I'm Egyptian and I can tell you, what we're seeing is...people saying we are done with the strong man that you have."

Bill then mentioned the stats he mentioned previously and they went back and forth until she said, "wait a minute, I didn't think we'd get into a "Fox News kind of sparring match but hey, you want to go head to head, I will." Bill then said, "This is not Fox News, this is reality." To which both of them got applause from the audience.

Eltahawy then said, "We have in the Arab world a succession of old men, that your Administration have been supporting and that your administration know are dictators that encourage this kind of conservative thinking because they have shut down every kind of opposition to their rule except for opposition based on religion. What we're seeing in Egypt today, is young people going out in the street and saying 'we are done with these old men'. And you know how these old men are reacting? Did you see the interview yesterday with Egypt's vice president? Who by the way used to torture for the US administration in their rendition program [Bill: "Right, Suleiman" and she nodded and said "Omar Suleiman"], who is just as bad as Hosni Mubarak. Christine Amanpour was asking him, 'what if the demonstrators don't go home?' He says to her, 'We're going to call their parents up and tell them, to tell them (protesters) to go home.' And I'm like, "Fuck You!" Okay? Because, this is higher revolution. [her reaction took Bill aback a little] I'm fired up here! [Bill then said, "I'm with you."] This entire revolution is about, telling these old men who have strangled our country, "Fuck You. It's time to leave!" I'm telling your administration, "Let them go! And let us take our country back."

"You know, what we've got is all these myths about the Arab world, how we like the strong leader, how we're lazy, how we're passive, what we're witnessing in Egypt now is the demolition of all these myths; you've got people out there...camels and horses for God's sake, and they are saying, 'We still want Freedom! And we're gonna get it!'

To which, the audience applauded her and Bill said, "Look, I'm on your side." He went on to say that Americans are worried about the religiosity of what may come to be after Mubarak leaves and Eltahawy said she was worried about it too. He said there was another revolution, of a smart society, in Iran years ago and you know what happened, it got hijacked and look what happened after that.

I do not know this woman, but I am very impressed with her and whether you agree with her or not, she has put the case forward for Egyptians in a positive way for the world to view them at this difficult time. She shouldn't be put down for how or what she said on Bill's show, she should be praised for putting the case forward in a way that Westerners can understand it.

Time to publish this. Viva Le Revolution, Egypt!

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