cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 6 Feb, 2011 10:25 pm
Pictures speak a thousand words - or is that a thousand people?
0 Replies
Reply Mon 7 Feb, 2011 08:12 am
Hi ci and JTT -

thanks for dropping by. I'm suffering some damn cold/flu thing right now, so if i'm incoherent you now why. I've just been catching up on what's happening in Egypt and glad to see that Al Jazeera's journalist, Ayman Mohyeldin has been released - here's his twitter page

From their live blog I see there has been a funeral held at the square, and weddings too- but this really made me smile -

(From Al Jazeera's live blog)

9:34pm Protesters set set up smoking and non-smoking areas in Tahrir Square - proof that they are a real community and that they don't plan on leaving anytime soon.

Here's something I read today

Egypt Is the Future

by Laurence Lewis

While many have been surprised by the seemingly sudden uprising in Egypt, the real question isn't about how it happened but why it didn't happen sooner. Despite brave and noble opposition efforts by various individuals and groups over the past decades, it seems nevertheless to have been taken for granted by much of the world that the Egyptian people would live under oppression indefinitely. It seems to have been taken for granted that the revolutionary movements that have shaken half the globe in the past half century somehow couldn't touch one of the world's oldest nations, as if that very ancient history stultified the very modern Egyptian people. Of course, most of the efforts within Egypt have been ignored by much of the world for decades, and if noticed at all, were mostly written off as but spasms of extremism. So the surprise at current events is not, itself, surprising. The grace and humanity of the current revolutionary opposition is a wake-up call not for Egypt, but for the world.

One of the most insidious aspects of life under despotism is that it can create an existential ennui among the subject, a barely conscious layer of hopelessness and helplessness, which then becomes a tacit participation in allowing the despotism to continue. To Franz Fanon, a rebirth of consciousness was necessary, a violent reawakening to the basic rights and responsibilities that are every human being's birthright. That decades of seemingly thuggish stability could be blasted apart so quickly in Egypt speaks to the fragility of that consciousness of suppression. Fanon spoke to a different era, for in these events we see that no existential cataclysm was required. It took but a whisper, a breath, a candle flame, and a people thought to have been completely denuded of will exploded into such full possession of their own unique ability to create their own history that it's clear they had never lost it. It wasn't even dormant, it was lying latent, just barely beneath the surface, where the merest hint of possibility resonates and concatenates. This is a warning. This is the future. This is a reminder of the strength of the human spirit.

The industrialized world has built much of its wealth off the theft, enslavement, and exploitation of less militarily powerful people. The Age of Colonialism and Imperialism couldn't last forever, but in many places it was replaced by but the Age of Neo-Colonialism and Neo-Imperialism, which in some ways was less messy for those reaping the financial rewards. Occupation and the garrisoning of military personnel could be outsourced to locals, with the extra added bonus of further enriching the arms merchants, often by a process of ostensible foreign aid which was, in reality, just recycled back to the home land as corporate welfare disguised as arms purchases. The war profiteers didn't even need wars, and local despots had shiny new toys with which to keep themselves in power and their people under constant threat of violent and torturous repression. As others have pointed out, the tear gas canisters used in Cairo, the tanks rumbling through its streets, and the military jets thundering in its skies, all were made in America. To some, no doubt, this is cause for patriotic rejoicing.

That the West has had to continually recalibrate its response has been revealing, but again not surprising. So many assumptions are failing. That a long transition was floated would have been laughable, had it not been so absurd, but the quick flip from that to the possibility of a quick exit for Hosni Mubarak while his hand-picked successor leads the interim regime is no more likely to be acceptable to the people actually on the ground in Cairo--particularly given that hand-picked successor's role in the brutalities of the Mubarak era, and his deep ties to the CIA. It's fascinating watching the West fumble for answers while ignoring the answers already presenting themselves by the people leading the revolution. But Mohamed ElBaradei is considered suspect to the West, despite his being a secularist, and as much European as Egyptian. Of course, some won't forgive him for having had the temerity to complicate the fervor to invade Iraq by insisting that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. A temerity all the more unforgivable because he was proved right. But even worse has been ElBaradei's insistance on allowing the weapons inspections process to work in Iran, once again, and this time more successfully, undermining the chickenhawks' desire to invade and destroy yet another Muslim nation that has done nothing to merit being invaded and destroyed. And it is perhaps most interesting that Iran itself considers ElBaradei a thorn in its side, which means the Western neocons and the Iranian theocrats are united against much of the rest of the world in reviling a Nobel Peace Prize-winning diplomat.

But these latter day imperialists are not only consistently wrong and deranged in their movable blood lust, they are also on the wrong side of a critical turning point in world history. They don't recognize the realities of the world in which they live, and they certainly won't recognize the world that is evolving. And they will hate what they do recognize. But they are not now holding the reins of power, and the most curious aspect of the larger state of geopolitical confusion has been the inability of those that do now hold the reins of power to create a clear separation between its approach and that of the antideluvians who are perhaps genetically incapable of anything else. What is happening is obvious. It's not that the West must meddle or force itself on the Egytpian people, it's that the West can do best by but helping to clear the path that the Egyptian people themselves are defining. Convoluted half-hearted solutions are not the answer. The answer is right there, on the ground, in Cairo. It's not only about trying to protect the opposition, it should be about helping them to be heard and empowered. In the end, doing so would be quicker and easier and much less invasive.

Another undeniable dimension of the Egyptian revolution is that the internet once again has played a key role in redefining political possibility. The WikiLeaks revelations seem to have helped inspire the Tunisian uprising, and there is no question that access to the internet has opened worlds of information to peoples all around the globe, people who otherwise would have little access to information that was not directly controlled by their governments. It hasn't received much notice, but Chinese authorities have revealed their own worries by restricting news and discussion of the revolution that is rocking North Africa. The Mubarak regime itself quickly shut down the internet and Blackberry texting. On the other hand, in an attempt to be proactive, Jordan's King Abdullah has sacked his entire cabinet. But perhaps most interestingly, the unrest has yet to hit the oil-rich Middle Eastern states, where local governments are not alone in keeping a close watch. The leaders of the industrialized world have been slow and cautious in responding to Egypt, but their real fears lie in their not knowing what to do if the revolution expands. Current attempts to comprehend and to figure out a path forward will be considered all but politically trivial if the world's economy is potentially to be thrown into chaos. And that's the real secret to what is happening in Egypt. Because the Egyptians, like the Tunisians before them, hardly were alone in but awaiting a reason to believe in the possibility of hope. People around the globe share the yearning, and access to information has become a critical means of empowering that yearning.

It long has been as absurd as it is cruel to expect that the current system of economic and military imbalances can last forever. It long has been as absurd as it is cruel to expect so many people to suffer so much for the financial benefit of so relative few. A world so dominated by the North and the West cannot continue forever. The forms of Colonialism and Imperialism and Neo-Colonialism and Neo-Imperialism have evolved and refined, but the most basic truths have remained the same. People everywhere deserve their basic human rights. Those suffering from a loss of basic human rights will not tolerate it forever. And those responsible for the suffering are going to have to help end it if they are going to claim their own basic sense of humanity. Tunisia and Egypt are not the end. They are barely the beginning. The pace of change cannot be foreseen, but the responsibility of people of conscience could not be more obvious. The world's economic powers no longer can thrive off the exploitation and subjugation of others. The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are by, of, and for the people of Tunisia and Egypt. But the larger story is about us.

© Kos Media, LLC

Also a couple of articles

Caught in the Headlights
The Egyptian upsurge: why we never saw it coming

The Egypt protests have exposed the hypocrisy of mealy-mouthed Western commentators

This second article, publish in The Telegraph (UK) is really something to think about, eh?

I will try and write more soon

cheers, endy
Reply Mon 7 Feb, 2011 09:19 am
But when wages in Egypt reach our levels it will be too expensive for ordinary western citizens to "see Egypt" and they will have to get a living by working in factories and offices like we do and competing in the harsh economic climate we are subjected to, at 120 degrees, rather than taking long siestas after a few hubble-bubble pipe experiences and avoiding women aggravating them with provocative displays of sexual allure.

Mr Lewis seems to me to be hitching his position to these events in what many might think is a cynically exploititive manner. "Do a piece on Egypt Laurie, pitched at the school board member types to which we owe our positions as expert inserters of ink inserts into flattened out wood pulp."

Who is to say that there is not a "barely conscious layer of hopelessness and helplessness" right here. What does this expression mean when put to the test? I have seen many people fully conscious of such a feeling and with a Jag parked in the driveway. And who has not laid on their back staring at the ceiling with glazed eyes having momentary glimpses of the plight?

In fact, if the prices they charge for psychoanalysis are anything to go by it would seem that the higher we rise the more prone to having a fairly reasonable consciousness of a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. Freud's business was built on the proposition. Most of his clients were young or youngish ladies of the prosperous classes who had read the romantic novels in vogue at the time and were, obviously, at a loose end and feeling helpless at the sheer hopelessness of it all.

At lower levels writing such articles can keep the feeling at bay for long periods of time. A round of golf does it some say. Elizabeth Taylor hit the bottle. She would have the utmost contempt for golfers for needing a flag placed in the hole to show them where it is. And I doubt she could write articles about Egypt. She must have got to the point of "What else can you show me?"

Have you read Laurence Durell's Alexandrian Quartet or Flaubert's reporting on his long visit there. I doubt Mr Lewis has read either.
Reply Wed 9 Feb, 2011 11:32 pm
spendius - i'm an uneducated bastard - you should know that by now

Have you ever read Stephen King's The Stand? Cairo reminds me of that right now. If a giant finger came down through the clouds and pointed at those people saying THESE ARE MY PEOPLE LET THEM BE FREE
it wouldn't surprise me.

In fact, nothing would surprise me these days.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 9 Feb, 2011 11:35 pm
WikiLeaks: Israel's secret hotline to the man tipped to replace Mubarak

The new vice-president of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, is a long-standing favourite of Israel's who spoke daily to the Tel Aviv government via a secret "hotline" to Cairo, leaked documents disclose.

The details, which emerged in secret files obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to The Daily Telegraph, come after Mr Suleiman began talks with opposition groups on the future for Egypt's government.

Egypt's army 'involved in detentions and torture'

Military accused by human rights campaigners of targeting hundreds of anti-government protesters

It looks like Assange is dropping the Guardian and going with the Telegraph
Can't say as i blame him
0 Replies
Reply Wed 9 Feb, 2011 11:37 pm
Suleiman: Egypt ‘Not Ready for Democracy’

Hand-Picked Mubarak Successor's Comments Vindicate Opposition Claims
0 Replies
Reply Wed 9 Feb, 2011 11:40 pm

Robert Fisk: Hypocrisy is exposed by the wind of change sweeping Arab world

So when the Arabs want dignity and self-respect, when they cry out for the very future which Obama outlined in his Cairo speech, we show them disrespect
Reply Wed 9 Feb, 2011 11:42 pm
This is less of a poem than a good wishing 'spell' – but what the heck

Egypt Dreaming

A man sleeps in the wheels of an Egyptian tank
Sleeps wise in the palm of the killing machine
Made old and dust upon this wicked world
Of robot drones and iris scans to track a man

Soft to the metal, he sleeps determined
A caterpillar curled adrift, chin down, hands folded
Wilted by the fires of his terror's distress
The ever dawning expectation of his death

He dreams of Alexandria, an empty street
A lone figure, in confidence, surely brief
Lost to the moment, like a suicidal cry
Forgiving in submission and human pride

Spilled blood drives a warning to the foolish quest
Hesitation in the frame of this tragedy
Until a rifle shot captures him and lays him deaf
To the cry behind the camera on the balcony

And he dreams of a girl with a flag raised high
Her fist conducting, urging stout bravery
And all through history their song is just begun
People will come

Endymion 2011

This is for the brave people of Egypt
In solidarity

Reply Thu 10 Feb, 2011 12:06 am
And he dreams of a girl with a flag raised high
Her fist conducting, urging stout bravery
And all through history their song is just begun
People will come


Solidarity with the brave people of Egypt.
(though none, or at least very few of us, I'd think, have ever had to be nearly so brave as they are now.)

Reply Thu 10 Feb, 2011 12:13 am

Brave indeed

I shall light a candle every night for them and whenever i get to thinking there is no hope for freedom against the machine - I'll listen to this - and remind myself of the strength we all have deep down

Mario Savio on the operation of the machine

0 Replies
Reply Fri 11 Feb, 2011 07:52 am
People Will Come.... !!!
An Almost Biblical Picture

Both from
Live blog Feb 11 - Egypt protests


From Aljazeera:
Mubarak reported to have left Cairo with his family, the AFP news agency reports, citing a source close to the government. But it said his destination was not immediately clear.

From Raw:
Saudi ministry profusely denies report of King Abdullah’s death

Saudi Arabian officials were on a PR offensive Thursday following a report that claimed King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, 86, had suffered a heart attack after speaking to US President Barack Obama about the protests in Egypt.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 11 Feb, 2011 12:52 pm
Mubarak Gone

Celebrations in Egypt as the people win a great victory through peaceful protest

No matter what happens between now and the elections some time next year - nothing will ever be the same again.


I'm afraid to write anything and **** it up – except to say that this is the most amazing thing I have seen in my lifetime and I honestly believe these people know what to do. Party tonight and then work towards fair elections.

Congratulations to them all. They are a sight to behold.

0 Replies
Reply Fri 11 Feb, 2011 01:17 pm
Thanks for this
Alain Finkelstein talks about his "admiration" for the democrats but also the need for "vigilance" - and this is surely a low point for any 'philosophe' – "because today we know above all that we don't know how everything is going to turn out."

.... gilded by Lévy's own preposterous line that "it is essential to take into account the complexity of the situation". Oddly enough that is exactly what the Israelis always say when some misguided Westerner suggests that Israel should stop stealing Arab land in the West Bank for its colonists.

I started a thread about the Israel lobby's nefarious influence on US politics.

Reply Fri 18 Feb, 2011 09:47 pm

I have problems with my connection - so I will post up as much as i can before it fucks up again-
0 Replies
Reply Fri 18 Feb, 2011 09:55 pm
I just read this -

US vetoes UN vote on settlements

Washington blocks resolution condemning Israeli buildings on Palestinian land as illegal and calling for quick halt.

The United States vetoed a UN resolution Friday that would have condemned Israeli settlements as "illegal" and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.

All 14 other Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, speaking on behalf of his country, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "They are illegal under international law," he said.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Something I just want to draw attention to

The Fight to Save

Our battle for survival

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **


With the regional unrest and people's uprisings across the Middle East – the small victories here in Britain, other parts of Europe and even America are hardly noticed, but the importance of what is at stake, deserves to be recognised.

In Britain

First – a great and comfortable victory here in Britain as the government do a complete U-turn on their proposals to sell off vast areas of our forestry. Thanks to everyone who signed the petitions, wrote to MP s – or just passed the word.
Our government were told NO! in no uncertain terms.

We got it wrong on forests, says Spelman

The Government was forced into a humiliating U-turn today as it scrapped controversial plans to privatise England's public forests.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told MPs "I am sorry, we got this one wrong" as she abandoned plans to offload England's public forest estate to companies, communities and charities.


Forest farce:

Cameron to axe sell-off policy

The highly contentious plans for a £250m sale of England's forests will be abandoned because of the furious backlash that has hit the Government.


Steve Bell on David Cameron's forestry U-turn – cartoon

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

In Italy

Thousands of Italy's Women Rally


Thousands of women took to the streets of Italian cities Sunday calling for "dignity" and greater rights.

"Berlusconi has long shown a violent contempt for women with his misogynist remarks," Francesca Comencini said.

The Italian leader is fighting off allegations that he paid for sex with a 17-year-old prostitute nicknamed Ruby the Heartstealer and then used the power of his office to try and cover up the crime.

Fabrizio Cicchitto, a member of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, said participants "belong to the leftist anti-Berlusconi movement."

More than 50,000 women have signed the movement's manifesto in just a week.

It denounces "the indecent, repetitive representation of women as a naked object of sexual exchange" in newspapers, advertising and on television.
It also said that macho sentiment in Italy has become "intolerable".
And although those involved have been asked not to politicise the demonstration, several members of parliament who recently broke away from Berlusconi's center-right ruling party had said they would be attending.

© 2011 Agence France-Presse

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

In the US

Anger in Madison: What's Disgusting? Union Busting!


Wisconsin protests continue against 'union bashing'

Thousands stand up for collective bargaining rights as Republicans set to replicate move to cut union rights across US

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

The Middle East Uprisings

Updates on events right across the region here

Middle East protests – live updates


Middle East (Al Jazeera)
0 Replies
Reply Fri 18 Feb, 2011 11:21 pm
Back in Britain –

Homelessness: charities face 30% funding cuts

Citizens Advice services face closure
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, says: "We have never been needed more than we are now".

Women's refuge chief returns OBE in protest over cuts
Denise Marshall says funding cuts will leave Eaves charity unable to support victims of violence and sex trafficking

Cameron's magical thinking can't save this national joke
The feeble 'big society' bank will not plug the gaps in charity funding left by the cuts. As many a Tory has said, this is BS

Prisoner vote refusal against European court ruling 'would be like dictatorship'
Jean-Paul Costa says Britain will be resorting to the tactics of the Greek colonels in 1967 if it does not comply with ECHR ruling
0 Replies
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 09:35 pm
Libya defiant as hundreds of protesters feared dead

• Witnesses describe 'massacres' as Libyan troops shoot unarmed demonstrators in Benghazi

• Tension eases in Bahrain but unrest continues in Iran, Yemen, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait and Algeria

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, 42-year ruleer of Libya

From the Guardian


The student, an expert in subverting net censorship, had regularly posted messages online to gather support for protests that began last week, but now her internet connection is down, landlines cut off, mobile coverage interrupted, electricity sporadically cut off and house plunged into darkness. "There are even stories here that he [Gaddafi] has poisoned the water so we dare not drink. If he could cut off the air that we breathe, he would."
She was still afraid to utter Muammar Gaddafi's name over the phone but said that now hundreds of protesters had been killed in Benghazi, Libya's second city, people's fear was ebbing away and they were talking openly of revolution.
"Now people are dying we've got nothing else to live for. What needs to happen is for the killing to stop. But that won't happen until he is out. We just want to be able to live like human beings. Nothing will happen until protests really kick off in Tripoli, the capital. It's like a pressure cooker. People are boiling up inside. I'm not even afraid anymore. Once I wouldn't have spoken at all by phone. Now I don't care. Enough is enough."

One local doctor, Brayka, told the BBC a massacre was under way in the city. "Ninety per cent of these gunshot wounds [were] mainly in the head, the neck, the chest, mainly in the heart," she said. A Benghazi resident describing the demonstrations and funeral processions on Saturday said: "A massacre took place." He said security forces had used heavy weapons, adding: "Many soldiers and policemen have joined the protesters." Another resident described a crowd of 10,000 protesters heading for a cemetery "to bury dozens of martyrs".
On Sunday thousands of people, including women and children, came out on to the seafront and vast crowds gathered near Benghazi's northern courthouse as ritual prayers were performed in front of 60 bodies laid out. "The protesters are here until the regime falls," one of their number told Reuters. A tribal figure said security forces were confined to their compound. "The state's official presence is absent in the city and the security forces are in their barracks and the city is in a state of civil mutiny."
With no foreign media or local journalists allowed into the city and phonelines down, information was hard to verify. The dead were said to be mainly aged between 13 and 35, although one 80-year-old was reportedly killed, according to doctors interviewed by French and UK TV.
Libya's al-Yawn website quoted a doctor who claimed 285 people were dead in Benghazi alone. There was confusion over who was firing at the crowds. Automatic fire was believed to have come from elite security forces. Several residents suggested mercenaries from neighbouring countries such as Chad had been paid to shoot demonstrators. "They are wearing yellow helmets," one resident told French radio of the reported mercenaries.

I watched films on youtube today, where doctors were dealing with seriously wounded and dead civilians. Their outrage and distress (at seeing their own, young people shot unarmed) was evident. Shooting demonstrators dead in the street is a cowardly act and it will only fuel the people's outrage. This brutal reaction will in fact propel the people onward, I believe, because it tells them that they have no other option, that there's no going back - or they could be arrested and tortured/executed. It is madness on the elites' part.

If Gaddafi really is bringing in mercenaries from outside, and if there really are police and army joining the demonstrators in Libya, it could get very ugly indeed – but I hope before that happens, enough people abandon the regime, for the liberty of their people. The more bloodshed and innocent life lost, the more likely they will, I think.

Britain and America have been gun-running weaponry to all types of lunatics for at least a hundred years – blokes like Gaddafi, who after 42 years as supreme ruler (some democracy) has become so offensive to his people, they just can't stomach him any more. They are not alone.

Live Blog - Libya
From Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha

Middle east Updates
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 09:38 pm
Actually -

I just checked out antiwar,com and they have this at the top of their news
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 09:48 pm

Nothing Confirmed
0 Replies
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 09:49 pm
One can certainly hope -

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