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Egyptians on Turmoil, Cairo Clashes

Violence and turmoil in Cairo as pro- and anti-government supporters clash. We fill our airwaves with Egyptian voices.

Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, including some riding horses and camels and wielding whips, march towards anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo, Egypt, Feb.2, 2011. (AP)

For so many days, they were thrillingly peaceful in the mass protest aimed at removing Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt.

Today, Mubarak’s crew moved into the streets.  Knives, clubs, horses, camels.  Riding down, beating the crowds that have been chanting for Mubarak to go. Everybody fighting. Mob chaos.

Egypt’s strongman said last night he will not stand for re-election. President Obama said a transition must begin now.  But what is actually happening now looks, suddenly, much uglier.

Our guests are all Egyptians, talking about the turmoil and their hopes right now for Egypt.

-Tom Ashbrook

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's supporters scuffle with anti-government protesters near the Tahrir (Liberation) Square, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP)

Guests:

Laura King, foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. She’s in Cairo.

Ashraf Hegazy, executive director of The Dubai Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He grew up in Egypt and around the world. His mother was his country’s first female diplomat.

Mona Eltahawy, columnist for Qatar’s Al Arab newspaper, the Jerusalem Report, Denmark’s Politiken and Metro Canada. Her columns have also appeared in the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune.

Farah Safaan, a 22 -year-old Egyptian student now living in New York and studying journalism at the New York Film Academy.

Ibrahim el-Hudayby, Egyptian activist and political analyst. Until two years ago, he was a young leader in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Latest news:

Pro- and anti-government supporters clash in Cairo

By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI and SARAH EL DEEB

Associated Press
CAIRO (AP) – Several thousand supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, including some riding horses and camels and wielding whips, attacked anti-government protesters Wednesday as Egypt’s upheaval took a dangerous new turn. In chaotic scenes, the two sides pelted each other with stones, and protesters dragged attackers off their horses.

The turmoil was the first significant violence between supporters of the two camps in more than a week of anti-government protests. It erupted after Mubarak went on national television the night before and rejected demands he step down immediately and said he would serve out the remaining seven months of his term.

Wednesday morning, a military spokesman appeared on state TV Wednesday and asked the protesters to disperse so life in Egypt could get back to normal. The announement could mark a major turn in the attitude of the army, which for the past two days has allowed protests to swell, reaching their largest size yet on Tuesday when a quarter-million peace packed into Cairo’s central Tahrir Square.

Nearly 10,000 protesters massed again in Tahrir on Wednesday morning, rejecting Mubarak’s speech as too little too late and renewed their demands he leave immediately.

In the early afternoon Wednesday, an Associated Press reporter saw around 3,000 Mubarak supporters break through a human chain of anti-government protesters trying to defend thousands gathered in Tahrir.

Chaos erupted as they tore down banners denouncing the president. Fistfights broke out as they advanced across the massive square in the heart of the capital. The anti-government protesters grabbed Mubarak posters from the hands of the supporters and ripped them.

The two sides began hurling stones and bottles and sticks at each other, chasing each other as the protesters’ human chains moved back to try to shield the larger mass of demonstrators at the plaza’s center.

At one point, a small contingent of pro-Mubarak forces on horseback and camels rushed into the anti-Mubarak crowds, swinging whips and sticks to beat people. Protesters retaliated, dragging some from their mounts, throwing them to the ground and beating their faces bloody.

Protesters were seen running with their shirts or faces bloodied, some men and women in the crowd were weeping. A scent of tear gas wafted over the area, but it was not clear who had fired it.

The army troops who have been guarding the square had been keeping the two sides apart earlier in the day, but when the clashes erupted they did not intervene. Most took shelter behind or inside the armored vehicles and tanks stationed at the entrances to Tahrir.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • mike

    Curious if anyone else notice that the American Media had to go to the BBC or Aljazeera to get what’s fully going on in Egypt?

    Even know both the bbc and Aljazeera stated the protest were not controlled or run by the Muslim Brotherhood?Far more Secular the U.S. media was still claiming the Muslim Brotherhood was/could be behind it, was/could take control and still calling them extremist and the U.S. media were still trying to make them out to be. The U.S. still repeated this claim today when about all the protesters they interviews said it was not true.

  • Yar From Somerset, KY

    I have a question about sharia law. From a western point of view we see sharia as part of a theocracy. I have had conversations that makes me question my assumptions. Can Sharia law work as the constitutional underpinning of a democracy? Laws only work if everyone is treated fairly under the law. All societies including ours, fail to treat everyone fairly. Stealing hubcaps is likely going to get you more time than robbing a bank from the CEO’s office. We seem to like our crooks in suits,orange jump for the poor and pinstripe for the rich.
    I digress, my point is, if we can’t see ourselves properly, and we have laws that allow the powerful run roughshod over the common citizen, why are we so fearful of a just application of Sharia law?

    Is it because Sharia has been misused before? So have our own constitutional protections.
    What checks and balances must a society put in place to protect the weak from the powerful?
    This is a question the Egyptian people must seek to answer, if they find it I sure hope we are listening.

    When has Sharia law worked for a society? How can that be be replicated, or is there another way to bring the concepts in Sharia law into just application.

    I suppose all law can be traced backed to some religious tradition. Just as all religious traditions have at one time or another applied their laws in an unjust manner.
    How do infant democracies go about building a society through the development of constitutional law?
    Maybe I am ahead of myself, but this seems to be the real challenge.

  • mike

    Also if anyone is fearful of extremist taking over a country.

    Check out what Mike Huckabee said in israel. Not only does he see nothing wrong with illegal Jewish settlements and no way should be stopped(Contrary to U.S. stance on the maker) the next day he goes on to say that the Palestinians need to seek a state from the Arabs not the Jews and Israel should give up no land to them and that Jerusalem will forever be under Israeli and Jewish control. He than added he would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to prove his point.

    Does this not threaten what’s left of the peace process? Not incitement people toward violence in itself?Not threaten stability over there?How about denying of the Palestinian Human Rights or Right to self determinations on there part? Than Huck against everything the U.S., U.N., P.A. and esp Israel have been trying to work on? This man who does not believe in evolution may be running for president is what scary radicals we should be looking out for.

    Though there was not 1 million people, 250k is pretty impressive granted that transportation was cut off along with cutting off internet and some phone services,300 people have been killed and 3000 wounded (if the human rights reports are correct). I like to see a tea bagger(used by themselves youtube. com / watch?v=OLsKt4O4Yw8) take a beating like these Egyptians did and still go out and protest?

    Worth checking out
    youtube. com /watch?v=5E9jQ3Yo0rI&feature=channel

    The Young Turk
    Do We Want Democracy In Egypt?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yylr_rE_Un0

    Also Kudos for getting Egyptians, not talking bubble heads on your show.

  • mike

    Worth point out that it has happen in the past all three groups living together. Southern Spain that seemed to hold on to moderation though the rest of the muslim world did not.

    “Although Christians and Jews lived under restrictions, for much of the time the three groups managed to get along together, and to some extent, to benefit from the presence of each other.

    It brought a degree of civilization to Europe that matched the heights of the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/spain_1.shtml

    It’s also worth noting the possible effect of Genghis Khan had with militarizing and destorying half of the known knowledge at the time in the Muslim World as well as the Crusades than.(The History Channel did some great pieces on Khan and his involvement with the Muslim world and talks about how he actually in a round about way saved the west from Mulism invasion) During the Dark Ages Muslims were looked down on by Christians for bathing too much and considered tricksters and wimpy(this also included the Byzantine empire. If one looks at the history line of the Middle-east and how it became almost at a constant state of war which may explain the radicalization of some Muslims and Islam and may explain when the Muslim control Spain did not suffer the same fate and flourished. Than as the 17th,18th and 19th Hundreds the West felt it was much easier helping and installing repressive regimes keeping may of the Muslims in a state of war and limited there interpretation of the Koran(Much like Europe in the previous centuries).

    Even with Turkey’s New Government they have not run off the deep end neither has Indonesia.

    I do wish the Egyptians luck in installing democracy in there country and to tell them not all elections turn out the way you want them to be and some radicals may get in(Bush 2)but that’s democracy and will democracy you can (somewhat) vote them out.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Go to the PBS NewsHour website if you want to see Mona Eltahawy in a discussion — or listen to that discussion at that site. The light in the eyes of Egyptians like her remind me of what democracy is supposed to be. Network TV had anchors in Alexandria interviewing women protesters whose positions seem like a less jaded version of the formerly upbeat American reach into the future. Also in Cairo, but everywhere except the airport, where the downbeat retreated to.
    I must have ESP, ;>) , because at 6:20 I tuned to WhiteHouse.gov and saw that Obama was scheduled to speak at 6:20. He was a half hour late. Anyway, he didn’t get to cut into Network news, or even PBS in toto, so here’s a link (snagged from the NewsHour site).
    I found his very short statement to be a very bold step in that he asserted as “universal human rights” what I had thought were “our” American constitutional rights (free assembly, freedom of speech, and Obama added “freedom of information”); those Obama said are “universal human rights.” Hmmm.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8Ui4mFaiGI

  • Noha Abdelghany

    Thank you NPR for airing the truth on the situation in Egypt.Thank you for standing up for justice, freedom, and dignity of the people in Egypt and the world. I truly appreciate your time and efforts.I am a proud Muslim American Egyptian right now! I am pro peace and peaceful movements only.

    Happy listener,

    Noha Abdelghany
    University of Florida

  • http://victorials.wordpress.com Victoria

    “There are 120 students in my classroom. That’s more than any teacher can handle,” said Ahmad. “Change would mean a better education system I can teach in and one that guarantees my students a good life after school. If there is democracy in my country, then I can ask for democracy in my own home.”

    Amazing and inspiring scenes are unfolding in Egypt, but I would caution Egyptians to realize that it is not as simple as it might feel. I hope they work it out better than America – because in America there are up to 40 kids per classroom, often with crappy old textbooks; and many students have not got any futures after school here either, so really, it’s more than just a system called “Democracy” – it’s about equality, equity – and JUSTICE!

    And don’t forget: Democracy is NOT capitalism! Rich elitists with no allegiance to PEOPLE will undermine Democracy at every turn!

  • Zeno

    I guess I’m just too old to believe that a dictator would give up power, because my first thought was that he made a statement to give himself enough time to regain power over the military, and then begin purging the opposition.

    Words are a cheap weapon, and history proves the concession tactic has merit.

  • Zeno

    @ Ellen

    “I found his very short statement to be a very bold step in that he asserted as “universal human rights” what I had thought were “our” American constitutional rights (free assembly, freedom of speech, and Obama added “freedom of information”); those Obama said are “universal human rights.” ”

    We have all been hearing the same hypocrisy from so many sources in America. I was watching the attempted hatchet job 60 Minutes tried on Wikileaks (Kroft was a miserable failure), and was wondering why the millionaires don’t hear the words, they themselves are speaking? Maybe they speak them but they have no meaning; or they are simply so narcissistic they believe they are only speaking to their fellow millionaires…

    It struck me that Mubarak had the same behavior. He just kept talking and ignoring the proletariat like so much dirt on the carpet.

  • Jeremy Cohen

    Dear Tom et al:

    Putting “Post-Mubarak” in the title of today’s show may be premature. Mubarak is releasing violent bands of police-led thugs on protesters across the country. This is a scare tactic and seems incompatible with his request for patience until September.

    Concerned,
    Jeremy

  • Brett

    I’m watching anti-government and pro-government protesters clash in Cairo just now, and it has bubbled over into riots, turning violent. Reports are saying that the pro-government protesters are actually police officers in plain clothes…It will be difficult for there to be an organized and sustained effort on the part of anti-government folks without leadership. I wonder how long it will be before (or if) such a person or group of people to emerge?

  • paula

    Tom,
    The coverage on Al Jazeera live feed has been excellent. How the media covers this ongoing story in our country is wanting. I do see CNN stepping up with its overseas bureaus. Thanks for your coverage and analysis on ON POINT. So glad this program is on the air.

  • Marian Boston

    I am reading the breaking news of clashes between pro and anti Mubarak protesters.
    Remeber Basijis and palin clothes militia in 2009 Iranian uprise? See any similarities?

  • Brandstad

    Tom,

    How will Egypt end up with a moderate government when the average moderate Egyptian is shown in this Anderson Cooper Interview?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWcKewmyh_o

  • Brandstad

    Tom, Can you talk some about the muslum brotherhood? It is not a friendly group if you are not muslum and don’t support sharia law.

    http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=206130

  • Nick

    RE: Victoria’s Comment:

    “And don’t forget: Democracy is NOT capitalism! Rich elitists with no allegiance to PEOPLE will undermine Democracy at every turn!”

    THANK YOU !

    That is a lesson that I wish Americans could embrace.

    I hope for the best for the Egyptian people – they are wonderful people.

  • http://ebenmarkowski.com Eben Markowski

    A Military dictatorship is blatantly using (or not using) it’s might to choreograph events in Cairo with the obvious intent to disrupt and discredit a PEACEFUL movement the best way you can; introduce and or allow a minority of “thugs” to shoot ducks in a barrel. This is predictable and inexcusable.

    Eben

  • Larry

    The protesters should have stormed the palace by now.

    Of course, Mubarak probably isn’t there. But it would be a clear signal to the old man—time to go is now.

  • Marian Boston

    Unleashing pro Mubarak plain clothes militia will lead to anti Israel sentiments in Egypt and the region. I hope the administration will realize this.

  • Zeno

    The US should fly a high altitude transceiver to enable cell communications that have been shutdown.

  • David Henry

    I think it is totally unacceptable that Mubarak is using violence against peaceful protesters. I do not think we can support him with good conscience. I do not buy the argument that his regime creates security or protects us from terrorists. How many terrorist are created from the use of tortures in Egyptian jails? I do not one to see one more of my tax dollars go toward supporting this dictator. The best US foreign policy will be to support the establishment of a democratic republic in Egypt. If we do not throw our full weight behind our principles we reap the whirlwind.

  • Brandstad

    Tom,

    I am not a fan of the dictator, but he did do a good job of protecting minorities rights and regional stability without wars.

    Without him I feat that the minorities will be persecuted if not killed and many Egyptians have expressed wishes for regional war.

  • Larry

    Mubarak telling the people he won’t seek reelection in 8 months means he has 8 months to round people up and torture them.

    That’s what his rule for 30 years has based on. I don’t think the people will stand for that if they value their lives.

  • Omaha Person

    Not to proscribe, but to suggest: Why not a declaration of independence in the fashion of the Rosetta Stone from the Egyptian people?

  • Kno Whan

    Why not a “declaration of independence,” in the fashion of the Rosetta Stone, from the Egyptian people?

  • Angie O’Gorman

    Mubarak has released his thugs and revealed himself to the world. If US words about democracy and freedom mean anything, all US aid to the regime must be suspended immediately.

  • Marian Boston

    This very scary. I am afraid this will lead to more and more radicalization in Egypt and other Arab countries.

  • Zeno

    “…US aid to the regime must be suspended immediately.” -Posted by Angie O’Gorman

    Too late now, he is holding billions of US taxpayer dollars that were a gift to him from the US Congress. That money buys the power of tyranny, as our Congress intended it to be.

  • Angie O’Gorman

    Mubarak has released his thugs and revealed himself to the world. If US words about democracy and freedom mean anything, all US aid to the regime must be suspended immediately.

    St. Louis, Missouri

  • Kevin

    Yes: Guests with their cellphones reading up-to-the-minute texts and twitter on air, reporting and analyzing. Includes personal reports, and even second-hand reports when treated as such.

    Yes: Guests giving analysis of what has happened, what could be happening, what might happen.

    Yes: Phone-in guests and internet commenters taking one side or the other, editorializing.

    No: In-studio guests editorializing, taking one side or the other. Tom should channel in-studio editorializing back into reporting and analyzing. I mean no offense to the guests, but some off-air coaching from Tom about ground rules might help.

    Seems to me, having in-studio guests requires host to maintain among those in-studio guests a higher standard of journalistic expression.

    Thank you,
    Kevin

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    The US should get some unmanned aircraft that can act as cell transmitters over Egypt in the name of democracy and freedom of the press and expression.

    The US could also sendin some credible people (not gov;t suits) to ask ElBaradei and other leaders of the protest “What can we do to help”, with no agenda , just sit and listen.

  • Mohammed Elsalanty

    Please do not refer to Mubarak’s thugs as pro-Mubarak demonstrators. They are paid militia and police personnel. These horses are trained police horses (Horses are not common in Egypt, but the Egyptian police has trained riot horses and camels). Some of those captured confessed to be Sameh Fahmi’s men (Minister of Petrolium) and that they’ve been paid to participate, Aljazeera reported.

  • http://ebenmarkowski.com Eben Markowski

    This is not so much anti-Mubarak as it is pro democracy.

    And yes America, your taxes are at work presenting an obstacle to democracy in Egypt and beyond.

    Eben

  • Geri

    Tom,

    You really need to learn the definition of BALANCE. Both sides need to be presented to have informed opinions. For example, the Brotherhood may be behind today’s unrest to plant seeds of unrest and further their beliefs.

  • Kevin

    Tom, please work in the name of the speaking in-studio guest before and after they speak so we can know who is who.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  • Eyptain Pahroah

    Those who named as pro-Mubarak mobs are just thugs sponsored and financed by the members of Mubarak’s Party. They are thugs hired by businessmen and they dressed civil or even military wears. My word to the west now, Mubarak revealed himself now as the worst kind of Dictators, what are you waiting for. Don’t you want to keep having any relations with the new state, if you don’t intervene now you will loose even those who have no problem with the west and Israel. Do something !!!!

  • Dan

    Who is this pro-Mubarak anti-Semite on the phone??

    -Dan
    Boston, MA

  • geffe

    I was just watching the riots on Youtube. This is getting ugly.

    Tom you should have put that antisemitic jerk down ASAP!
    Shame on You!

  • Bill Stomer

    Shiria law is inconsistent with the law of a constitutional republic.

    It is comical to hear the dems and libs call for the removal of Mubarak. These were the very same people who bashed Bush when he took a stand and removed the dictator Saddam from Iraq. The hypocrisy is shocking.

    Joe Biden refused to call Mubarak a dictator.

    The US policy toward the dictators in the Middle East has come back to bite the US.

  • Rebecca Albrecht from Brookline

    On my Egyptian friend’s facebook page he uses the words pro-liberation demonstrators not anti-Mubarak protesters and revolt not protest. Interesting how the situation is being framed here.

  • Larry

    Who is this pro-Mubarak anti-Semite on the phone??

    -Dan

    I heard pro-Mubarak but not anti-Semite. What did he say that was anti-Semite

  • laura

    I hope this protest can bring democracy to Egypt . One of your speakers mentioned Human right watch . Here is a speech by it founder Robert L. .Bernstein.

    http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/human_rights_in_the_middle_east

  • Mary Quinn

    REPORT: US, EU discussing need for international military intervention to remove Mubarak… Developing…

    And the worm begins to turn.

  • Sinclair

    Today’s violence in Tahrir Square, Cairo, is being orchestrated by pro-mubarak forces to undermine the previously peaceful leadership change protests.

    Very disturbing.

    Interesting that one of civilization’s oldest societies is collapsing; a lesson for the US?

  • Lake

    Is it Mubarak against the Egyptian population or Mubarak against a crowd of students?

  • geffe

    Bill Stomer it amazes me how you can use an event like this to forward your political agenda. Bush used false evidence to invaded Iraq. There is a huge difference between a popular uprising by the people of Egypt and the invasion of Iraq by the US government.

  • Zeno

    “Is it Mubarak against the Egyptian population or Mubarak against a crowd of students? ” -Posted by Lake

    I think its the haves (politically and economically) against the poor (the bottom 90%). There is a lesson in there somewhere.

  • Angie O’Gorman

    Just heard/read that pro-Mubarak forces are breaking into parked military vehicles and driving them into the crowds. So the military left the keys in their vehicles!

    St. Louis

  • http://ebenmarkowski.com eben Markowski

    Obama is not perfect. I believe in my heart that he is the most enlightened American president we have had in decades. However, it is unacceptable for our government to stand by Mubarak in any way. I blame americans for not offering Obama a louder voice in support of human rights world wide. Obama is doing his job representing what he sees as our interests. Lets show him we want investments in PEACE not WAR from our tax dollars spent abroad.

    Eben

  • nj, Ashland, Mass.

    Eben astutely notes: “Obama is not perfect.”

    Thus enlightened by this newsflash, I am now better equipped to proceed with my day.

  • Injy Shaarawy

    I am from Cairo, Egypt. I tried to listen to your show about Egyptians on Turmoil live but couldn’t. Please tell me how to listen to this broadcast.

    Thank you.

    Injy Shaarawy

  • geffe

    Larry the caller blamed the Jews for anti-Mubarak movement.
    He said so more than once. It was blatant hate speech and Tom let it go. Mona caught it and admonished the callers misguided rhetoric.

  • Kelly

    Does anyone know the artist / name of the song that had the chorus, “Step Down Mubarak”? It was played as an outro for a segment of the show. It was in English; I want to find it, but can’t locate it anywhere.

  • ani

    “Larry the caller blamed the Jews for anti-Mubarak movement.
    He said so more than once. It was blatant hate speech and Tom let it go. Mona caught it and admonished the callers misguided rhetoric.”

    Posted by geffe, on February 2nd, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    geffe . It seems pretty usual for WBUR to do this . Many now use Zionists , It is the “politically correct” form .

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I’m not sure “sharia” law is set in stone, or in print. I see in Cairo all the avenues are called sharia this or sharia that, so it probably means “the way,” and has various interpretations. American law has imported part of “thou shalt not kill” from Moses, but retain an exception for armies fighting wars. So.
    I looked for the presidential palace and see from a Lonely Planet book (Middle East, 1994; NOT in the same for the 1997 edition; nor in any other travel books) that it is now (was in 1994) at the Abdin Palace about 800 meters (250 yards?) from Midan Tahrir, Tahrir Square, to the east, away from the Nile. My book says the government may regret the relocation to this site from the Citadel, which is a few miles to the southeast. I can’t find it now to quote, but I read that the al Abdin palace is right next to the al-Gumhorriya Midan (square, which is huge), where if I recall, during Ramadan, there are day-long readings of the Koran for the public, and on the other side of the palace, it says there is Sharia Bur Said, (now I have the quote, from Rough Guide 2010), “which marks the course of the Khalig al-Masri canal that was filled in after the Aswan Dam reduced Cairo’s dependency on Nile flood water. [my note; that was about 1966] Another effect of the dam’s construction was the displacement of much of the Nubian population from the area to its south, many of whom ended up as servants in the palace, and to this day, many of Abdin’s residents are of Nubian origin.” (page 107). It begins: “Abdin Palace. With hindsight, several rulers must have regretted the move by Khedive Ismail of the seat of state from the Citaadel to what is now the Abdin quarter. The European-style Abdin Palace, flanked to the North by the Cairo Governorate building, is now the state headquarters of Egypt’s president.” Then the bit about Ramadan. then: “The neighbourhood is still chiefly residential and working-class, and divided from the Saiyida Zeinab quarter [to the south]” by that former canal, now the Sharia Bur Said.
    If Mubarak is forced to flee, will he, in absentia, continue to be understood/seen to be undermining law and order and fomenting further difficulties in allowing civil movements to come together?
    Note. My own experience locally with a group that came together to face down a far, far more dominant group (mayor/counselors/major local business) was that the group thus organized used the same methodologies being used against them. Exclude all points of view that varied. Forbid any inputs unless you were able to expend lots of money and perform in a certain manner. They would lie to blame someone (me) for losing the e-mail list when I had merely signed it and passed it on. No one ever e-mailed me. I had to be a movement of one. They were not listening, not from the git-go. Nor was the government. They pre-ordained everything. There was a pretend discussion, or rather, there was a discussion of certain cosmetic things that they wanted to have it on the record that they had “aired.”
    So good luck Egypt. I’d say take a few days off to trick Mubarak into opening the ATM’s and let everybody restock their pantries or borrow from relatives whatever is needed to continue. Do some door-to-door reconnoitering with the new associates that surely have been found. Then restart, using a method of organization that cannot be anticipated, at a time of your choosing.
    And somehow hire or find a bunch of trained mediators, arbitrators, some folks who can make sure the fragmentation (that a democracy in some ways requires) is seen as an opportunity for enabling of all voices, not as an opportunity to silence people and exclude people before “real” negotiations start.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Injy Shaarawy, it is now 1:10 PM, and the radio broadcast has been queued up so it can be listened to. I just tried it. Go to the top of the page and click the banner toward the left that says “LISTEN TO THE SHOW.”
    It works for me, anyway.
    There are rebroadcasts over lots of radio stations where you can also listen online; it plays all over the United States — as well as a rebroadcast from WBUR around dinnertime. Look at the schedules up top.

  • Lon in Appleton, WI

    Later in the day here we are seeing how a scenario for The Shock Doctrine that Naomi Klein has documented across the globe might be played out.

    If the disrupters of peaceful demonstration are indeed plain clothes police. The police are financed by the US whose negotiations with Egypt and Israel stated that Egypt would get a fixed percentage of aid in armaments to that of Israel.

    That’s the real story here: Aid to Israel allowed them to go out and start wars against neighboring nations. Aid to Egypt in the billions went to suppress the Egyptian people.

    I am not surprised that there are vast numbers of the police class able to mobilize and create chaos. The Shock Doctrine is theater that shows the rest of the world ‘this is what happens to those who protest.’

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Lon, what I understood from Obama’s statement last night was that the United States stands ready to continue their aid as a new government takes shape. Does he think Americans are on the side of the protesters and therefore makes a statement like that? Or what? It would seem directed at Egyptian protestors: Don’t rule out continuing cooperation with the United States.
    If the number one goal oppressed in the Egyptian people is their desire to attack Israel, it’s strange how those Egyptians manage to have been oppressed in their political effectiveness, their economic effectiveness, their pride and dignity as significant parts of their own society…
    I’d oppress just the faction that want to wage war on Israel, if that was the idea. So it’s odd that the Zionists are so pro-Mubarak, since he seems to have misplayed that card so badly. (It is very confusing.)
    To me, it is a total unknown whether Egyptians want to be good trading partners with Israel, sharing a defense umbrella, and acting in some ways as arbiters between them and their neighbors, or whether they’ll take the US-funded army and siphon it into Gaza and start playing pingpong with weaponry back and forth across de facto borders. We get to fund both sides of a war (again).

  • Steve Stoufer

    I believe the listener Kevin is On Point. The idea that a caller giving an opinion should be given the respect allowed for by a democracy to express that opinion is implicit for the success of this show.. The studio guests should not in any way be allowed to say that someone’s point of view is rubbish. Disagree, absolutely but make your point without essentially, berating the values that someone has perhaps grown up with all of their lives. This point in history is a time of change, a time when many people are faced with the absolute fact that their entire belief system may change.
    All do respect to the studio guest with the deep connection to Twitter and Facebook feeds, these are not as yet real face to face conversations with inflection and body language. These are very easy opportunities to perhaps make quick not well thought commentary without having to face the audience, without having to be personal.

  • William

    It would be sad to see Egypt become some crazy Islamic state.

  • Lon in Appleton, WI

    @ Ellen and all,

    I had a gaffe above with an incomplete sentence.

    To address the Obama statement I think they are making a way in language– emphasizing peaceful demonstration– that what would happen if demands continue would necessitate UN or US involvement and support of the police.

    Here in Wisconsin we have Professor Alfred McCoy. McCoy has written in great detail on policing America’s Empire. Though Egypt is a sovereign state the police force has been the oppressing force in the country. While details are not available, the sharing of police tactics and their migration to practices within the US are a major point of McCoy’s text. This has taken many forms since our involvement with the Philippines which continues into the present. McCoy’s book has a picture from that era on the cover of a Philippine Police Officer. But the first internal photograph is of biometric information being taken from civilians in Iraq (a retina scan.).

    It is speculation at this point whether the counter protest is actually police in plain clothing or a legitimate statement of support for Mubarack. The role of police in these global affairs has not been studied nearly enough.

    http://www.amazon.com/Policing-Americas-Empire-Surveillance-Perspectives/dp/0299234142/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296698094&sr=8-1

  • Gregg- Taylorsville,NC

    The bottom line in 12 words. Nice work William. I would use tragic or disastrous instead of “sad” but still….

  • Jarrod,Ontario, Canada

    Tom; Has anyone considered this is all a well divised plan to oust Mubarak and have the Vise-President assume power. When you take into account his close relationship with Egypt’s military and there reluctace to directly intervene.

  • John

    Dear Tom,

    I have followed your show for my last four-and-a-half years of grad school mostly because I find that your 45-min podcast is one of the best ways to inform myself on a multitude of issues in a short time and obtain a nuanced and complete picture of various current events.

    Nonetheless, I implore you to represent a voice that has been sorely lacking from discussions about Egypt both on your show and throughout our society – that of the 10 million or so Coptic Christians in Egypt (and an additional 10 million Copts throughout the world). I know you have brought up our fear of the Muslim Brotherhood rising to power (and your guests have frequently dismissed these fears as illegitimate in an attempt to oversell the “moderate”-ness of that religious organization … a challenging theory for me to stomach since after all, their stated aim is to bring Sharia Law to Egypt, with all its less desirable facets). I posit that this is not enough. Today, you had a call-in from a few Mubarak sympathizers. They sounded almost cartoonish in their total lack of connection with reality, but I bet if you took the opportunity to probe them a little longer, you might have discovered that your first caller was probably a Copt, who has legitimate fears that under full Islamic law, his family back in Egypt would be susceptible to all kinds of new restrictions from head-covering and alcohol-banning to job-discrimination, jizya-tax paying, and dhimmitude (the special protected status whereby Jews & Christians are permitted to live under Islamic law by paying a special tax).

    The issue is that, as Copts, we have always lived under the premise that there are only a binary set of options. Either we live with the status quo under Mubarak, where his banning of their political opposition protects us from their fanaticism (except for the occasional terrorist acts like this past New Years, which resulted in the death of 23 men, women, and children, and the injury of nearly 100 more), or we take a chance and fall victim to that very fear.

    I posit that there is another alternative. It is one that could draw many Christians into the fold. (Has anyone noticed almost complete absence of Copts from these protests, despite their making up 10-15% of the population?) And it is one that could ease the fears of all those abroad who are currently willing to settle for the status quo. Let’s move the conversation forward. Mubarak will step down soon, so lets talk about the next stage.

    There will need to be an interim government. Perhaps ElBaradei could head it. He will need his UN-diplomatic skills to promise and accomplish what is needed. Specifically, the safeguards that Hillary Clinton spoke of need to be definitively put in place. But they need to be outlined NOW. We need to start talking specifics. There needs to be an independent judiciary. Secularism needs to be guaranteed. Permits to renovate old churches can’t be denied at whim. Christian women should not be forced to cover their heads. Those who convert from Islam should not be subject to the death penalty. There are countless other issues that could arise from sharia law, but which you could allay Copts’ fears by constitutionally guaranteeing their prohibition. Finally, and most importantly, the independent judiciary branch will need to have power over the military when this secularism is breached. There needs to be a mechanism whereby a military tribunal, such as those in Turkey’s recent history, may oust any movement to violate the human rights of a religious or any other minority and undermine the cultural pluralism of the state.

    Ultimately, by having this conversation now, you can convince those of us who are cautiously optimistic or outright frightened of this political upheaval, that there is a third alternative which is considerably more favorable, and could lead to the creation of a vibrant, secular, and culturally pluralistic democracy in Egypt and other nations throughout the Middle East – a wave of which could potentially even serve as a model for other parts of the world struggling with the same false dilemma.

    Sincerely and hopefully,

    John
    Princeton, NJ

  • Zac

    This is Zac in Wyoming.

    Do we know Mubarak is still in control? What do we know about the internal government power strugle?

  • david

    Israel under the crosshairs!
    Muslim brotherhood calling for war against Israel?
    http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=206130

    Also, saw red flags with yellow star and sickle. Whose flag was this, what are the Marxist/communist doing in Cairo?????

    What was Code Pink doing in Cairo????
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/nov05election/detail?entry_id=82287
    Who is Code Pink, a marxist communist oriented group???
    http://www.targetofopportunity.com/codepink.htm

    What is really going on over there???????

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    http://egypt.alive.in/
    Check that out for transmissions from the street mostly originating in Arabic and translated into other languages. Or sign up to help translate. I found the link at the NewsHour Rundown site.

    I had heard that some phone company had arrangements to take vocal phone calls and use (I guess) voice recognition to turn them into tweets or something like that, when the net was down in Egypt.

    Whatever. For me, seeing the raw Arabic — it feels very authentic. The site gives the date posted, not the time. It looks like you can comment on whether you agree with this one or that as to whether “Hitler” is an appropriate descriptor for their president, or whatever the issue is. (Or, our children are home from school; we’re out of food, etc.) I am taking a few printouts to put in my Arabic dictionaries to help me put living voice on those translated Arabic words.

  • Jim Feldman

    Someone called in to the program and made some comments about some kind of “Anglo-Jewish-American” conspiracy, which was said to be behind the uprising against Mubarak. This is of course ridiculous. But the claim that some Jewish conspiracy is behind world events is an old one. The only reasonable response to a comment like that is to hang up on the speaker, to say that the comments are ridiculous, and to explain to the audience that those who make anti-semitic, racist, or similar comments are simply not welcome to participate in a reasoned dialogue. Instead, the host made some comment about the Israelis being upset about what is happening in Egypt, as if a comment about “Anglo-Jewish-American” power is just another reasonable contribution to the dialogue. I am horrified that neither the host nor any of the guests responded to the caller in the only reasonable way, and the only way that is morally justifiable.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    The voice I read at that site that seemed most compelling was one begging the army to do the deed. It seems the army is saying no, you first.
    First where? If you go to the BBC website, there is a clip of a BBC reporter titled “blindfolded and handcuffed” (something like that), and this guy is shown talking to various people, then going in a car along a boulevard. He says he is near the Abdin palace, which interested me since I figured out that is the presidential palace. Who knows who might be there. There is a major thoroughfare that goes north/south just to the west, a superhighway Port Said highway or something like that. It seemed to me to be the reporter’s locale when this guy in a red sweatshirt (he specifies) forces him off the road, and a group of several police then take him in, put him in secret confinement or something like that, for four or five hours, as I recall he said.
    “They apparently didn’t like it that a reporter was in that part of the city” (my paraphrase). I can’t imagine why. Hyper-hyper.

  • david

    Saw red flags with yellow star and sickle. Whose flag was this, what are the Marxist/communist doing in Cairo?????

  • Michaelll

    Jim wrote:
    I am horrified that neither the host nor any of the guests responded to the caller in the only reasonable way, and the only way that is morally justifiable.

    The guest(Mona) actually did. Even stopping what she was saying to denounced it…

    Along the lines of “Hold on Tom but I must respond to what the caller just said.

  • Michaelll

    Also for the illogical fear that some are displaying about the Muslim Brotherhood Haaztaz had a something worth reading. I see it as more racism or bigorty but,

    Why should Israel be the only democracy in the Mideast?

    CAIRO – The late Arab-American scholar Edward Said appears to have been right. We’re all suffering from Orientalism, not to say racism, if the sight of an entire people throwing off the yoke of tyranny and courageously demanding free elections fills us with fear rather than uplifting us, just because they’re Arabs. Even the knights of the left and the leaders of the peace camp are issuing declarations of loyalty, continuing to repay Hosni Mubarak for his welcome in the presidential palace even after the entire Egyptian nation has shown him the door.People are scaring us with talk of an Isalmist takeover of our big neighbor. The Muslim Brotherhood will certainly play an important role in any political democratic structure that emerges in Egypt, and that has to be dealt with. But then, we also have religious fundamentalists in the government. That is the price of a parliamentary democracy. And the previous U.S. administration was intimately linked to fundamentalists, but that’s okay too, because evangelical Christians love Israel.

    And what about the peace treaty? Hundred of Egyptians who were asked about that this week on the streets of Cairo said that they support continued diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt. Even among supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, it was difficult to find someone calling for the Israeli Embassy to get out of the country, though there were a few.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/why-should-israel-be-the-only-democracy-in-the-mideast-1.340717

  • http://facebook hossam daoud

    Moubark must be leave Egypt NOW NOW

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Speak-to-tweet. I found this linked to Offocial Google Blog post, from over the weekend past; seeing as hossam daoud’s link is blocked at Facebook, I’m thinking I’ll copy it in:

    “We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.

    “We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone there.

    “Update Feb 1, 12:47 PM: When possible, we’re now detecting the approximate (country-level) geographic origin of each call dialing one of our speak2tweet numbers and attaching a hashtag for that country to each tweet. For example, if a call comes from Switzerland, you’ll see #switzerland in the tweet, and if one comes from Egypt you’ll see #egypt. For calls when we can’t detect the location, we default to an #egypt hashtag.”

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Quoted from Egypt.alive.in, the Egypt section, translated there, most recent:

    “Request to supreme court to convene to lawfully drop the legitimacy of Mubarak. This way the legal cover will be removed nationally and internationally and he will no longer be considered a president. This court can convene anywhere, not necessarily in the courthouse, as long as there are enough no. of judges for it to be legal. It should declare its decision immediately.. Thanks.. May God be with the people of Tahrir square and the protesters of Egypt.”

    I think the US would react differentially if a constitutional transition were arranged, like that.

  • Jose Grullon-Suro

    The question is: Will we support democratic movements or side with dictators?
    Looking at History I have my doubts. Our foreign policy was based on the boogyman of commnunism (now the boogeyman is terrorism or fundamentalism) and so we supported the likes of Trujillo, Pinochet the Somozas – the list is endless…
    We are not going to stop the danger of a fundamentalism movement taking over by siding with repressive goverments. Let’s for once take a chance in supporting the people that are figting for justice and democracy…

  • John Isaacs

    I have a question. Has anyone decided to label what is currently going on in the Arab world as a class revolution? Seems to me that this is exactly what it is but has not been labeled as such in fear of spreading outside of the present geographic area.

    Columbus, Ohio

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    See: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11443
    (interviewed by phone on Charlie Rose last night.)
    Naguib Sawiris is an Egyptian businessman. His father, Onsi Sawiris, founded Orascom Group. He is the Chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom, and Chairman of the board of Wind Telecomunicazioni S.p.A. and Mobinil. In 2008 Forbes magazine estimated his worth at 12.7 billion dollars.

    Sawiris is at the tail end of the interview and is not split out, so it’s hard to access. You’ll find at the web site a long interview from July 2008 with him, with 89 comments.
    But last night, for me, the take-away was that this tycoon does not see a class war under way. But then I thought to myself, if I were a tycoon I would take that position if I thought the insurrection had a good point and was likely to succeed. If I could only get this answer from that interview, I would have to listen to it again because I can’t recall details. One man’s riches may not rest in the Mubarak sphere of influence at all, actually, but the defense contracts, one third of Egypt’s GNP, and not limited to military, may be far more closely attached to the present regime. Between tourism and “defense” there is plenty of room for economic disruption, though I bet tourism gets a boost if the protesters succeed. It may get a boost regardless.

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