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Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

For a long time now my dissatisfaction with the limited and often biased news coverage in the US has prompted me to seek out other sources of information.  As a reader of this blog, you are aware that Al-Jazeera is one of the news providers that I turn to on a regular basis.  And as a member of our society you are probably also aware that Al-Jazeera has always been decried as an anti-American propaganda machine. 

But last week, to my utter astonishment and surprise, I saw our Secretary of  State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly praise Al-Jazeera’s coverage of events in the Middle-East.  She did not mince her words when she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and pointed out that “Al-Jazeera has been a leader in changing people’s minds and attitudes” about the Middle-East. 

“Like it or hate it, it is really effective,” our Secretary of State said.  “In fact, the viewership of Al-Jazeera is going up in the United States because it is real news.”  She continued: “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you are getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads…”

Well said Madam Secretary and thank you for boldly stating what has become so obvious to many of us.  It makes me hopeful that change may be possible after all.

And very timely, TED talks just posted a video in which the director general of Al-Jazeera explains how his organization foresaw the coming of the Arab revolutions.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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Revolution is marching across the Middle East and the remaining dictators are quacking in their boots.  

When Egypt’s youth followed the example of  Tunisia’s peaceful overthrow of  its corrupt government, the world watched in awe as the ground shook for eighteen days until Hosnei Mubarak was forced to stepped down.   And now that the people of Egypt are engaged in the difficult task of bringing the right reforms to their government, the ground is starting to shake in neighbouring Algeria, in Bahrain, in Yemen, in Libya, and yes also in Iran. 

So the question is what will happen now?  Are we watching the inevitable collapse of all the repressive regimes in the Middle East as we did when the people of Eastern Europe demanded their freedom not so long ago?  And if yes, what will take their place?  

Among the many opinions and analyses that are being offered about the transformation that is underway in the Middle East, I find the insights of Ahmet Davutoglu most convincing.  As Turkey’s foreign minister he is a credible witness to the struggle for a more democratic Middle East.   I’d like to share an in-depth interview with him in which he discusses how the Middle East can successfully combine democracy and Islam. 

Ahmet Davutoglu – Talk to Al Jazeera – Al Jazeera English.

Enjoy!

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Mubarak resigns and the Egyptian people have shown the world what a dignified revolution looks like.

Egypt: An idea whose time has come – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

May the people prevail and a true transition to democracy follow.

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It seems that the US Government will find itself once again on the wrong side of history.  Even though the administration’s official position is in support of the pro-democracy movement in Egypt,  it is clear that no one is willing to turn off the 1.8 billion dollar spigot which helps maintain the oppressive regime of Hosnei Mubarak.  One point eight-billion dollars annually flow from the pockets of US citizens into the coffers of the Egyptian military and the Mubarak regime’s security apparatus that suppresses the Egyptian people. 

Instead of lending real support to the struggle for democracy in the middle east, our government supports a dictator who is ‘promising reform.’  My question is this: 

At what point can anything Mubarak promises be trusted? 

Is he not the man who declared emergency powers and has maintained them for more than thirty years? 

Is he not the one who has promised many times before that civil rights will be restored in Egypt? 

Is Mubarak not the one who assured the people before that elections would be open and fair, that he would relinquish his position as head of the official political party, the party that wields all the power in the land? 

Is he not the one whose family has accumulated over forty billion dollars in wealth during his years in power?   And how much of his wealth came from the pockets of the US taxpayer over the many years of  aid given to the Mubarak regime?

And furthermore, are we so entrenched in our way of giving lip service to freedom that we are willing to stand by the rapist who promises not to abuse his victim again?

Or are we finally willing to say to him:  Enough already!  You have to go!

Will we finally stand on the right side of history and trust the people of Egypt to build their own version of democracy?

As events unfold in the streets of Egypt I want to bring the powerful words of Suheir Hammad to your attention. 

Suheir Hammad is a poet who  “blends the stories and sounds of her Palestinian-American heritage” to bring us her “meditations on war and peace, on women and power.” 

May the world heed the truth she speaks  in the concluding line of her poem:  “Do not fear what has blown up.  If you must, fear the unexploded.”

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In my Egypt watch I have come across on op-ed by Robert Grenier, who is a retired twenty-seven year veteran of the CIA’s clandestine services. 

His insights surprised me because he had served as Director of the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center under George W from 2004-06.

You may also find his post worth reading:

The triviality of US Mideast policy – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

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Like me, you many have had trouble to get primary, unfiltered information coming out of Egypt.  I find that US television coverage of the unfolding  events is highly processed and repetitive.  I have found that only Aljazeera English live-streams the revolution with sufficient commentary to keep viewers truly informed. 

Here is the link I’d like to share with you:

http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

Please note that there is also a slight delay at the beginning of the live-stream.

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These past few mornings I am not surprised to wake to news of revolution coming out of Egypt. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/28/egypt_protests_live_updat_n_815233.html

This news I had anticipated for a long time since I watched Egypt fall into Mubarak’s hands some thirty years ago.  Watched as an ancient culture turned into an oppressed society ruled by nothing less than a dictatorship.  My interest in Egypt is rooted in my own history, because Egypt could have easily become my home some forty years ago, when instead I chose the United States where women had a chance at equal rights.

As Cairo burns I think of the young Egyptian whom I met right after leaving my childhood home.   I was all but eighteen when I arrived by train in one of Germany’s largest and cosmopolitan cities in the North.  And there he was, as if waiting for me to disembark at the train station in Altona.  To a blond girl with bright blue eyes, he seemed exotic in his dark-eyed beauty.  Oddly enough, meeting him was no shocking surprise for I had learned to love the Pharaohs’ Egypt while studying their history throughout my teens.

There he was, my Egyptian prince – slender and dark with coal-black and wavy hair.  And here I was with, as he described, ‘alabaster skin and the sky in my eyes and the sun caught in my hair.’  And yes we fell in love, for his studies had led him to Germany; and to him I was a part of his new life.

To be honest, I have not though about him much these forty years.  He was the road I did not take because my fear of losing independence was too great.  He was a modern man, but it was clear enough that if I followed him to his ancient land, as a woman, my life would be restricted by society.  Some forty years ago, I walked away and chose a life of personal liberty. 

Yet today, as Cairo burns, I wonder if he is there. 

Are his children in those streets? 

Are his sons and possibly his daughters among the brave who say ENOUGH? 

And what of him?

And further more, will his people persevere and will Democracy come at last? 

Or will history repeat itself and Egypt see a tragic end to revolution as Iran did in the Summer of 2009?

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