So the Egyptians got their Friday of Departure after all–congratulations to them! This is a heady moment for all of us, Egyptian or not–
What a rollercoaster of a few days! 11.2.11 has proved to be unforgettable for all Egyptians except one: ex-President Hosni Mobarak who probably wants to erase all memories of Jan 25 and its ineluctable aftermath.
I found Pioneer editor Kanchan Gupta’s analysis of the tumultuous events in the Middle East to be comprehensive and useful (though i don’t share his fear of a Muslim alliance):
…As Egypt burst into celebrations, a bitter realisation began to sink in: If the US could abandon Mubarak, it could also say goodbye to others without allowing friendships of the past to weigh too heavily on its conscience.
Ironically, it is this perceived callous indifference of the US towards a beleaguered Mubarak in his last days in office that has left many flummoxed in Arabia. Egypt under the Mubarak dispensation, backed by the Army, was the best bet for peace in the region, especially in regard to Israel. It was also the best defence against the rise of radical Islamism whose practitioners see themselves as the alternative to incumbent Arab regimes. With Mubarak gone, the Muslim Brotherhood is preparing to make a dramatic appearance either through collaboration or alone in Egyptian politics; through Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists have seized power in Gaza; in Lebanon, the Hizbullah, which has toppled the Hariri Government and put into place a regime controlled by Islamists, increasingly and frighteningly calls the shots; in Tunisia, dormant Islamism has come alive after the long-exiled leader of the till recently outlawed Islamist party Ennahdha, Rachid Ghanouchi, made a triumphant return home; in Jordan, the Friday street protests are being led by Islamists sustained by the Ikhwan’s ideology; in Yemen, Islamists are waiting for the palace to fall under their assault; in Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, a deep undercurrent of radical Islamism is waiting to burst forth.
A gleeful Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the Egyptian uprising as the unleashing of an “Islamic wave”. His protégé and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the Egyptian uprising and the collapse of the Mubarak regime exactly 32 years to the day of the fall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi on February 11, 1979, as the “emergence of a new Middle East that will doom Israel and break free of American interference”.
A clickable map of Tahrir Square, courtesy the BBC
On the subject of social media’s role in the recent ‘revolutions’ I found Global Voices Online co-founder Ethan Zuckerman’s comments thought-provoking:
– While there’s been extensive debate about whether social media helped organize or promote the protests in Egypt, I think the interesting story to watch will be whether social media can help Egypt in the transition to democracy. Power now rests with a council of military leaders, and there have been suggestions that this group could be complemented by a council of civilian “wise men”, giving a seat at the table to figures like Mohamed El-Baradei.
If this process were to work, it would need to include voices of the youth, the people who led this revolt. One likely spokesman for Egyptian youth is Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who created the We Are All Khaled Said page on Facebook, widely credited as helping rally the original protests on January 25th. After his emotional televised interview on Dream TV, hundreds of thousands have joined a Facebook page authorizing Ghonim to speak on behalf of the protesters. Speaking to CNN today, asked what’s next in revolutions in the Arab world, Ghonim said, “Ask Facebook.”
In lieu of having anything compelling to say myself I’ve decided to put up tweets I ‘favourited’ it in the last 24 hours or so (Twitter’s ‘favourite’ feature is a phenomenal tool which i use with abandon). Some of them reference Egyptian events and some don’t, but for what they’re worth here they are…with the most recent ones from this morning leading…