Sunday, 30 January 2011

Open thread about Egypt and Tunisia

I haven't had time to keep up with everything happening in Egypt and Tunisia. I have just ducked in and out of news sites, and seen so many stories of the incredible strenght of collective revolt (and prison break-out - I do love stories of prison break out). I thought I'd start an open thread where people can contribute plcaes for good sources of news, and interesting links

My contribution is this amazing gallery of images Women of Egypt.

My only comment I can give at this point of ignorance is: know where you stand. I've read a lot of supposedly progressive blogs, particualrly from America, which talk about 'we' and 'us' as if the author's stand with the American government. I know I don't stand with the NZ government, or any government. I stand with people fighting for their liberation.

8 comments:

Hugh said...

What's interesting to me is that the current Egyptian government is descended from a government whose focus was anti-imperialism and socialism. Nasser was lauded as the world's leading anti-colonialist for much of the 1960s and was at the vanguard of movements such as the Non-Aligned Movement which were hugely influential. Obviously, despite continued lip service to these goals, the Egyptian government has lost these credentials.

The question is, if it the Egyptian government is replaced, how can its successor prevent itself from going down the same path?

A lot of people have identified the death of Nasser as the turning point, but I think that's evading the question. If a government's progressive orientation depends on a single person it cannot really be said to be a progressive government. An ideology that depends on mass involvement can't be rooted in a single individual.

Psycho Milt said...

I don't think there's huge scope for optimism. It's great that they're rising up against Mubarak, but there's no organised opposition that could form a credible alternative govt (thanks to the efforts of Egyptian govts to prevent such a thing happening), no history of democratic types of organisation for people to refer to (again, efforts of govt etc) and a sizable violent Muslim fundamentalist group that the US will do anything to keep from increasing its influence in Egypt - even if that means helping another dictator into power.

Hugh said...

I think one of the things events in Egypt have revealed is how modest the support that the Muslim Brotherhood has is. I don't want to overstate the case, clearly they have a reasonable following, but they are only a part of the current protest movement, to the extent that they're willing to pledge their support to El-Baradei. Not that I think an El-Baradei Presidency would be the greatest thing ever, but he's not the sort of politician the Muslim Brotherhood would be supporting if they had a free choice.

I expect if the Mubarak government is overthrown and Egypt does become more democratic the muslim brotherhood will probably become the main opposition group to the liberal coalition that would probably come to power.

Psycho Milt said...

For an excellent picture of what a lot of right-wingers really think about people interested in gaining some freedom for themselves, hold your nose and read this comments thread over at Kiwiblog. Choice exerpts:

"As in Fiji, the nation’s only hope for peaceful and civilised stability will turn out to be the army..."

"If the Leftists and Unions are supporting the removal of Mubarak, and ElBaradei being instated then you know which side you should be on."

"Democracy on the lips of a muslim is always a lie.."

BBwench said...

this uprising has captured my attention in that some of the footage on Youtube (before Mubarak shut down access) showed a number of women, some fully veiled, getting into the thick of the protests. This message speaks volumes to anyone who has spent time in Egypt and observed the general place of women...

Hugh said...

'politics' for us means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.

Thanks, but if it's all the same to you I won't! :-/

This message speaks volumes to anyone who has spent time in Egypt and observed the general place of women...

It's certainly clear that Egyptian women see themselves as having a role in choosing the country's government. I hope that they're able to secure some sort of improvement. Sadly there's a history, not least in the middle east, of reformers happily inviting women to participate in resistance only to send them "back to the kitchen" when a new government is established. I'm thinking particularly of the Algerian revolt.

I know of a certain Maori woman who married an Egyptian man, converted to Islam and now lives in Cairo with two children. I wonder what she is doing now?

stargazer said...

women of egypt, in photographs.

Anonymous said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/feb/08/egypt-activist-wael-ghonim-google-video