Egypt: Uprising [Open Thread]

Million Person March

Emily L. Hauser’s posts can be found here;

Al-Jazeera has live coverage and updates;

Mother Jones has a good rundown of what’s been going on;

Here’s a guide on how not to say stupid shit about Egypt;

Google and Twitter have provided a work around to allow people in Egypt to tweet without internet access; and

Interesting take on the unimportance of Twitter (aside from allowing me to be a voyeur).

It seems silly to sit here and eat cookies and follow the coverage on the intertrons, but that’s what I’m going to do.

[first image via somewhere on Reddit; second image via The Atlantic]

[cross-posted here at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]

59 replies
  1. 1
    demkat620 says:

    I have been listening to the coverage by AJ-E at work. They have done a phenomenal job.

    I pray for no violence. It would be awful to see the army crackdown.

  2. 2
    stuckinred says:

    Why is it silly? Do you think going on a hunger strike would help?

  3. 3

    Stuck called it. What else to do? Fly over there and join the march? Your link about how not to say stupid stuff is going to start a whole bunch of useful conversations today.

    A pebble can make a ripple, or start an avalanche.

  4. 4

    Scary. And fascinating. And dangerous. And exhilarating. And Oh-my-gosh-please-take-care-of-yourself. And . . . . . .

  5. 5
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    Go ordinary Egyptians! I don’t think the army will crack down. And I would love to hear Nawal El Sadawi‘s take on what’s going on. She’s my favorite Egyptian feminist.

  6. 6
    Triassic Sands says:

    Here’s hoping the Egyptians can find a path from Mubarack to a democratic non-theocracy.

    Meanwhile, back in the US, Barbara Bush, daughter of the Worst President Ever, George W. Bush, is coming out in support of gay marriage. This tacitly acknowledges the bigotry of her father, who in addition to wrecking the economy and the world, stood steadfastly for bigotry against homosexuals.

    Now that Bush’s daughter has spoken, will the Worst President Ever reconsider his long-standing prejudice? Or will he continue to cling to his familiar, comfortable bigotry? As always with this former president, low expectations seem most appropriate.

    However, we have and should have higher expectations of President Obama. More important than what dumb George decides to do will be the response of our current president. It will look pathetic if Bush beats Obama to a public embrace of same-sex marriage. Will Obama do as he hinted he might after the congressional repeal of DADT and reconsider his own bigoted stance against marriage equality? It takes an amazing intellectual juggling act to get from support for military equality for homosexuals to denial of marriage equality for the same people.

    Obama’s stance on same sex marriage has always bothered me, though I’m not sure whether it has been an expediently held political belief or a deeply-held religious one. Of course, I don’t rule out the possibility of it being both politically and religiously expedient, but it is bigotry no matter how it is dressed up.

    What I do know is that it is long past the time when we should tolerate Obama pretending that opposition to marriage equality is an acceptable position for a Democratic president to hold. (I’ll leave Republican presidents out of this expectation because I hope we never have another, and because I expect bigotry from the GOP.) Regardless of the source of Obama’s opposition, neither source is attractive in a president in 2011 and both place him squarely on the wrong side of history. He needs to make a simple statement acknowledging his error and apologizing for any difficulties that have arisen out of his opposition. It will be easy to accept Obama’s change of heart and his promise to work for the equality of all Americans in all phases of life, whether it is to actively defend one’s country or to form a committed bond with a person one loves.

    It’s time President Obama. It’s time.

  7. 7
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Triassic Sands:

    Unlike Bush, Obama will not wait until he comes around on gay marriage in order to sign legislation that gets rid of DOMA. He believes its unconstitutional and will do the right thing IF such a bill were to make it to his desk. That’s a giant IF because,well, look at our Congress.

  8. 8
    m. says:

    Our local cable company, Buckeye Cable System, has carried Aljazeera-English since 2007 so we can see what the rest of the world does . . . sitting tight, awaiting the monster blizzard here and the storm of freedom in one of the most ancient sites of civilization.

  9. 9
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    In Soviet Union internet shut down you.

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BruceFromOhio: God, one would hope that people knew enough not to say any of that without being told, but I guess not.

  11. 11
    honus says:

    Since this is an open thread, how is AP getting away with this?:

    “The judge’s ruling produced an even split in federal court decisions so far on the health care law, mirroring enduring divisions among the public. Two judges had previously upheld the law, both Democratic appointees. A Republican appointee in Virginia had ruled against it.”

    There are 14 circuits that have dismissed cases attacking the ACA. I guess to AP the dismissals don’t count.

    Here’s the by-line:


    PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – The judge who ruled the Obama administration’s health care overhaul unconstitutional questioned whether the government was reaching beyond its power by requiring citizens to buy health insurance because everyone needs medical care.

  12. 12
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    He believes [DOMA is] unconstitutional

    I don’t think he does. If he really did, he wouldn’t allow the DOJ to keep appealing it. I suspect, however, (75% – 80% probability) that his reasons are very legalistic and hypertechnical (and not satisfying to anyone on a political level), so he just keeps his mouth shut about them.

    It’s also possible that his reasons stem from religion, but I’d peg that at more like 25%.

    and will do the right thing IF such a bill were to make it to his desk.

    I don’t think he would veto a bill, but let’s not kid ourselves. There won’t be one that makes it through Congress for the rest of this term and (assuming re-election) the chances of one in a second term are slim at best. Completely ignoring that the bill wouldn’t make it out of the Senate, there’s a large Republican majority in the House.

    The president got DADT repeal during his window of opportunity for legislative change. Anything else will require success in the Courts. Justice Kennedy won’t strike down DOMA, and the administration is unlikely to give him any reason to.

  13. 13
    lamh32 says:

    I was supposed to go back to work today, but there’s an ice and snow storm in DFW. Wind is blowing like crazy. The DFW airport has closed runways. I tried to drive to to DART rail, it took me 30min to get to rail station. It normally takes me 15min. Got to the train stations and found out that DART rail systems has been suspended. It took me another 30 mins to get back home from the train

  14. 14
    Morbo says:

    Well, if the MB takes over then that graphic will probably be the most proper historical contextual use of the Guy Fawkes mask in the history of the internet.

  15. 15
    lamh32 says:

    Oh and ABL,,

    Happy Black History Month. Do they have any good greeting cards for Black History Month? Hmmmm.

  16. 16
    Kryptik says:

    I have to wonder if we’d be as afraid of the ‘scary Mooslims!’ and the possibility of self-rule by such to be so terrifying if we hadn’t spent decades generally antagonizing most of the Middle East? Just one of those thoughts I have when I see people going crazy about the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood taking power, and even moreso when said people act like the only reason for these protests is to make Sharia Law and to codify Israel-hate in the country.

    Sometimes, it’s not about the West, or about Israel. Maybe it’s just about people not wanting to take shit from a dictator.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Watching what is happening in Egypt, I am starting to get the feeling that this uprising may succeed. I am seeing more 1989 Eastern Europe than Tianamen Square. I hope that the end results are good for the people of Egypt.

  18. 18
    Anya says:

    When I was watching the uprising this weekend with my dad (who speaks Arabic fluently), we could hear the people chanting two poems by Abu-al-Qasim al-Shabi called: “The Will of Life” and “To the Tyrants of the World” – unfortunately I cannot find good translation source (I begged dad to translate). It’s amazing that there are no English translation for these poems, considering how popular they are in the Arabic speaking world. But I am linking to two blogs who cover this issue. Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi: The Poet of the Tunisia and Egyptian Revolution

    The other site is Poetry in the Protests — Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabi

    It’s interesting that people are going back to the poems of freedom from the colonial days for inspiration.

  19. 19
    RobertB says:

    Re: the link to not saying stupid stuff. Fuck that guy. Take that tone and I don’t want to examine my prejudices; I want to troll his website. And he was even kind enough to give me the ammo.

    Sure, it probably felt good to write it. Lord knows that venting your spleen on the internet is more fun most nights than watching TV. But if his object was to persuade or illuminate, he failed.

  20. 20
    lamh32 says:

    King Of Jordan Sacks Government

    King Abdullah of nearby Jordan has fired the prime minister and his government after thousands protested over rising food and fuel prices. The prime minister, Samir Rifai, was blamed for the prices and for the sluggishness of reforms.

  21. 21
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    He does believe it because he said so himself. I don’t want to have the same “fight” that the liberal blogosphere had over DADT. WE all saw the DOJ defend it, We all heard the WH say it was unconstitutional and we all saw him sign DADT out of existence. Why are we having this same discussion about DOMA?

    And I’m not kidding myself and neither is Obama. He was the one that said a bill like that (for abolishing) DOMA would take at least 3-4 years. I understand the realities and so does Obama. My point to the other poster was that we don’t have to wait for Obama to come around on anything, he would get rid of DOMA IF it made it to his desk.

  22. 22

    @Kryptik: The interrelationship between centuries of oft-brutal colonization and today’s events is, yeah, pretty complex. I have my personal thoughts on the matter, but I’m trying not to drag them into these discussions because of exactly what you say.

    I think a lot of people here in America (can’t speak to Europe) want to fit this into their personal vision of politics. I also think that’s a huge mistake. There’s lots of time post-whateverthehellisgoingothappen to fit this into whatever historical narrative you’d like.

  23. 23
    Fax Paladin says:

    I’m still trying to decide whether that image is badass or dumbass. I really doubt as much as one protester in ten thousand has even heard of Guy Fawkes, much less “V for Vendetta.” It’s definitely geared to an audience here, rather than in Egypt.

  24. 24
    Ija says:


    But if his object was to persuade or illuminate, he failed.

    Why is it his job to persuade people not to be an asshole and say stupid things?

  25. 25
    RP says:

    @RobertB: I agree. I thought that post was pretty obnoxious. And the comment about electing extremists doesn’t make any sense. I’m all for democracy and will be happy to see Mubarak go, but it’s silly to ignore the possibility that a hardcore theocracy will replace him.

  26. 26
    Svensker says:


    Perhaps if your government had been paid by another government to oppress you for 30 years, you might have a bit of an edge.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    I did not find it obnoxious at all. To me, it seemed like a list of things that one should do if one doesn’t want to sound like an enthnocentric ass. As far as electing extremists goes, if Egyptians get truly free elections, they should be able to elect whomever they choose; that’s rather the point of a free elections. In addition, the last reasonably free elections in Egypt (2005?) resulted in the MB getting about 20% of the vote IIRC.

  28. 28
    rikryah says:

    it’s fascinating to watch history in action

  29. 29
    RP says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The comparison in the post to the tea party is apt. We fret about the possibility of the tea party taking over our government, so why shouldn’t we fret about the Egyptian equivalent taking over theirs? From a human rights standpoint, a democratically elected theocracy might be preferable to Mubarak, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have problems of its own.

  30. 30
    Special One says:

    First of all, even revolutionaries and the Special One like chocolate-chip cookies.

    Secondly… shut up voyeur!

    Do it Egyptians. Be champions.

  31. 31
  32. 32


    Why is it his job to persuade people not to be an asshole and say stupid things?

    Because the writer was mean. And on a blog post from someone pseudonymed Angry Black Woman, we can’t have that, can we?

  33. 33
    RobertB says:

    @Ija – I didn’t say it was his job, I said “If his object was…”, then he failed. If his object was to vent his spleen, he probably succeeded. If he wanted to try to impart some wisdom and enlighten me, he went about it in the wrong way.

    @Svensker – I didn’t say he wasn’t allowed to be pissed. But it’s in human nature (well, my human nature anyway), that if someone comes at you with attitude you come back at them with it.

    Does the guy have good points in his screed? Probably. Hell, I don’t personally know enough about what’s going on over there to have an opinion on the Egypt unrest one way or another. But when you basically say, “If you believe any of these things you’re a mouth-breathing dumbass,” you shouldn’t expect to convince many folks of the cogency of your arguments, even if you are right.

  34. 34
    Svensker says:

    Because the writer was mean. And on a blog post from someone pseudonymed Angry Black Woman, we can’t have that, can we?

    Also, too, it is the job of good Egyptians to show us white Westerners that they are not like the bad guys, just as it is the job of good black folk to show us they’re not thugs, like those bad blacks. Know what I mean?

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RP: Fretting is one thing, suggesting that free elections necessarily will result in theocracy is another.

  36. 36
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Kryptik: This. It is exactly that. There are Muslims and Christians in Tahrir Square today and they are chanting “We are all Egyptians”. This isn’t about religion. It’s about democracy. I know it sounds corny and we’re all pre-programmed by our last decade of government to be cynical, but I’m sorry: these people are idealists. They are pursuing an ideal.

    Thanks, ABL for this post! Especially the How Not to Say Stupid Stuff. I saw that post yesterday and thought it was spot on. And I have noticed in a lot of the footage of the demonstrators how large a role the V imagery was playing in some of the graphics. I think it’s great!

  37. 37
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: if the army can stay chill, this may turn out like Turkey.
    But in muslim majority nations (egypt is 90% muslim) the islamic parties will essentially rule. like in turkey, like in iraq. but that is the best outcome we can hope for.

    @Triassic Sands:

    Obama pretending that opposition to marriage equality is an acceptable position for a Democratic president to hold.

    derp. Im pretty sure Obama is the president of ALL americans. that is how he sees himself. and America is a majority CHRISTIAN nation and America is NOT a secualr democracy, it is a JUDEOCHRISTIAN (aka legacy white evangelical protestant) democracy. This is how consent of the governed works.

    @RP: it doesnt matter what you think. when muslims are DEMOCRATICALLY EMPOWERED TO VOTE they vote for more islam, not less, and they NEVAH vote for westernstyle/judeochristian democracy.
    The Global War on Terror Islam needs to stop naow. Because America cannot win. In 20 years 1 out of four humans on the planet will be muslim.
    And the missionaries with guns tactic (A-stan, Iraq) is just as fail as the propped up American-puppet strongman tactic (Iran, Egypt).

    Fucking empirical data… the fuck does that work?

  38. 38

    Re: Twitter – The number I find most interesting is this one: Five.

    In order to turn off the internet for 80 million people, the Egyptian government had only to make phone calls to 5 ISPs. FIVE. That is an excellent indication of just how little internet penetration there is in Egypt.

    Having said that, I believe that Twitter is important in other ways, not directly related to the people on the ground (speaking of the ground – have you looked at al Jazeera live lately? The scene is just – stunning. Stunning, and goose-bump inducing. I’ve been in that square and it is massive — and it is positively packed with humanity).

    It matters that the rest of the world is following this in real time. It matters that people are organizing letter-writing to the White House, fundraising for communications efforts, email campaigns to get al-Jazeera on American cable. It matters that the Western world can easily learn about human beings fighting for freedom half a world away.

    Ultimately, all of this will serve the Egyptian people (and the world, frankly!)

    PS Thanks for frontpaging me, ABL! :)

  39. 39
    JAHILL10 says:

    @RobertB: Sorry if his pointing out that kind of language is dumb and patronizing hurt your little fee-fees. Maybe there is some kinder, gentler way to point out that Egyptians are real human beings too that you would find more digestible.

  40. 40
    Ija says:


    If he wanted to try to impart some wisdom and enlighten me, he went about it in the wrong way.

    Again, why is it his responsibility to “impart some wisdom and enlighten” you? Go enlighten your fucking self. I am so sick of this shit. “Ohhh, you’re making us folks feel bad with all this talk of prejudices and privileges.”

  41. 41
    RobertB says:

    @JHAILL10 – Oooh, an internet tough guy showed me the error of my ways. I’m convinced!

    /see how that doesn’t work?

  42. 42
    gwangung says:

    @RobertB: I am reminded of how white people react when I try to tell them what I do and don’t like to be called.

  43. 43
    JAHILL10 says:

    @RobertB: Have someone talk to you like you’re a second class, Third World, dirty ignoramus and see how carefully you craft an argument to persuade bigots that you are deserving of the same consideration as an American!

    /see how that doesn’t work?

  44. 44
  45. 45
    RobertB says:

    @Ija – and another one!

    I seem to recall a post here a while back with a video about how to address racist remarks and racist behavior. Everyone was slobbering about how great it was. IIRC, the gist of it was, “Address the behavior, not the actor.”

    The linked post doesn’t/didn’t hurt my feelings about the unrest in Egypt because I didn’t have any feelings about it. And I still don’t, except that now I have a feeling that Sarthanapalos is an obnoxious ass. He might be the nicest guy on the planet. Every ounce of his rage might be well earned. He might even be a she, I can’t tell. But _if his objective was to convince a mildly interested bystander of his point of view_, then he failed.

    Seriously, what planet are you on? Do people on your planet normally think, “Hey, he’s got a point,” when you get all up in their face and e-ragey on them?

    /see how that didn’t work either?

  46. 46
    matoko_chan says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: social media touched off the protests according to several sources. That and tunisia.
    DougJ linked this here, but its been on a lot of muslim blogs so im pretty sure its legit.

    The first is that the demonstrations were initially called through the Facebook page “We are all Khalid Said” which has been leading a major and successful effort to organize protests against police brutality, primarily through publicizing the brutal and deadly beating of a young citizen, Khalid Said, in Alexandria last year. The major political organizations—including the Muslim Brothers—stood aside from the call for yesterday’s demonstrations until virtually the last moment. It appears to have been young people who more or less forced the hand of the established opposition parties and organizations so that they all endorsed the demonstration by the hours before it was due to start. Yesterday was a holiday—and I’m sure the irony wasn’t lost on the organizers—national police day. So it was a day off and it seemed more than appropriate that people use the day off to demonstrate about how the police are used as well as about economic issues that have roiled the country for the past several years, leading to many strikes in the industrial heartland of the Delta. The regime’s nightmare has long been that the strikes of the industrial workers might some day link up with the demands of political insurgency.

    So while twitter is prolly not necessary to sustain the demonstrations at this point, it contributed to the flash point origin.
    Tunisia is important. it jump started protest in Jordan also, and now the king is promising reform.
    And i think people need to be careful about downplaying the MBs role here. The Brothers are very savvy, and they have been around a long time. They are the ideological “father of islamic resistance” as in al-Q and Hamas.
    Their slogan is Islam is the answer.
    Organizing the protests would be the surest way to get terrified, pantswetting America ropelining into Cairo.
    They dont roll that way anymore. they abandoned violence, because violence isnt working, not because they secretly turned into western culture fanboiz.
    One thing about the Brothers, they are no maftoons.

  47. 47
    matoko_chan says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: and i would be verry careful about underestimating the Muslim Brotherhood here. The MB is very old and very savvy. Mubarak has tried to crush them for 30 years. The Brothers are the ideological “father” of islamic resistance, and have direct lineage to Hamas and al-Q. Hamas started as “the MB in Palestine.”
    The MB’s slogan is Islam is the answer.
    Openly taking charge of the demonstrations would be the surest way to get a pantswetting-terrified America ropelining into Cairo, so they are being very chill. The MB renounced violence as a tactic because it is not working, not because they have suddenly turned into western culture fanboiz.
    The Brothers are not maftoons.
    Do you know that word, juicers? Maftoon means a muslim “charmed” by western culture…its analogous to a gunga for browns and an uncle tom for blacks….or a kapo for jews.
    highly offensive.

  48. 48
    JAHILL10 says:

    @RobertB: For most of civil society the argument over whether to treat other people decently has already been won. Or did you miss that meeting?
    This isn’t some PC crusade. It’s about treating people, even if they come from a different cultural tradition than you do, decently. You may not care for the guy’s tone, but this point is valid. Like it or not.

  49. 49
    Maude says:

    Some on Rightie Radio are scared of The Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt. It’s the word Muslim that get’s them all upset.
    Pig ignorant.

  50. 50
    matoko_chan says:

    @Maude: Mubarak is toast.

    Participants in a private meeting Monday morning at the White House’s Roosevelt Room said a long discussion of Mr. Mubarak’s future left them with the understanding that the White House sees no scenario in which Mr. Mubarak remains in power for long. White House officials said they made no explicit predictions about Mr. Mubarak’s future.
    At the meeting, National Security Council official Dan Shapiro opened the discussion by saying time was of the essence. Already, demands for Mr. Mubarak’s removal have escalated into demands that he be tried, and experts told White House officials that the prospects for violence were increasing.

    Now we will see what happens next.

    An official close to the administration said U.S. officials are in touch with Muslim Brotherhood representatives through interlocutors. The official said White House leaders have made it clear they understand “that the Muslim Brotherhood is part of the fabric of Egyptian society.”

  51. 51
    El Cid says:

    Now that El Baradei is so imminently influential in Egyptian politics, and a possible new head of the government, how about that US foreign policy attack on him due to his IAEA leadership in demonstrating the bullshit of Iraq’s possession of WMD? And blocking his 2005 reappointment as IAEA’s head?

    Wow, that would smooth US-Egyptian relations, wouldn’t it?

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    Thank you for the info. I was at the food store this morning and walked on icy sidewalks. What fun.
    I heard news from Egypt by a female Bloomberg reporter right in the midst of the crowd early this a.m.

  53. 53
    Morbo says:

    John Kerry reportedly calling for Mubarak to go…

  54. 54
    matoko_chan says:

    @El Cid: lawl, we are fucked. we supported Mubarak for 30 years and all we cared about was that he make nice with israel. elBaradei and the Brothers have already formed an oppo government.
    now those chickens are all going to come home to roost… Rev. Wright said.

  55. 55
    RobertB says:

    @JAHILL10 – Believe it or not, I don’t think a single sentence this guy said has ever been said in my household, certainly not by me. I’m not walking around thinking, “Wow, that guy is pretty articulate for a brown person.” _MY_ feelings aren’t hurt by this guy.

    What I was trying to say, in a purposely more combative way than strictly necessary, was that if his intent was to persuade, he probably failed. And that pointing it out as a guide for the novice to the wrong way to think about events in Egypt was possibly counterproductive. And that you should never start a sentence with ‘And’.

    Imagine this: you come up to me and ask, “Hey, what should I know about the situation in Egypt? What conventional knowledge of mine do you think is sketchy or wrong?” and the first thing I tell you is, “Don’t call me a raghead!” Now our conversation is kind of starting off on the wrong foot. Are you more or less likely to continue this conversation, thinking, “Hmmm, I didn’t learn anything about the political situation, but I guess I’d better not call him a raghead.” Are you more or less likely to call me an asshole and stomp off all pissed?

  56. 56

    BTW: Here are a few reasons why Egypt 2011 is not Iran 2009 –


  57. 57
    matoko_chan says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: lol, Captain Obvious. of course Egypt isnt Iran.
    But it is a majority muslim nation at 90%.
    So it will become an ISLAMIC democracy. And the MB will have representation.
    did you not read my comment?

    An official close to the administration said U.S. officials are in touch with Muslim Brotherhood representatives through interlocutors. The official said White House leaders have made it clear they understand “that the Muslim Brotherhood is part of the fabric of Egyptian society.”

    Americans seem to universally think the islamic revolution was imposed on the iranians. Iran is a representative government, the Islamic Republic. Where the American republic is based on the rule of law, the Iranian Republic is based on islamic law. The green wave was not trying to get rid of islam. they like Islam– they are muslims, duh.
    Hey great ME scholar– do you know the meaning of Students Day in Iran?
    jus axin’.
    and i’ll tell you one true thing.
    the MB doesnt recognize either Israel or the Blockade as legitimate.
    bad juju for eratz israel, eh?

  58. 58
    matoko_chan says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: lawl.
    i think you got your dates wrong, Em.
    Egypt 2011 is actually A LOT LIKE Iran 1978, right O ME Scholar?
    Another Epic Fail of American Strongman Theory.

  59. 59
    A Humble Lurker says:


    “Hey, what should I know about the situation in Egypt? What conventional knowledge of mine do you think is sketchy or wrong?” and the first thing I tell you is, “Don’t call me a raghead!” Now our conversation is kind of starting off on the wrong foot.

    How isn’t the first thing you tell me a good answer to that question?

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