April 19, 2014

The Day After Revolution 2.0 – Where’s the Next Egypt?

Tahrir Square, one week into the 18 days of protest that tumbled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power. Photo: Getty

As I write this on Saturday, the day after Hosni Mubarak was deposed as Egyptian strongman, there’s no use in adding any more incredibility, joy or or platitudes about youth and technology. Part of the beauty of this essentially peaceful revolution within a state known for secret police, “emergency law” and a predisposition for torture is that those on the ground participating in and reporting on the change have chronicled the incredible events and captured the joy and momentary heartbreaks.

But, perhaps there is a use for adding another voice, another perspective. It seems that this Egyptian revolution is as much a creature of the digital communications age as it is part and parcel of the rest of human history when beleaguered peoples had had enough and did something about it. Without the Internet and Facebook, Twitter, Google, blogs and streaming live video from al Jazeera, this revolution may not have reached its peaceful critical mass. Perhaps without being Web-enabled, January 25 would not be #Jan25, but would have simply been a few hundred kids getting clobbered by Ministry of Interior police.

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Mubarak Defiant, Paternalistic and Out of Touch

From Hosni Mubarak’s speech today:

I am telling you, as a president of the country, I do not find it — I don’t find it a mistake to listen to you and to respond to your requests and demands. But it is shameful and I will not, nor will ever accept to hear foreign dictations, whatever the source might be or whatever the context it came in.

My sons and daughters, the youth of Egypt, dear fellow citizens, I have announced, without any doubt, that I will not run for the next presidential elections and have said that I have given the country and served the country for 60 years in public service, during wartime and during peacetime.

A couple of things strike me on this day that went from the hope of a dictator stepping down, truly acceding to the wishes of the people, to the dictator clinging to power and the past because that is all he truly knows. It’s a tragedy, but perhaps a short-lived tragedy. In the first paragraph quoted above, notice Mubarak’s ongoing case of denial, “… I will not, nor will ever accept to hear foreign dications …” The megalomania courses through his veins so that he is either in a state of denial that his “sons and daughters” could be done with his governance or he is purposefully blaming his political troubles on foreigners to somehow win back a portion of the Egyptian populace. Notice the paternalism in paragraph two. He talks to the people of Egypt, and especially the youth dominated protesters, as if they are his children, the children of a benevolent leader.

Today ended up being a momentary tragedy for the freedom movement in Egypt. One can only hope that the Mubarak machinations don’t lead to violence on Friday in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. This revolution that some of its young leaders have taken to calling Revolution 2.0 due to its Internet roots has captured the imagination of freedom loving, free speech loving people everywhere. It’s one thing for a guy anonymously blogging in a living room in Columbus, Ohio to be taken with these events. It’s a whole other thing, though for the others around the world living in police states – these cats in Tahrir are inspiring hope.

Egypt Update 20:20 EST January 10, 2011

Transcript: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Speech January 10, 2011

(Source: CQ Transcripts)

SPEAKER: HOSNI MUBARAK, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT

MUBARAK (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate, dear fellow citizens, my sons, the youth of Egypt, and daughters, I am addressing you tonight to the youth of Egypt in Tahrir Square, with all of its diversity. I am addressing all of you from the heart, a speech from the father to his sons and daughters. I am telling you that I am very grateful and am so proud of you for being a symbolic generation that is calling for change to the better, that is dreaming for a better future, and is making the future.

I am telling you before anything, that the blood of the martyrs and the injured will not go in vain. And I would like to affirm, I will not hesitate to punish those who are responsible fiercely. I will hold those in charge who have violated the rights of our youth with the harshest punishment stipulated in the law.

I am telling families of the innocent victims that I have been so much in pain for their pain, and my heart ached for your heartache.

I am telling you that my response to your demands and your messages and your requests is my commitment that I will never go back on to. I am determined to fulfill what I have promised you in all honesty, and I’m determined to execute and carry out what I have promised without going back to the past.

This commitment is out of my conviction of your honesty and your movement and that your demands are the demands — legitimate and just demands. Any regime could make mistakes in any country, but what is more important is to acknowledge these mistakes and reform and correct them in a timely manner, and to hold those responsible for it accountable.

I am telling you, as a president of the country, I do not find it — I don’t find it a mistake to listen to you and to respond to your requests and demands. But it is shameful and I will not, nor will ever accept to hear foreign dictations, whatever the source might be or whatever the context it came in.

My sons and daughters, the youth of Egypt, dear fellow citizens, I have announced, without any doubt, that I will not run for the next presidential elections and have said that I have given the country and served the country for 60 years in public service, during wartime and during peacetime.

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Transcript: Egyptian Higher Military Council Statement Number One – January 10, 2011

(Source: BBC)

Statement Number One, issued by the Higher Council of the Armed Forces,

Stemming from the armed forces’ responsibility and committing to the protection of the people, safeguarding their interest and security, and keen on the safety of the homeland, the citizens and the achievements of the great Egyptian people, and asserting the legitimate rights of the people,

The Higher Council of the Armed Forces convened today, Thursday, 10 February 2011, to deliberate on the latest developments of the situation and decided to remain in continuous session to discuss what measures and arrangements could be taken to safeguard the homeland and its achievements, and the aspirations of the great Egyptian people.

Peace, mercy and the blessings of God.

Revolution 2.0 in Egypt: Mubarak to Step Down Say Reports

The Twittersphere has been blowing up for a coupla hours from good sources that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may step down in a matter of hours. Below are some clips from trusted news sources. You can decide for yourself whether you believe it or not – or just wait and see what happens.

If Mubarak does step down, it will be a remarkable event. A revolution – what Wael Ghonim the Google exec turned activist calls Revolution 2.0 – has occurred in what is essentially a police state. In an interview on CNN last night Ghonim captures the spirit of a revolution enabled by the internet and hundreds of thousands of young Egyptians who have just had enough and are willing to sacrifice for freedom:

Latest Headlines from Egypt as of Noon E.S.T.