Thursday, February 3, 2011

And about Egypt...

I still don't have anywhere near the basic amount of expertise required to thoroughly analyze about this situation, but here is what I do know.*

Mid-week, the "pro-Mubarak protesters" moved in and started making some major problems, beating and harassing protesters and trying to take over their spaces. Understand that the anti-government protesters were not resorting to violence at this point, it wasn't until these "pro-government protesters" moved in that the atmosphere become one that condoned and encouraged violent behaviors. And even then, the anti-government protesters stood tall and resisted, mostly retaliating for self-defense purposes only.

These "pro-government" protesters are anything but. Not only have anti-government protesters been pulling their government/police IDs off of them all day, not only have government workers been threatened with lost employment if they don't participate, not only has the telecom company claimed they were forced to run pro-government messages, the sudden arrival, intense organization and precise coordination of these "protesters" shows that as a whole, they can only be paid government thugs (not even the most organized protests I've been to had some hourly molotov cocktail delivery system. But for some reason, pro-government protesters in Egypt do).

Around 5am in the morning on Thursday (our Wednesday night), the lights in Tahrir Square went dark, and snipers on rooftops began shooting at protesters. Thirteen are estimated dead from that attack, hundreds more are injured. The military did nothing.

At the same time, call goes out for all Americans to leave Egypt that night if they want to leave at all - last call. I understand that's not a big deal to my non-American friends. But as far as American media goes, that is pretty significant.

On Wednesday, the government put out a stooge, otherwise known as the Prime Minister, who claimed he had no idea where all this violence came from and assured the people that the government would look into it. Those government-owned camels and horses the thugs rode in on to make it seem all dramatic and shit? Well... that was just angry tour guides! Angry about the lack of pyramid tours going on! Also too, if you people would just go home, Mubarak promises he'll end his dictatorship in August or September. Pinky swear. No one is buying it.

But at the same time, the military suddenly had a change of heart that coincides with the government PR campaign, and are are now being touted as feeling kind and protective towards the protesters. There have been a few reports of the military protecting the anti-government protesters, except when they, you know, aren't, and are running over protesters with government vehicles instead. The military really is the wild card in this situation. No one knows for sure where their loyalties actually lie.

Journalists are being attacked and detained, and have been all day. Anderson Cooper is on the phone only, refusing to disclose his location. As are the rest of the journalists that are still there. Al Jazeera has gotten it really bad, the attacks on their equipment and reporters have been interrupting their coverage. This is the main media vehicle for getting information out to the world, which apparently makes them public enemy #1. We are told that the attempt to detain journalists is for their own safety, due to rumors that they are Israeli spies (rumors started by the government). No word yet in how the beatings are supposed to help them. The Hilton in Egypt, where many reporters are staying, has been raided, equipment destroyed or stolen, and there are now snipers on the roof. Humanitarian groups such as Amnesty International have also been targeted and detained.

One almost gets the sense that the government is actively trying to leave as few witnesses as possible for what they might have planned tomorrow.

That would be the same tomorrow that kicks off the the largest day of protests, the "Day of Departure" where all Egyptians are encouraged to come out and stand for democracy by getting their corrupt government to finally step down. This is what the entire week's madness has all been boiling down to.

Please, please, please keep vigilance over Egypt this tonight and tomorrow. At best, Mubarak steps down. At the worst, we, the world, can at least bear witness to what may happen here. Odds are, it will still be a waiting game.

*I can provide links to all these things. Just ask if you need them and I will find them for you.

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