UPDATE April 13: We've adjusted the widget settings to better reflect the news about Hosni Mubarak.
Protests continue to spread throughout the Arab world, and Twitter is tracking many of the developments. Below is a stream of some common search terms that we hope will help you follow the events.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City Saturday, calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They were optimistic about Egypt's future, though many complained that it was time for the United States government to start supporting the Egyptian people and not their dictator.
PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City this weekend calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
— David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times on the Brian Lehrer Show
Welcome to It's A Free Country's The Mix, where we take some of the notable clips from this week's news and mix 'em up. Remember the State of the Union address? This week felt like it was split in two - pre- and post-game for President Obama's big speech; and then all attention turned to the Middle East, where pro-democracy protests spread from Tunisia to Yemen and then, on Friday, rocked the streets of Egypt.
The Mix reflects this week's two halves, with clips from our coverage of the State of the Union followed by the reaction to the Arab protests from Hillary Clinton; Yemeni blogger Walid Al-Saqaf offering a word of caution;Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign relations talking about the implications of Egypt's protests; and write Mona Eltahawy with an optimistic view of the spread of democracy.
Watching events unfold in Egypt, it’s hard to believe that I was there 3 weeks ago. I went as part of a tour that whisked us around the country, seeing all of its incredible ancient sites. With a packed itinerary, we didn’t have much free time to explore Egypt’s cities on our own, and I can’t say that I got a feel for what life in Egypt is like. But I watched hundreds of miles of Egypt go by through the windows of buses, cars and trains and here’s a taste of what I saw:
All of them have one common denominator, which is injustice, social injustice. All of those regimes had privileged certain groups in society and amassed wealth through illegal means like corruption...The people needed to be the rulers, not the other way around. If Tunisia did it, why shouldn't we do it?
— Walid Al-Saqaf, founder and administrator of Yemen Portal, speaking about protest in Yemen and the rest of the Arab world on The Brian Lehrer Show
President Obama has said again and again, he has warned tyrants around the world that they’re on the wrong side of history. And he promised people around the world fighting those tyrants that the United States would support them. It’s time to show that now.
— Mona Eltahawy, columnist on Arab and Muslim issues
I was with my family two weeks ago in Tunisia for the holidays, and we were surprised. It was a country that was waiting to explode. People, they start talking, they are not scared anymore.
—Sophia, a caller originally from Tunisia, on The Brian Lehrer Show
We've tended to overestimate the political value of access to information, the idea that someone, if given free access to Wikipedia and The New York Times will then agitate for democracy, and we've underestimated the value of conversation. What really leads citizens to participate in the kind of public sphere that ends up demanding political change is the ability to coordinate with one another.
As Americans, we have come to expect our leaders to stand up for the rights of those who want to be free—calling on other nations to foster democracy and not to squelch it. With the situation developing in Egypt, however, we need to hear more from the White House than labored fence-straddling between what is best for our national interests and the principles we profess to uphold.
Many Muslim New Yorkers said they felt moved by the events in Egypt, as protests in the Egyptian capital of Cairo calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak continued over the weekend and hundreds gathered at the United Nations in New York in a show of solidarity.
Confused about the situation in Egypt? You're not alone. On this morning's Brian Lehrer Show, Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and fellow at the Saban Center for middle East Policy, answered questions from callers and It's a Free Country commentators about the uprising: how it started, where it's headed, and what Egyptians really want from the United States.
As pro-democracy movements spread throughout the Arab world, we want to check in with those who have previously walked down the path towards revolution. If you were witness to, or affected by, a major political transformation anywhere in the world, tell us your story — and any lessons you can offer the Egyptian people.
Today at noon, join us for a live chat about the Egyptian protests. Brian Lehrer and It's A Free Country's Jody Avirgan will be joined by two Middle East scholars - Lawrence Pintak, dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University and author of The New Arab Journalist; and Stephen Zunes, chair of the program in Middle Eastern Studies at San Francisco State University.
Please note that all comments are moderated by WNYC producers - thanks in advance for your patience. We'll do our best to publish every appropriate comment, but if traffic is heavy we may not be able to.
Jordan's King Abdullah has sacked his government following protests as thousands marched in Amman to protest rising prices and unemployment and to demand that the prime minister, Samir Rifai step down. Prince Hassan of Jordan reacts to the news and talks about the future of the Mideast and the view of Egypt from Jordan. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland also weighs in.
As the political tumult in Egypt enters an eighth day, the government of authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak suffered a major blow last night when the Army announced that it would not use violence to suppress the opposition movement that has formed against him. Meanwhile, protesters are expected to engage in a massive march and general strike calling for Mubarak's ouster today.
As thousands continue to protest in Egypt, President Mubarak's days in power may be coming to an end. The question of how long Mubarak can survive given the economics in the country. Gas is running out, supplies are not coming in, unemployment is high. Samer Sheheta, professor of Arab politics at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University weighs in. With one million protesters openly demonstrating against the government, how much longer can the Mubarak regime hold power?
There are concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood may try to take over if Mubarak cedes power. The group advocates a return to Sharia law and is banned in Egypt. However, according to Mohammad Mursi, an MP for the Muslim Brotherhood from 2000-2005 insists that the Brotherhood simply wants democracy.
The United States is performing a difficult balancing act in how to respond to the tumult in Egypt. The Obama administration was quick to show support for protesters who are pushing for democratic reform in the Middle East, but hasn't forcefully called for the end to Mubarak's regime.
Protesters are witnessing a historic moment in Egypt. We go into the crowd in Tahrir Square where hundreds of thousands have gathered. BBC correspondent Lyse Dousset describes the scene, where Egyptians are jubiliant as they continue to call for the resignation of President Mubarak.
Oil prices have been floating around $90 a barrel for weeks, but now, the turmoil in Egypt has pushed the price up. Crude oil jumped close to 4% on Friday and then 3.2% yesterday to settle at $92.19 a barrel. However, the output of crude hasn’t changed in the region, so what exactly explains the sharp rise in prices?
David Kirkpatrick, reporter for The New York Times has an update from Tahrir Square in Cairo, where thousands are gathering in preparation for a march to call for the resignation of President Mubarak. He describes a crowd that is jubliant and peaceful, saying that protesters have brought their families and children to the Square as the fear has dissipated.
The BBC reports that leaflets are being distributed in the crowd calling for the army to take the people's side and to resist orders to go against the people. And although there have been live rounds used against the demonstraters, they weren't fired by the army, says the BBC's Wyre Davies. He says that private security forces and the police have been responsible for the shootings.
Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center, and fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution discusses the various political forces at work in Egypt, and whether the opposition forces span beyond Egypts border.
Protesters in Egypt are not giving up. The unrest against the ruling regime continued into its sixth day, as tens of thousands flocked to the Cairo's Tahrir (or Liberation) Square. Among those protesters on Sunday was the diplomat, Mohamed ElBaradei, who is now representing a loosely unified opposition to President Hosni Mubarak.
As popular uprisings spread through the Middle East, challenging autocratic regimes and upending old social orders, The Takeaway speaks with three Arab Americans about the upheaval and its meaning for their friends and family.
The Egyptian military has had a major hand in the country's government since it helped overthrow the monarchy back in 1952. Since then, it has been an institution respected and feared by the people and government of Egypt. Now, the military is at a crossroads, as protests have broken out across the country calling for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. Sent into disperse crowds, many soldiers have embraced them.
A few hundred protesters gathered outside the Egyptian embassy over the weekend, echoing the chants from Egypt for Mubarak to leave his position. Meanwhile, the United States has not explicitly called for Mubarak to step down even while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked to the press over the weekend, telling Fox News, "We want to see an orderlly transition to a democratic government." Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, has the latest from Washington.
History is unfolding in Egypt, as almost a week of popular protests threatens President Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime. Some analysts say his regime is now in terminal decline. But Prof. Rashid Khalidi is warning that the president may still resort to violence to maintain power.
Mostafa Souag is the director of news for Al Jazeera. He says that six Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt were arrested and then released, but without their cameras. Egyptian authorities have also shut down the Al Jazeera office and revoked their accreditation. Souag says that the authorities are "trying to prevent Al Jazeera from providing people with what's going on."
On Friday, President Hosni Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman as the country's new vice president. And Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei returned to his native country and is adopting a leadership role. One of Egypt's most powerful opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, has increased its presence on the streets of Cairo.As Egypt’s central power wobbles, the global conversation has turned to the big question: who will step in if Mubarak leaves?
Over the last few weeks, the world has witnessed an unexpected display of public dissatisfaction across the Middle East. Pro-democracy protesters toppled the government in Tunisia this month, and similar demonstrations are underway in Yemen and Egypt's capital city of Cairo. Most of the demonstrations seemed aimed at restrictive or totalitarian governments, but can all of them be described as "pro-democracy"? And are they sparking a wider revolution in the Middle East or is that an over-simplification? For more, The Takeaway speaks to Charles Dunbar, Professor of International Relations at Boston University.
As uprisings spread through the Middle East, Arab-Americans living in the New York area reflect on what this means to their countries of origin. Nancy Yousef came to America from Egypt, and now works as a Professor of English Literature at CUNY Baruch in New York. Naima Nour moved to the US from Tunisia 10 years ago and is the founder and director of the Tunisian Cultural & Information Center USA. And Raja Althaibani, from Yemen, is currently working on her BA in Human Rights and International Development.
Despite attempts to blog social media sites, pro-democracy demonstrations continue in Egypt. How is the activism spreading through Cairo and greater Egypt different from that in Tunisia in recent weeks, or Yemen in recent days? Joining us with analysis of the day's events in Egypt is Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University.
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University examines how U.S. policy has affected and may continue to affect democracy in the Middle East. He looks at the history of democracy in the Middle East from the invasion of Iraq, which he says, "set back the cause of democracy in the Arab world" to today's protests.
It's been almost two weeks since Tunisia's ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his family fled the country in the face of massive street rallies. The anti-government protest have continued in Tunisia and the country has issued an international arrest warrant for the former president. U.S. ambassador to Tunisia, Gordon Gray explains the roots of the current situation and how it could change in the near future.
Thousands of Egyptians are taking to the streets of Cairo to call for the country's president to step down. In Tunisia, protesters are pushing to banish all remnants of the ousted regime. And in Yemen, protesters are calling for the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 30-year reign. What's driving this sudden wave of unrest across the Middle East?
— Marwan Muasher, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on the Brian Lehrer Show
— Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, on the Brian Lehrer Show
A few hours after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak released a recorded statement saying he would not seek re-election this Fall, WNYC's Kristen Clark visited "Little Egypt" in Astoria, Queens to get reaction to Mubarak's statements, and the pro-democracy protests taking place around the Arab world.
Census figures show about 50,000 people of Egyptian ancestry live in New York and New Jersey combined. Most Egyptians are Muslim, but about 10 percent of the country’s population is Coptic Christian. They are the largest minority group in Egypt and, in recent days, many in the New York metro area have been following news of Egyptian protests with less excitement than trepidation.
You’ve heard the phrase, “lead, follow or get out of the way.” In these cases, we can do a little of each: leading in declaring unwavering support for democratic principles, following the events with support for proper process and the safety of local populations, and making sure we play no role in obstructing the astonishing show of popular expression or the subsequent march toward new, fair elections — whether in Egypt and or wherever people rise up next.
The Jordanian king’s recent dismissal of the Prime Minister triggered dramatic statements by the press, asking “is Jordan next?” While the political change in Jordan seems to fit into the narrative of Tunisia and Egypt inspiring protests all over the Middle East, in reality, the change is a regular part of Jordanian politics.
Check out the interactive timeline of subtly changing statements about Egypt by US officials.
In two closely-timed speeches Tuesday night, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and United States President Barack Obama addressed the massive pro-democracy protests that have rocked the Arab world for the last week. Mubarak vowed to not run for reelection this September, while many protesters continued to insist he leave the country by Friday. President Obama spoke with Mubarak this evening and insisted that an "orderly transition must be meaningful, peaceful, and must begin now."
What did you make of the two remarks? Were they convincing to you? Do you think they will be convincing to the protesters in the Middle East? Let us know, the comments thread is open!
I think what's really interesting about this situation is how much of a spectator the United States is really being forced to play. They don't have a lot of options right now, which is ironic considering the amount of money the United States has funeled into the Egyptian military over the past 30 years. But how much leverage has that bought in a situation like this? It's really hard to say.
— Rachel Martin, NPR National Security Correspondent, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
— Lawrence Pintak, dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, on the Brian Lehrer Show
Thousands of people have been demonstrating in the streets of Egypt for more than a week, and the army has backed them all the way. That's in stark contrast to the protesters' relationship with the police which has been strained for the past few decades of President Mubarak's regime.
For 30 years people have just been sitting on the sidelines saying we can't do anything about this and for the first time, they are finally able to stand up and it's an exhilarating moment. And I'm here in New York and all I want to do is get on a plane and get to Egypt and stand with my people because it's the first time in my entire life that I'm proud to be Egyptian.
- Sharin in Brooklyn
I don’t think it at all inappropriate to rescind any further military aid until a list of basic democratic reforms are in place, including freedom of the press. I don’t believe it grandstanding for the President of the United States of America to come out unequivocally for their right to democratic self-determination. Whether it has any chance of passing or not, it would not be an empty gesture to bring a motion to the United Nations to call for open elections, monitored by international observers.
In media coverage of recent events in Egypt, one word is used more cautiously than any other: revolution. That's with good reason—after all, we're not sure if what's happening in Egypt is really a revolution. At least, not yet.