With protests sweeping the Middle East from Bahrain to Yemen to Jordan and, of course, to Libya, and with the departure of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak from Egypt, now seems like a good time to remind everyone: Bush was right.
CBS reporter Lara Logan joined a list of dozens of reporters who were assaulted, detained or harassed while covering Egypt’s uprising last week. Protesters and outspoken government critics have also been intimidated or censored in Egypt and elsewhere. Here in New York and across the globe, human rights and advocacy groups have been working to keep the lines of communication open.
In his inaugural speech, President Obama said, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history." But his timid responses to democratic uprisings in the Middle East have shown his commitment to those on the right side of history is sorely lacking.
Champions of democracy the world over welcomed the departure of Hosni Mubarak, Friday, with a massive display of joy. Protesters across Cairo savored their victory, and correspondents on TV channels worldwide fought back tears (some, in fact did cry) as they reported the story of a revolution.
I was inspired, instead, to turn to Brother Webster -- as in Webster’s Dictionary, for a little reminder of what all the hoopla was about:
Revolution |n. (pl. s)(Origin Latin revolutio.) a fundamental change in power that takes place in a relatively short period of time.
Given this definition – “a fundamental change in power” perhaps the celebration is a bit premature. I hate to be a spoilsport, but I’m fairly confident that military regime is not what the youth of Egypt had in mind over these last three weeks. And “revolutionary change” is certainly not what has come to Egypt – not yet.
Hear audio above, watch the full video here, and check out the slideshow below.
On Friday, The Brian Lehrer Show and It’s A Free Country called a meeting. The agenda: understanding revolution. At a live event in the Greene Space, people with first-hand experience of revolution from all over the world gathered with interested audience members for an in-depth conversation about what happens after an uprising. Journalists, academics and policy experts were there to inform and be informed by those with their ears to the ground — and to offer advice to Egyptians in the midst of revolution.
A wave of hundreds of Egyptians flooded on to the streets of Little Egypt in Astoria, Queens, on Friday following news that President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.
Hours after the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, President Barack Obama remarked on the situation from the Grand Foyer of the White House.
"The people of Egypt have spoken," Obama said. "Their voices have been heard. And Egypt will never be the same."
I have been watching the events in Egypt over these 18 days and it was clear that the country had risen together for a single cause — the removal of President Hosni Mubarak. But as I have suggested before, a revolution does not a democracy make.
There can be no orderly transition of government in Egypt in the midst of chaos. The protestors have made their point. They have won the day: Murbarak has resigned.
President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people on state TV that he will remain in Egypt until his death and will not step down until there are free elections in September. He announced that he had transfered some powers to the Vice President, and will amend the consititution in preparation for a repeal of the hated emergency law that allows the arrest of anyone who is in opposition to the government—but left it vague when that would take place.
Speaking to students at Northern Michigan University, President Obama called the events unfolding in Egypt a "moment of transformation." The administration has been very careful with its words about Mubarak, so Obama appears to be riding the wave, not driving the wave.
BREAKING—Egyptian military commanders told protesters in Tahrir Square that all their demands would be met today, but they were not. On twitter, the day started off with joyous pronouncements that the revolution had succeeded, followed by remarks of uncertainty, and now we're seeing anger, disappointment and promises to march to the palace in Cairo tomorrow.
— Ayaan Hirsi Ali, former member the Muslim Brotherhood in Kenya and the author of Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations, on The Brian Lehrer Show.
Give up the romantic notions you have about Egypt becoming a democracy. Seriously, grow up my friends and smell the baklava. The unrest in Egypt isn’t for a democratic government. The unrest in Egypt is spurred by the monied military class which is seeing its wealth shrink globally while all the other operations within the country still move at full tilt. The Suez Canal operations continue unabated this year, but Egypt’s profits on their exports have declined. The Egyptian monied military class (heretofore mentioned as MC’s to give them some Hip-Hop street credibility) wants a facelift. Forget your romantic notions about students and plebians organizing this unrest. That is pure fantasy.
— Reza Aslan, on the Brian Lehrer Show.