Update from Cairo: March of a Million

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1:30am Cambridge time – 8:30am Cairo time: Annie update

“Whole families, tons of woman, little kids (really cute!) and not an ounce of anti-American sentiment” were the words my daughter used to describe Tahrir Square.  She went on to say it was the old and young, middle class and wealthy, Copts and Muslims all with a tangible hope of change. She was there for 3 or 4 hours and her excitement was palpable. Tahrir Square – normally an intersection of masses of cars, people, vendors and tourists is now a car-free zone.  She has never seen Tahrir Square so clean as people at the protest have organized clean-up crews.  It is also the safest part of the city and functioning as an autonomous zone surrounded by military.  A journalist friend of hers ,Jack Shenker from the Guardian newspaper, has described the absence of police as a removal of the “fear barrier” and the neighborhood groups continue to function well in their role of protection and order.

She has not experienced a lack of food but says one of the difficulties is  stores closing early because of the curfew beginning daily at 4pm.  She does say it is becoming more difficult to find bottled water.  We laughed as I reminded her that boiling tap water works really well – something she knows from her childhood in Egypt and a kitchen functioning as part kitchen, part sauna with pans of water boiling at any time to make sure our family of 7 had safe drinking water.

There is a desperation to communicate to the west that this is Egypt’s moment – a time where the people have spoken and are continuing to speak.   It is a bit frightening that our country, desperate to promote democracy is promoting democracy hypocrisy, as they remain neutral in the face of an overwhelming majority wanting the step-down of the Mubarak regime.  Is the US policy to promote democracy only when we start the process?  Egyptians she has spoken to voice a hope  for Mohamed ElBaradei who has already formed a leading opposition group with a 10-person committee representing the movement.

I asked if she sees today and the March of a Million gathering to march to the presidential palace as a turning point – “Every day has been a turning point.” Every day people have shown up continued to be motivated and so proud of their fellow Egyptians.”

Asked what she would want to communicate should she have her “tools” available (Twitter, Gmail,Facebook,Blog): “Anyone who believes in true democracy should advocate for Egypt by calling elected officials to apply pressure on Mubarak to resign.  He needs to go, Pray that he goes!”. “Oh and you need to really let people know that women are a key part of this!”

As she continues to witness history in the making, she still ended the conversation by reassuring this mother’s heart with the words “If I see it is not safe, I’ll immediately go home”.

Authors note: Update 1pm  Cambridge  6pm Cairo Wednesday 2.2.11

“Reports from the ground indicate that people are in Tahrir quite literally fighting for their lives right now against government-hired thugs. Additionally, people bringing in medical aid and journalists are getting the crap kicked out of them right now. The Mubarak regime is not stable and it is trying to silence them in the most violent way possible”

In solidarity…May the millions marching find a peaceful resolution. Mr. Obama–a new day dawns, support the people of Egypt. Mr. Mubarak–a new day dawns. Do what is best for your beloved country. – Stolen from a friend who said it better than I could”

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Third Culture Kid - Grew up in Pakistan, lived and worked in Pakistan and Egypt as an adult. Moved to the United States and learning to live away from curry, Urdu, Arabic and the Pyramids.

123 thoughts on “Update from Cairo: March of a Million

  1. Such is a ideal time on the international stage for OBAMA / he in having spent far more lifes in the
    middle east as AFRICA than in the western arena.

    Thus he should take advantage of the situation in
    visits to natural home ground // EGYPT an good starting point in EGYPT he should feel (far more comfortable as be more welcome than New York
    or Chicago / Boston /Washington /Philadelphia.

    In being the president of the USA realy is a good
    achievment considering his home base not be of
    western nations (in main) thus he deserve credit.

    However to raise his game he should make more appearance on his home ground as EGYPT as in
    other middle east nations /as of course AFRICA
    his welcome would be impressive to westerners
    as raise level of standing within western nations
    as would give much hope to the muslim world in
    they in having of late been treated / so badly by western nations. /Treated with much disrespect
    cause of such at the door of the republican party
    under control of an extreme right wing element
    of politics /whom having / holding an portfolio
    that consist of religious half baked ideas beliefs
    that are to the extreme of the extreme / beliefs
    as ideas /that in having caused untold suffering
    destruction /death. //In truth if republicans be
    returned to power / it could end in dire results
    for all humanity in a very high probability their
    actions so extreme it results in nuclear conflict.

    It time western nations put out a hand of peac
    (though no peace pipe) tobacco being a killer.

    OBAMA has the experience of past lifes in being
    a acceptable person (politician) to those in main
    of the MIDDLE EAST // AFRICA . Not so much
    influence in CHINA or the EAST /however it be
    one cant be perfect. There be only one person I
    know whom would be made welcome in all four corners of the world. / Such a high development
    of being accepted by people’s worldwide is rare.

    However back to OBAMA he should make use of
    his credits // as help the USA its people in being
    accepted worldwide / not hated as be the present.
    Its a oppertunity not to be lost /not to be ignored.

    It very easy in killing to destroy in causing grief.
    Its putting out an hand to an fallen brother sister
    offering help support / building a needed shelter
    for those whom in most need / which takes real courage / opening the heart in compassion unto
    others bringing acts kindness be of an real hero.

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    1. Thanks s much for reading and for the comment. You must miss the Middle East – where abouts did you grow up? I love that part of the world and the colors, climate and people. I agree as well that the perspective and worldview you get from those who live in a place gets to so much more of real life and all the complexity of real life in a region. Thanks again.

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  2. hello, thanks for you post.It was a very beautiful post.I am an Iranian.
    The steadfast steps of the Egyptians and their determination were widely reflected in Muslim world.The reflection of this victory was doubled when the departure of Hosni Mobarak coincided with the thirty second anniversary of Islamic revolution of Iran.

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    1. Hello Elena – thank you for reading and commenting. Growing up in Pakistan we used to vacation in Iran! You have a beautiful country. We are so happy for the Egyptians and their peaceful approach to the process and are praying for their future! Thanks again!

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  3. Dear Egypt,

    Greetings.

    Here is why I think waiting for 6 months may not be such a bad idea:

    First of all let me say that our hearts go out to you as we read about you in our newspapers and watch you on our screens. The meaning of the sounds your voices, though articulated in a different language, comes across loud and clear–you have had enough, you have had more than enough of your share of injustice, oppression, and inequity…and after decades of dictatorship, the time has come for change.

    We understand your struggle for a better life. We understand how you, your family and your friends have been mistreated–your basic human rights trampled on. But while you experience the emotional high of this moment of “people power,” and anticipate the approaching conclusion of this conflict with your government, I hope that you remember what is at stake here, and realize what the cost of this turmoil will be to your society as it moves forward.

    Remember that the goal of your jihad is more than just an ouster of a dictator and his corrupt regime. This is not the end-point of your struggle. Remember that ultimately, the prize for your labor is a higher quality of existence, through a better system of government, measured by the presence of peace and happiness.

    Achieving this goal, as you already realize, will not come without cost–and you have already begun to pay for it. What is the price tag for an immediate transition of power? The answer in one word: Instability. Think of these questions as you forge your future in the fires of this unrest. Can you afford the months, maybe years, of uncertainty in the governments ability to deliver even the most basic of services to your homes? Can you afford the insecurity of your cities, towns and borders? Can you afford living with an unsteady and fluctuating income? As you toss out Hosni Mubarak from political power, you need to be careful that the basic services of government do not get thrown out as well.

    Furthermore, as you consider the fundamental aims of your revolution and the obstacles you will have to overcome on your journey towards your idea of eusociality, have you had a chance to inspect the possible candidates for replacing Hosni Mubarak? We know that anyone connected with the current regime is tainted with the past, so will the new president truly represent the ideals you are fighting for? Or will this person and their administration turn out to be a disappointment for your movement?

    Egypt, I recognize the legitimacy of your struggle, concomitant with that, I want to urge you to be cognizant of what it is that you really want to see happen in your country, and the path you are willing to take to get there. Consider especially, extending the transition period for change. This will allow some time for the formation of a new and improved government system without the power-vacuum induced instability that an immediate exit will cause. Waiting for Mubarak to finish his term in six months this September does not seem like a bad idea when you consider the larger picture of the history of your civilization.

    As you dictate your demands to your dictator today, and as you hear the cheers of encouragement from your neighbors around the world harmonizing with your own voice of discontent and dissent, I hope you realize how vital it is for the stability of your future that reason and patience prevail over passion and a sense of immediacy. It would be a real shame to see in the news six months from now of a nation in dire straits, its premature democracy floundering, and its society in critical need for some sort of external intervention by a more developed, more powerful, foreign-based democracy.

    Best wishes.

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    1. Thank you for reading and for your comment.
      While your warning is heard, I would caution you that no democracy has been without struggle and the words of Mubarak and Suleiman yesterday were demeaning to a group that has exhibited remarkable organization and peace.
      The idea of ‘invasion’ to help a floundering democracy hearkens back to the days of colonialist powers and is a bit frightening to read.

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  4. Too bad our press is ignoring this story. And it is refreshing to hear someone on the ground who is not blaming America (although our support of dictators is worthy of scorn). I think much of what is happening simply doesn’t cleanly fit the narrative of either of the major political parties so they just don’t know what to do with the information.

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    1. Thank you for reading and for this insightful comment. You said it so well – it doesn’t fit into the boxes we have so there is a scrambling to figure out how to unpack the information. And as often happens, the best sources are not our news sources but those who are living everyday in the midst of all that’s going on. Tomorrow I’ll be posting more from the author whose reflections I posted today.

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  5. tahrir square unveiled today its pacifism; sound
    citizenship: its human freshness and courage; ESE hopes, its bandroles, its hesitations also; his new followers; its artists; intelctuels; the Copts;
    motion centripéte of the place.
    centréfuge to etalé of camels: of the shenanigans: toilet behaviour lies; leakage of cars:
    place is a facebook.le wall noise systems prevents young people to understand time comments to invite other really virtual friends from the rest of the world.
    comment on be systeme.peut
    Aljazeera blocks this necessary input for pourdécoder encoding system on the plitique plan

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  6. Marilyn, what great insight and report Annie is giving us! There’s nothing more reliable than her first hand account of the events. An incredible opportunity for Egypt and I’m hoping as the world is watching, those countries who currently are ruled by tyrants and under a strong armed dictatorship, they can now see they are not alone and maybe it’s time they joined the movement for democracy. What’s Aesop’s Fables, about union gives strength…it’s easy to break one stick but harder to break the bundle.

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    1. Kara – thanks so much for reading and commenting! Your perspective means so much….what you and your family have experienced must feel very close as you see and read about all that’s going on. Tomorrow I’m posting a guest post from a history professor who lives there and married an old friend of ours. She has an interesting perspective on state television vs. free television. Thanks again.

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  7. Pingback: World Spinner
  8. They’re ready to kill you: From an extract of the forth coming book, that’s already banned but will be first released as a e-book in the 14th February 2011: Trapped in a Masonic World. – Let’s hope that a peaceful worldwide revolution can be brought about without so much as a drop blood being shed. However, these greedy parasites will not give up that easily, they and their families have been controlling the planet ever since they came about, look at Mubarak in Egypt, where he’s been clinging onto power for over 30 years. It seems as if 90% of the population now despise him, as he said he’d stand down and wouldn’t rerun for election in September 2011, instead of doing the right thing and standing down now. He has been accused of paying his supporters to come into towns such as Cario, and to stir trouble up, many were bussed in, while some were on the backs of Camels, others were riding horseback with whips in their hands lashing out at the crowd, and in a scene more reminiscent of a film set from the film; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly as opposed to it being for real and whilst it was played out live on TV for the world to see. However, Mubarak wants to bear in mind what the people of Romania ended up doing to Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife, when they too refused to budge following the Romanian Revolution. Ceauşescu’s government was overthrown in a December 1989 revolution, and he and his wife were executed on Christmas Day following a televised and hastily arranged two-hour court session. One of the executioners later said: “It wasn’t a trial it was a political assassination in the middle of a revolution”. One of the reasons he was hated so much, was because he too paid miners to come into the towns, with their helmets on and pickaxes in one hand as shovels in the other, and who then set about attacking the people opposing Ceauşescu’s regime. So if these crooked leaders are not prepared to reform and alter the present corrupt laws and non-regulations and their evil ways, – then it looks like a repeat of; Ye Olde French Revolution may well be in order! http://www.trappedinamasonicworld.co.uk

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  9. We’ve toppled government in the Philippines twice (I’ve only been in one though, I was only 2 years old when the first one happened). I know this feeling of being out there on the street fighting for change. I did it for the love of God and my country. Like the comment above, please know that the whole world is watching and many from the Philippines support this “People Power Revolution”. May it end peacefully too. Praying for Egypt.

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  10. My aunt, her husband and my cousins just made it back to Australia from Egypt. This is a situation that will be remembered as a turning point in history. Best of luck with obtaining democracy and the leadership that will best meet the needs of Egypt’s residents.

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  11. Hi Marilyn, Thanks for the wonderful update, It certainly is an exciting time and I would just like to say that the people who are fear mongering about the Muslim Brotherhood are probably people who have never been to Egypt or who have this Muslim=evil kneejerk reaction. I am saddened that the US government seems to be standing behind Mubarak because long term it will only damage them. They should be in there facilitating a smooth handover not whining on the sidelines that nasty fanatics are going to take over. El Baradei is an experienced politician and a skilled negotiator and has alsways stood on the side of fairness. The assumption that they know better than the Egyptian people is a sad one.
    On a personal note, my friend Julie and her daughter got home to Dubai last night safe and sound with many a tall tale to tell – looking forward to hearing it all from them tonight.

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    1. So glad your friend made it to Dubai! Great news – please continue to share. I agree with you about the knee-jerk reaction. I guess to me the irony is that the more the US does not press Mubarak to resign, the more likely we will have anger and extremism rise.

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      1. Absolutely! What I can’t understand is why we (well certainly I) who don’t have political science degrees can see this and the so called experts can’t. I feel the same way about Syria, its one of the only fiercely secular countries in the region yet the US constantly demonises it – why???

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      2. Syria is an excellent example. I have never been but my understanding is the Christian presence in Syria is strong and as a secular society they are a part of the picture.

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    2. I have been to Egypt, in fact I was just there last month, and I too do not think that the Muslim Brotherhood taking over is a good idea. You think the US should support an uprising like this? Amazing.

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      1. Thanks for the comment and viewpoint. I have to say that from years of living as an American in the Muslim world, I think there are some misperceptions of the Muslim Brotherhood and the assumption that they will take over. They are not a force in the way the western media has made them out to be. In the elections in 2005 when only around 3% of the population were registered voters they were only able to grab 20% of the seats – that’s a really small percentage of 85 million people. They didn’t even join the revolution until last Friday so were not part of the initial movement. Yes – they will be a voice at the table but they won’t be the voice. I read an “Insiders Analysis” by a Christian Egyptian immigrant that has settled here and you may find it interesting. I am linking it to my posting tomorrow.

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      2. With all due respect Jo, it is none of your business who the Egyptian people vote for. Do you only think democracy is a good thing if the “right” people get in. That’s always the risk with democracy! Please trust the Egyptian people to make good decisions for themselves. They are not stupid.

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  12. WOW!!! How exciting to be part of this process! Let’s hope the best of the best for Egypt and its people. Guatemala, a country with an internal conflict of more than 35 years, stands behind you and support you all the way to your democracy!!!

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  13. ” Is the US policy to promote democracy only when we start the process?”

    This only shows that US Government use DEMOCRACY as a front for any hidden agenda it wants to achieve. Obviously, the US Government does not see that it is to their advantage if they support this People Power Revolution so they remain silent.

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  14. Hearing of the peaceful protests from you helps me feel better about the situation. I have friends who are part of Kasr El Dobara church (garden city) and I have been worried sick. Obviously, my emails aren’t going through, so thank you for writing this!

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    1. Kasr El Dobara is a wonderful church. Will be thinking of your friends and would love to hear their opinion when the world is finally open to them. Certainly what my daughter has experienced right at Tahrir and where she has moved to Dokki is all peaceful with a tremendous sense of good will and good nature. Praying that it lasts. Thanks so much for this comment.

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  15. I really appreciate this post, as well as the greater theme of your blog. I am Egyptian, but I’ve lived my whole life in Canada. I find myself living as if in two separate worlds: Our whole family is in Egypt, and we go back every year, but my life and my friends are here. Naturally, my parents and I are watching the events unfold with extreme apprehension. Up until Friday, I wasn’t really aware of the protests. Oh yes, my parents had mentioned it but I thought they would blow over as they so often do. And so, while I was on Facebook with my friends, complaining about studying and exams, the Egyptian people were slowly being isolated from the world. By the end of my exam week (Friday 28 January), I was glued to the news. The protests are so incredible, both in size and in purpose. The Egyptian people, so recently divided between Muslim, Coptic and Catholic, are all united to fight for the very rights I often take for granted. To them, freedom of expression and democratic elections are myths; something that happens in far away countries, but not in Egypt. I only hope we can pull through this without further bloodshed.

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    1. I’m so glad you commented. I had to laugh as I read your comment because we share so much in common in both growing up in countries that are not our passport countries. You articulate so well what often happens with me as I am going on with some pretty mundane things – events are dramatically changing peoples lives forever across the globe. Happened to me re: Pakistan this summer. Suddenly I looked on the NY Times and saw my childhood home under water. I am really so in awe of these protests and the longing expressed within them. Thanks for reading and sharing your story. On a side note – have you seen Little Mosque on the Prairie in Canada? Love that show.

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  16. I think this is a wonderful, historical act that should also take place in all others countries where dictators still manage to always have their way.
    And may they live in a democratic country where there’s absolute freedom of speech. All power to the people in Egypt!!

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  17. Scary times for the Middle East where the masses are revolting against its rulers. Sometimes revolutions bring changes that are worst than the present conditions. Hopefully a civil war will not break out.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I think Egypt’s history and mood are such that civil war would not be in the picture. I think the good humor of Egyptians had reached a breaking point and there is an optimism present in the crowds that has not been there in years. Only time will tell but the uprising will be written about in history books for years to come.

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  18. I wish I were there still. I so am saddened by the loss of lives and the violence, however the masses of people coming together in a time of need, in a very positive (seen negative for some) way has my heart overwhelmed. I will admit I had been very very concerned about my friends that but I got word that they are all okay. I remember that just three years ago when I was living there…me, african american in such the foreign land. Many experiences I shall never forget nor regret. I remember hanging out with friends listening to topics of change. How “one day” they would say it’ll come. And here it is, damn near three to exact and I am hopeful for them, all. I wish for them a better supporting and understanding government. I wish for Egypt less poverty. Egyptians, I came to learn, are a very very strong people, very determined to be heard. I’m glad people are listening to each other in order to take the steps needed to make that change. The truth is, it is sad people have to lose lives yet sometimes these are things that occur in order for great change to be made. I RAGE IN POWERFUL PEACEFUL CHANGE in EGYPT. I hope to see it come Summer, hopefully-I had plans to go visit my friends. These moments have made missing them deeper.

    Thanks for allowing my ramble and for sharing. And congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

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    1. I love this comment and am so glad you shared. It is hard to describe to people what it is like to live and make your home in Egypt. When we left it broke our hearts and I know that is one of the reasons why my daughter chose to go back and make it her home. Cairo with all it’s chaos and crowds gets into your skin in a way that is difficult to both define and describe. There is a saying that you probably heard when there -“Once you drink from the Nile, you are destined to return” so my feeling is you’ll be there to visit your friends. Thanks so much for reading, reminiscing and commenting.

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  19. It really doesn’t surprise me in the least that these demonstrations are going well or that they are orderly and clean. The Egyptian’s are a very proud and ancient. Their heritage and education speak of peace and precision.

    It is sad that a person like Mubarak has treated the population in a way that they feel the need to revolt. Leadership is ultimately derived from the populace, if you don’t treat them well eventually they will rise up. It’s a lesson that very few autocrats ever learn.

    I have also written on the subject. Loved the first hand account from the action.

    http://wp.me/pJ5mf-tw

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    1. Thanks for reading and the comment – I look forward to reading your post. Because Cairo is a massive, bustling city of 22 million during the day time going down to around 17 million at night I think there was anticipation that it could be a bit out of order. The largest crowds generally rally to soccer matches which are boisterous and you have to watch your back a little (think Yankees/Red Sox) so the dignity with which this is being played out is really wonderful and yes a tribute to a wonderful people who above all hold relationships valuable. I think the concern right now is that Mubarak just spoke and states he will “did on Egyptian soil” very troubling. Appreciate the ongoing discussion.

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  20. Thank you for your blog, Marilyn! I am praying for the Lord’s will in Egypt (and I will pray for your daughter also). What an exciting time in Egyptian history!

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  21. This may be Egypt’s moment, but my concern is that the democratic movement looking to change things for the better there will be quickly usurped by the Muslim Brotherhood and their friends. El Baradei has already stated he has zero problems with the MB and that he’s willing to work with them.

    I look at Egypt – as well as the whole Middle East – right now and what I see reminds me of how the Nazis came to power in Germany following WWI.

    The democratic protests and movement in Egypt right now are being used as merely a tool by the Muslim Brotherhood. Anyone who thinks that everything is going to be sunshine and roses for Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan now because their governments are listening to and being “positively” affected by “democratic” protests have their heads in the sand.

    You note people having a feeling of hope and change for/in Egypt… That was the same feeling so many had here in the US that voted for Barack Obama. Where has that hope and change gotten us? At least we don’t have an Islamist, terroristic organization seeking to usurp our government.

    I agree that Mubarak needs to go. He’s been needing to go for many, many years. That said, El Baradei is not the answer. Working with the Muslim Brotherhood is not the answer.

    The hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Egyptians genuinely seeking democracy, freedom and a better future are about to be rudely awakened. They are being played. This may be Egypt’s moment, but it will be a fleeting one. Egypt is about to be rid of one tyrant only to unknowingly and ignorantly have another one in the form of Islamist hardliners. Egypt is about to go from Secular/religio-Fascism to Islamist Fundamentalism… and El Baradei is going to give the Muslim Brotherhood the keys to Egypt with the democratist movement’s blessing.

    This isn’t something I’m happy about. I’d love to see Egypt become truly democratic and free, but I see zero evidence of this coming to pass.

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    1. Thanks for the alternative view. I do feel that there is a misconception in the west of the Muslim brotherhood but I could always be proved wrong. It is one voice, not the voice at the bigger table. From growing up in Pakistan as an American to living in Egypt as an adult I continue to be troubled by the broad strokes that are painted of the Muslim world. I do not deny there are horrific examples (9/11 being one) of extremism, oppression, sexism and more. But there are also moderate voices and those are the ones that can be engaged in healthy dialogue, not by changing my values and compromising, but by an ability for all at the table to express their values. Under Mubaraks regime there are many of the Christian minority that have been hurt – why I see hope now is that this protest crosses all divisions in Egyptian society and will not be forgotten.

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      1. The Nazi party was but a small voice once too in Germany following WWI. The other parties thought they could work with them and did not foresee the Nazis taking over not just the government, but the whole country and taking them to war.

        Adolf Hitler wrote Mien Kampf and apparently was largely ignored or excused initially – oh, he doesn’t mean it… it’s just his thoughts, that’s all.

        A minority can still control a majority. The Alawites of Syria prove this. The Nazis of Germany proved this. The Communists of the Soviets proved this. Saddam and his Baathists proved it. The Mullahs of Iran prove it. The AKP of Turkey proves this.

        This doesn’t mean that those minorities cannot be removed from power; it’s very difficult and fraught with pitfalls.

        The movement in Egypt as well as across the Middle East is far more than just some sort of democratic movement. Food and jobs are driving factors. The protesters of Egypt are apparently a hodgepodge of views and drives, and the democratists have decided it’s okay to “wed” themselves to the Muslim Brotherhood in the name of ousting Mubarak and creating a new government. All well and good, but it’s always good to know with whom you’re dealing.

        If the Mob here in the states were involved in lots of charitable activities, lots of good deeds, all the while continuing their businesses of crime – theft and murder – does that make them good candidates to work with, to form a government with… over you?

        http://bigpeace.com/cbrim/2011/01/30/muslim-brotherhood-deception-they-say-different-things-in-english-and-arabic/

        The Muslim Brotherhood has a very well known history – and it is not good, one which they have not divorced themselves. They “created” Hamas. They are not just some small group of conservative Muslims, they’re apparently the largest opposition group in Egypt. Sure, they may be going mainstream and looking more moderate, but anybody can do that. Politicians here in the US do that all the time to win elections and keep themselves in power. In Egypt’s 2005 elections, posing as independents, wiki says 88 seats (20%) of Parliament was won by the Muslim Brotherhood.

        Egypt has a population of approx. 83 million people. According to a recent Pew poll, Egyptians are interested in Islam playing a greater role in their government. This same poll said that they reject radical Islamists and want democracy… yet they also seem to want traditional Sharia laws incorporated, such as stoning and hand cuttings.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/02/us-egypt-islam-poll-idUSTRE7116ND20110202

        http://pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/

        I think Egypt is about to turn a bit more conservative, and that’s not necessarily going to be a good thing for Christians there or Israel next door.

        Having the Muslim Brotherhood as a leading political party in Egypt will be about as good as having the AKP in control of Turkey… and if you think things are going good for Turkey with the AKP in control… do some research on them.

        The Middle East is turning Islamist, whether or not the great majority of Muslims in the ME agree with that line of interpretation/application or not.

        I hope I’m wrong about what is going on currently and what that’ll then look like within the next two years; but whether I am or not, I do not see a beautiful future for Egypt. I see more turmoil and eventual devastation.

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      2. Thanks for your comment and interest. I am not a political scientist or scholar – I do know that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is prodemocracy and renounced violence in the 60’s.In 2005 when only 2.5% of an Egyptian population of 80 million people were registered to vote, they still only got 20% of the vote. I do not believe they pose the threat that the main stream media is suggesting in the United States. “Washington has been very anxious about what’s happening here, but it shouldn’t be. It should be happy. This will reduce terrorism. When people have their voice, they don’t need to explode themselves.” –Mohammed Fouad, an Egyptian software engineer. (from Washington Post, 2/2/11) I think this quote is an important one. And this from an American history professor living in Egypt: ” If the Muslim Brotherhood (which is not an extremist group) wins in a free and fair election so be it. The country is 90% Muslim and religiously conservative. It is not for the outside world to decide what is best for Egypt. Egyptians need to decide for themselves. If the institutions and processes are put in place that is the important thing. Current estimates are that the MB would win a third of the vote in an election. Much of their popularity is based on good organization and social services for the poor. They renounced violence in the 1960s and have been one of the biggest and most consistent organizations calling for greater democracy in Egypt for years. Other opposition groups need to raise their game and actually do something for the millions of Egyptians they are claiming to represent. That is how democracy works. This is why I think the West needs to focus on ensuring a process rather than a particular outcome.”

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  22. Thank you for your post. I’ve been observing that even openly right-leaning journalists who usually have nothing to promote but fear for Arabs speaking with poorly concealed excitement and admiration for the struggle of the Egyptian people. I pray for the success of this struggle, and to see Egypt finally led by a just and democratic president.

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    1. Yes! It is amazing that by silencing 85 million voices through government elimination of the 2011 tools of the trade the protest simply grew stronger and louder. I struggle with the misperceptions of the Muslim Brotherhood in the western media – the assumption that it will be a radical group as opposed to just one voice of many at the table. Thank you for this comment and for reading.

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  23. What is happening in Egypt is far reaching to the Middle East and to many “democratic States” around the world. If the October revolution in Russia of 1917 changed the world last century, this mass popular and sustained revolution in Egypt is the popular revolution of this century: A turning point. The people have already changed the structure of the regime and elected popular leaders from the masses by constituting local committees and ensuring security and sustainability of the uprising. The army of the people is a great boost. No political parties took the lead or demanded this mass upheaval. Great revolution and sure successful peaceful transition for the interest of not only 80 million Egyptian but hundreds of millions under oligarchic regimes. I believe that mass upheaval cannot be sustained without great women leading in the front rows of marches: Women in Egypt will be recognized as the leading revolutionary around the world.

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  24. I echo the thanks of others for your part in communicating on behalf of these people whose leader wishes to isolate them. The Egyptian community is so very diverse and strong, and although the circumstances are traumatic I am grateful that they are showing this to the world in such a meaningful and life changing way. What a wonderful example of what a community can do when so-called essentials are no longer available. I wish love and light to all, but especially our brothers and sisters in Egypt.

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    1. I echo your words on community – It is quite extraordinary. I was speaking to another friend there besides our daughter and she says the gathering of the people is amazing. Thanks for reading and for your words.

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  25. Thank you for your very insightful post. It is so valuable getting feedback from people on the ground. As someone in the travel industry this has been very disruptive but I applaud the brave people who stand up for their rights.

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    1. Appreciate so much the comment and your reading the post. I can’t imagine how disruptive this is given Egypt’s popularity with touriststs. The impact economically to Egypt is profound as well. Thanks again.

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    1. Thanks for reading and for the comment. It is pretty amazing talking to her and hearing the inside scoop. I feel like I have my own personal Nicholas Kristof on the ground. That coupled with the fact that we lived there for 7 years is making this very close to home.

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  26. Thank you for sharing what your daughter is seeing over there. I can’t imagine the myriad of feelings that is going through the hearts of the protestors and the hope they must feel. I pray that a better government comes out of all this effort and that the people remain safe.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It is n incredible picture of solidarity that I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed before and I feel I’m getting an eyewitness account. I will continue updating through contact with her.

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  27. Now we see that even if there were no social media, people can protest in real-life. Plus, real-life still seems more powerful than virtual life. Imagine what would have happened if all these protest were online — Facebook group, cause, tweets, blogs, etc. They won’t gather that much attention from the world.

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    1. Sajib – I so agree with you! And I think it has been a great picture of a revolution happening because of people, not because of social networks but because of people and when all the tools of 2011 are back up – awesome – even more power. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  28. I’m following up the facts in Maghreb since their inception with real emotion and respect for all people involved in the demonstrations. The domino effect is definitely powerful.
    Hoping to enjoy soon the establishment of several democratic states WITHOUT any other victim.

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  29. This article in this blog has offered wonderful insight has to what is occurring in this country. I am not qualified to take a side in this happening, but only able to relate my own feelings when it comes to leadership. To me, an individual, who as a President, has been in office, thirty years, is no longer a President, but a Dictator. I for one, believe in the “humble citizen server” in government, that being, no one should serve more than one term in any position, whether a President, senate, representative or a city’s major.

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  30. i have friends in alexandria n worried sick about them..
    there are 11000 malaysian (most are students) in egypt and the gov is planning to move them out..
    whatever it is..i think the president should step down..mubarak is no longer needed by its people..

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    1. Have you been able to speak with your friends? I know Tahrir square is peaceful but am unsure of Alexandria. I will pray for your friends and echo your thoughts: Mubarak is no longer needed by the people.

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      1. no news from them..i think internet is currently unavailable in egypt..
        yup..if mubarak is truly a leader, he will thinks whats best for the egyption but now, i think he just being too self centred..

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  31. So thankful for your posts Marilyn, and for Annie’s insights. This is a very exciting time as we watch history being made. Praying for everyone’s safety, for wisdom and peace to prevail and for Mubarak to step down.
    The Lord establishes kings and the Lord removes kings. We look forward to what He will do in answer to the prayers of His people. It is a new day, and we look to it with hope.

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