Corrente

If you have "no place to go," come here!

Live from Cairo (11)

[Welcome, Naked Capitalism readers! And if you're a fan of "Antidote of the Day," you may enjoy Plantidote of the Day. --lambert]

SUMMARY 6:10PM So far, outcomes from Egypt do not restore my faith in the efficacy of prayer. At least Obama's prayers.

1:18PM Readers, I need to step out. If somebody will update in comments, that would be great. UPDATE 6:04PM Returned from, or possibly to, RL. Light blogging as I catch up. --lambert]

SUMMARY 11:58AM (6:58PM in Cairo) Atmosphere still festive and peaceful. Mub has not, however, departed. Attacks on press continue. Attacks on foreigners continue. Numbers still very impressive, even after nightfall and curfew. Overnight protests in Alexandria as well. If you total the numbers, in Cairo and throughout Egypt, these demonstrations are completely unprecedented (in world history).

SUMMARY 10:09AM Cheerful in Cairo, might rain. No march on the palace; people discussing. More cracks in the regime: Spokesman for Al-Azhar University joined TS. he secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, joined TS. 10:43AM Evening prayers. Still hundreds and hundreds of thousands. State media actually runs an interview with a pro-democracy protester in TS. People settling in for the night. 11:12AM Committee of "wise men" has met with Sul (VP) and Shafiq (PM). Plan from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace?

SUMMARY 8:43AM Hundreds of thousands in TS. AJ has live feed. No word on march. No battles of any scale. Pro-Mub counter-demonstration across town. Crowd still swelling. Alexandria demonstrations too. Army still neutral. State media runs disinformation campaign of Goebbelsian scale. ElB interview: Sul acceptable. 9:35AM NDP official threatens civil war on the BBC.

8:59AM Police infiltrators in the crowd.

AJ live blog. Newest below the fold, scroll to bottom.

[Welcome, Naked Capitalism readers! And if you're a fan of "Antidote of the Day," you may enjoy Plantidote of the Day. --lambert]

SUMMARY 11:58AM (6:58PM in Cairo) Atmosphere still festive and peaceful. Mub has not, however, departed. Attacks on press continue. Attacks on foreigners continue. Numbers still very impressive, even after nightfall and curfew. Overnight protests in Alexandria as well. If you total the numbers, in Cairo and throughout Egypt, these demonstrations are completely unprecedented (in world history).

SUMMARY 10:09AM Cheerful in Cairo, might rain. No march on the palace; people discussing. More cracks in the regime: Spokesman for Al-Azhar University joined TS. he secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, joined TS. 10:43AM Evening prayers. Still hundreds and hundreds of thousands. State media actually runs an interview with a pro-democracy protester in TS. People settling in for the night. 11:12AM Committee of "wise men" has met with Sul (VP) and Shafiq (PM). Plan from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace?

SUMMARY 8:43AM Hundreds of thousands in TS. AJ has live feed. No word on march. No battles of any scale. Pro-Mub counter-demonstration across town. Crowd still swelling. Alexandria demonstrations too. Army still neutral. State media runs disinformation campaign of Goebbelsian scale. ElB interview: Sul acceptable. 9:35AM NDP official threatens civil war on the BBC.

8:59AM Police infiltrators in the crowd.

AJ live blog. Newest below the fold, scroll to bottom.

Sidebars
Here's a table of contents for the sidebars I interspersed between the liveblogging.

  1. "Organization."
  2. Will Dr. Goebbels please pick up the white courtesy phone?
  3. Split vision
  4. The American Enterprise Institute is a cesspool of suck
  5. About the beards
  6. The gift of water
  7. Colin Powell continues to act like anybody would a single word that comes out of his mouth, which, tragically, is probably the case in Versailles
  8. Sources

OK! Now that I have plenty of propane (thanks; you know who you are) I've deskanked myself, and I'm ready to see what happens on "Departure Day." Cleansing... I'm hoping that's not a metaphor for what happens today.

OK, 2: Since the march isn't beginning until 6:00AM, I'm going to bed and will return then. If some night owl wants to keep watch and post updates in comments, that would be wonderful. There's a list of sources below.

12:35AM (7:35AM in Cairo) Curfew lifted. TS is calm, but there's a security buildup, with troops in riot gear standing next to tanks. Only one entrance to TS open, and people are queueing. Many more tanks and troops in the street today than there have been before. Chanting throughout the night. I can't believe I'm watching a report on Groundhog Day on Al Jazeera. Then a report on snow in Chicago!

March will begin after noon prayers and will have an AJ live feed. (~6:00AM here; maybe I'll put down some random thoughts now, go to bed, and get up early). UPDATE: It may be a "rally," not a march; perhaps I have this confused with the idea of marching on Mub's palace. We'll see! UPDATE 2:06AM Protester: March, but it's organic, so things may change!

* * *

Shorter Mub with Amanpour: "Tyranting is hard work!"

* * *

1:19AM People marching around outside the square, chanting military-style.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: "Organization."

I want to expand on this observation from AJ [#174]:

The contrast between both sides' tactics is striking: The pro-democracy protesters have organised themselves, building walls and seizing strategic locations; the pro-Mubarak crowd has mostly advanced in a mob, hurling rocks and then retreating under return fire.

The pro-Mub and pro-Democracy organizers were both "organized," but in different ways. The pro-Mub forces were organized by the elite, whether by the security forces, or businessmen, or whatever; organized by the people who paid them and bussed them in, and then away. But once they had been positioned around the square, all they seemed to know how to do was run close, throw something, and run back; it was like all they knew of the intifida was scenes of rock-throwing on the teebee (and if you were the regime, wouldn't you want it that way?) Tactically, throwing Molotov cocktails is no more sophisticated than throwing rocks. Their most sophisticated move was to get up on the roofs and hurl stuff down. By contrast, the pro-Democracy forces were self-organized. (See totally original headgear protection against rocks.) They moved the elders, women, and children into the center of the square; they built barricades with raw materials from the construction site; they organized into teams to hold the barricades, break rocks, and transport rocks between the front lines and the rear; they organized a system of signals to direct rocks and reinforcements to flashpoints; they organized not one but two field hospitals; and I have no doubt that all this organizing work helped to create the esprit that allowed them to survive the harrowing night. Looked at from the standpoint of organizational behavior, democrats out-organized authoritarian followers. Now, I once asked a technical friend: What good are we after Collapse? And his answer was: We're good at committee work. The people in Tahrir Square were very good at committee work. (It's important to underline, here, that all classes and walks of life were represented in the square, so this wasn't necessarily a middle class thing.) I would be very surprised if TS veterans didn't keep popping up, playing constructive roles in civil society, in Egypt and perhaps throughout the world. Tahrir Square then will have turned out to be not a kettle, but a crucible. No matter what happens today.

UPDATE All other things being equal, democratic self-organization beats authoritarian followership. Could that be why a gun is called an "equalizer"? And so we return to the likelihood of a Tienanman solution. I'll repeat my view, hoping/wishing that I'm right, that if that were going to happen, it would already have happened. I don't know why the regime hasn't gunned them all down, but it hasn't. Long may that continue.


OK! Now that I have plenty of propane (thanks; you know who you are) I've deskanked myself, and I'm ready to see what happens on "Departure Day." Cleansing... I'm hoping that's a metaphor for what happens today.

OK, 2: Since the march isn't beginning until 6:00AM, I'm going to bed and will return then. If some night owl wants to keep watch and post updates in comments, that would be wonderful. There's a list of sources below.

12:35AM (7:35AM in Cairo) Curfew lifted. TS is calm, but there's a security buildup, with troops in riot gear standing next to tanks. Only one entrance to TS open, and people are queueing. Many more tanks and troops in the street today than there have been before. Chanting throughout the night. I can't believe I'm watching a report on Groundhog Day on Al Jazeera. Then a report on snow in Chicago!

March will begin after noon prayers and will have an AJ live feed. (~6:00AM here; maybe I'll put down some random thoughts now, go to bed, and get up early). UPDATE: It may be a "rally," not a march; perhaps I have this confused with the idea of marching on Mub's palace. We'll see! UPDATE 2:06AM Protester: March, but it's organic, so things may change!

* * *

Shorter Mub with Amanpour: "Tyranting is hard work!"

* * *

1:19AM People marching around outside the square, chanting military-style.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: "Organization."

I want to expand on this observation from AJ:

The contrast between both sides' tactics is striking: The pro-democracy protesters have organised themselves, building walls and seizing strategic locations; the pro-Mubarak crowd has mostly advanced in a mob, hurling rocks and then retreating under return fire.

The pro-Mub and pro-Democracy organizers were both "organized," but in different ways. The pro-Mub forces were organized by the elite, whether by the security forces, or businessmen, or whatever; organized by the people who paid them and bussed them in, and then away. But once they had been positioned around the square, all they seemed to know how to do was run close, throw something, and run back; it was like all they knew of the intifida was scenes of rock-throwing on the teebee (and if you were the regime, wouldn't you want it that way?) Tactically, throwing Molotov cocktails is no more sophisticated than throwing rocks. Their most sophisticated move was to get up on the roofs and hurl stuff down. By contrast, the pro-Democracy forces were self-organized. (See totally original headgear protection against rocks.) They moved the elders, women, and children into the center of the square; they built barricades with raw materials from the construction site; they organized into teams to hold the barricades, break rocks, and transport rocks between the front lines and the rear; they organized a system of signals to direct rocks and reinforcements to flashpoints; they organized not one but two field hospitals; and I have no doubt that all this organizing work helped to create the esprit that allowed them to survive the harrowing night. Looked at from the standpoint of organizational behavior, democrats out-organized authoritarian followers. Now, I once asked a technical friend: What good are we after Collapse? And his answer was: We're good at committee work. The people in Tahrir Square were very good at committee work. (It's important to underline, here, that all classes and walks of life were represented in the square, so this wasn't necessarily a middle class thing.) I would be very surprised if TS veterans didn't keep popping up, playing constructive roles in civil society, in Egypt and perhaps throughout the world. Tahrir Square then will have turned out to be not a kettle, but a crucible. No matter what happens today.

UPDATE All other things being equal, democratic self-organization beats authoritarian followership. Could that be why a gun is called an "equalizer"? And so we return to the likelihood of a Tienanman solution. I'll repeat my view, hoping/wishing that I'm right, that if that were going to happen, it would already have happened. I don't know why the regime hasn't gunned them all down, but it hasn't. Long may that continue.

* * *

When the E authorities turned off cameras in the square, AJ went with the social media story, which is not untrue, and was available. Still, I think that focus distorts ("Twitter Revolution" my sweet Aunt Fanny) and admits the temptation of Internet triumphalism. I saw this as a foul-mouthed left wing blogger. Our work is important, but not that important.

* * *

"Word choice"

The US is working on a deal with the Egyptian government for Mubarak to resign immediately in favour of a three-man junta, according to the New York Times in a news item just posted:

"Junta." The United States is replacing a tyrant with a junta. Alrighty, then.

2:06AM Anch: Angry Army stayed neutral? Protester, int: Angry. But we conclude our confidence is in the people. Anch: Injuries? Int: There are two different field hospitals, on close to the front line, and a second one in the center, with supplies. There is also a mosque off TS with treatment there.

2:10AM: Anch: You will not order the Army to evacuate them from the square? Sul: No. Anch: No? Sul: No.

2:11AM: TS quiet, but more people than yesterday. [I guess they must have stayed overnight, since it's still very early in Cairo. Impressive.]

* * *

CNN:

State-run Nile TV reported that a group of anti-government protesters - dubbed the 25th of January Youth - have said they will withdraw from Cairo's Tahrir Square and form a political party to participate in Egypt's forthcoming elections.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: Will Dr. Goebbels please pick up the white courtesy phone?

BBC:

The British-Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla, who's been in Tahrir Square in recent days, has told the BBC that the there are more opposition protesters than ever, even though state TV has been turning people against the demonstrators: "The propaganda that's coming from state television seems to be doing a lot of work and... people here are finding it very hard to get information which is true. People in the square are getting calls from people outside the square who they know, saying 'what are you doing here?' There are even reports we're receiving five star food from the hotels around us, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are giving us all sorts of things, that we are in the pay and get fifty dollars a day from God knows who."

Yep. Reminds me of a flyer I saw in the Holocaust Museum, from one of the Baltic States, I think: "The Jews get all the best apartments!" Strategic hate management, working on the minds and hearts of desperate people who are kept desperate.

* * *

BBC:

The BBC's Mark Georgiou in Cairo: "Breakfast in a hotel full of journalists from all over the world. Tales of confiscated camera gear and lucky escapes from those who want to stop us doing our jobs. One question comes up over and again: what do you think is going to happen? Will there be blood? Or, by some miracle, will the day pass peacefully? Last Friday, within minutes of prayers ending, it was full-on water cannon, tear gas and riot police charges. It's different now. The pro-democracy movement hold Tahrir Square. It's their turf and not an inch of it will be given up lightly. So, a different question: have the pro-Mubarak side got the numbers and the will to charge the barricades? We'll know in a few hours.

A very good map of TS.

~2:40AM (9:03AM Cairo) Dozens of police trucks surrounding the central palace. [The more I think about it, the more I think that the idea of a march on the palace could be a very bad one. As opposed to a defensive square in Cairo, we have a long column strung out along 2 km of road, vulnerable to being cut to pieces, and with a "sharp end" of at most a few hundred (the width of the road) even if the marchers total thousands. If the column breaks and flees, it will probably do so from the rear, not the front (as Napoleon's Old Guard at Waterloo), so watch for that. If they could bring several columns to bear, say ones that started from the burbs, and not just the one, that would be good. OTOH, I'm definitely in the "battle" mindset here -- the objective is to seize the palace -- and perhaps that's the wrong mode. Sadat's objective, in the Six Day War, for example, was not to defeat the enemy, but to make them understand that the price of continued war would be unacceptable to Israel (Military Misfortune). Perhaps another frame is preferable: The March on Selma.

3:08AM [One more thought: ElB said to the protesters, "Hold out 'til Friday." They did. So he had better deliver, and it had better not be Sul and a junta. --lambert]

Crawler: Protests sweep Arab world.

8:28AM New word: "Contagion." Now that's revealing.

Crawler: Rocks thrown. Hundreds of pro-Mub gathering on Sixth of October bridge.

Crawler: Army moves in to separate.

Crawler: Hundreds of thousands.

8:34AM Very angry pro-Mub crowds attack press, foreigners. Driven by official propaganda. Foreigners destabilizing the country! "A crude and ruthless hearts and minds operation." Rescued by Army, who are sorry. "Everyone is frightened."

8:38AM AJ tweet: The protesters have beaten back pro mubarak crowd at talaat harb and now the whole street is chanting "the people want the system to fall"

ElB interview.

8:41AM BBC:

From the BBC's Mark Georgiou in Cairo: "State TV has a split screen showing live shots of a pro-Mubarak rally on one side and the scene in Tahrir Square on the other. They describe the first as pro-stability and pro-dialogue and the latter as demanding political reforms. So, at the moment the two sides are busy with their separate rallies. The Tahrir Square crowd aren't going anywhere. Across town Mubarak's supporters are gathering.

8:46AM AJ:

Al Jazeera reporters say that numbers of Mubarak-loyalists on the 6th of October bridge has increased to over 300 now. An army tank has moved position to confront them.

[Looks to me like the real schock troops of the govt are the segment of the E people that believe what state TV says. That's a recipe for civil war. Indeed there might be "chaos," just as Mub claims; a convulsion in the body politic because of poision Mub himself injected into it.That also (for us) makes the media critique central and not peripheral. --lambert]

8:49AM Rep: Army has blocked the Sixth of October bridge so people cannot cross it. Soldiers wearing helmets and carrying automatic weapons. Anch: "Always ominous to hear tanks when you're a journalist."

8:55AM CNN:

The spokesman for Al-Azhar University, the prestigious center for Sunni Muslim education in Cairo, told CNN Friday he has resigned from his position and joined the anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square

.

8:57AM Anch: Why has it taken 30 years? ...

9:10AM Jackie: Saw limo pull up, general walks out, talks to soldier, inspects, chauffeur opens door, back over Sixth of October. The officers are being driven around the city. They are not sitting at their desks. Another rep: See four or five hundreds pro-Mub causing havoc on the bridge. What Army has done, when saw them approach, re-deployed tanks to confront them, and so they run toward the tanks, and turn back and run down bridge. More tanks and vehicles than you would think; they're carefully positioned beneath underpasses, for example.

* * *

9:05AM [top] SIDEBAR: Split vision

Truth vs. lies. Reality vs. illusion. A free press vs. state-controlled media.

Move along people, move along. There's no story here!

AP:

Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the leaders of the protest movement, lay out his scenario on Friday: a transitional government headed by a presidential council of two or three figures, including a military representative. He suggested that Suleiman — a military man who was intelligence chief until being elevated to vice president last week — was an acceptable figure to sit on a presidential council, saying he respects Suleiman.

Nothing I'm hearing from the ground on what ElB says.

9:29AM BBC interviews NDP Do you denounce attacks on the press? NDP: "Denounce attack on any human being." The impression is that the Western media is part of a conspiracy. Please be aware that TS do not represent the majority of E. The "silent majority" will not stay at home forever. There will be millions in the streets very soon. Enough is enough! Mub will not step down. Anch: Today? NDP: Today the silent majority... Eventually be out... Eventually to tell the world ... Unfortunately most E develop idea this is a conspiracy that has been taken for a long time and now it is unfolding. Anch: E is a Western ally?!? Int: The west does not care about E. These accounts are going to be settled. Anch: E betrayed by the west? NDP: Not just the Pres, the whole country has been betrayed by the West. You have made a bet on the wrong faction of this country, and it is not in the interest of the West to lose 84 million Egyptians. [What a nasty man, quoting Nixon. Of course, he may just be upset; after all, the NDP is the ruling party and the protesters burned the party headquarters to the ground. --lambert]

* * *

9:40AM AP:

Around 5,000 of the protesters prostrated themselves in prayer at noon. Though men and women prayed separately as is traditional, the women knelt in a block parallel to the men instead of behind them out of sight or in a separate area entirely as takes place in most Egyptian mosques.

Could be the shape of the square, but if it's what I think it is, this is incredibly moving. [That's a good story from AP, at the link above. Kudos to the massive AP machine for grinding into action at last. --lambert]

10:06AM BBC Int, woman from Alexandria: Protesters do not speak for me. I am for reform, and I do not call what is going on democracy. Anch: Would like Mub to stay? Int: Until elections, this is the civilized way. That's why we have elections. Previous lections said to be not fair, now we have the chance to change in a civilized way.

10:07AM BBC: Darkening clouds, it might rain.

10:08AM BBC Largely good-natured in TS. Much more tension in Alexandria.

10:11AM BBC:

1510: Sandmonkey tweets: "Some protesters are demanding a march on the presidential palace and people are discussing it. #jan25."

Speaking of bloggers, AP:

"We're calling on this to be the largest protest ever," said Mahmoud Salem, a youth activist and blogger. "We are hoping it will be the last one." He said that during Thursday's turmoil, his car was attacked by regime supporters as he and four friends tried to deliver supplies to the square. He said the rioters relentlessly smashed the car windows and ripping off the side mirrors until he and his colleagues fled from the car.

"It was like a zombie movie," he said.

As is well known, zombies scale.

~10:07AM: BBC:

The secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, has been telling the BBC World Service why he joined the anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square today: "The demonstrators have their voice loud and clear in asking for change and asking for reform. They are asking for a new era in Egypt and those demands and aspirations, I do share. Egypt needs a new beginning."

10:24AM AJ rep: False rumor that Mub resigned. Crowd goes wild. People go round, say "It's only a rumor." Mood changed again, banging on the metal barrier (signal of danger). A large group, stopped 400 meters away. Don't know...

10:32AM Anch: Several hundred thousands, maybe a million. Int, Brookings Doha: Growing number of Es saying, Mub made some concesions, we need to get back to our normal lives. Protesters are unequivocal. Anch: Realistically, protesters can't make him go. What other force? Int: Revolutions need more than many poeple. Necessary but not sufficient. How do they force Mub to leave. No satisfactory answer. Anch: Any answer! Int: One answer is march to palace. [I would say martyrdom] MB not support march, bloodshed. Youth want to make the hike, 8 miles away. Anch: Practically, roads could be blocked. Int: Big thing missing is leadership to push to next level and articulate demands and make clear what next steps are. How will this work out? ElB had the potential but seems to have faded. Anch: Amr Moussa? Int: If somebody wants to inspire the masses in the square, that's an open position. Anch: Moussa could resign, then lead. Int: Up until then, we have that vacuum.

10:45AM: AJ tweet:

Egyptian state television running a long interview with a pro-democracy protester inside Tahrir Square. A big shift for them.

[Either that, or they think the well is so poisoned viewers will discount or distort. --lambert]

[Defections like Amir Moussa, the spokesman for Al-Azhar University, and (yesterday) an anchor for state TV are important because these are "civilized" people.

10:48AM Night begins to fall. Rep: If the regime decides to cause trouble again, it will happen now. Considering the negative international attention, though, that may not happen. Also, strong statement from Sul that violence is not acceptable. There's also safety in numbers: One million. Anch: Sul statement, also, "ask their parents to send them home." [!!] Rep: Patronizing! Sul not taking this as seriously as they should, "overexuberance." The youth want change, but change takes time and chaos is a real danger. There is still a very big gap here. No resolution yet. Sul and Mub think they can wait this out.

10:52AM Anch: Last battle, stones, fire bombs, jars of acid [this is new!] raining down....

10:53AM Jackie: Other days, this is when the pro-Mub "melted away." Calm now as night descends. Quite hot and dusty in the day. Temperature really drops. People with "brand new blankets still wrapped in plastic." People bringing tents. Anch: Simple matters. Eat, bathroom, clean? Int: The streets are the bathroom, more difficult for women [connection fades. I hate to think of the smell of piss... If ElB had an ounce of imagination, he'd airlift Port-O-Sans in. --lambert] Anch: Not just chanting but the realities of life.

10:59AM Tonight's sermon: Not for ideological purposes but to end the regime.

11:06AM Amr Hamzawy Carnegie Middle East Center, part of "Wise Men" committee, met with Sul and Shafiq. [Article here from Feburary 1, is this the plan?] Anch: What about Pres and VP? Int: Writers, diplomats, not politicians. Our job is to articulate the demands of the street. We are trying to institutionalize a national dialog. We are also demanding a complete stop of any violence. Anch: Demand is that Mub stand down. Is it inevitable that Mub go? Int: No it's not. Anch: Do you envision a scenario where Mub will end term in Sept? Int: Yes, "honorary Pres" 'til he steps down. Int: More powers to VP? Int: We are asking for powers in transitional period given to VP. Anch: Protesters accept? Int: Having conversations with them. Many willing to accept given safeguards and procedures.

[In the US context, "wise men" means the sort of ruling class elder that called on Nixon and told him it was time to go. One of the laments about the current state of Versailles is that there are no "wise men." This is, in fact, true. "Wise men" was the actual phras used by the AJ anchor.--lambert]

Crawler: Sul reassures E that Mub will step down.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: The American Enterprise Institute is a cesspool of suck

BBC:

Danielle Pletka, writing on The American, the blog of the American Institute for Enterprise, says: "The Egyptians can certainly elect whom they wish, but they cannot do so and continue to enjoy billions in support from the American taxpayer."

What a fool. How can you expect to have a client state if you don't buy off the elite?

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: About the beards

One of the big questions in this uprising is the role of the Muslim Brotherhood. I thought I would try to give one answer to that by counting how many MB members there were in TS. MBers, I read, have trimmed beards. So I went through this photo, and where I could see men's chins, I left a blue dot where I didn't see a beard, and a green dot where I did. Total: 32. Beards: 6 (18.7%). So this crude tally matches the figures from the last election: MB has the support of 20% of the population. [It would be nice if somebody not so rushed and with more knowledge could use this methology to get harder numbers. --lambert]

On another note: Yes, the total of women, veiled, bearded or not, is zero. Then again, see here.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: The gift of water

11:33AM Jackie: TS is like a sewer. You really have to be committed to stay here.

I know nothing of Islam, so and but a quick Google search yields this on water and sanitation in Islam:

Polluting stagnant water supplies contaminated with bodily waste is especially dangerous. More than 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad warned the people of the dangers of drinking from, or bathing in contaminated water. He prohibited urination and defecation any where near or in a water source,[1] and pointed out the repugnance of using places where people rest, collect water or clean themselves as a toilet area. This prohibition may be extended to any water pollutants, such as industrial waste, and household rubbish, that may adversely effect human health or endanger the environment, flora, or fauna. God commands us in the Quran not to do mischief upon the earth after He has set in order (Quran 7:85), and denounces those who go about the earth spreading corruption and destroying crops and livestock. (Quran 2:205)

Many of the traditions of Prophet Muhammad make it clear that preserving the purity of water is very important. He said, “no one who wakes from sleep must put his hand into any utensil until he has washed it three times, as he does not know what his hand has touched”,[2] and he warned against leaving food and water uncovered overnight. Prophet Muhammad instructed his followers to tie up the mouths of their water skins and to cover their food containers. (Ibn Majah)

On the other hand, Islam, as an old and sophisticated religion, doubtless has ways of releasing believers from ritual obligation. However... Remember the interview with the guy cleaning the toilets in Woodstock? Asked what he would call the movie, he answered "Port-O-San." So, the comparison to Woodstock works in several levels, besides the sheer scale, the self-organization, the leaderlessness.

* * *

11:41AM Rep: When is O going to put cutting military aid on the table? If 100 people killed isn't enough to get the US to reconsider its aid package, what is enough? There is a close relationship between US and E military. Siding with protesters not in the cards, but impress on the civilians, but faster than nine months. Anch: Elections sooner feasible? Int: Challenging but possible. E hasn't organized free and fair elections since the 1940s maybe. IF there is political will, it is possible. [Notice R Neandrathals pissed away Clinton's achievement in at least colorably protecting Muslims from genocide in the former Yugoslavia (note word "colorably"). Obviously, the Es can't accept US assistance in elections, even if US elections were, in fact, free and fair (FL 2000; OH 2004; TX D primaries, 2008) --lambert]

11:56AM Int, Brookings Doha: We have to be realistic, here. There are a lot of people who want normal life back. There's a risk of getting out in front of the public mood. Pro-Mub protesters a very small portion of society. Mub has not been able to mobilize people in support of him. Window for protesters is closing. But the don't trust Mub, and for very good reason.

12 noon, top of the hour: AJ Cairo office looted. "Day of Departure...." ElB "still would appeal to Pres Mubarak that he would hear the clear voice coming from the people. Nobody wants to humiliate him." ["Would appeal" is a fine example of the Versailles subjunctive. Isn't ElB simply "appealing"? --lambert]

[Heard evening sermon come to a very emotional conclusion (sobbing), but there has been as yet no translation. -- lambert]

12:03PM Int: There is now a TV and a soundstage in TS. They're channel flipping, AJ and other channels. Have radios as well.

12:07PM AJ Int: Overnight in Alexandria train station, evening prayers now. [This is very important; first I've heard. It's also the answer to the Brookings Doha guy. If there are overnights in many cities (Suez???) that keeps the window open. --lambert]

12:30PM This image from AJ in Alexandria would seem to provide partial confirmation that indeed the protesters were at the train station.

* * *

[top] SIDEBAR: Colin Powell continues to act like anybody would a single word that comes out of his mouth, which, tragically, is probably the case in Versailles

BBC:
Harlan Ullman, a close confidant of former US secretary of state Colin Powell, tells the BBC he thinks President Obama has handled the situation badly: "The administration started by sending confusing signals, and now by calling for Mubarak to go so publicly that may work very well with the opposition but it may not work very well for Mubarak's supporters and for people who are likely to replace him."

The big story here is that Powell still has friends, after he helped ignite the Iraq war by feeding disinformation to the UN.

* * *

About the pro-Mub protesters: Der Speigel.

SOURCES

1. AJ live feed

2. AJ Twitter

3. AJ live blog

4. BBC live blog

5. Guardian live blog

6. CNN This just in

7. CNN Twitter.

8. Reuters

0
No votes yet

Comments

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

the army's hand, which would obviously be the tipping point one way or the other.

It's fairly easy to stand around and watch others commit atrocities, if you're acclimated to violence from the start. Doing nothing is always the easiest option. But being called to act violently against your fellow citizens yourself is an entirely different matter. Having to act themselves would be very different for the soldiers, and I hope they won't be able to bring themselves to do it.

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

Muburak says "I'm tired of being President". Sounds to me like the rollout for the US preferred endgame scenario. Mub to Sul the torturer

Nauseating

Submitted by lambert on

See here at top.

It is nauseating. On the other hand (a) it's the main demand of the protesters ("Leave!") and (b) they caused it, nobody else. Whether the dynamic is permently changed is hard to say.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

in this blogging series.
Thanks for doing it and summing up, I can only take the lives reports and images in small doses because it gets too emotional for me.

hillaryis44 has a post up today reminding people that the Tiananmen protests lasted 7 weeks before the army mowed them down. Hoping the Egyptian army stays different.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

So my guess about the USA wanting VP Suleiman to head an interim government until elections was right.

The protestors seem to accept Tantawi as being the friendly face of the Army, and the Pentagon is comfortable with General Enan.

Reminds me of the triumvirate after Julius Caesar: I guess Suleiman plays Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Enan plays Mark Antony, and Tantawi plays Octavius?

If this goes forward. they will probably all promise not to run, and also if they can, get a committee with people from the opposition to oversee the election.

Submitted by jawbone on

2318: Another compelling first-hand account of harsh treatment at the hands of Egypt's secret police, this time in the New York Times by reporters Souad Mekhennet and Nicholas Kulish, who say: "The worst part had nothing to do with our treatment. It was seeing - and in particular hearing through the walls of this dreadful facility - the abuse of Egyptians at the hands of their own government."

2308: Al-Jazeera reports on its blog that the Cairo bureau chief of its Arabic service has been arrested.

[The NYTimes recounting of experience with the Mukhabarat is chilling.]

2155: Amnesty tweets: "Breaking: Amnesty staff and other internationals have been released in #Cairo&returning to hotels! Awaiting complete details."

2145: The Egyptian reporter who died of his wounds today after being shot a week ago has been named by various media sources as Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud.

2057: State-run newspaper Al-Ahram says an Egyptian reporter shot during clashes earlier this week has died of his wounds, the first reported journalist death in 11 days of turmoil.

1830: More harrowing tales from journalists under attack in Egypt, this time Maram Mazen begins her report for Bloomberg: "Having a policeman say he wanted to kill me wasn't my most frightening moment yesterday in Cairo."

Having a policeman say he wanted to kill me wasn’t my most frightening moment yesterday in Cairo. That came when police and civilians smashed our car windows -- with the five of us inside it -- jumped up and down on the roof, spat on us, pulled my hair, beat my friends and dragged us into a police van.

[The state powers are not, so far, killing reporters, but they're working on terrorizing them.]

1729: Dominic Waghorn, writing on Sky News' Middle East blog, says: "Hotels near the square have also informed journalists they are not allowed on balconies overlooking the square and camera equipment has been seized by hotel security, apparently under instructions from the government."

1715: The Muslim Brotherhood has released several statements alleging their members have been beaten and abducted, one statement saying two of their online staff were "ruthlessly assaulted by the militias of the security services and some of their thugs on Thursday evening".

1709: Wael Abbas seems to confirm his own detention, tweeting: "Arrested by the army!"1708: Ramy Yaacoub tweets: "It seems that blogger Wael Abbas has been arrested by the army."1705: CNN Breaking Newslink tweets: "Security force with "thugs" storms website office of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and makes arrests, group say."

1621: Rosa Navarro, an American who was arrested and detained overnight at the Intelligence HQ, gives the BBC a disturbing account of her detention: "I went out with a friend yesterday to buy sim cards. We stopped by his house and while waiting for a cab we were approached by police officers in uniform. They asked us for our passports, released us and then came back two minutes later and we were arrested. We were interrogated and accused of being spies and in Egypt to bring down the Egyptian government. I was left blindfolded and sitting with around 50 or 60 other Westerners who had been picked up while waiting for a bus, or a taxi or just walking on the street. None of them, like myself, were arrested near the protest."

1643: More from Frank Gardner: "The key to all this is Omar Suleiman. The best hope for Egypt is for him to head some kind of caretaker government until free elections. But there are a lot of people interested in maintaining the status quo. We've seen massive institutional intimidation of the media and rights groups."

1431: More from Wyre Davies in Alexandria (see 1420 entry): "A number of armed police - uniformed and plain clothes - were seen near the main square and several hotels in the area were told, under no circumstances, to allow in foreigners or journalists. As we approached the square, under the watchful eye of several demonstrators, I saw a secret policeman being dragged away by the crowd, beaten up and bundled into a car - we don't know what happened to him next."

1245: Al-Jazera English tweets: "Al jazeera Arabic's Cairo office has been stormed by unknown men and the office has been trashed #Egypt #tahrir"

1224: Prominent activist Asma Mahfouz, one of the Tahrir Square demonstration's leaders, says she has received death threats from members of the ruling NDP party. She told BBC Arabic TV: "I made a video asking people not to be scared, asking how long will we live in fear, that we should go to the streets and that there are plenty of men in Egypt, and we can protect ourselves from Mubarak's thugs. But now I'm getting many threatening calls from Mubarak's people ordering me not to leave my home, and saying that if I do I will be killed along with my family."

1217: Sultan Al Qassemi, a columnist for The National, tweets: "El Baradei: I met with nine protest leaders last night. When they left my house they were all arrested, these are Mubarak's promises #Jan25."

1042: Hamish Macdonald from Ten Network Australia tweets: "Just got detained by military behind #egypt TV building. Captives there cable tied and being tasered. #6PM."

1010: More on detentions from Leila Soueif, wife of human rights lawyer Ahmed Hamad - reportedly one of those arrested yesterday. "We don't know anything," she tells the BBC. "We don't know where they were taken. All that we know is that they were taken by military police." 1007: TravellerW tweets: "Just got home. Beaten up, detained by the army, and spent part of the night in a kind soul's home in Zeinhom. Life's good! "1006: Amnesty International's James Lynch gives the BBC World Service details of how two of the group's members were detained yesterday: "They were at the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre with a number of other human rights activists, local and international yesterday when the centre was surrounded by what appears to have been, from the reports we've got, a mixture of army and police who then entered the building, who then removed people's mobile phones and took them away in unmarked cars."

0801: Sandmonkey tweets: "There is a new wave of McCarthyism in Egypt: anyone can be a spy now, and all foreigners on the street are considered as such #jan25."

0741: The BBC's Mark Georgiou in Cairo: "Breakfast in a hotel full of journalists from all over the world. Tales of confiscated camera gear and lucky escapes from those who want to stop us doing our jobs. One question comes up over and again: what do you think is going to happen? Will there be blood? Or, by some miracle, will the day pass peacefully? Last Friday, within minutes of prayers ending, it was full-on water cannon, tear gas and riot police charges. It's different now. The pro-democracy movement hold Tahrir Square. It's their turf and not an inch of it will be given up lightly. So, a different question: have the pro-Mubarak side got the numbers and the will to charge the barricades? We'll know in a few hours.

0734: One of the stories in Egypt yesterday was the targeting of foreign journalists and human rights activists. As BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner reports, this is a situation that is all too familiar for their Egyptian counterparts, who have long suffered at the hands of the security forces.

Pulled from BBC's live coverage scroll

Updated with 1729 on top (and above), which confirms info from Al J that hotel personnel were taking cameras from guests' rooms.

MoveThatBus's picture
Submitted by MoveThatBus on

evacuate now. If I can find out anything at all, I will share. Hoping to hear my step-daughter reaches safe ground soon.

Submitted by lambert on

I don't know where she is (and you probably shouldn't say) but I hear that conditions in the country-side are much safer. (You're a local or an outsider, but that doesn't mean that you're an enemy or a spy.)

MoveThatBus's picture
Submitted by MoveThatBus on

very near the foreign embassy's. Her belief was she would be allowed to stay to do her job as a trained USAID worker. Only mandatory orders would have gotten her to leave, so those of us worrying about her are probably the only ones who are glad to hear that order finally came.

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

Just checked Kos (which I never do anymore) to see if demand of and by Democrats for sanity, reason, support for democracy and anti torture rule of international law were posted anywhere.

There was one post half way down the sidebar (now gone).

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2011/2...

go recommend it if you can. por favor.

Excellent work, Lambert... thanks!

Surely if big O and the D's continue to support these cretins... more dems in deNile will wake tf up.