Apologies for not posting anything about what’s being done in Egypt at the moment – I find that I’m spending a lot of time traversing various blogs and twitter accounts and online news sites to try to find out what’s happening, and then I find that I feel like I still have no idea of what’s going on, or how to understand what’s happening, and I don’t know what to say. Or, rather, that there’s too much to say, and I don’t really know where to start. I guess I’m not sure what role this blog, or my writing, should be playing – I’m unable to provide new information, because I’m looking to others for the information, and I feel like any analysis I provide would be too partial.
But I’m also bursting at the seams to talk constantly about what’s happening. The other night at dinner some friends and I were talking about it and getting goosebumps – it’s truly amazing to watch people rise up like this, even if it is on the other side of the world in a completely different timezone. But it reinforces the sense of solidarity I guess. The sense that, in some partial way, so many people stand together (and I don’t mean that in a glib way, because of course there’s a massive difference between me typing on my laptop and the people risking their lives in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt).
So I guess all I can do is point you to a couple of things worth reading and looking at. As time moves on there’s constantly new things to read and watch, so it’s a bit hard, but here’s just a few things, in no particular order, that have particularly affected me:
The Battle for Tahrir Square (“He introduced himself as Hossam Eid al-Sharqawy and took hold of my shoulder. Time was short, I should take pictures quickly and go, he said. He had blunt words for Egypt’s 30-year president, whose two rounds of concessions and promise not to run again have failed to placate protesters. “Hosni Mubarak kills his own people,” Sharqawy said. “Remember my name,” he said. “If I die here tonight, you will tell our story.””)
Tomorrow, to Tahrir Again (“Now—despite the initial fears following the Internet and phone blackout Friday morning—everyone I asked described feelings of “exhilaration” and “euphoria.””)
Egypt, Right Now (“I don’t know how to start writing this. I have been battling fatigue for not sleeping properly for the past 10 days, moving from one’s friend house to another friend’s house, almost never spending a night in my home, facing a very well funded and well organized ruthless regime that views me as nothing but an annoying bug that its time to squash will come. The situation here is bleak to say the least.”)
Orientalist propaganda/image-making by the Mubarak regime (“Consider the recent violent image making by the Egyptian state in its staging of counterinsurgency terror in mufti. I refer to the charging of Liberation square in Cairo by thugs on horses and camels, and by vigilantes on foot armed with home made swords. This is deliberate Orientalist theater orchestrated by the state to promote a picture of generalized anti- modern anarchy for western media consumption.”)
Why Mubarak Is Out (“The “March of Millions” in Cairo marks the spectacular emergence of a new political society in Egypt. This uprising brings together a new coalition of forces, uniting reconfigured elements of the security state with prominent business people, internationalist leaders, and relatively new (or newly reconfigured ) mass movements of youth, labor, women’s and religious groups.”)
Jewish prayers for Egypt’s uprising (“To watch hundreds of thousands of Egyptians able to throw off the chains of oppression and the legacy of a totalitarian regime that consistently jailed, tortured or murdered its opponents so overtly that most people were cowed into silence, is to remember that the spark of God continues to flourish no matter how long oppressive regimes manage to keep themselves in power, and that ultimately the yearning for freedom and democracy cannot be totally stamped out no matter how cruel and sophisticated the elites of wealth, power and military might appear to be.”)
And, of course, in the Jewish tradition, I would say to Mubarak, ‘let my people go.’ (I would also say that it’s pissing me off that so many commentators on Israel (including the Michael Lerner piece just above – I like some of what he says, am uncomfortable with other bits) are feeling the need to throw in discussions about the repercussions for Israel – as though that’s an important question that needs dealing with immediately. Makes my skin crawl a bit.)