I am SO glad I have a snow day today, because all I wanna do is watch Al Jazeera.
There was this plan for one million people to meet up in Tahrir Square before marching to the presidential palace tonight [Cairo time]. (NOTE: According to @sharifkouddous, the march to the palace may not occur today: link 1, link 2.)
...It's approaching 6:45 pm in Cairo, and there are currently about two million people in the square and surrounding areas. And more keep arriving, despite the fact that the gov STOPPED THE TRAINS to try to prevent it.
There are also enormous demonstrations in Alexandria (hundreds of thousands of people, I'm hearing), Suez (don't know how many, probably a lot), and presumably elsewhere as well.
State TV has been broadcasting quiet streets, pleas for people to stay home, and pro-Mubarak rallies. (Those rallies are kinda... small, in comparison.) I don't deny that there are people who are pro-Mubarak. To me, the issue here is that state TV is frantically insisting that NOBODY IS UNHAPPY, NOPE, NOBODY AT ALL!!!
But you don't pretend that two million people aren't shouting in Tahrir Square unless you're really quite worried about them.
I think it's incredibly smart of the army to stand by and allow the demonstrations to happen for the most part. They lack the numbers to end the protests by force, and they know it. More strikingly, they simply refuse to take offensive action against their own people, which is how it should be. This is counter to the riot police at the beginning of this who did NO GOOD AT ALL by shooting at protesters. IMO, the army/protesters dynamic is one of the most fascinating things about this. (According to Al Jazeera, the army is helping to prevent police from infiltrating the demonstrators.) Check it out:
Egypt army: will not use violence against citizens (Reuters)
"The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people...
Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody."
And now for an assortment of links I enjoyed:
Kragen @ Canonical || Why Egypt’s popular rebellion is the greatest historical event in a decade, and how Barack Obama missed the boat.
Three days ago, I read Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. He delivered it on the same day that the #Jan25 protests began in Egypt. I was dismayed that he didn’t mention the protests at all, because they’re more important than almost everything he did mention. This essay is an attempt to explain why they are so important, why Obama ignored them, and what the possible results of that choice could be.
Wikileaks || cable 07CAIRO1417, PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION IN EGYPT
Wikileaks bringing funtimes speculation from way back in 2007 on what could happen if Mubarak actually steps down. In short: expect "an anti-American tone" from the successor. Honestly, I think my ego can survive if that happens. It's not like my country hasn't spouted anti-Middle East sentiment for as long as I can remember. We dished it; we can take it. (P.S. If the all-caps hurts your eyes, use this handy tool to convert it.)
MediaBistro || Youth in Egypt Protect Libraries
THESE FUCKING EGYPTIAN YOUTH, YOU GUYS. They can organize protests, direct traffic, set up security checkpoints, and save the Library of Alexandria. Rock the fuck on!
Salon || Why can't we watch Al Jazeera?
Originally published in 2008, this article explains the difficulty of finding Al Jazeera anywhere that's not online, if you're in the United States. You can also read it here at ontd_political if you prefer their formatting.
YouTube || The Most AMAZING video on the internet #Egypt #jan25
Fucking makes me cry every time I watch it. Which I do, a lot, because I love it. Especially the dude who belives political rights are more important than your religion. FUCK YEAH.
HuffPost || Anderson Cooper In Egypt: 'Nobody Has Any Answers For What's Going To Happen Here'
Cooper said he did not know when he would leave Egypt. "I'm not even sure how to get out at this point." Anderson Cooper: STILL A BADASS.
If Twitter is your thing:
@AJELive, Al Jazeera's feed
@beleidy, freelance writer in Cairo
@monasosh, Egyptian blogger
@TheReal_Mubarak, for big lulz
And in case you somehow haven't seen it yet, or have not seen the big, beautiful version:
(click for very big)