Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to Egypt

Here's a rather long article recapping some of the pivotal events and people in Egypt's revolution, or at least the opening round of it.

Behind the barricades: How Egypt was won

And a sample of what you'll read:
"Protesters in the Arab world's most populous country no longer occupy the streets. But as Mohammed tried to make clear to anyone who would listen, the revolution is far from secure.

The military ousted Mubarak on Feb. 11 after pro-democracy protests crippled the country's economy and grew larger by the day.

The same generals who long supported the former president now promise democratic reforms. But with 100 protesters still detained in military camps, and another 50 missing, many question the sincerity of a military that has backed autocrats since generals overthrew the monarchy in 1952.

The tens of thousands who made up the state apparatus of repression are keeping a low profile. It's unclear how they'll react, however, if a future civilian government tries to bring some to trial.

The generals have so far been reassuring. The most concrete step has been the military's appointment on Tuesday of a panel to revise the constitution. It's headed by a retired judge, Tarek el-Bishri, known as a critic of Mubarak's regime, and includes a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, long banned as a terrorist organization.

The panel is on a fast track to limit the number of terms a president can serve, to establish judicial oversight of elections, and to abolish the state of emergency, which allows detention without charges."
"Meanwhile, the informal youth network that propelled the uprising through Facebook pages has been meeting with an assortment of long-marginalized or fledgling political parties to hammer out a common position for the transition to democracy.

The meetings, with about 200 people, have been raucous affairs.

“There's a lot of shouting, and a lot of people being told to shut up,” says Ahmed Salah, a key organizer in the Internet movement.

In these and other talks, the Muslim Brotherhood is on its best behaviour. It's the best organized group in the country but was slow to join the uprising. In a bid to ease concerns of an Islamist takeover, it says it won't run a candidate for president and will only contest about a fifth of the seats in parliamentary elections.

What all agree on is the historic achievement of even this unfinished revolution. Removing an 82-year-old president responsible for a military-backed police state was no small feat.

Six decades of rule by military-backed strongmen — not to mention a history of colonial powers, sultanates, dynasties and pharaohs — developed a lethargic acceptance of widespread corruption and stunted futures, with 40 per cent of the population living on less than $2 a day.
Good luck folks. You're asking a lot, but you might just surprise us all.
"Egypt is a diplomatic heavyweight in the Arab world. Its young were inspired by the toppling of Tunisia's dictator on Jan. 14. But it is Egypt's revolt, more than Tunisia's, that has placed autocratic Arab regimes on notice.

The anatomy of Egypt's uprising indicates they have good reason to be afraid.

If there is a face to Egypt's revolt, it is printed on a white pillow that Laila Said can't seem to put down. It's the thin face of her son, Khaled, who witnesses say was dragged out of an Internet café last June and beaten to death by two plainclothes policemen.

“I see him among the people in Tahrir Square,” says Said, 67, sitting in her daughter's marble-floored penthouse condo in Cairo. “I think his death inspired many of them.”"
Be sure to read the whole thing....and don't be surprised if a Libyan version of Khaled Said or Neda Soltan appears.

In the meantime, I await with bated breath the results of Judge Tarek el-Bishr's panel's deliberations.

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