ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Mubarak

Jumping Ship And Provisional Governments.

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Apart from the chaos that’s going on in Libya, I noticed two bits which are telling.

Apparently, Gaddafi’s own private pilot has deserted:

“The pilot of Moammar Ghaddafi’s private jet, a Norwegian citizen, has been able to flee Libya with his family. They are now safe in Vienna after fearing for their lives in Libya.

57-year-old Odd Birger Johansen for the last year has been the pilot of the private jet of Colonel Ghaddafi. Until yesterday, he was in Tripoli, together with his wife and daughter that had chosen this unhappy moment to visit him for a holiday in Libya.

Yesterday, he spoke to the private Norwegian broadcaster ‘TV2’, saying he wanted to evacuate Libya as soon as possible. “Right now, the way I feel it, is that things are burning around me … and I don’t want to … I am not a hero, I will go home,” Mr Johansen told the broadcaster. “

Else where, they are setting up a provisional government:

“In eastern Libya, in the city of Bayda, a provisional government was being formed. The new leadership also is holding some Gadhafi loyalists hostage.

As the first Western journalists many of the residents of Bayda had ever seen were led into the meeting, the crowd gave a standing ovation — quickly followed by cries of “Freedom, Freedom!” and “Libya, Libya!”

This building had been a symbol of Gadhafi’s regime — where his revolutionary council would meet to discuss local affairs.

A new revolution was finding its voice in Bayda, and its fighters were vowing to end Gadhafi’s reign. Some people were crying, others pumping their fists in the air.

“Ordinary people, doctors, lawyers are talking about how we can coordinate with all other cities in Libya who are now under the protesters’ control,” says Ahmed Jibril, a former diplomat at the Libyan mission at the United Nations.

He says this is the beginning of a new government.

“We have a former minister of justice who just resigned three or four days ago,” Jibril says. “He’s among us and people agreed … he would be one of the people in control.” “

Update 1: Frank Gardner piece at the Beeb, Libya: Who is propping up Gaddafi is good.

What Now Libya?

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I am not sure what is *really* going to happen in Libya.

Will the popular uprising be enough to overthrow Gaddafi?

Or will he use his mercenaries to retake Tripoli, and then other cities?

How can unarmed civilians stand up against the paid murderers under Gaddafi’s control?

Will the Army units be enough to support the people’s revolt? I hope so, but the picture is unclear and Gaddafi is one murderous dictator who will do anything to stay in power.

Libya: Some Round Up.

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[I have made the post sticky and will update things as events change in and around Libya. Newer posts will appear below this one for the time being.]

Was away at the weekend and didn’t follow the news at all, so events in Libya have caught me on the back foot.

Nevertheless, here’s a bit of a round up from those in the know, all very subjective and incomplete:

Nick Griffin and Colonel Gaddafi, weird, but then they did share the same pet hate at one time in life, if you think about it.

Terry Glavin on that Libyan Slave Revolt.

Salon has a primer on Libya, with this revealing photo of Mubarak and Moammar Gadhafi holding hands:

Comrade Dave looks at the Libya crackdown: the trajectory of Brother Gaddafi.

From December 2010, Hugo Chavez and the gift from Muammar Gaddafi.

From the Don’t vote BNP channel on YouTube, more on Nick Griffin and the Libyan connection:

Over at the Guardian, WikiLeaks cables: A guide to Gaddafi’s ‘famously fractious’ family. This is the bottom line:

“Like all the Gaddafi children and favourites is supposed to have income streams from the national oil company and oil services subsidiaries.”

This is superb, Mapping Violence Against Pro-Democracy Protests in Libya, a Google map of the on-going events in Libya.

Marko Attila Hoare reminds us of how money talks in academia, Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi and the London School of Economics.

Kellie Strøm takes a wider perspective, Revolution Overload.

CNN has a breaking news feed from Libya.

Finally, thanks to Graham Lloyd, here’s “The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff.

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It is More Than Mubarak.

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The problems of Egypt go beyond a single President or his VP.

And the rot goes much deeper, just considering two aspects should make that clear, State violence and economic power.

Violence against ordinary Egyptians has been a fact of life from before the time of Sadat’s repression in the 1970s/80s. There have been decades of violence, censorship and State interference. Most economic changes since the 1970s have benefited a very small minority of rich Egyptian families, the military, security services and their allies.

Fixing Egypt, and offering ordinary Egyptians a taste of freedom and more importantly a degree of financial security, is going to be very difficult.

I do not see it succeeding without a real and concious process of wealth distribution, from the corrupt elites to the people of Egypt.

That necessary change seems unlikely to occur.

For the moment the army is in charge, they have a conflicted role. On the one hand as instruments of change and on the other, how they propped up Mubarak’s repressive regime.

We should not forget they were the major backers of Mubarak and without them he could not rule.

So the question is, what now and will the Army manage to bring in any real change?

I am not so sure, as the vested interests in the ruling clique are against real reform, against real change.

They might usher in a new constitution with all of the trappings of bourgeois democracy, even initiate the first proper elections for over 60 years, but will that be sufficient?

The deep seated problems of Egypt go further than elections: endemic corruption, a lack of development, an almost non-existent welfare state and infrastructure, and generational poverty are just a few of those tangible issues that have to be dealt with.

Mubarak is history, and not before time, but let us wish Egyptians good luck with their struggles, the real problems facing Egyptians are ahead.

Written by modernityblog

13/02/2011 at 19:15

Mubarak: Can’t Take A Hint.

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Hosni Mubarak like so many with power, can’t give it up and certainly can’t take a hint, from the Egyptian people.

He is hoping the longer he holds on, that the greater the chance of the protests dissipating and him being able to fiddle the elections in September, as he and the ruling regime have done for decades.

I imagine that his stubbornness will only invigorate those that have sensed the taste of freedom, without the 30 years of his dictatorship and the emergency powers.

Hosni Mubarak is clearly worried that once he leaves the Presidency he’ll be fair game and liable for assassination, as often happens with dictators and despots, but there’s a broader picture here because in many ways he is a figurehead for a wider regime with corruption and repression embedded in it.

Those factors and the dire economic circumstances faced by so many Egyptians fuel the protests.

The sooner that the Egyptians are rid of Mubarak and his henchmen the better, the sooner ordinary Egyptians can live without the threat of jail, a beating or lifelong poverty the better.

Go Mubarak, go now.

Update 1: Kellie has more.

Revolt, Reaction And Mubarak.

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Eight days into the revolt in Egypt and we are seeing Mubarak marshal his forces against the peaceful protesters.

Mubarak and his clique were caught off guard by the speed and vigour of the uprising against their corrupt rule, initially they were unsure what to do and just employed the Interior Ministry troops.

They were insufficient and thankfully overwhelmed, so then the military came into view, but again they were unsure precisely which side to commit to.

Mubarak has been pressurised both internally and externally, yet he’s not buckling, he’s clinging to power as best he can. He doesn’t want to go.

Mubarak assumes he can’t fully rely on the army, so he has brought in members of his party, the NDP and bolstered by those who benefited from his misrule they are now mounting the reaction that we see on TV.

Mubarak’s probable calculation is that they will be sufficient to cower the people’s revolt in Egypt, allow him to employe the Interior Ministry troops again and maybe the Army (despite their promises), and hold on.

The violence, instigated by Mubarak’s supporters, could give him a pretext for a clampdown, a violent and bloody one. He’s not held on to power for 30 years to give it up overnight and it would be naive to think that he would, he will cling on to the end.

But whatever happens Mubarak must go.

Written by modernityblog

02/02/2011 at 20:20

Mubarak Must Go.

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The sight of elderly politicians clinging on to power is not a pretty one.

Mubarak still thinks he can make it, at least until September 2011.

But the departure of his regime with all its brutality, corruption and contempt for ordinary Egyptians is long overdue, 30 years too late.

Mubarak must go.

Written by modernityblog

02/02/2011 at 00:28

Egypt, What Will Happen Next?

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In the West there is plenty of analysis of the situation in Egypt, what’s happening now, what could happen in the near future, who might take over etc

But the truth is no one knows, as with most major world events, ie. the fall of the Eastern bloc.

Sometime down the line, things will settle and ex post facto rationalisations will become the order of the day, borne out, frequently, by the contemporary agendas that are at play.

Still, we would be foolish not to admit how contingent history is.

How a simple action here or there could have changed the order of things. How a trivial mistake by one party or another could have lead to a completely different outcome. That type of thinking tends to get lost after the events when we try to make sense of things, and there is an unfortunate tendency to indulge in post hoc ergo propter hoc.

We all do it, to some degree, but it is more common amongst politicos and politicians, and those who have an agenda to push.

But we shouldn’t forget that, at the moment, no one really knows anything, and despite what will happen, the post rationalisations to come, we are all scrambling around in the dark.

That is not to say that serious researchers in the future might be able to provide insights into the events and the people concerned, however, that seems unlikely in the short-term.

So here is a subjective selection of the thoughts of others.
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Written by modernityblog

01/02/2011 at 04:13

On Egypt.

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Labourstart has a good news feed on events in Egypt.

Now Unions have joined in it seems just a matter of time before Mubarak goes.

It is apparent that Mubarak appointed a Vice President in the hope that should he be thrown out, his successor would look after him. Mubarak’s son has fled and so he saw the writing on the wall.

I suppose it just a case of where will Mubarak go? Saudi Arabia? Or London (maybe even Paris, it seems very popular with rich dictators and their families).

Good riddance.

And when he does go it should be amusing to see how Western governments fall over themselves to explain away their decades long support for Mubarak’s dictatorship with materials, armaments and masses of money.

Update 1: In spite of a communication blackout ordinary Egyptians are managing to use old (and newer) technologies to get around the government clampdown, as IT News reports:

“Egyptian activists have relied on landlines and amateur radios to communicate since the country’s internet connections were severed on Friday.

Despite network shutdowns and nationwide curfews, demonstrators continued to rally against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Mubarak’s government appeared to have ordered the cessation of mobile and internet services last week, as online activists rallied supporters for a major demonstration on Friday.

To date, at least 125 people have been killed in violent protests across the nation. Sixty-eight were reportedly killed on Friday.

Besides the well-resourced few with direct satellite links to the internet, a majority of Egyptians remained offline.

Others were using services like Speak To Tweet, Jan25 Voices and amateur radio channels to communicate with the outside world.

Global net activist group, Telecomix, said its amateur radio efforts were aimed at “[carrying] health and welfare traffic from Egypt in the face of [a] total communications blackout”.

“Internet [not] working, police cars [burning],” the group received in Morse code on Friday.

On Saturday morning, it received the description: “dark skies, bloody [moon]”. “Everything is happening, everything we thought,” another message read.

Telecomix also compiled a list of 56kbps dial-up details that could be used to reach internet service providers in Norway, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the US. “

Written by modernityblog

30/01/2011 at 23:05

The Last Days Of A Dictatorship.

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The pent-up rage, economic and social frustrations are coming out in Egypt, and understandably so.

They have suffered under Mubarak’s legalise dictatorship since 1981.

Economically, Egypt is backward and suffers from high unemployment.

Socially, there are many problems.

And dissent is not tolerated, as Egyptian bloggers have found out.

Still, with the breadth and nature of the uprising in Egypt I feel that Mubarak’s days are numbered and about time too. His regime has been kept in power by fiddled elections, police brutality, State repression, and the compliance and support of the West.

He’s clinging on to power furiously, as he knows the fate of many ex-dictators is to be shot.

But Mubarak could probably borrow a nice comfortable villa from his fellow despots in Saudi Arabia, and while out the rest of his life, there as others have done.

Written by modernityblog

28/01/2011 at 22:36