Events unfolding in Egypt have gripped the attention of people all around the world. The writing is clearly on the wall for the US-backed dictator Mubarak.
Oddly enough, I was just watching a documentary on the last days of the Marcos regime (US-backed too) and there are some uncanny similarities. The United States only withdrew support for Marcos in the last minute when confronted with a huge display of People Power. The US government unceremoniously whisked him away to a safe haven in Hawaii. He thus escaped from justice and the wrath of the people of the Philippines.
It is also interesting to see that some of the looters, arsonists and ‘rioters’ are suspected to be police or other security personnel. (Robert Fisk provides an eye-witness account in ZNet.) If that’s true, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise as such ‘black ops’ tactics among security apparatus, not to mention agents provocateurs, are standard fare aimed at discrediting the protesters in the eyes of the rest of the public, who may be wavering or undecided. One activist interviewed over Aljazeera alleged that vigilantes had caught a looter(s) with a police ID(s) on him(them).
One popular tweet going around reads: “‘Egyptian Christians said they will guard the Muslims from the police while they on Friday Pray.’ Amazing solidarity.”
Independent journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy told Democracy NOW!:
And people here in Egypt can draw parallels between Ben Ali and Mubarak. We don’t have only one Ben Ali in the Arab world; we have 22 Ben Alis, and they all need to go. And the chants yesterday that the people were chanting in Cairo and in the provinces were very similar to the chants that our Tunisian brothers and sisters have been chanting over the past few weeks in their uprising.
In a knee-jerk reaction, the Mubarak regime closed the Aljazeera station in Cairo, but that hasn’t stopped Aljazeera from beaming live visuals of what is happening in the heart of Cairo. But what is less well known is that Aljazeera is blacked out across most of the United States as well, reports the Huffington Post. But you can still access their site on the web.
It goes to show that in this age of new media, it is pointless to attempt to control media freedom – just like they did when there were attempts to pull the plug off Wikileaks. People will always find ways and means of circumventing such stone-age attempts at repression.