Regardless of the outcome of events in Egypt, for Arabs, psychologically and symbolically, this is their Berlin Wall moment. They are on the brink of a democratic wave similar to the one that swept through Eastern Europe more than 20 years ago, hastening the Soviet Union’s collapse. The Arab intifada has put to rest the claim that Islam and Muslims are incompatible with democracy. The democratic virus is mutating and will probably give birth to a new language – and a new era – of politics in the Arab world. Fawaz A. Gerges is a Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
This event was recorded on 24 February 2011 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building. It was chaired by Dr Maha Azzam.
This is as good as talk radio gets. Our friend, the great Phil Weiss on Radio Open Source with Chris Lydon to discuss the implications of the Arab revolt and the changing discourse in the American Jewish community.
Information is power and in the age of the information revolution, cyber and satellite communication is transforming our lives, reinventing the relationship between people and power. New media, from WikiLeaks to Facebook, Twitter to YouTube, is persistently challenging the traditional flow of information, and cyber disobedience is exposing powerful governments. Websites are now being treated like hostile territories; whistleblowers and leakers as terrorists, and hackers as insurgents. Governments are scrambling to salvage their influence and take advantage of the new cyber and satellite media. From China to the Sudan, Egypt to Iran, despots and armies are tracking web activity and setting up Facebook accounts to spy on their citizens. So is this the century of free information and expression as the cyber utopians predicted, or new methods of electronic oppression as the cyber sceptics warned?
The revolt in the Arab world is not merely against a resident dictator but a worldwide economic tyranny designed by the US Treasury and imposed by the US Agency for International Development, the IMF and World Bank, which have ensured that rich countries like Egypt are reduced to vast sweatshops, with half the population earning less than $2 a day. The people’s triumph in Cairo was the first blow against what Benito Mussolini called corporatism, a word that appears in his definition of fascism.”
The article begins with Pilger’s 2003 interview with former elite CIA officer Ray McGovern. McGovern responds to Pilger’s question about Norman Mailer‘s assertion that America has entered a pre-fascist state:
Well … I hope he’s right, because there are others saying we are already in a fascist mode.”
I am in Tripoli, on the 24th February at 1pm. As I heard in the news this morning that Zawiya city is under attack, I called my friend in Zawiya to check. He confirmed to me that Zawiya city has been under ruthless and continuous attack since last night at around 2am. He also reported that around 8am there was very heavy gunfire and the sound of exploding bombs. He told me he was terrified because the gunfire didn’t stop the whole night. (An eye witness told al-Jazeera that at least 100 people have been killed in Zawiya this morning).
Minutes after my call with my friend, I received confirmed news that Misurata is under attack too by the so-called security forces, and a little girl along with many other injured people were brought to Misurata hospital.
At 2am I hear gunfire and screaming coming from far. Hours later, I heard that a woman was randomly shot by ‘security forces’ while she was standing by her window in an area called Zawiyat Adahmani, which is near the area of Ben Ashour, where I live.
Last night there were big celebrations around the streets and mainly in Green Square by the thug’s supporters (when 2 days ago almost 1000 martyrs were brutally killed). Following his threatening speech, anyone who walks in the streets of Tripoli by night will be cleared (killed) right away- exactly as he said. Right after the celebrations, non-Libyan mercenaries and some black Libyans (from the south) belonging to ‘kitaib khamis‘ (the Khamis Qaddafi Brigade) were spread all around Tripoli (there is a video taken proves mercenaries driving around the area of Fashloom- at least 8 open cars).
Our informant in Tripoli, last I heard, was at home, terrified, trying her best to remain calm amid the sound of heavy gunfire.
Tripoli isveryhotly contested. Reports suggest eastern Libya, meanwhile, has become an anarchist’s paradise. Benghazi, Tobruk, al-Bayda and smaller towns and villages are in the hands of the people and revolutionary soldiers. Committees have been formed for neighbourhood protection, rubbish collection and traffic direction. The mood is peaceful, triumphant and fearless. Two war planes have been landed in Benghazi by pilots who refuse to bomb the people. Another crashed outside the city after its pilots parachuted out. Today the city of Misurata, in the west, has also been liberated.
Qaddafi’s regime has already collapsed. The army in Misurata, and in the Jebel al-Akhdar region, has joined the people. A statement by high-ranking officers asks all military personnel to head to Tripoli to remove Qaddafi. The Interior Minister and the Justice Minister have resigned, as have many diplomats. All prominent Libyan tribal and religious leaders have backed the revolution. At least a quarter of the country’s oil output has halted; a tribal leader in the east threatened to stop supplies to Europe if Qaddafi continued to kill – and indeed the pipeline to Italy is now dry.