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Hosni Mubarak

  • In Cairo, a demoralizing spectacle

    This time 'people power' returned Egypt to the Mubarak era, only worse. Since I spend most of my writing time denouncing the Israeli public for its rotten political inclinations, I think I have the right to call it as I see it about the Egyptian public, which has really put on a show these last few days. One of the polite hypocrisies of democratic society is that the public, in any country, is fundamentally good, that it wants good things, that it’s entitled to have what it wants, and that when masses of people are suffering and crying out for…

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  • Postcards from Tahrir: 'No freedom, bread or social justice'

    As Egypt’s currency continues to fall and the IMF strings for a bailout package that will end fuel and food subsides, popular anger has turned on the country's first democratically elected president. Now, out on the streets of Cairo, protesters are being confronted by the same forces they fought in order to overthrow Mubarak in 2011. By Jesse Rosenfeld CAIRO – Concrete walls have replaced the barbwire at the end of my street, sealing off the banks, the Parliament and western embassies from the rest of Cairo’s downtown. With nothing but lines of riot police and armored vehicles filling the concrete cordon,…

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  • A matter of choice: Why optimism is integral to anti-occupation activism

    Often times pessimism is caused by choosing to remain a spectator, and pretending to remain powerless instead of taking responsibility and deciding to act according to what one believes. But what does this mean, and how do you do it? By Tom Pessah In a recent +972 post, Noam Sheizaf wrote that “there is something extremely grotesque – for lack of a better word – in hearing Israelis (or Zionists) explaining that the effort to end the occupation is simply not working, or beginning to seem pointless. Israelis are in power. They can end the occupation with a simple decision.…

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  • The new Egypt - not so 'dark' after all

    Despite the way it has been depicted in popular Israeli newspapers, the election of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for president was less a vote for Islamism than a vote against dictatorship. Since the glory of the Tahrir revolt last January and February, things in Egypt have seemed to go downhill. The young secular idealists who started the protests were displaced by Islamists as leaders of the new Egypt starting the day after Mubarak resigned. Mob violence, including gang rapes, started happening in Tahrir. Bloody soccer riots, burning of Coptic churches, and a parliamentary election in which a more  radical Islamist party finished second to the Muslim Brotherhood - the news from Egypt has not…

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  • Mubarak, a dictator for hire as next Israeli president

    Yesterday was a historic day for the Egyptian people, as they turned the final page of the "court case of the century." Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison, marking a precedent in the Middle East. Some Egyptians were hoping that Mubarak would receive a death sentence for his role in the murder of protesters; others believed he was too old to be put to death. But in Israel, the country that sent its former president, Moshe Katsav, to prison for rape, there seemed to be some sadness. Some believe that the Egyptians are ungrateful to…

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  • On Jewish fears of Egyptian anti-Semitism in the post-Mubarak era

    The Arab Spring presents a conundrum for many liberal Jews. As liberals they feel compelled to advocate self-determination over tyranny and democracy over dictatorship. But as Jews they worry that the Arab dictators, particularly Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, held down the lid on a seething Pandora’s Box of popular anti-Semitism. On the contrary, though, I would posit that anti-Semitism festered in Egypt as a result of Mubarak’s policies, and that it will naturally fade away if Egypt succeeds in making the transition to a more transparent, democratic society. When anti-regime activists attacked and burned the Israeli embassy in Cairo in September,…

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  • On Egypt and elsewhere: The Left's fatal flaw

    First of all, I've changed my mind about the point in my Saturday post that shocked people and got the most attention - that if I'd known last February that Islamists were going to democratically take over Egypt, I would have supported Mubarak instead of the protesters. Prodded to reconsider by a couple of commenters, I saw that this would have meant siding with the dictator's killers and torturers against a crowd of people risking their lives for freedom. No way.  So this is what I wrote in the comments on my post, and in the comments on the pseudonymous R.W. Al-Thahabi's eloquent response yesterday: (L)et’s say that instead of believing,…

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  • +972 People of the Year: Bloggers' picks

      One would be hard-pressed to name a dull year in the history of the Middle East, and 2011 was no exception. It shares its beginnings with a domino effect of popular protest, sparked in Tunisia, which would ultimately see the fall of regimes whose iron fists had been decades-old fixtures. Even Israelis suddenly seemed to share grievances with their neighbors, with hundreds of thousands joining the largest protest movement in the country’s history. But the hopes voiced in the streets of the world have been matched by crackdowns – notably in Syria, to this day – and diplomatic deterioration. Europe…

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  • Egypt: Soldiers planted flowers in Tahrir Square

    CAIRO -- Tahrir Square has been cleaned up. One day last week soldiers laid new turf in the central traffic island, and the next day they planted flowers. A day after that they erected a huge banner that confirmed the army's commitment to the people and the goals of the revolution, but when I returned two days later with my camera, the banner had already been removed. Instead, I saw young girls photographing each other as they posed in front of the flowers, seemingly oblivious to the roaring traffic as they enjoyed a bit of green in a city that…

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  • Removing the Mubarak name from public places

    Egypt is gradually entering the post-Mubarak era. Yesterday I photographed this route map on a Cairo subway: the name of Mubarak Station had been scratched out, and someone had scrawled over it the word "martyrs" in green ink. Since the January 25 revolution, this type of defacement has been a common sight in Cairo public places that were named for the deposed president and his family. Now it will be official: A Cairo court ruled today that the name of Hosni Mubarak and his wife, Suzanne, must be removed from all public places. By the way, I took the photo…

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  • Egypt: Revolution's benefits passed over factory workers

    Forty percent of Egyptians live below the poverty line; and many of them are factory workers like the ones in Shebin, a town two hours north of Cairo by car. Despite having played an active role in the events leading up to the deposing of Hosni Mubarak, they are still working full time for a wage that does not allow them "bread, dignity and freedom." It might be a long time before they feel the benefits of the revolution; and meantime, they could be the ones who suffer the most from Egypt's economic difficulties. SHEBIN, Egypt -- The town of…

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  • Eyes on the prize: A Palestinian analysis of the Egyptian revolution

    When the Egyptian people went to the streets to demand their freedom, they stuck to one message: Mubarak must go and the regime must fall. By keeping their eyes on the prize, the protesters succeeded in achieving their goal. What lessons can the Palestinian people learn from the Egyptian revolution? By Maath Musleh Like most Palestinians, I was glued to the television screen during the unexpected uprising in Egypt. This did not feel like an Egyptian revolution; it felt like our revolution – the revolution of the Arab people, who have waited so long for their freedom. I watched the…

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  • The Egyptian revolution (as seen from a hotel room in Eilat)

    A simple weekend vacation in the south had some more meaning as the region was changing around us The magic of it all I happened to be in Eilat this weekend for a deserved rest as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was spending his last hours in Cairo. I was watching Fox News (that’s all they had - what can I do?) as the reporter suddenly heard the crowd at Tahrir square begin to roar. The roar was getting louder and louder, and nobody could figure out what was going on. Only a few minutes later, it was understood that the…

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