On the Kasr Al Nile bridge : Egyptian Imagary of Change (updated)

Posted: January 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

On the Kasr Al Nile bridge

(update I, II, and III below)

Looking at Egypt today, as the world thinks once more about this interesting and continuing civilization.

Mubarak’s promise on Friday night to implement reforms in Egypt did little to appease protesters, who defied another government-imposed curfew and took to the streets once more.

Here is the bandwidth heavy but great: Al Jeezera English Live Stream. Follow events in real time.

Update I:

Things to keep in mind: David Degner talks about photographs he has taken of the uprising and demonstrations in Egypt.  One insight is that, once again, the “documentary  photograph” never replicates the supposed reality of the event, “What I’ve never liked about photos of protests here in Egypt is that they give a false image. The government actually plays it up. It lets the protesters give a little show — they let a group of maybe fifty people protest freely in a particular spot and the police form a ring around them and won’t let anybody else come in — except the photographers get to move in and out easily. So it creates a false sense of the freedom to demonstrate […]

“So, what is so significant about the photo from Wednesday is that it possibly represents the last vestige of the old paradigm, of the exploitative tactics with policemen in a circle letting a show of protest go on. As of now, that system is gone. You do have to walk around the tanks to get into Tahrir Square right now, but once you’re in, it’s a free game. You can say anything you want. You can lead chants. It’s completely different.”

Mubarak says he will step down as, but not just yet.  The crowd one location reacts:

The crowd had rigged up a huge screen to show al-Jazeera. Mubarak’s speech was broadcast live. As he announced that he would not be standing for another term, the rally exploded in anger.

The screen was pelted with bottles and the cry “Irhal, irhal” went up repeatedly: “Leave, leave”. It was taken up by the hundred thousand people who thronged Tahrir Square. At one point demonstrators held up their shoes to the screen – an insulting gesture in Arab culture.

None of them were appeased by Mubarak’s announcement. If anything, they were emboldened to step up their protests and to push their demands further. Many were saying that not only must Mubarak leave immediately but that the whole of his National Democratic party regime had to go and should be put on trial.

“If he’s here until September then so are we,” said Amr Gharbeia, an activist who is camping out in the square.

“Perhaps this would have been enough to appease people a few days ago but it’s much too late now. He has to leave and he has to leave today,” added Ibraheem Kabeel, a 26-year-old physician. …

“Mubarak will go down in Egyptian history as the president who ordered security forces to fire live bullets into the bodies of his sons and daughters. There’s no way back from that.”

Some twitter feed sites to follow what is unfolding:

Twitter of Arab related sources, and specifically Arab twitters on the subject.

Update II:

Miriam over at Feministing lets us in on the role of women in the Egyptian protests, with a photo diary link. If you want to follow what’s happening in Egypt from a feminist perspective, Mona Eltahawy is your woman. Jezebel has a great feature about Mona, and you can follow her on her site and on twitter. You might also recognize her from all the US media appearances she’s been making this past week.

Kiss at Egyptian protest

She’s a vocal Muslim feminist. A recent quote from her about this role:

She recently wrote, “To be a Muslim and a feminist is to stand in the crossfire and yell “Shut the f**k up!” to everyone around you because you know that anything you say can and will be used against you by everyone.”

Update III,

This is 26-year-old Asmaa Mahfouz of Egypt making a salient case for populace resistance and the notion of popular action.

“Whoever says women shouldn’t go to the protests because they will get beaten, let him have some honor and manhood and come with me on January 25th. They don’t even have to go to Tahrir Square, just go anywhere and say it: that we are free human beings.”

“Sitting home and just following us on news or on Facebook leads to our humiliation — it leads to my humiliation!,”

“If you have honor and dignity as a man, come and protect me, and other girls in the protest. if you stay home, you deserve what’s being done to you, and you will be guilty before your nation and your people. Go down to the street, send SMSes, post it on the internet, make people aware.”

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