Friday, February 4, 2011

Egypt: Day of Departure

Violence has reached a fever pitch in Egypt, with 500,000 (in a city of 4 million) flooding the streets in Alexandria and over 2 million choking downtown Cairo.

Journalists have started fleeing the country.  Brian Williams and Katie Couric have already flown out, while the normally intrepid Anderson Cooper is broadcasting from his laptop from an undisclosed location.  "I'm a little bit scared," he admits, and boy howdy I don't blame him.  It seems that international journalists are being ousted from covering the unrest in Egypt, and he would do well to hide from the violence.

Today is a huge day for anti-Mubarak protesters.  It has been dubbed "The Day of Departure," the day when the nation comes together to demand that Hosni Mubarak relinquish his grip on power.  With Joe Biden calling the Vice President Suleiman and Mubarak being contacted by Barack Obama, it appears that international support for the autocrat has dissipated-- now even his ally, the United States, is urging him to step down.  How can he last the day with his office intact?  It doesn't seem likely, and we may be on the verge of seeing a 30-year dictator toppled from his seat.

Far from the victory we thought had mollified the masses in Egypt days ago, Mubarak's promise to not seek re-election was not enough.  Now, the world watches breathless, and damn, this is fucking exciting.

Sultan Al-Qassemi, who has live-tweeted an emotional story telling of a country shrugging off it's oppressors, says that the protests have crossed cultures and religions, with both Muslims and Christians joining in shouting "Down, down, with Mubarak."

I'm watching the live coverage on Al-Jazeera English, and I can say that the crowds shouting in unison is one of the most amazing, powerful things I have ever seen in my life-- and I've witnessed the fall of a government. I've seen an Arab country reinvent itself.  This... this is amazing.  This is the most populous nation of the Arab world discovering that democracy equals the voice of the people-- wow.

If you're awake right now, watch here:


1 comment:

  1. How the "world" has changed with the rise of Al-Jazeera, a nearly singular news entity that wields more power in he M.E. than most Americans realize.

    I'm pining my hope on the power of the Egyptian people and their hunger for freedom; big ups to their desire for a truly democratic government.

    The world should make sure their voices aren't lost and muddled down in the throes of sectarian bitchery.