Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23,2011 06:15
The Muslim Brotherhood is delighted with the triumph of the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples in their battle to restore freedom, honor and dignity, and at the same time their hearts are bleeding and they are angered by the barbaric and inhumane crack downs on people's peaceful demonstrations by the state police in Libya as the people are demanding to have the right of self-determination, live a decent life and change Gaddafi's dictatorial regime that has been ruling for 42 years.
This hideous totalitarian regime whose code of ethics is built around cruelty, power, and lying, has ordered its troops to kill people in the streets by using live ammunition and heavy military equipment such as anti-tank missiles. Qaddafi's regime has succeeded in 40 years to silence any voices that may dare criticize him and his policies, as well as any voices calling for a real country of institutions rather than the dictatorial forms Qaddafi invented.
His silencing policy followed all available paths and forms, starting with legal pursuit, through imprisonment and torture, and reaching the point of assassinations till people are not safe from each other. He was helped by Libya's huge oil revenues which he treated as his own wealth and granted himself many titles such as dean of the Arab leaders, king of Africa's kings and Imam of the Muslims.
This totalitarian system turned Libya into the abyss of underdevelopment and corruption. Qaddafi's first step was to tighten his grip on the state and undermine democracy and freedom but today people dusted off their fear and showed false slogans of misleading the Revolutionary Leadership Council.
Libyans took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations faced by the use of excessive force, as he wanted to take the people's focus away from his dictatorship and exterminate them so that the idol remains in power.
The Libyan regime's attempt to block out media, tighten its grip on SMS messages and Internet browsing, and prevent journalists from airing his use of military aircraft against the protestors must be exposed as was did with his predecessors in Tunisia and Egypt.
The Brothers emphasize that rivers of blood flow in Libyan streets and the life of those who are murdered in the Way of Allâh will be a curse on the regime and its helpers. O heroes of Libya's uprising! Continue to make sacrifices to get ride of injustice and tyranny.
The MB calls upon the League of Arab States, the United Nations, Al-Azhar, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Federation of Muslim Scholars, world's parliaments, human rights organizations, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent and the world's free people to quickly intervene to stop Gaddafi's atrocities and heinous crimes committed in Libya.
Comment: Oh Allah grant success to the Libyan people protesting for the their basic right and let Gaddafi step down as soon as possible.
In a recent interview with Today’s Zaman former IAEA chief Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that he did not see the Muslim Brotherhood Egypt’s popular opposition as a radical organization as portrayed in the West stressing that elections conducted before the establishment of democratic institutions in the country would only benefit the party in power.
Talking about the latest developments in Egypt, ElBaradei ascertained that it was imperative that the elections be held in one year’s time, rather than six months. He noted that regimes in Egypt have so far been sustained with military backing, adding that those retiring from the army have either been made governors and directors general, or assumed important posts in ministries.
According to the Noble peace prize laureate democracy is not just a matter of going to the ballot box, adding stressing that any election that comes before or without the existence of democratic institutions can only serve the interests of the governing political party.
He stated that no party is prepared or formally structured for the elections to be held in September.
He expressed his belief that the MB would not be able to gain more than 20-25 percent of the vote; he said that it could in no way be regarded as radical.
He defended the MB confirming that the group would always reject the use of arms and would remain loyal to democracy, emphasising that the organization’s initial struggle was not religious, but completely political.
Wednesday, February 23,2011 21:40
Ketatni also a member of the group’s Executive Bureau is also a university professor, and is generally regarded as a pragmatist. He is also a prominent advocate of the Brotherhood's participation in formal politics.
The Muslim Brotherhood has announced that it has named Dr. Saad Ketatni, former head of the Brotherhood's parliamentary bloc, as the leader of the founders of its Freedom and Justice Party.
Comment: May Allah grant NEW EGYPT with freedom and justice.
Perkara itu diakui Najib dan rakan sejawatnya, Recep Tayyip Erdogan ketika mengadakan pertemuan kira-kira dua jam di Pejabat Perdana Menteri Turki itu, di sini kelmarin….
Ulasan: Turki sudah awal-awal lagi mengisytiharkan 2011 Tahun Pilihanraya. Tapi Malaysia, bila lagi?
Pemilik sebuah restoran mendakwa kuali itu tidak lagi digunakan tetapi alasan terbabit gagal melepaskan dirinya daripada dikenakan tindakan tegas bahagian penguat kuasa Majlis Perbandaran Klang (MPK).
Sentral yang mengikuti operasi bersama Pusat Kesihatan Daerah (PKD) Klang diketuai Pemangku Timbalan Pengarah Kesihatan MPK, Amran Jali mendapati kebanyakan premis yang digempur pasukan penguat kuasa itu kotor dan berbau meloyakan.Dalam operasi bulanan itu, pasukan berkenaan turut menemui mi goreng yang sudah basi disimpan di bawah rak makanan dan boleh memudaratkan kesihatan jika ia dipanaskan dan dihidangkan semula kepada pelanggan.
Bagaimanapun, kebanyakan pelanggan terus menjamu selera di restoran terbabit seperti langsung tidak mengendahkan operasi yang sedang dijalankan.
Amran berkata, lapan premis yang diperiksa gagal mempamerkan tahap kebersihan sepatutnya di samping melakukan pelbagai kesalahan lain seperti tidak melabel jenis makanan dan pekerja memakai selipar.
"Kami sudah mengenal pasti kawasan ini sebelum mengadakan operasi. Kebanyakan restoran yang diperiksa didapati gagal menepati piawaian kebersihan seperti ditetapkan, antaranya tong sampah tidak ditutup dan lantai kotor.
Ulasan: Makanlah masakan isteri dan emak di rumah. Lebih meyakinkan. Halal lagi bersih.
Timbalan Ketua Pemuda UMNO, Datuk Razali Ibrahim, berkata isu yang sering dimainkan pembangkang untuk meraih undi simpati termasuk mempersoalkan kehidupan serta hala tuju pembangunan generasi kedua dan ketiga tanah rancangan FELDA yang dilaksanakan kerajaan…
Rakyat perlu bijak nilai pembangkang
BEKENU: Parti pembangkang dari Semenanjung kini didapati cenderung untuk memesongkan pandangan rakyat Sarawak terhadap kerajaan negeri, dalam usaha menawan negeri ini pada pilihan raya negeri akan datang…
Ulasan: Berikan pengundi peluang mendengar hujah pembangkang. Dengar dan fakir. Dan rakyat juga perlu bijak menilai kerajaan yang ada. Rakyat ada hak untuk memilih yang terbaik.
ISTANBUL: Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak berkata pemimpin Libya Muammar Gaddafi tidak harus menggunakan kekerasan menangani tunjuk perasaan.
“Apa yang penting adalah bagi kita mengambil kira aspirasi rakyat... sistem pemerintahan haruslah sah, berdasarkan sokongan diberikan rakyat.
Perdana Menteri tidak bimbang kemungkinan Malaysia berdepan dengan pemberontakan.
Beliau berkata, pilihan raya di Malaysia diadakan secara bebas dan adil dan kerajaan semakin menikmati sokongan yang meningkat….
Ulasan: Sila tanya parti pembangkang kerana mereka berdepan dengan segala peraturan pilihanraya yang ada. Tuntutan Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih) 2007 sudah diambilkira dan dilaksanakan?
CHICAGO: Tempoh 50 minit untuk bercakap menerusi telefon bimbit yang dilekapkan di telinga, sudah cukup bagi menukar aktiviti sel otak yang paling hampir dengan antenanya.
Bagaimanapun, saintis di Institut Kesihatan Kebangsaan (NIH), berkata sama ada keadaan ini akan menyebabkan sebarang kerosakan belum dapat dipastikan.
Ia juga dijangka tidak dapat menyelesaikan kebimbangan dan andaian bahawa penggunaan telefon bimbit mempunyai kaitan dengan penyakit barah otak.
“Apa yang dapat kami lihat ialah metabolisme glukos meningkat di dalam otak seseorang yang terdedah dengan telefon bimbit dan paling ketara di bahagian yang paling hampir dengan antena telefon bimbit itu,” kata pakar NIH, Dr Nora Volkow. Penyelidikan beliau diterbitkan di Jurnal Persatuan Perubatan Amerika.
Kajian yang dijalankan bertujuan mengenal pasti reaksi otak terhadap medan elektromagnetik yang berpunca daripada isyarat telefon tanpa wayar.
Volkow berkata, beliau terkejut dengan bukti bahawa radiasi elektromagnetik yang lemah dari telefon bimbit boleh menjejaskan aktiviti otak, tetapi kajian itu tidak memberi jawapan sama ada penggunaan telefon bimbit menyebabkan barah.
“Kajian itu tidak memberi petunjuk sedemikian. Apa yang dilakukan kajian ini ialah untuk menunjukkan bahawa otak manusia adalah sensitif kepada radiasi elektromagnetik akibat penggunaan telefon bimbit.
Penggunaan telefon bimbit meningkat secara dramatik sejak peranti itu diperkenalkan pada awal hingga pertengahan 1980-an dan kini 5 bilion telefon bimbit digunakan di seluruh dunia.
Sesetengah kajian menga-itkan penggunaan telefon bimbit dengan peningkatan penyakit barah otak tetapi kajian yang dijalankan Pertubuhan Kesihatan Sedunia (WHO) tidak dapat memberi keputusan muktamad.
Pasukan Volkow membuat kajian ke atas 47 orang yang menjalani imbasan ketika telefon bimbit digunakan selama
Ulasan: Berhati-hatilah bila menggunakan telefon bimbit anda. Elakkan diri dari menjadi statistik.
TRIPOLI: Pemimpin Libya Muammar Gaddafi semakin tertekan semalam berikutan peletakan jawatan beberapa pegawai kanan, termasuk Menteri Dalam Negeri, Abdel Fattah Younes al-Abidi yang dianggap nombor dua di Libya.
Al-Abidi mengumumkan langkahnya untuk menyokong penunjuk perasaan ketika laporan menyatakan sehingga 1,000 orang terbunuh sejak bantahan tercetus 17 Februari lalu.
Sementara itu, penunjuk perasaan dengan bantuan anggota tentera yang berpaling tadah mendakwa menguasai bahagian timur Libya….
Ulasan: Bila rakyat menolakmu barulah tahu pentingnya ketaatan rakyat. Pemerintah sangat memerlukan sokongan daripada rakyat untuk terus berkuasa dengan adil. Semoga rakyat Libya menang dan Gaddafi letak jawatan cepat.
Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous is back from Egypt after several weeks reporting on the uprising against the U.S.-backed President Hosni Mubarak. “I find it amazing that the whole world watched Egypt do this," Kouddous says. “Egypt is exporting democracy to the United States.” [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: From Libya, we turn to Egypt, where the country’s top prosecutor has requested a freeze on Hosni Mubarak’s foreign assets. The freeze will apply to Mubarak, his family, a handful of top associates. The former Egyptian president is widely thought to have amassed a fortune during his nearly 30-year stay in power.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the military council in charge of Egypt announced a cabinet reshuffle in an apparent concession to pro-democracy activists. The changes in the cabinet are designed to reduce the power of Mubarak supporters, but the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s biggest opposition group, says the new cabinet shows that Mubarak’s loyalists still control the country’s politics. The reshuffle brought into the cabinet a few opposition figures, but key positions, including ministers of interior and defense, remain unchanged.
To bring us the update on developments in Egypt, we’re joined by Sharif Abdel Kouddous, senior producer here at Democracy Now! Sharif left New York in January. Yesterday he returned after a month reporting on the uprising in Egypt.
Sharif, it’s great to have you back in studio.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: It’s great to be here, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: I can now breathe a sigh of relief. The latest news we have out of Egypt right now is the Interior Ministry is on fire.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: That’s right. The reports are coming out that parts of the Interior Ministry are on fire. There was police protesting in front of the Interior Ministry. They’ve been doing this for the last few days. They are asking for better wages. They’re asking for work. What you’ve got to understand, the police is still not in Cairo. There’s no police force. And so, it’s unclear who set the fire. Some eyewitnesses have been reported as saying the police themselves set the fire. There’s a lot of records in the Interior Ministry, which are very important, which may be ablaze. So it’s unclear what’s happening.
Let’s remember, this is the same police force, part of the Egypt state security apparatus, the central security apparatus, that was numbering up to 300,000 or 400,000 people. It’s basically almost an army. And it was a lawless militia operating in Egypt to repress the population. And what we saw in this popular uprising was that this force became delegitimized. They were—people took on the state on the streets, and they won. They took the streets and they took Tahrir, and we saw very dramatic images from the 25th through the 28th. And it remains to be seen what’s going ahead. But the fact that Cairo and Egypt hasn’t descended into complete lawlessness, I think, is a testament to the Egyptian people. Can you imagine if, here in New York, if you removed the police force, what would happen? So, that’s the latest news.
In terms of the cabinet reshuffle, as you mentioned, they did put in some new ministers. Four of the key posts are still there, and that is the Interior, Defense, Justice and Foreign. So these are kind of the key posts. These are people that Mubarak put in in the first days. And, of course, the Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, is still the prime minister. And Ahmed Shafiq is the former head of Civil Aviation, the former minister of Civil Aviation, former commander in the Egyptian air force. Hosni Mubarak himself was the head of the Egyptian air force. Very close ties to Mubarak. So, a main call right now by the democracy movement is for Ahmed Shafiq to be replaced. And they see that a lot of this cabinet reshuffling has not changed much. Hosni Mubarak is in Sharm el-Sheikh. The people ruling the country right now is the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by Mohamed Tantawi. Tantawi is Mubarak’s guy. He—
AMY GOODMAN: Who they called "Mubarak’s poodle."
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: "Mubarak’s poodle" in the WikiLeaks cable. He has propped up and helped support the Mubarak government ever since it’s been in power. And so, we have to realize who these people are, who we’re being ruled by right now.
AMY GOODMAN: What happened to Omar Suleiman?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: I’m not sure. I don’t know where he is. But, I mean, the man was former head—the intelligence chief, very powerful. And we should—people are wondering what is going to happen next, and I think what everyone is focused on is that there was this huge and massive and amazing battle that was won, and that forced Mubarak to step down. Reform is and real democracy is still a long way off. The road is still long.
And what’s happening now, the next steps are this rewriting of the constitution—not rewriting it, rewriting several articles. So there’s a few issues with both the mandate and the composition of the committee that the Supreme Council appointed to amend the constitution. In terms of the composition of the committee, it’s an eight-member panel. It’s all men, so there’s no women on the committee. That’s a problem. It’s headed by Tariq al-Bishri, who was a critic of Mubarak, but a very conservative-leaning legal scholar. It’s also got a member of the Muslim Brotherhood on the panel. So, some are very concerned that there’s no women on the panel, that it’s conservative, and that there’s no Copts on the panel. Now, hundreds, if not thousands, of Copts have marched—
AMY GOODMAN: You mean C-O-P-T, Coptics.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Yeah, Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population. They are calling on—and this is not in the mandate right now—for Article 2 of the constitution to be removed. And Article 2 enshrines that Islamic law forms the basis of jurisprudence in Egypt, so Sharia law. So, this affects women’s rights, this effects legal rights, in a lot of different ways. So they’re arguing about that.
What the committee is looking at right now is a lot of these—the current constitution we have was formed under Anwar Sadat, the president before Mubarak. It was amended three times since then: 1980, 2005 and 2007. The articles that they’re looking at are these latest changes in 2005 and 2007, which really expanded presidential power, consolidated presidential power, made it almost impossible to form an opposition party. You needed something like two-thirds of the People’s Assembly to approve a new party. People’s Assembly is dominated by Mubarak’s party, so essentially what you’re saying is you need the ruling party to approve the opposition—also presidential term limits, things like this. So, they’re looking at all of this, and it’s supposed to be coming out soon, and there’s going to be a national popular referendum on the changes within two months.
AMY GOODMAN: I wonder how significant this is. An hour ago, AP reported, Sharif, that a Coptic Christian priest has been killed in southern Egypt, triggering street demonstrations by several thousand Christians. The priest was found dead in his home. A fellow clergyman says his body had several stab wounds. He says neighbors reported seeing several masked men leaving the apartment. They were shouting, "God is great! Allahu akbar!" suggesting the killing was motivated by the divide between Egypt’s Muslims and its minority Coptic community. Who knows if that is true, but this is the latest reports.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, I mean, that’s an ominous development. This divide between Muslims and Christians was something that the Mubarak government really played upon. We saw some church bombings. It’s unclear who did them. But what the pro-democracy movement in Tahrir was very proud of was that they stuck together. You would see, when—especially after the attack by the baltaguia on Wednesday, anytime there was prayer, a lot of the Copts would protect the perimeter while Muslims prayed. They would always chant, "Muslim, Christian, we’re all Egyptian." You would see people marching with—holding a Quran and one holding a Bible, marching together. And so, they believe and many believe that this divide was something that was caused by the repression of Mubarak’s government, was fomented. They played upon it to divide people and to keep them apart.
And what was really amazing in Tahrir and amazing across Egypt was that it was true democracy playing out in Tahrir. This was what democracy was, right? If you let—if you removed all the lies of the Mubarak government that the Brotherhood will take over, if you removed all these lies that people hated each other. They managed, amazingly, to force Mubarak to step down in the face of so much violence and repression. You know, the government started by throwing the entire central security apparatus at them. That didn’t work. They tried removing the police force completely and trying this chaos. And we saw these neighborhood patrols pop up, which was really amazing. I mean, the first day, I remember walking home from Tahrir. I’m walking home, it’s completely dark, it’s after curfew at 6:00 p.m. And you’d see bunches of kind of young men, teens to early thirties, forties, standing there with pipes, some of them armed, talking to each other on cell phones to the next kind of patrol over, protecting their neighborhood from looters.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your brother.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, my entire family is in Egypt, with the exception of two of my brothers, who are here in the States. But my mother, my other brother, all my cousins, my grandmother, they’re all in Cairo. And so, when this first started, there was a lot of fears of looting and so forth. And I was walking around the district where I live in Zamalek, and I found my father standing underneath his building with a gun, and my younger brother, who’s 16 years old, standing with a shotgun and kind of a walkie-talkie, dressed in black.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re showing his photograph now.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Yeah, his name’s Tarek. And protecting his neighborhood. And, you know, it wasn’t kind of like a crazy situation, very calm, just checking cars that came through. And I think Zamalek and most of Cairo was never safer during this period. So, we’re seeing people like him and this new generation coming up and how this has affected them.
And while I keep saying the road is long to democracy in Egypt, I think—I have a lot of hope, because people have changed. There’s something that has changed in Egypt. You know, I grew up there. I left there when I was 18, and I go back frequently. You never see street protests. They’re very small. They’re outnumbered by many, many more police. People don’t discuss politics too much. And when I came back, something had changed. And I grew up, my whole life, it was Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. And when I came back, even before he stepped down, it wasn’t his anymore. People were fearless. They were determined. And what was very encouraging was seeing even the most depoliticized members of my family, friends, talking full-on in full-on political debate, discussing solutions. And this is what is needed for it to go forward. So—
AMY GOODMAN: Sharif, you come from a prominent Egyptian family. Your grandfather, the most famous writer in Egypt. Your great-grandmother, an Egyptian feminist, founded a newspaper, Rosa al Youssef. Your uncle, extremely prominent. Talk about him and what this has meant.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, my uncle is a—has been a writer and a journalist for many years. He’s the head of the Freedom Committee at the Press Syndicate. He’s also a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has been protesting alone for many years—well, not alone, but in a group of 10 to 15 people. We would always see him leave his building wearing his standard attire: in a suit holding his Egyptian flag and a megaphone. He was frequently arrested, sometimes beaten.
AMY GOODMAN: The famous pictures we would see here, Reuters, of him being dragged out of wherever.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Right, we’d see him on the news feed here, and he was arrested on the 25th, the first Day of Rage. And that photo of him being dragged away by five plainclothes police officers was shown around the world. Al Jazeera showed it many times. His strategy, he’s a very—I never realized this, but a very skilled practitioner of nonviolence. But he would just kind of go limp when they came to grab him. And in Tahrir, I would call him—when I saw him, all the people realized—they paid gratitude to him, because they realized that he was alone for so long, calling for this so long. People said, "You’re crazy to do this." But now everyone joined him. And if you walked in Tahrir—I used to joke. I called him Michael Jackson in Tahrir, because if you walked with him, people—he couldn’t go two meters without people coming up, shaking his hand, wanting to take pictures with him. And so, they appreciated his years of struggle. But now all of Egypt has joined.
And it was a movement that was sparked by the youth. They were the spark that kind of lit this fire. But it’s been smoldering for so long in Egypt. And really, the backbone of it was the labor movement. They are the most radical and have been the most fierce resisters to the Mubarak government for many years. And we’re seeing strikes across Egypt, across Cairo today. If you drive around Cairo, you’ll see—drive, like, even across a fancy hotel, you’ll see the hotel workers on strike. You drive past a bank, the bank workers are on strike. You drive past a sporting club, the people who work at the club are on strike. So, they’re demanding better wages. They’re demanding the removal of corrupt leaders. And the military has ominously warned against these strikes; however, they haven’t really done anything actively to suppress them. So, we’ll have to see what’s going to happen going forward, but I think there’s plenty that we can hope for.
AMY GOODMAN: What was it like for you to go with your uncle to the closed-down offices of the Muslim Brotherhood?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, their headquarters were closed in 1995, and by a military tribunal. And many of them were arrested. Hundreds of them were arrested.
AMY GOODMAN: They were banned in, what, 1952?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: They were banned by Nasser in 1954. Nasser was very, very repressive against them. Many were killed. And so have successive governments been against the Muslim Brotherhood. This is—you know, many people believed this line, they bought into this line, as did the United States, as did many governments around the world: Mubarak is the stalwart against the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt. We know this is a lie. This is—if you looked at what this uprising was—I was in Tahrir most of the time. I didn’t travel across Egypt. I was in Tahrir. I would say the Brotherhood was about 20 percent of Tahrir, and I think that’s what they are in the country, in terms of the support they have. They need a seat at the table. They need to be included, and they’re a part of Egypt. And so, to try and suppress them and stifle them will not help the situation at all.
I went with my uncle to—he reopened, for the first time, the headquarters since 1995. It was, for him, a very emotional moment. He said, "I was reborn here." It’s where a lot of teachings he has come to form part of his political and religious beliefs were made. But it was really surreal. I mean, it was just mountains of dust everywhere. The calendar said, you know, November 22nd, 1995. There was even, you know, like coffee cups with cigarettes stubbed out in them, as if they really—it was just a time capsule. But again, the Brotherhood is a part of Egypt. As someone who supports women’s rights and social rights and social justice, I don’t support the Brotherhood, but they need to be included in any political debate in Egypt, and they’re forming a political party.
AMY GOODMAN: And what they represent?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, they represent—they were founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1922. They’re a political, religious party. You know, they want Article 2 to remain in the constitution. They would never field a woman or a Coptic candidate. I spoke with the number two of the Brotherhood, Rashad al-Bayoumi, asking him about that. They said they wouldn’t oppose one if one were elected in Egypt. So—and, you know, there’s a real split within the Brotherhood, too. There’s kind of the old hardliner conservatives, and there’s the shabab of the Brotherhood, who are younger, who really joined this uprising from the beginning. There was a lot of wavering by the older crowd when this first started, and they didn’t join. So I think we’re going to see splits.
AMY GOODMAN: In fact, what did your uncle say about Tahrir and the protests? I mean, he had been there for so long by himself. But when January 25th happened?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, when I met him in Tahrir, he said, "It’s like a dream. Everyone—I used to stand alone on those steps of the Press Syndicate. And now look. Everyone here has joined me." So the Brotherhood is an important part of all of this.
But I think it’s important to realize that there’s many important steps coming up. There’s this referendum on the constitution that’ll come up. Then there’s elections in six months. I spoke with Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, and we’ll be playing it on Democracy Now! in a few days. He is one of the leading presidential candidates. You know, he wavered when I asked him, "Are you going to run?" He said, "Depends on how the constitution is altered." I am sure he will. Many think that six months is not enough, including Mohamed ElBaradei and other reform—
AMY GOODMAN: To prepare for the elections?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, after two months of referendum, they’re going to vote on the constitution. After that, you can form a political party. So that leaves you just four months for new parties to form, organize, campaign, fund.
AMY GOODMAN: What happened to Wael Ghonim?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Wael Ghonim, he was of course the anonymous runner of this Facebook group.
AMY GOODMAN: Google executive.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Yeah, Google executive. And he was jailed for 12 days, released. He did an interview on Egyptian TV, which was—really reignited the movement again and was very emotional. He’s become a big figure now. But he—there are rumors that he’s now forming a new political party with Hossam Badrawi, who was Mubarak’s guy that he put in to head the NDP in the last days. Badrawi did step down after Mubarak refused to step down on Thursday. He’s seen as a reformer within the NDP. But that’s not confirmed.
AMY GOODMAN: And he freed Wael from prison?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: He helped free Wael Ghonim from prison. He drove him from the jail to his house.
AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up, Sharif, can you tell us what your T-shirt says?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Oh, well, there’s lots of T-shirts being sold in the revolution. There’s a lot of things. This says, "Masr El Horreya." So it just says, "Egypt freedom." I certainly don’t think we’re there yet, but for the first time in my life, and I think in the lives of tens of millions of Egyptians, there’s hope. When my grandmother says that "I’m going to vote," and she’s 80 years old and she’s never voted in her life, that tells you something. So, I think people have found their voice finally in Egypt. And if someone tries to take power like they did again, they know what they can do now. They know that they can take the streets. And I find it amazing that the whole world watched Egypt do this and that, you know, we’re seeing examples in Wisconsin. I find it amazing that we can—Egypt was exporting democracy to the United States.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, on that note, Sharif, thank you so much. We’re headed to Madison, Wisconsin, tomorrow, and we’ll both be speaking at the Orpheum Theatre on Thursday night about uprisings, from the Middle East to the Midwest. That will be a big fundraiser for WORT, the community radio station that’s celebrating 35 years in Madison, Wisconsin. We look forward to broadcasting from Madison on Friday morning. You can check our website at democracynow.org. Sharif, thank you so much for your remarkable reporting. Of course, you’re going to continue to bring us these reports, being here now, with the interviews that you’ve done. You truly were the eyes and the ears for millions of people who watch and listen to and read Democracy Now! for this remarkable 18 days that shook the world. Thank you so much.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Thank you. Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! senior producer, just back from Cairo, Egypt, from Tahrir, the Arabic word for "Liberation."
The Libyan government faces international condemnation for a vicious assault on the growing uprising against the four-decade rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. On Monday, Libyan troops and pro-government mercenaries attacked a large demonstration in the capital of Tripoli. Armed forces hunted down protesters in the streets, while Libyan warplanes and helicopters fired on them from above. The violence comes amidst more signs that Gaddafi’s government is losing ground. On Monday, several Libyan officials broke with Gaddaffi, including the justice minister and the country’s delegation to the United Nations. For more, we are joined by Libyan American activist Abdulla Darrat. “It really shows what over the last 40 years has become a country dominated by the megalomania of this one human being, who cares more for his self and his power than he cares for anybody in Libya,” Darrat says. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: The Libyan government faces international condemnation for a vicious assault on the growing uprising against the four-decade rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. On Monday, Libyan troops and pro-government mercenaries attacked a huge demonstration in the capital of Tripoli. Armed forces hunted down protesters in the streets, while Libyan warplanes and helicopters fired on them from above. The death toll is unknown, but witnesses reported scores dead. Al Jazeera reports at least 61 people were killed in overnight clashes Sunday, following at least 300 people killed over the previous week. As many as 1,500 people may be missing in Libya since the start of demonstrations last week.
The violence comes amidst more signs that Gaddafi’s government is losing ground. On Monday, a number of Libyan officials broke with Gaddafi, including the justice minister and the country’s delegation to the United Nations. Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi condemned the attacks on protesters.
IBRAHIM DABBASHI: So, I think it is a one-man show. It is a kind of end of the game. And he’s trying to kill as much as he can from the Libyan people and try to destroy as much as he can from the Libyan country.
AMY GOODMAN: Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi. There are reports many top military officials and low-ranking soldiers have also joined with the uprising. Two Libyan fighter pilots have also defected to Malta, saying they flew there after refusing orders to bomb the protesters. The opposition now fully controls Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi, after seizing it over the weekend.
We go now to Washington, D.C., to Abdulla Darrat. He’s a Libyan American activist and co-founder of the website EnoughGaddafi.com.
Welcome to Democracy Now! What do you understand is happening? It’s very hard to get information out. Often the video we see is from people’s cell phones, posting them online. Abdulla, what do you know so far?
ABDULLA DARRAT: Well, what we can tell at the moment is that the regime is in the kind of throes of desperation, on its way out. But what we don’t know is how many people it’s planning to take down with it along the way. Unfortunately, over the last couple days, the violence has actually intensified in Tripoli as the regime attempts to use irrational violence with sporadic gunfire, gunships from helicopters and other forms of terrorism to keep people off the streets. They recognize that if the population of Tripoli gets out into the streets and, en masse, collects in some of its central squares, that Tripoli will fall and the regime will be done.
So what they have tried to do, attempted to do, is to scare people and to make sure that they do not leave their homes by bringing—intensifying the amount of mercenaries that are on the streets, by shooting almost at random throughout the neighborhoods in Tripoli, and also by spreading all types of misinformation. As you mentioned, Amy, at the moment it’s very difficult to confirm reports of anything on the ground. All we can really rely on at the moment are eyewitness accounts. However, we saw even on Al Jazeera yesterday what appeared to be the regime calling into Al Jazeera channels and spreading misinformation about the use of bombs from aircraft in attempts to, what I believe, scare the population and deter them from entering the streets and really taking Tripoli, which for the most part, as you mentioned, is really the regime’s last stronghold.
AMY GOODMAN: Abdulla Darrat, the information that mercenaries are being used, meaning that they have to supplement forces at home because they’re not willing to fire on fellow Libyans, is this correct?
ABDULLA DARRAT: That appears to be the case. I—
AMY GOODMAN: And what about the Human Rights—go ahead.
ABDULLA DARRAT: I mean, it appears to be the case that the mercenaries have been brought in as additional force. There are also a number of security battalions and other army forces that are also fighting with them. The army is not innocent of the violence. Although there are certain interests and certain factions within the army that have laid down their arms, we still do see a number of people within the army, within the security forces, who are also joining the fighting. The mercenaries seem to be an attempt really to, as I mentioned before, terrorize the population, as the regime really understands that what it comes down to is that these people who are entering the streets see the safety in numbers, know that—understand that if they come out en masse, the regime will be toppled.
AMY GOODMAN: War crimes are being committed. What about the Human Rights Watch report?
ABDULLA DARRAT: Well, the Human Rights Watch report—and they’ve had—they’ve issued several over the last couple days and will probably continue to issue more. We’ve seen, as you mentioned, Amy, the use of mercenaries, and the mercenaries have been, for all intents and purposes, snipers, for the most part. They’ve been positioned on top of roof buildings and have been systematically picking off protesters one at a time. A lot of the images and videos that we’re seeing that are slowly trickling out of the country; as you know, the internet service is slow and inconsistent, so we’re not getting all of these images all at once. But what we are seeing is that those who have died in the recent violence have died often from gunshot wounds to the head, to the eye, to the ear. It’s sharpshooting.
Another kind of confirmed set of war crimes is that they have been using anti-aircraft weapons to shoot protesters, a 50-caliber machine gun, 50-caliber machine guns. There’s a video that recently came out that shows the shells from this. We’re also hearing reports, also confirmed by eyewitnesses, that security forces are going into hospitals and killing doctors and healthcare workers so that they do not care for the injured.
The violence is gruesome and staggering and really justifies to the eyes of the international community why this regime must be stopped and why it must end. It really shows what over the last 40 years has become a country dominated by the megalomania of this one human being, who cares more for his self and his power than he cares for anybody in Libya. He has an utter disrespect and complete, complete almost—it’s almost as if he despises the population. And that’s been apparent in his utter disregard for their lives, their safety, their interests.
AMY GOODMAN: What about what the U.S. and U.S. contractors can do, the news that General Dynamics signed a $165 million contract to arm the Libyan armed forces’ elite second brigade two years ago, or Halliburton, Shell, Raytheon, Dow Chemical? Do you think President Obama is doing enough?
ABDULLA DARRAT: Well, it took them a little—it took them a few days, I think, to finally make a statement yesterday. And unfortunately, I think that they were possibly waiting to see if the regime could actually quell the uprising or not, in the same type of opportunism that we saw in Egypt and Tunisia, where the State Department and the White House appear to only jump on the side of the protesters when they realize that the regime is on its way out. I think that’s completely unfortunate.
And beyond that, in Libya, what we have seen is an almost utter disregard for human life. This isn’t just a question of political interests, but people’s humanity. These are war crimes that are being committed, and the Obama administration must do more than just condemn the actions. They must rally the international community to intervene in other ways, to intervene possibly with peacekeepers, to allow medical equipment into the country, to perhaps create a no-fly zone over Libya so that more mercenary aircraft and other warships do not enter Libyan airspace. I mean, there’s a number of things that the international community must do immediately in order to ensure—
AMY GOODMAN: Abdulla Darrat, as we wrap up, your own website that I mentioned, "Enough Gaddafi," that you established two years ago to take on the brutality of the Gaddafi regime, was hacked two days ago by the government, by the Libyan government?
ABDULLA DARRAT: Yes, ma’am.
AMY GOODMAN: So it’s empty now?
ABDULLA DARRAT: Yes, yes. The website is currently down, but we hope we can get it up soon. I mean, we were only one victim amongst many who have been victimized online through Facebook or through their own websites over the last couple days, as the regime really tries to black out any information. I mean, they’ve really tried to seal off the whole country and systematically destroy the population while nobody watches. And I think finally word is getting out. People are learning of the atrocities inside the country, and I hope that the senselessness of the violence will compel people to act against this regime and finally bring it down.
AMY GOODMAN: Abdulla Darrat, I want to thank you for being with us, Libyan American activist, one of the co-founders of EnoughGaddafi.com, speaking to us from Washington, D.C.
ABDULLA DARRAT: Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Al Jazeera reporting, "What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead." Adel Mohamed Saleh said in a live broadcast, "Anyone who moves, even if they are in their car, they will hit you."
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. From the Middle East to the Midwest—when we come back, we go to Ohio and Madison, Wisconsin, where mass protests continue.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Menteri Keadilan Libya, Mustapha Abdeljalil, membantah penggunaan kekerasan terhadap penunjuk perasaan disusuli laporan bahawa dua juruterbang pesawat pejuang berpangkat kolonel membawa pesawat Mirage F1 ke Malta dan belot selepas diarahkan menembak pembantah di Benghazi, kata sumber tentera Malta.
Di New Delhi, Duta Libya ke India, Ali al Essawi meletakkan jawatan dan mendesak masyarakat dunia menghentikan keganasan terhadap penunjuk perasaan di negara itu.
Beliau melepaskan jawatannya kerana tidak setuju keganasan digunakan terhadap orang awam di negara itu.
Pegawai Kedutaan Libya di Beijing, Hussein El-Sadek El-Mesrati, turut meletakkan jawatan selepas melihat rakyat dibunuh menyifatkan Gaddafi sebagai ‘Hitler.’
“Saya mahu beritahu, tolong hentikan, permainan berakhir, keluar, pergi ke Israel. Rakyat kamu di Israel bukan orang Arab,” kata El-Mesrati yang tidak memberitahu kedudukannya ketika bersama-sama menyertai penunjuk perasaan di kedutaan Libya.
Duta Libya ke Amerika Syarikat, India, Malaysia, Indonesia dan Bangladesh turut mendesak Gaddafi meletak jawatan dan memprotes pembunuhan orang awam.
Di Kuala Lumpur, kedutaan Libya mengeluarkan kenyataan mengutuk apa yang dikatakan tindakan tidak bertamadun Tripoli membunuh orang awam. Kira-kira 200 warga Libya di Malaysia mengadakan protes secara aman di kedutaan.
Setiausaha Agung Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB), Ban Ki-moon, berkata beliau dapat bercakap dengan Gaddafi menerusi telefon selama 40 minit kelmarin dan mendesak beliau menghentikan keganasan terhadap penunjuk perasaan.
Saksi di Tripoli melaporkan pembunuhan beramai-ramai berlaku di sesetengah kejiranan, bagaimanapun anak lelaki Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam menafikan laporan itu.
Warga asing sudah mula dikeluarkan dari negara itu, sumber keselamatan di Mesir berkata tentera dikerah untuk ditempatkan di sempadan Libya bagi memantau kemasukan pelarian.
Antara negara memulakan operasi membawa keluar warga mereka termasuk Jerman, Itali, Greece, Belanda, Turki, Amerika Syarikat, Yaman, Russia dan Norway.
Pertempuran senjata api berlaku sepanjang malam di Tripoli, apa bila penunjuk perasan menyerang stesen polis dan pejabat penyiaran kerajaan dan membakar bangunan awam.
Selain itu, landasan lapangan terbang Benghazi musnah dalam keganasan yang melanda Libya menyebabkan pesawat tidak dapat mendarat, kata Menteri Luar Mesir, Ahmed Aboul Gheit. – Agensi
Ulasan: Masalah Libya selesai bila diktator letak jawatan. Bukan dengan membunuh rakyat. 1Gadaffi lwn rakyat Libya.
Dalam ucapannya di kaca televisyen awal hari ini, Gaddafi menegaskan beliau akan terus kekal sebagai pemimpin Libya dan bersedia mati syahid bagi mempertahankan tanah airnya.
Sambil mendakwa perjuangannya itu disokong oleh rakyat, beliau memerintahkan polis dan tentera menghancurkan pemberontak yang kian meningkat yang kini mengorbankan ratusan nyawa sejak lapan hari lalu…
Ulasan: Cukuplah 42 tahun memerintah sebagai diktator. Berilah kebebasan kepada rakyat untuk memilih kerajaan yang lebih baik. Negara Libya bukanlah milik keluarga Gaddafi.
Katanya, beliau sudah meletakkan jawatan Isnin lalu selepas mendapat tahu 300 rakyat yang tidak bersenjata dibunuh di Benghazi dalam tempoh dua hingga tiga hari dan mendakwa pemimpin Libya, Moammar Gadhafi merancang serangan ke atas orang awam dalam skala yang lebih meluas.
"Gadhafi memberitahu saya beliau merancang menggunakan pesawat terhadap rakyat di Benghazi dan saya memberitahunya ratusan rakyat akan terbunuh jika ia dilaksanakan," katanya dalam temubual telefon berbahasa Arab di sini, Rabu (waktu tempatan)…
Ulasan: Bila Libya menggunakan tentera membunuh rakyatnya sendiri, maknanya Gaddafi akan jatuh. Semoga Allah mengurniakan kemenangan kepada rakyat.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
“Kita bukan Tunisia dan Mesir. Pemimpin kita, Muammar Gaddafi mengetuai perjuangan di Tripoli dan kita bersama-samanya (Gaddafi),” kata Seif dalam ucapan di televisyen kerajaan, semalam.
Seif yang sebelum ini dipaparkan sebagai tokoh pembaharuan dalam rejim Libya, mengisytiharkan bapanya masih berkuasa dengan mendapat sokongan tentera dan akan ‘berjuang sehingga ke lelaki terakhir, wanita terakhir dan peluru terakhir’…
Ulasan: Senang betul diktator membunuh rakyat yang sudah jemu dengan kerenahnya. Semoga rakyat Libya menang dan dikurniakan negara yang adil, bebas (bukan negara polis/tentera), telus dan anti-korupsi.
Ulasan: Kita tunggu keputusan kes induk iaitu Tertuduh, Pathmanabhan, 41, bersama tiga pekerja ladangnya, T. Thilaiyalagan, 19, R. Matan, 20, dan R. Kathavarayan, 30, yang didakwa membunuh keempat-empat mangsa itu berdepan hukuman mati mandatori jika sabit kesalahan.
UALA LUMPUR 21 Feb. - Umat Islam di negara ini perlu memiliki kekuatan intelektual untuk memahami ajaran Islam yang sebenar, kata Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin…
Ulasan: Bila ummat memiliki kekuatan intelektual, UMNO akan jadi sejarah.
Perdana Menteri, Mohamed Ghannouchi mengemukakan permintaan rasmi itu kepada Riyadh, menurut satu kenyataan Kementerian Luar yang disiarkan oleh agensi berita TAP.
Permohonan itu dibuat 'selepas beberapa tuduhan baru dikemukakan terhadap bekas Presiden Tunisia itu berhubung pembabitannya dalam beberapa jenayah berat', katanya.
Kerajaan sementara juga meminta maklumat dari Riyadh mengenai keadaan kesihatan Ben Ali, 74, berikutan laporan minggu ini yang melaporkan bahawa beliau mengalami koma akibat tekanan dan kini dirawat di sebuah hospital di Jeddah….
Ulasan: Pemerintah yang zalim akan merasakan dunia ini menjadi terlalu sempit kerana dikelililingi oleh kezaliman yang dilakukan terhadap rakyat.
Ulasan: Jangan sampai terlena melupakan perjuangan orang muda untuk mempastikan negara kita adil, bebas (bukan negara polis), telus dan anti-rasuah. Jangan sampai majlis minum petang melalaikan kita dan hidup terus diperkudakan UMNO/BN.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Ulasan: Kita pula? Bersederhanalah. Tak perlulah mengundang 1Dunia atau 1Malaysia atau 1Negeri atau 1 Bandar atau 1 Pekan atau 1 taman... Tak perlulah berhutang sekeliling pinggang...
Ulasan: Di negara yang tidak sangat maju, rakyat menganggap perkara sedemikian adalah kesalahan. Bagi orang besar atau yang pernah dibesarkan rakyat pula, seolah-olah itu hanyalah hanya pilihan. Apakah mereka suka membiarkan negara miskin dilanda rasuah dan penyelewengan? Siap yang lebih sayangkan negara?
Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed berkata, semua ini berlaku disebabkan budaya kafir-mengkafir sesama ummah dan ingin menunjukkan bahawa mereka sahaja yang benar…
Ulasan: Kafir-mengkafir adalah cerita lama dan modal lapuk politik UMNO. Rakyat sekarang sudah banyak berubah dan hendakkan negara yang adil, bebas (bukan negara polis), telus dan anti-rasuah. Bukan rusuhan yang berlaku di Asia Barat tapi rakyat memPROTES kerajaan yang memerintah secara tidak adil, kejam (menjadikan negara polis/tentera), tidak telus dan banyak penyelewengan. Di mana UMNO?
Setiausaha Agungnya Lok Yim Pheng berkata, dasar baru kerajaan berhubung kerjasama awam dan swasta dalam pendidikan perlu hanya terhad kepada penambahbaikan dalam infrastruktur serta peralatan dan tidak seharusnya menyentuh aspek akademik.
Beliau berkata, penswastaan bidang lain akan melonjakkan kos dan menjadikan persekolahan terlalu mahal dan di luar jangkaan golongan miskin.”
Beliau mengulas kenyataan Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yang juga Menteri Pelajaran, di Limbang minggu lepas bahawa kerajaan menimbangkan untuk menswastakan sekolah tertentu atau membenarkan pihak swasta untuk menguruskan pembaikan dan penyelenggaraan. - Bernama
Ulasan: Seperti biasa yang akan mendapatkan keuntungannya ialah kroni pemimpin BN/UMNO. Kalau sekolah pun hendak diswstakan, eloklah rakyat memilih parti selain parti BN/UMNO menjadi kerajaan pusat dalam pilihanraya akan datang.
MIRI 20 Feb. – Kerajaan mahu projek pembinaan bangunan-bangunan sekolah dibuat secara lebih teliti dengan mengutamakan ciri-ciri keselamatan bagi mengelak berlakunya masalah seperti retakan kepada struktur bangunan.
Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Dr. Mohd. Puad Zarkashi berkata, kajian terhadap tanah khususnya di kawasan tanah tinggi misalnya, perlu diberi tumpuan utama bagi memastikan bangunan sekolah itu tahan lama…
Ulasan: Sebenarnya mempastikan struktur yang dibina selamat digunapakai itu terletak dalam ruang lingkup kerjaya jurutera struktur. Mungkin rasuah menyebabkan kelemahannya menyelia kerja yang dilakukan oleh kontraktor atau pun kelemahan rekabentuknya menyebabkan struktur menjadi tidak selamat digunakan. Apa komen Lembaga Jurutera Malaysia?
Pasukan keselamatan Libya menembak mati berpuluh-puluh penunjuk perasaan antikerajaan di bandar raya Benghazi, timur negara ini dalam keganasan terbaru malam tadi, lapor stesen televisyen Al-Jazeera.
Pertumpahan darah itu mendorong kira-kira 50 ulama dan ketua kabilah mengeluarkan rayuan kepada pasukan keselamatan, selaku orang Islam, supaya menghentikan pembunuhan.
"Rayuan penting ini datang daripada para ulama, golongan cendekiawan dan ketua-ketua kabilah dari Tripoli, Bani Walid, Zintan, Jadu, Msalata, Misrata, Zawiah serta pekan dan bandar lain di kawasan barat.
"Kami merayu kepada setiap Muslim, yang menganggotai rejim atau membantunya dengan apa cara, supaya menyedari bahawa pembunuhan orang awam diharamkan oleh Pencipta kita dan oleh Nabi-Nya yang dikasihi...Jangan bunuh saudara seagama kamu. HENTIKAN pembunuhan beramai-ramai SEKARANG!", menurut rayuan itu…
Ulasan: Ulama’ berperanan menasihatkan pemerintah (umara’) agar sentiasa adil dalam pemrintahannya. Bila umara’ tidak lagi mentaati nasihat ulama’, maka ulama’ perlu bersama-sama rakyat menuntut supaya umara’ letak jawatan. Semoga terciptalah LIBYA BARU yang adil, bebas (bukan negara polis/tentera), telasa dan anti-rasuah.
Naib Presiden UMNO, Datuk Seri Mohd. Shafie Apdal berkata, Mursyidul Am Pas, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat sering membuat kenyataan yang berubah dalam menyatakan perjuangan sebenar parti tersebut….
Ulasan: Sejarah tidak pernah menunjukkan PAS belot dari membela kepentingan umat Islam tak kira siapa mereka.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Ulasan: Selamat menyenggara dan menjimatkan duit rakyat. Kalau kesilapan rekabentuk, eloklah perekabentuk itu bertanggungjawab. Samy Vellu tentu ingat.
2011/02/18 KOtA BHARU: Ketua Hakim Negara, Tun Zaki Azmi, semalam mendedahkan terdapat satu kes rogol di Sungai Petani, Kedah yang ditangguhkan sebanyak 56 kali sehingga kini masih belum selesai.
“Apa jadi lepas 56 kali (kes berkenaan ditangguhkan), adakah ia adil... 56 kali, bukannya 15 kali.
“Akhirnya OKT (orang kena tuduh) itu hilang,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas lawatan kerja ke Kompleks Mahkamah Kota Bharu di sini, semalam…
Ulasan: Jangan hanya adil di atas kertas.
Akhbar Haaretz melaporkan, video yang disiarkan pada majlis perpisahan Ketua Turus, Gabi Ashkenazi pada Isnin lalu merakamkan serangan bom ke atas reaktor nuklear di Syria pada 2007 dan kerosakan program nuklear Iran melalui cacing komputer, Stuxnet.
Akhbar itu berkata, rakaman itu juga menunjukkan liputan pertanyaan sama ada Israel mungkin terlibat dalam kedua-dua serangan tersebut.
Kedua-dua kejadian itu berlaku ketika Ashkenazi memegang jawatan sebagai Ketua Turus Tentera Israel, namun rejim Zionis Israel tidak pernah mengaku terlibat dalam kedua-dua serangan tersebut.
Bagaimanapun, dokumen yang didedahkan oleh laman web WikiLeaks menunjukkan pasukan udara Israel mengebom reaktor nuklear Syria beberapa minggu sebelum ia mula beroperasi. – AFP
Ulasan: Demikianlah tindakan haram oleh negara haram yang menguasai Palestin walaupun tidak mengaku terlibat awalnya.
PETALING JAYA 17 Feb. - Kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) akan terus membela nasib setiap rakyat berdasarkan prinsip keadilan sosial.
Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak berkata, kerajaan juga akan terus memperjuangkan agenda itu berdasarkan gagasan 1Malaysia iaitu mendahulukan rakyat…
Ulasan: Mendahulukan rakyat atau mendahulukan kroni?
by Fadi Elsalameen
After two decades of failed political moves, the Palestinian Authority represented by its top leadership are hoping to avoid the inevitable: paying a heavy price for corruption of all kinds, alienating the Palestinian people, and failing to negotiate an end to Israel’s occupation.
Threatened and undermined by the Al Jazeera-Guardian Palestine Papers leak, and dismayed by wrongly siding with Egypt’s ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Palestinian Authority is employing desperate political maneuvers.
Palestinian President Abbas has asked his Chief Negotiator and cabinet in the West Bank to submit their resignation. He has also called for Parliamentarian and Presidential elections in September and deliberately avoided giving a specific date.
Will Abbas and Fayyad succeed in soaking the Palestinian anger by these desperate maneuvers? No. Nothing short of Abbas and Fayyad handing in their own resignations and accepting responsibility for their failures will satisfy the Palestinian streets.
Need for new leadership
With fewer allies in the region and no options left for a political horizon with Israel, Abbas and Fayyad must resign to pave the way for a newly elected, and more representative Palestinian leadership.
Abbas and Fayyad have no political capital left to spend, they are out of touch with the Palestinian street, and they have successfully managed to alienate even supporters within Fatah.
Their failures politically have discredited them and the Palestinian Authority both at home and abroad.
At home, they are seen as corrupt, ineffective, and above all as Israel’s agents. The people do not trust them, and the fact that superb security coordination with Israel is all what they have to offer Palestinians after years of failed negotiations has even alienated the younger guard in Fatah, Abbas' only political base.
Fatah's young guard is also disappointed in Abbas for failing to rebuild their movement and giving Fayyad the chance to further undermine their effectiveness in the West Bank.
Abbas has yet to promote Fatah's young in taking active leadership roles in the movement. To many in Fatah, Abbas is nicknamed the Gorbachev of the movement that has actively played a part in dismantling it and making it weaker. For a long time, he refused to replace Fayyad with a prime minister from Fatah and allowed Fayyad to claim credit for Fatah’s political concessions to Israel.
Abroad, especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds, Abbas and Fayyad placed themselves on the wrong side of history. Fayyad, Abbas and aides like PLO secretary general Tayyeb Abdelrahim expressed strong public support for Egypt’s ousted dictator president Hosni Mubarak.
The Palestinian leadership not only echoed Israel’s line which was sorry to see Mubarak leave, but also showed the Arab and Muslim worlds, where people were glued to its television sets watching Al Jazeera in support of the revolution-that this is a leadership that has nothing in common with them.
Why would anyone support such leadership for the Palestinians? If anything, Abbas and Fayyad's actions confirm that this is a leadership that is only capable of one bad decision after the other. They must all resign and accept responsibility for their failures.
Abbas and Fayyad are of a past era. They are no longer representative of the future we young Palestinians seek for ourselves. Rather, we see them through the lens of withering and illegitimate Arab regimes that if not replaced democratically will be toppled through a popular revolution that I can assure them has already begun.
Fadi Elsalameen is a fellow with the New America Foundation's American Strategy Program. He is also director general of the Palestine Note and Diwan Palestine, Internet newspapers in English and Arabic.
Nik Nasri Malek,
Harakahdaily melaporkan Pengerusi Felda, Tan Sri Isa Samad berkata, rasuah bukan masalah besar negara ini kerana ia berlaku di mana-mana negara di dunia. “Rasuah di mana-mana, taklah teruk sangat. Kalau buruk dah hancur dah Malaysia ni,” kata Isa ketika memberikan ucapan di forum masa depan kepimpinan Melayu di PWTC lewat petang semalam.
Ucapan dari seorang yang memang dikenali dan diketahui umum, bukan sengaja dikorek-korek dari entah mana-mana lubang cacing bahawa beliau pernah dipecat dari jawatan Naib Presiden Umno apabila didapati terlibat dengan rasuah politik dalam pemilihan Umno. Beliau juga kehilangan jawatannya sebagai menteri.
Ucapan ini macam ucapan lain-lain pemimpin UMNO lah, berkokok tapi ekor bergelumang tahi. Pencuri tak kisah dengan curi. Perompak tak kisah dengan rompak. Pencabul tak kisah dengan cabulnya. Dari segi agama, Aisyah ra pernah berkata: ‘Kamu melihat dosa yang kamu lakukan itu seperti seekor lalat hinggap di hidung, lalu menepisnya tapi kami melihat ia seperti bukit yang mahu menghempap kami.’
Rasuah termasuk dalam dosa besar, macam judi juga. Tapi bagi pemimpin UMNO, semuanya ok. Judi boleh, rasuah bagus, tipu takpe, fitnah baik. Kalau macam ni pengerusi Felda, siaplah peneroka lepas ni. Harta benda, aset dan wang kamu tidak akan selamat kerana yang menerajuinya bukan si amanah.
Adakah Tan Sri Isa Samad nak tunggu Malaysia ni hancur dahulu, baharu nak sebut masa itu bahawa indeks rasuah kita baharu sampai tahap kritikal? Cerdiklah sedikit bercakap. Tunjukkan kita ni layak menerajui Felda, bukan sebaliknya.
Kenapa dibanding dengan negara lain? Ukuran nilai betul salah bukan hanya semata-mata dibanding dengan negara lain tapi sebagai orang Islam, kita ada hukum yang mendasari hidup dan perbuatan kita.
Peneroka-peneroka Felda sepatutnya bangkit. Sawit sudah berapa kali ditanam semula. Teknologi canggih sudah berapa kali diperkenalkan. Buruh-buruh luar yang baharu dapat kad pengenalan dah berapa ramai. Pengerusi Felda dah bertukar. Peneroka masih macam saluran 1 RTM? Buktikan peneroka tidak demikian. Dan tentunya parti perasuah tak mungkin mampu banteras rasuah.
Nik Nasri Malek,
Sumber: Harakah daily.net
Penyandang Pertama Kursi Pengajian Melayu Kerajaan Malaysia di China, berpangkalan di Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Prof Dr Awang Sariyan (gambar) berkata, Islam yang dibawa ke negara itu sekitar pertengahan abad ke 7 oleh Sahabat Nabi Muhammad bernama Saad Abi Waqas diterima baik oleh Maharaja China dewasa itu.
Menurutnya, sehingga kini jumlah umat Islam di negara Asia Timur itu sekitar 70 juta dengan nilai keIslaman dan syiar agama yang hebat seperti pintu gerbang ke kediaman mereka yang bertulis Basmallah dan Allah Muhammad.
Prof Awang menyampaikan ucapan itu dalam majlis Syarahan Sarjana Pelawat anjuran Pusat Pemikiran dan Kefahaman Islam di sebuah pusat pengajian tinggi di Shah Alam, 16 Februari lalu…
Sumber: Harakah daily.net
Sedangkan PAS dalam Pakatan Rakyat konsisten untuk mempertahankan hak dan keistimewaan orang Melayu seperti yang terkandung dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Exco Dewan Pemuda PAS Pusat, Abdullah Karim berkata, golongan muda tidak harus terpengaruh dengan ketakutan yang ditimbulkan itu kerana perlembagaan bukanlah perkara yang boleh dipinda dengan sewenang-wenangnya.
"Secara realitinya, walaupun perlembagaan itu merupakan dokumen yang boleh dipinda tetapi kita semua tahu tidak cukup untuk dipinda kalau sekadar mendapat dua pertiga.
“Prosesnya cukup ketat, kena dapatkan kebenaran dari Majlis Raja-Raja sebagai contoh. Jadi apa yang nak dibimbangkan?
“Saya pernah sebut dalam PAS, kalau katakan DAP menang majoriti dalam Dewan Rakyat, mereka pun tak mampu buat kalau mereka kata nak pinda perlembagaan berkaitan perkara ini,” kata beliau dalam forum Ketuanan Melayu: Umno Rasis atau PR Retorik di Dewan Perhimpunan Cina Kuala Lumpur-Selangor, dekat sini malam tadi.
Beliau berkata, Ketuanan Melayu kembali dicanangkan Umno selepas pilihan raya umum 2008 yang menyaksikan kemerosotan sokongan rakyat terhadap Umno BN.
Kenapa bising-bising (mengenai ketuanan Melayu) sekarang ini? Timbul hak Melayu makin terhakis, Raja Melayu semakin dipinggirkan?
“Sebabnya senang sahaja. Bukan sebab hak orang Melayu digugat tapi yang menjadi masalah besar ialah hilangnya ketuanan Umno,” katanya.
Menurutnya, tanpa melaungkan Ketuanan Melayu, PAS konsisten menjaga perkara yang termaktub dalam perlembagaan ini malah menjadikan perkara tersebut sebagai agenda dalam Pakatan Rakyat.
“Sikap PAS sejak puluhan tahun dulu sehingga sekarang, kita konsisten mempertahankan keistimewaan orang Melayu yang wujud dalam perlembagaan.
“Sebab itu PAS sanggup bersama dalam Pakatan Rakyat, kita tidak kompromi soal tersebut dan perjanjian dibuat bersama Pakatan Rakyat sebelum konvensyen pertama Pakatan Rakyat pada 2009,” katanya.
Sehubungan itu, golongan muda tegasnya tidak perlu terpengaruh dengan Ketuanan Melayu yang menjadi agenda politik sempit Umno.
“Momokan ini bagi orang muda yang semakin celik maklumat, kita akan faham bahawa segala kekalutan yang timbul ini semata-mata bersifat politik,” katanya.
Sementara itu, Pengarah Strategi PKR, Rafizi Ramli berkata, Ketuanan Melayu hanya mementingkan kuasa politik dominan Melayu tanpa menyedari bahawa kekuatan Melayu yang sebenar ialah jati diri.
“Kuasa politik dominan orang Melayu dikatakan perlu untuk kononnya menjamin kedudukan orang Melayu.
“Kalau tak ada kuasa politik, hak dan kedudukan orang Melayu akan terjejas. Sebab itu Mac 2008 merupakan titik tolak yang sangat besar kerana dilihat berlaku hakisan dominan politik,” katanya.
Tambahnya, Melayu terus dilemahkan dengan kononnya terus memerlukan ‘tongkat’ dari kerajaan untuk maju dalam ekonomi selain diajar untuk mengambil hak bangsa lain jika ingin maju dalam ekonomi.
“Teras yang terus dipasakkan dalam pemikiran Melayu ialah orang Melayu terus perlukan tongkat untuk maju dalam ekonomi kerana tanpa bantuan berterusan dari kerajaan Melayu akan tenggelam.
“Untuk orang Melayu mendapat kedudukan dalam bidang ekonomi, kita perlu ambil bahagian orang lain. Itu yang menjadi teras Ketuanan Melayu yang perlu diteliti kembali,” katanya.
Ujarnya, perbincangan mengenai Melayu seringkali disensitifkan tanpa merujuk sejarah secara keseluruhan menyebabkan timbulnya sifat tidak senang Melayu terhadap kaum lain.
“Perbahasan tentang Melayu ini terlalu emosi dan diherotkan perbincangannya. Contohnya bila kita bercakap tentang ekonomi, kita tidak adil apabila menidakkan peranan kaum lain dalam membina ekonomi negara.
“Kalau baca sejarah negeri Johor, berapa ramai yang tahu bahawa dalam tahun 1850-an dan 1860-an lebih ramai orang Cina daripada orang Melayu di sana.
“Kita kena baca sejarah secara keseluruhan, jangan tinggalkan idea tokoh pimpinan dahulu yang banyak beri kesan kepada negara. mereka bukan Umno, bukan Perkasa tapi orang seperti Zaaba, mereka bawa kesedaran kepada rakyat bahawa orang Melayu tertekan dan dimangsakan golongan elit pemerintah dari dulu lagi,” katanya.
Turut menjadi panel pada forum yang dihadiri majoriti golongan muda itu ialah Naib Presiden Perkasa, Dr. Asyraf Wajdi dan blogger Umno Reform, Anuar Mohd Nor.
Sumber: Harakah daily.net
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan UMNO Kelantan, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed berkata, ini terbukti dengan kuasa yang ada, kerajaan Barisan Nasional menyediakan pelbagai kemudahan untuk umat Islam di negara ini…
Ulasan: 50 tahun UMNO memerintah negara tapi yang kaya ialah pemimpin politik UMNO. Dan Islam masih tidak menjadi keutamaan dan pemutuskata negara. Islam hanya jadi alat memancing undi bukan sebagai matlamat.
KUALA LUMPUR 15 Feb. - Amerika Syarikat (AS) dan Israel tidak seharusnya campur tangan dalam pembentukan kerajaan baru di Mesir bagi membolehkan perubahan yang diimpikan rakyat negara Arab itu menjadi kenyataan.
Pengarah Pusat Kecemerlangan Palestin (PACE), Prof. Madya Dr. Hafidzi Mohd. Noor berkata, rakyat Mesir sejak zaman pemerintahan Anuar Sadat sehinggalah Hosni Mubarak hidup dalam keadaan sengsara dan tertindas.
Menurutnya, mereka begitu marah terhadap kedua-dua pemimpin itu yang gagal meningkatkan kembali ekonomi dan pendapatan mereka namun kerana sistem pilihan raya yang tidak adil maka usaha menukar kerajaan tidak dapat dilakukan melalui peti undi.
"Mesir merupakan antara negara yang kaya tetapi malangnya kerajaan pimpinan secara kuku besi itu hanya mengagihkan kekayaan kepada 1,000 buah keluarga terdekat dan rakan sejawat Presiden sahaja.
"Sistem politik dan ekonomi yang diterapkan di bumi Mesir itulah yang membuatkan rakyat mula muak setelah segala kebajikan termasuk pendidikan, perubatan dan prasarana negara itu juga diabaikan tanpa ada rasa simpati terhadap nasib rakyat," katanya ketika dihubungi Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.
Beliau diminta mengulas kebimbangan sebilangan besar rakyat Mesir mengenai masa depan pasca era Hosni Mubarak kerana nasib rakyat negara itu kini berada di tangan majlis tertinggi tentera.
Rata-rata penduduk Mesir berkata, mereka tidak ada calon Presiden yang baru di samping turut berharap agar pihak tentera negara itu memenuhi janji untuk mengembalikan kuasa kepada rakyat semula.
Sehubungan itu, Hafidzi berkata, Parti Demokratik Kebangsaan (NPD) berkemungkinan tidak mempunyai peluang kedua pada pilihan raya akan datang kerana penduduk Mesir tidak akan lagi memberi kepercayaan mereka terhadap bekas parti pimpinan Mubarak.
Ketika ditanya parti mana yang sesuai untuk menggantikan kepimpinan NDP sebelum ini, Hafidzi memberitahu, gerakan Ikhwan Muslimin dilihat mampu meneraju kerajaan baru negara Mesir itu.
"Gerakan Ikhwan Muslimin mempunyai ramai penyokong kerana mereka pernah menang 80 kerusi pada pilihan raya Parlimen sebelum ini,'' katanya.
Bagaimanapun Hafidzi menambah, kerajaan yang dipilih oleh majoriti rakyat Mesir nanti perlu mengutamakan reformasi politik terlebih dahulu sebelum bertindak untuk menggerakkan reformasi ekonomi.
"Ini kerana, rakyat Mesir sudah lama memendam rasa terhadap pemerintahan Mubarak yang tidak efisien dan korup. Rakyat mahukan perubahan dan menginginkan peluang yang lebih cerah pada masa hadapan," katanya.
Ulasan: Biarkan rakyat Mesir menentukan politik mereka. Rakyat tidak sukakan pemimpin boneka kuasa besar dunia. Jadilah pemimpin yang merdeka di negara Mesir yang merdeka.
Naib Pengerusi Yayasan Pencegahan Jenayah Malaysia (MCPF), Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye berkata, masyarakat harus mengubah persepsi negatif itu kerana polis berjaya menjalankan tugas dengan berkesan selama ini….
Ulasan: Persepsi orang terhadap kita biasanya bermula dari amalan kita. Polis dihormati kalau tidak amalkan rasuah, melindunginya penjenayah besar dan mesra dengan rakyat.
Untuk rekod kali terakhir cukai tersebut dinaikkan adalah pada tahun 2002…
Ulasan: Pusing-pusing kebanyakan ahli perniagaan dan politik Malaysia hanya nampak dompet rakyat.
Taikun telekomunikasi, T. Ananda Krishnan pula berada dalam kedudukan semakin selesa apabila berjaya merapatkan jurang kekayaan yang dimiliki bernilai RM45.78 bilion.
Nilai kekayaan Ananda meningkat hampir 70 peratus berikutan pertambahan nilai Maxis dan tindakannya menjadi tiga syarikatnya sebagai syarikat milik persendirian.
Pengerusi Public Bank, Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow pula berada pada kedudukan ketiga sebagai individu terkaya negara dengan kekayaan RM12.77 bilion diikuti Tan Sri Lee Shin Chen, Pengerusi Eksekutif IOI Corporation Bhd. dengan mengumpul kekayaan sebanyak RM12.74 bilion.
Pengerusi Kumpulan Genting, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay kekal ditempat kelima dengan nilai harta RM10.89 bilion dan tempat keenam, Pengerusi Kumpulan Hong Leong, Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, meningkat daripada kedudukan ketujuh dengan kekayaan RM7.09 bilion.
Satu-satunya individu Bumiputera, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary pula berada kedudukan ketujuh dengan nilai kekayaan RM8.84 bilion, peningkatan hampir 50 peratus berbanding tahun sebelumnya….
Ulasan: Kebanyakan mereka kaya kerana mereka berniaga dengan orang Islam di sini. Rugilah kalau cuma mendapatkan duit dari poket orang Islam tetapi tidak kenal dan mencari agama Islam. Dan kita pun sewajarnya menyampaikan mesej Islam untuk orang yang belum Muslim dan mendoakan hidayah.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The peaceful protests across Egypt have been blessed with success! Demonstrations marked by non-violent behavior that constituted a national uprising in Egypt, to remove oppression and tyranny, have achieved more in just 18 days than Al-Qaida-like terrorism has done in decades. The Egyptian example shows the world how struggle can be translated from the hearts of Muslims, onto the social media and finally, overcoming apathy and fear, taking to the streets.
A Day of Wrath was initially organized on January 25, 2011 calling for the end of Mubarak's oppressive police state and demanding he step down. Protests continued for a further eightteen days with sustained momentum until on February 11, 2011 the president finally stepped down relinquishing power.
From day one, in a rare show of force, protestors took to the streets in hundreds of thousands across Egypt. These protests were organized through the social media in defiance of, among other things, the Egyptian government's Emergency Law, shaking the government to its core. Demanding the protests should end, the regime tried to get the people off the streets but they continued protesting and on the following Tuesday millions flowed through the streets of Egypt united in one call for the removal of Mubarak.
The initial violence, police crackdowns, thugs, and brutality at the hands of the security apparatus and pro-Mubarak supporters, only solidified the people's resolve to persist in the demonstrations until their demands were met.
There has been a network of help and support by everyday Egyptians for the protestors. Tahreer Square is also now known as 'Tahreer City' as people fill the square handing out tents, blankets, tea, food and other necessities to the hard-core protestors. Masses of youth, armed with laptops and mobile phones, headed the demonstrations, organizing, supporting, motivating and persevering.
Thousands of die-hard pro-democracy protestors also filled the streets of Alexandria, Suez, Port Said and other cities and towns around Egypt. The patience, endurance, and determination of people all over the country have rendered this an unprecedented peaceful, positive and successful uprising, in one of the most volatile regions of the world.
The energy, positivity and hope that were generated at the protests were sufficient for many police officers to swap sides and join the demonstrators. After struggling under the Emergency Law and all the corruption, stagnating bureaucracy and brutality of Mubarak's regime for nearly three decades, the people decided enough was enough, and with a spirit of determination asserted their claims and refused to back down.
Behind the scenes and supporting the protesters' struggle for democracy and social justice, and representing the voice of moderate, insightful, peaceful Islam, the MB has supported the demonstrations that succeeded in ousting Mubarak and removing him from his power that has spelt oppression and poverty for most Egyptians for three decades.
As Mubarak steps down, the next phase of the revolution begins to unfold. There is a lot of work yet to be done in making the reforms, rewriting the Constitution, and regaining stability and economic recovery but if the spirit and positivity of the Egyptian people continues, the process will continue to be smooth and successful.
As many countries in the region have populations struggling under autocratic power, the example of the Egyptian Revolution is a precedent for the method of procuring peaceful change in countries where change is badly needed.
"Saya harap apa yang berlaku di Mesir dan Tunisia menjadi pengajaran kepada semua negara diktator.
"Perdana Menteri memberi amaran jangan buat seperti di Mesir, sebenarnya amaran itu tak perlu buat kerana kalau ada demokrasi tak berlaku seperti di Mesir. Beri kebebasan kepada rakyat berhimpun, berceramah, berorganisasi dan polis pengawal keamanan bukan penjaga rejim seperti yang berlaku di Mesir," tegasnya.
Tambahnya, pemerintah diktator tidak akan kekal lama sebaliknya akan digulingkan jika rakyat benar-benar bangkit.
"Selepas 30 tahun sudah tumbang dan semalam dilaporkan polis pula buat tunjuk perasaan minta kenaikan gaji. Ini jadi pengajaran sebab tak ada negara lagi melainkan India yang tukar rejim melalui pilihanraya. Thailand, Indonesia, Filipina, Iran, Tunisia dan sekarang Mesir pula menggunakan perarakan rakyat untuk menjatuhkan kerajaan," katanya.
Beliau berkata demikian semasa menyertai Solidariti Bersama Kebangkitan Rakyat Mesir menyerahkan nota ucapan tahniah kepada rakyat Mesir kepada pihak kedutaan negara itu di sini, hari ini.
Solidariti itu menuntut Majlis Tertinggi Tentera Mesir agar terus memberikan ruang demokrasi kepada rakyatnya….
Presidennya, Tan Sri Adam Abdul Kadir, berkata cadangan ini bagi memastikan wakil rakyat yang dipilih itu dapat berkhidmat dengan baik selain berisiko rendah dihidapi penyakit akibat merokok…
Ulasan: Dan yang tidak amalkan rasuah, berzina dan minum arak…
Saya pernah belajar di Mesir. Empat tahun saya peruntukkan dari usia muda saya untuk menimba ilmu di bumi ambiya tersebut. Orang-orang Mesir saya lihat begitu ramah dan mesra terutama dengan tetamu asing. Alhamdulillah, banyak pengalaman yang saya timba di sana untuk dibawa pulang ke tanah air.
Hari ini, rejim Hosni Mubarak jatuh tersungkur. Pandangan saya, ia benar-benar merupakan kuasa Allah SWT. Nampak sangat berlakunya campur tangan Allah SWT di dalam menjatuhkan rejim ini. Siapa yang menyangka Dataran Tahrir boleh memuatkan tiga juta manusia untuk mendesak Hosni Mubarak berundur?
Jika di Padang Arafah, musim haji terakhir baru-baru ini mencatat kehadiran jemaah yang wukuf seramai 2.7 juta orang (angka rasmi), di Dataran Tahrir rupa-rupanya lebih ramai daripada itu. Siapakah yang mengerah mereka jika tidak naluri mereka sendiri yang digerakkan oleh Allah SWT?
Mereka berkampung selama 18 hari tanpa terjamin urusan makan minum dan pengurusan seharian semata-mata untuk memastikan matlamat mereka tercapai. Pastinya ia terhasil ekoran perasaan tidak puas hati yang telah sekian lama terpendam. Tanpa peluru dan tanpa senjata, mereka akhirnya berhasil menjatuhkan Mubarak.
Mesir menyaksikan sejarah penindasan kepada para ulama yang begitu lama. Jauh sebelum itu, musuh Allah SWT yang bernama Firaun sendiri pernah ditenggelamkan oleh Allah SWT. Firaun yang mengaku dirinya tuhan ditenggelamkan di laut setelah Allah SWT membenarkan Nabi Musa bersama pengikutnya melalui laut sama yang telah dibekukan sepanjang lebih kurang 40km.
Yakinlah, kuasa Allah SWT mengatasi segala-galanya. Allah SWT yang pernah membekukan lautan untuk Nabi Musa itulah juga yang telah menjadikan api menjadi sejuk untuk Nabi Ibrahim. Dialah juga yang telah menyelamatkan perjalanan Nabi Muhammad SAW ke Madinah dari dikesan oleh special branch Quraisy. Maka, pelikkah jika Allah SWT boleh menjatuhkan mana-mana kerajaan pada hari ini dengan kuasaNya?
Sayangnya, musuh Allah SWT tidak pernah belajar dari sejarah. Sekali lagi kesilapan Firaun diulangi oleh pemerintah Mesir dengan membunuh para ulama. Almarhum Syeikh Abdul Qadir Audah, Almarhum Syed Qutb dan ramai lagi para ulama terkorban di bumi Mesir hasil kezaliman pemerintah Mesir. Demikian juga ulama yang terpaksa keluar dari Mesir seperti Syeikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi ekoran keselamatan yang sentiasa terancam oleh polisi kerajaan Mesir.
Harapan saya, rakyat Mesir akan mendapat pemimpin yang benar-benar bekerja untuk rakyat serta beriman dan bertaqwa kepada Allah SWT.
Datuk Bentara Setia Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat,
Menteri Besar Kelantan.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Three weeks ago today, 26-year-old Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouz posted a video online urging people to protest the “corrupt government” of Hosni Mubarak by rallying in Tahrir Square on January 25. Her moving call ultimately helped inspire Egypt’s uprising. "I, a girl, am going down to Tahrir Square, and I will stand alone. And I’ll hold up a banner. Perhaps people will show some honor,” Mahfouz said. "Don’t think you can be safe anymore. None of us are. Come down with us and demand your rights, my rights, your family’s rights. I am going down on January 25th and will say no to corruption, no to this regime." [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Right now, as we talk about sparks of a revolution, from Wael Ghonim to a young woman, I want to turn to a video recording that was posted to Facebook three weeks ago—that was January 18th—and then went viral across Egypt. It’s recorded by a young Egyptian named Asmaa Mahfouz. In the video, the veiled 26-year-old activist appealed to her fellow citizens to join her in protest at Tahrir Square on January 25th to demand their rights. Asmaa Mahfouz is one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement. The group has been credited with playing a leading role in organizing the January 25th protests. This is Asmaa.
ASMAA MAHFOUZ: [translated] Four Egyptians have set themselves on fire to protest humiliation and hunger and poverty and degradation they had to live with for 30 years. Four Egyptians have set themselves on fire thinking maybe we can have a revolution like Tunisia, maybe we can have freedom, justice, honor and human dignity. Today, one of these four has died, and I saw people commenting and saying, "May God forgive him. He committed a sin and killed himself for nothing."
People, have some shame.
I posted that I, a girl, am going down to Tahrir Square, and I will stand alone. And I’ll hold up a banner. Perhaps people will show some honor. I even wrote my number so maybe people will come down with me. No one came except three guys—three guys and three armored cars of riot police. And tens of hired thugs and officers came to terrorize us. They shoved us roughly away from the people. But as soon as we were alone with them, they started to talk to us. They said, "Enough! These guys who burned themselves were psychopaths." Of course, on all national media, whoever dies in protest is a psychopath. If they were psychopaths, why did they burn themselves at the parliament building?
I’m making this video to give you one simple message: we want to go down to Tahrir Square on January 25th. If we still have honor and want to live in dignity on this land, we have to go down on January 25th. We’ll go down and demand our rights, our fundamental human rights.
AMY GOODMAN: Again, that video posting by the young Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouz on January 18th, one week before the start of the Egyptian uprising.
While much of the youth organizing in Egypt has been over the internet, much of it has been through anonymous postings. In her video postings, Asmaa Mahfouz speaks directly to the camera and identifies herself. The boldness of this act, speaking out so forcefully as a woman, inspired many others to start posting their images online, as well.
On the eve of the protest, Asmaa posted a follow-up video outlining some of her expectations.
ASMAA MAHFOUZ: [translated] It’s now 10:30 p.m. on January 24th, 2011. Tomorrow is the 25th, the day we’ve been waiting for, the day we all worked so hard for. The most beautiful thing about it is that those who worked on this were not politicians at all. It was all of us, all Egyptians. We worked hard. Children no older than 14, they printed the poster and started distributing it after prayers. Old people in their sixties and seventies helped, as well. People distributed it everywhere they could—in taxis, at the metro, in the street, in schools, universities, companies, government agencies. All of Egypt awaits tomorrow.
I know we are all nervous right now and anxious, but we all want to see tomorrow’s event happen and succeed. I’d like to tell everyone that tomorrow is not the revolution and is not the day we’ll change it all. No, tomorrow is the beginning of the end. Tomorrow, if we make our stand despite all the security may do to us and stand as one in peaceful protest, it will be the first real step on the road to change, the first real step that will take us forward and teach us a lot of things. Our solidarity in planning is a success in itself. To simply know that we must demand our rights, that is success.
AMY GOODMAN: Asmaa Mahfouz. The next day after that recording, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Liberation Square, to call for the ouster of President Mubarak and an end to his regime. The turnout was unprecedented, even among the organizers, including the April 6 Youth Movement.
The next day, Asmaa Mahfouz posted another video with her reaction. She called the demonstrations "the happiest day" of her life but said there’s still more work to do.
ASMAA MAHFOUZ: [translated] The people want to bring down the regime. This is what we were all chanting yesterday, January 25th, 2011. Thousands upon thousands—I could not count how many there were. Demonstrations from all sides. Riot police could not control the sheer numbers.
What we learned yesterday is that power belongs to the people, not to the thugs. Power is in unity, not in division. Yesterday, we truly lived the best moments of our lives. We learned that the Egyptian people are not chaotic or disorderly. The government keeps saying that we are a chaotic people and a revolution will lead to chaos. Yesterday, we were truly one hand, concerned for one another. Yesterday, not even one girl was harassed, even among those thousands. No one stole anything. No one struck anyone. No fights broke out. We were defending each other. Everyone was concerned for one another. Some bought water bottles and distributed them; others distributed sandwiches. We all said it was from our hearts. Long live Egypt! Some boys and girls even cleaned the streets of trash and garbage. This is the Egyptian people that we have always dreamed of. I can now say that I am proud to be Egyptian. I truly wish to kiss every Egyptian’s forehead and say, "Thank you for being Egyptian." I never imagined that I would see this.
But we must continue. The riot police was after us until 5:00 a.m., chasing us to beat and arrest us. Yesterday, we saw them scared. Live ammunition and rubber bullets and tear gas and water cannons to break us up. But we did not break up, and we’re still united.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Asmaa Mahfouz, 26-year-old Egyptian activist, part of the April 6 Youth Movement. We will post the full video that she posted on January 18th, before the uprising, calling for people to go to Tahrir, on our website at democracynow.org.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go back right now to a bit more of the recording of this young, brave Egyptian woman, this young activist with the April 6 Movement, who posted a video on January 18th. We just played a clip of it at the top of the show so that we could fit everything in, but we wanted to go back and play a little more for you of Asmaa Mahfouz, a week before the January 25th uprising.
ASMAA MAHFOUZ: [translated] I won’t even talk about any political rights. We just want our human rights and nothing else. This entire government is corrupt—a corrupt president and a corrupt security force. These self-immolaters were not afraid of death but were afraid of security forces. Can you imagine that? Are you going to kill yourselves, too, or are you completely clueless? I’m going down on January 25th, and from now 'til then I'm going to distribute fliers in the streets. I will not set myself on fire. If the security forces want to set me on fire, let them come and do it.
If you think yourself a man, come with me on January 25th. Whoever says women shouldn’t go to protests because they will get beaten, let him have some honor and manhood and come with me on January 25th. Whoever says it is not worth it because there will only be a handful of people, I want to tell him, "You are the reason behind this, and you are a traitor, just like the president or any security cop who beats us in the streets." Your presence with us will make a difference, a big difference. Talk to your neighbors, your colleagues, friends and family, and tell them to come. They don’t have to come to Tahrir Square. Just go down anywhere and say it, that we are free human beings. Sitting at home and just following us on news or Facebook leads to our humiliation, leads to my own humiliation. If you have honor and dignity as a man, come. Come and protect me and other girls in the protest. If you stay at home, then you deserve all that is being done, and you will be guilty before your nation and your people. And you’ll be responsible for what happens to us on the streets while you sit at home.
Go down to the street. Send SMSes. Post it on the net. Make people aware. You know your own social circle, your building, your family, your friends. Tell them to come with us. Bring five people or 10 people. If each one of us manages to bring five or 10 to Tahrir Square and talk to people and tell them, "This is enough. Instead of setting ourselves on fire, let us do something positive," it will make a difference, a big difference.
Never say there’s no hope. Hope disappears only when you say there’s none. So long as you come down with us, there will be hope. Don’t be afraid of the government. Fear none but God. God says He will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. Don’t think you can be safe anymore. None of us are. Come down with us and demand your rights, my rights, your family’s rights. I am going down on January 25th, and I will say no to corruption, no to this regime.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Asmaa Mahfouz, 26 years old, calling for people to protest January 25th in Tahrir Square.
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, the War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, and we have very important news to announce. For those who are just tuning in, Hosni Mubarak has stepped down. Or more accurately, the people of Egypt have forced Hosni Mubarak out. The dictator is gone. The announcement was made by the hastily chosen vice president, hand-picked by Mubarak himself, named Omar Suleiman. He has a bloody history himself, and we will go into that in this hour. But right now, we want to go to the streets of Cairo, specifically to Tahrir Square, where so many hundreds of thousands, in fact millions, are celebrating throughout Egypt. The announcement that vice president Omar Suleiman made was that the Supreme Military Council will take over the governing of Egypt, so it’s unclear what will happen next. But what is clear is the level of celebration throughout Egypt right now. From Suez to Alexandria to Mahalla to Cairo, where millions of people have turned out, every walk of life, every sector of society, are celebrating. Let’s go directly to the streets of Cairo, to Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat.
ANJALI KAMAT: I can’t explain to you what the mood is like here. It’s indescribable. People are just crying with happiness. They’re jumping up and down, so proud to be Egyptian, so proud of what they’ve achieved over the past two weeks. Everyone’s talking about how they did this in nineteen days. People are just ecstatic. They’re doing cartwheels in the middle of the street. They’re jumping up and down. Whole families are coming from across Cairo. I’m just walking a little bit out, and the traffic is unbelievable. Everyone’s honking their cars; it’s like a wedding party. It’s an unbelievable celebration, the biggest goodbye party ever. Everyone is so thrilled that Mubarak is resigning.
AMY GOODMAN: Anjali, tell us where you were when you got the news.
ANJALI KAMAT: I was in the middle of Tahrir Square. I was just walking in the middle of the crowds, and you know, just wondering where is this all going to go, what’s gonna happen next. There’s hardly any military, there’s just a lot of people just milling around. All of a sudden someone said something in the loud speaker. I couldn’t really hear what they said, and the crowd erupted into cheers and celebration. And from talking to people around, it became clear that there had been an announcement that Mubarak was resigning.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s truly amazing when you think of this being repeated all over Egypt. Just describe what you’re seeing around you right now. Describe who you see, what people are doing right now, right there in Liberation Square.
ANJALI KAMAT: There’s about 10,000 flags flying in the air. There’s men jumping on each other’s shoulders banging on drums, singing and cheering. There’s women walking through the square in tears, just crying. Everyone is saying, “Mabrook! Mabrook! Mabrook!” to each other, which means “Congratulations!” People are, complete strangers are coming up to each other and hugging and kissing each other in congratulation. It’s absolutely unbelievable. People are hooting and cheering. The main chant is: “al-Sha’b … isqaat al-nizaam,” which means, “The people have brought down the regime.” The chant in previous days was, “The people want to bring down the regime.”
AMY GOODMAN: You know. Everyone is saying, “Mubarak steps down,” but it’s not really as voluntary as it sounds, of course. The people brought Mubarak down.
ANJALI KAMAT: Yes, of course. I mean, this would not have happened, this is unthinkable, were it not for these protests, these unprecedented street protests, where millions of Egyptians came out in such enormous numbers for the first time. You know, people talk about the fear barrier falling for the first time, and it’s true. Living in a dictatorship, a police state, for thirty years, people have really been living in fear, and for the first time everyone is coming out and giving up their fear, and are so happy to be out here, and so happy I think after all the sacrifices they have made, not just for the past two weeks, but for the past thirty years, to see what they’ve wanted actually begin to happen.
AMY GOODMAN: So Anjali, tell us a little about yourself. You didn’t just fly into Cairo. You have a deep connection to Egypt. Can you tell us about when you first went to Cairo?
ANJALI KAMAT: I’ve been going back and forth to Cairo for about ten years now. I first came to Cairo in 2001 just for a visit when I was living in Jordan where I was studying Arabic and then I came back and spent a year and a half in Cairo in 2003 and 2004, which incidentally was around the time when a lot of movements started picking up, the people’s movements. It was just before the time of Kefaya!, ‘Enough!’ The people’s movements started picking up just when I was leaving, and I met a lot of those activists at that time and remember speaking to a lot of the same activists that I’m talking to now, who are in the square, about five or six years ago. And really they’re sense of, you know, doing this alone for years and years, trying to push towards a more democratic society, trying to push towards a more free society, and how hard it was and what a struggle it’s been. And at that point there wasn’t very much hope. I mean just going out to protests, you’re always penned in by a far larger group of police and security. And now speaking to those same activists, I mean the power they felt when they came out on to the streets on January 25th and saw for the first time that they outnumbered the security forces is just incredible.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how people existed during the regime, what it is that was understood you could do and you couldn’t do.
ANJALI KAMAT: I mean to the best of my understanding if you, as long as you weren’t very politically active, most people felt like you could sort of go by and eek out an existence. But the problem came with the definition of what means political activism. A lot of the people here today aren’t political activists, but they’re people who felt that their freedoms have been curtailed for years, and that could have happened in a lot of different spheres. A lot of people who might have been religious, who might have been devout followers of Islam, a lot of men who had beards felt under pressure from the regime. A lot of working-class men I’ve spoken to during the protests talked about how they were picked up, detained, and tortured for months on end for no other reason except that they were very religious men. One part of it. Another part of it is of course the economic repression that people felt and the complete lack of opportunity for men and women of all classes, people who had college degrees, people who are well educated, there is very little room to get a good job, very little room to actually move forward. Unless you’re from a handful of elite families, this kind of repression—people usually talk of Egypt as a dictatorship, but it was a dictatorship that didn’t just restrict political freedom, it also didn’t give its people any economic or social rights, which is why it’s a dramatic combination that erupted here over the past month.
AMY GOODMAN: And Anjali, now, talking to the young bloggers, the people from the April 6th movement, the youth movement, the role that they played, I don’t think this has been very well chronicled, people like Asmaa Mahfouz, who put that video out on April, on January 18th to say, “Go join me in Tahrir.”
ANJALI KAMAT: Absolutely, I mean people in the square are by and large young people, people under thirty. And it’s incredible the sense of ownership they feel over this moment. And yesterday, we were speaking to this young woman who, Mona Seif, whose father, Ahmed Seif, runs the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre. And she was telling me people of her parents’ generation are now coming up to her now and congratulating her because they see this as a young people’s movement. And when I ask them, “Do you consider yourself part of the April 6th movement? What do you call yourself?” And now their new name, is they’re just part of the January 25th uprising. That’s what they call themselves. A lot of them were mobilized after the brutal murder of the young man from Alexandria, Khalid Sa’id, and the creation of the Facebook page, “We are all Khalid Sa’id.” Wael Ghonim was one of the administrators of that page. I mean that really I think mobilized a lot of middle class youth in Egypt to realize, you know, that this kind of police brutality and the terror waged by the police state that Egypt had become could attack anyone, could touch anyone. No one was exempt from those kind of terror tactics. And that’s what really what brought a large number of middle- and upper-class youth out onto the streets, in solidarity with a lot of working class people who might have already felt the long arm of the state.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Anjali Kamat in the streets of Cairo, in Liberation Square, in Tahrir Square. Anjali, talk about tahrir, what it means. Do you even know why it was named that? And also, I mean, you have on the one hand this square that was a symbol of liberation, and then you have people feeling they had to go out to actually take on the symbols of state power, because Liberation Square is a symbol of people’s power, so there you were yesterday. Thousands of people you were following to state TV and they went to the presidential palace, and we talked to the blogger Alaa there today. Talk about the significance of this square.
ANJALI KAMAT: The square itself was designed in the nineteenth century by Egypt’s ruler at the time Khedive Ismail, who designed this part of his plan to make Cairo a sort of Paris on the Nile, in the nineteenth century. It came to be called Tahrir Square after the 1952 revolution that brought Gamal Abdel Nasser to power. And tahrir obviously means ‘liberation,’ and right now everywhere you go people are talking about Tahrir as a symbol. The space has become the symbol of the revolution, and it’s also I think, the kind of spirit that’s being forged in the square is quite magical and inspiring because you see, you know, men and women who might never have talked to each other, of different ages and different classes, coming together and working together for the first time to try to create a new image of the kind of Egypt they want to live in and the kind of country they can imagine a future in and want to be in. And that sentiment of the transformation that’s happening to people as they spend more time in the square is echoed by people of all classes and all ages, and it’s quite remarkable to see that. And in terms of taking that spirit of the liberated and taking it to other parts of the city and other parts of the country, I mean, I can only speak of Cairo, but you know, a few days ago we saw protesters branch out and go and set up tents and camps in front of the parliament. Out there they put a big sign over the Majlis al-Sha’b, or the People’s Assembly, that says, “Closed until the regime falls.” That’s the sign right on the gates of the parliament. They’re spending the night there. They’re spending their days there. They started off as a small crowd and now they’ve swelled to a few thousand people. Today we saw a big march to the presidential palace. Last night there was a march to the TV building. Just taking over these spaces, these symbols of the regime’s power, I think has been very important for people to kind of go there and show that the people’s power will not be just restricted to one place. They’re not going to allow the regime to be comfortable by just penning them into the space, Tahrir Square. They’re going to continue to threaten the stability of the regime and I think they’ve succeeded.
AMY GOODMAN: And that is Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat in Tahrir Square, in Liberation Square. Yes, if you are just tuning in, just a few hours ago, the announcement was made by the Mubarak regime. Make no mistake about it, it was the vice president, hastily hand-chosen successor to Mubarak, vice president Omar Suleiman. He said that it was the Supreme Military Council that would be taking over the governance of Egypt.
We are joined on the phone right now by Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who was right there in front of state television standing with thousands of people when the news came down. I don’t know if you’ve recovered yet, Sharif, you a son of Egypt yourself. Your response:
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Amy, I walked over to Tahrir Square, where hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are right now, and it’s an indescribable moment. It’s been a positive day. Three weeks ago I never would have imagined that this was possible, and it was done peacefully, it was done by everybody. It was one of the most amazing revolts in modern times. I’m standing—I had find somewhere quiet to speak to you. I don’t think there’s anywhere quiet in Cairo right now. I’m standing on the border of Tahrir Square where the—–Bridge, El Jamil bridge. It’s just like, the entire bridge is people walking across the bridge, coming into Tahrir, to celebrate and to be with their fellow Egyptians right now. Just eighteen days ago they fought on this bridge. They fought the police, Mubarak’s state security apparatus. They managed to beat them back, and to take Tahrir, and they’ve owned it for the past eighteen days. And through their will and their defiance, Mubarak was forced to step down. He threw everything but the kitchen sink at us: thuggery, and violence, and propaganda, and deception. But they held fast, they only grew stronger, and today is the night for everybody.
AMY GOODMAN: Sharif, tell us exactly when this happened, when you were, I think very significantly, you, a great, independent journalist, one of the top tweeters in the world, breaking through the internet blockade when the internet was completely down, your tweets, coming from Tahrir Square, were being highlighted on every network, on the top of Twitter.com. Now, of course, the whole world is listening and watching, but I thought it was most significant, where you were when you learned the news in front of this symbol of state power, which is the state media, and why so many thousands were there.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, Amy, they had, they had marched to the State TV building, because it was a symbol of the regime, a symbol of the propaganda that has divided Egyptians for so long, and has tried to do so since this uprising began, that has fomented violence and chaos, and they marched to it and they took it yesterday. They took it as they’ve taken most of, of the streets here in Cairo, peacefully. They marched past the army tanks, and they were right, I was skeptical, but they were right, the Army didn’t fire on them, and they were there and we were then, standing and people were chanting, was bigger as they always have been, which has always surprised me that, I can’t think of a protest in the United States that for 18 days, people would chant with, with enthusiasm and, and then glee, and just in defiance. And then, knowing that they’re gonna be secure, not for the cameras and not for the news, but for themselves and for each other. And then all of a sudden, there was a, like a huge cheer that, came from the back of the crowd. People started cheering wildly. I didn’t know what was going on. I kept asking people around me what was happening. And it was hard to find out, but people said he had gone. And in the beginning, I didn’t even believe it, because it had happened so many times before, and I just didn’t believe that it had happened. And I couldn’t, I couldn’t accept it. And then, it just kept happening. Everyone around us was cheering. People were hugging, and I spoke to my father. And he said that, what you just said, that Omar Suleiman, that Mubarak had left. And he did. And I was overwhelmed with emotion. I started crying when you, when I told you before. But anyway, I’m surrounded by a crowd of people right now who are watching me do this broadcast. Uh, but it’s unbelievable to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: ...Sharif, uh, as we listen to you in Tahrir Square, we may be seeing you as a dot on the screen, because we are watching live images, and we’re gonna go to those right now, live images of Tahrir Square, and what we’re watching are fireworks. They have been going off. What are these fireworks?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Uh, there were fireworks that were coming up in the, in the middle of the square. Every time one would go off, people would cheer. It’s hard to describe what Tahrir’s like. I can’t imagine that, I mean, Amy, you should see the flood of people that’s going in. I don’t see, how, where everyone’s gonna fit, but this is gonna be one of the biggest celebrations, I think in our modern history. There’s, there’s just people everywhere out in the streets. Everyone’s happy. The checkpoints are gone. The searching is gone. The barricades have broken and, you know, Egypt is free. That’s what people keep chanting now. And one of the, the chants that they’re saying is… "you’re Egyptian, lift, lift your head up. You’re Egyptian." And, the, you know, we’re proud to be here today and, everyone’s proud to be Egyptian today. And I think everyone who fights for democracy and fights for freedom is Egyptian today and stands with us.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Sharif, we’re joined by someone you had been interviewing and talking to over these last days. Mona El Seif. It’s great to have you with us, Mona. Tell us where you are and your reaction to this news. I won’t just say that Mubarak stepped down, but the people of Egypt forced him out. Where are you, Mona?
MONA EL SEIF: I’m in downtown. I’m in one of the streets right off Tahrir Square, but all of downtown, is, has been crazy. When, when the Mubarak announced, it was announced that he was stepping down I was next to Tahrir Square, in Abdel Moneam Riyadh, totally alone. I had no one in front of me. I found myself crying in the middle of a huge crowd, random people hugging me. People are cheering me and congratulating one another. Everyone’s in tears; everyone is laughing. Everyone is screaming that Mubarak is out and Egypt is finally free! The main chant is “Raise your head up; we are Egyptians” and “We are the revolution.” And I can’t describe. You have to be here. This is the one moment, one happy nation. I have never seen anything like this before.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask to get both of your reactions. Sharif and Mona, Mona, an Egyptian activist in the streets right now of Tahrir. Um, I wanted to read you from the Guardian blog, “The departure of one man is not the end.” This is what the Guardian writes. “The repressive system that Egyptians have suffered under for three decades has not gone away, and the state of emergency remains in place. Those in power must grasp this opportunity, must grasp this opportunity to consign the systematic abuses of the past to history. Human rights reform must begin now.” Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, who initially defended Mubarak, saying he was not a dictator and should not stand down, said, “This is a pivotal moment in history. The transition that’s taking place must be an irreversible change.” Mona, your response.
MONA EL SEIF: I’m just saying we, we hear this. We understand that this is not the end of the struggle. But this is definitely a new day and a victory, and we know, we know that we have to work. We do have a long way ahead of us to remove all of the damage that the previous regime has done, to make sure that we have transparency that we don’t have the torture machine of Egypt that we really build on reforming this country. We understand this and we know this. And we are going to work on this. And now the people feel empowered. They are going to be more determined to take that truth to the end.
AMY GOODMAN: And Sharif, as you listen to this, this issue, of well, it’s the Supreme Military Council that has now taken over and how this trajectory of democracy clearly, the people have decided the despot must leave, but how it continues on a democratic path.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, Amy, I think that it’s important to know that we’re all, tonight is a, tonight is a night of celebration. But tomorrow the fight continues, where we are nowhere near where we need to be. We just toppled the first and the largest the most stubborn obstacle. But there’s a long way to go to achieve real democracy here. We have to remember that they, they, we’re now in a military state. The military is running things right now. That’s not where we wanna be. But if we keep the same level of togetherness, and the same level of commitment to reform, then I think it can easily be achieved. And people now have the revived sense of themselves. Egyptians have found their voice. And I don’t think I feel it will be very hard for it to return to a repressive state if we can keep this energy up and this involvement up, and certainly, there’s the, the war is not over, but a big battle has been won today.
AMY GOODMAN: Mona, continue with your thoughts, as you’ve been out on the streets. Explain to us how this happened Mona El Seif.
MONA EL SEIF: (laughs) How this happened. It’s, I can’t believe, like, it’s a long story. It’s been 18 days. It basically happened because people understood that our power is in our numbers and in raising our voices. And every time, every time the government tried to offer us half-solutions and offer us empty promises, the people were not fooled. The people were out on the streets in bigger numbers, and they said, and they did it. They said these, they would stick to the streets until Mubarak leaves. And this is what happened. We still know that we have other demands. We still have to push for our detainees to be released and all of the other demands. But this is a big step. People now know that they have power in their voice and in their number and they are going to go on until we get all of our demands fulfilled.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to say that what I read from the Guardian blog was a head of Amnesty International was, Salil, Salil Shetty, who is the Amnesty International Secretary General, saying that this is not the end, that in order to guarantee human rights, uh, people have to be very vigilant. With the military taking over at this point. Sharif, the whole issue now of what people believe, are they even talking about the formations that will have to take place now? I wanted to read to you what Mohammed Elbaradei, speaking on Al Jazeera. His statement was about what he feels needs to happen. It’s not much different what, than what he has been saying. He said, “This is the emancipation of Egypt. This is the liberation of the Egyptian people. It’s a dream come true,” he said. But he goes on to say in terms of what happens next, what I’ve been talking about and proposing is a transition period of one year. We would have a provisional council, a transition government, preferably a provisional council including a person from the army and civilians, but the main idea would be that the army and the people would work together for a year up to the point where we could have a free and fair election. That is the words of Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who ran the International Atomic Energy Agency, and came from Vienna, Austria where he had been living at the beginning of these protests, to join in the streets. Sharif?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: I mean that seems like a reasonable mechanism to move forward. I think there are a lot of ideas. There’s a lot of debates, and that’s what’s needed. Sothe people can, can try and come up with a good solution to have some mechanism to move towards a democratic system. You know, this is a revolution, and we should have revolutionary ideas about how to make change here. I can only imagine what the turnout will be in the next presidential elections. I think it will be one of the highest that the world has seen because people now know that they have a choice. My 80, she, I think she just turned 80, my 80-year-old grandmother, who has never voted in her life, said that she, she told me last week, that if she could vote, that she would in an election that mattered. And so when you hear things like that, you know that, things are gonna eventually come through if they have some, some stability, and some mechanisms to move forward for reform.
AMY GOODMAN: Sharif and Mona, I wanted to turn right now to our guest in-studio, here in New York, not that he doesn’t come from where you are right now. His name is Mohammed Abdel Dayem and he is the head of the Middle Eastern/North Africa section of the Committee To Protect Journalists. Sharif, you were standing in front of state media when you got word that Mubarak had been forced out. More than 100 journalists, we don’t even know the numbers at this point, of the journalists who have been hurt just in the last few weeks, harassed, assaulted, detained. We’re going to go by the way, live to President Obama when he makes his address in a few minutes, but Mohammed, first of all, congratulations. Though you’re not in the streets of Tahrir, you are born in Egypt.
MOHAMMED ABDEL DAYEM: Right, thank you very much. We’ve obviously all been watching the events unfolding today. I’ve been talking to journalists. Anecdotally, people are saying they, they can finally report openly. People are not scared to take their cameras out anymore. And I was talking to one journalist standing outside the state TV building and somebody in uniform from the military. He wasn’t sure what the rank was, came up to him and said, “You look like a journalist. And we confiscated his camera from another journalist a couple of days ago, and I don’t know who he is, but here. Film, go crazy!” I mean it’s truly a momentous moment for, for Egypt and for Egyptian journalists and also for the foreign journalists who have been covering this story and have, and have done it at, at great personal risk as we’ve seen in, in the past few days where the government had, was going after journalists, but physically and in other ways, beating journalists, detaining journalists, confiscating equipment, breaking cameras, destroying entire bureaus. So we’re, we’re very happy to see this and obviously, the situation remains very fluid and, and it’s not entirely clear what will be happening next. But we, we look forward to a significant improvement in, in the press environment in Egypt. And, and we call, we call on the government to release uh, the one blogger that we know of that remains in custody, Kareem Ahmer...
AMY GOODMAN: He’s out.
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: ...he’s out, okay, well that’s news. He was just released apparently.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes.
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: So I’m, I’m happy to hear that.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes, we just got news that he was released, a very important young blogger, who already had been imprisoned for four years.
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Absolutely, he was imprisoned for four years for daring to criticize Mubarak, for daring to criticize the institutions of the state for daring to criticize the rampant censorship that existed. And he spent four long years of his life in prison, constantly being harassed by, by other prisoners who, who were, who were essentially paid to do so by, prison wardens. They used to take away his reading materials. They used to confiscate letters of support that he would receive from all over the world. So he has indeed paid a very, very high price. But I’m sure if we had Kareem on the line with us right now he would say that it was well worth it.
AMY GOODMAN: So he was let out after four years. Then on Sunday, suddenly the, while he was in Tahrir Square with everyone else, he and a colleague, as they were leaving, they disappeared. No one knew where they were. It ended up he was in a desert jail outside of Cairo. And we just got word that he has been released and that he is safe, which means that he got to celebrate with all Egyptians and with people who care about democracy around the world. But I have to ask, Mohammed, where were you when you got word? Where were you sitting or standing?
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: I was at my desk at work, on the, you know, furiously dialing numbers of journalists trying to get a reading on what was going on. And when it happened, I hung up the phone, and then I looked at the screen and I tried beat back the tears. It was a beautiful moment.
AMY GOODMAN: So Sharif was at state TV when this all went down. Talk about state TV about the number of reporters and employees of state TV who’ve been streaming out of state television and joining the ranks of the protesters in Tahrir, saying they couldn’t lie anymore.
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Yeah, well they had enough and this happened at state TV, this happened at the journalist syndicate a few days earlier, the journalists almost physically drove out the long-despised chief of the syndicate, who is a long-time Mubarek apologist who did very, very little when journalists were being dragged out of his own syndicate by the secret police, did very little about it, went on state TV and brazenly implied indirectly that he was spending personal political capital with the now deposed Minister of the Interior to free these colleagues as if he was doing them a favor. They, clearly he’d been in that position for too long and had forgotten what the point of being the chief of the syndicate is which is to protect the journalists that are members of the syndicate, he’s done a very poor job of doing that, and a few days ago journalists finally made it very clear how they feel about him and essentially escorted him out of the syndicate.
AMY GOODMAN: This just came from the New York Times’ live blog Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned satellite channel reports the higher military council will sack the cabinet, suspend both houses of parliament, and rule with the head of the supreme constitutional court. Where does media stand now? What does this all mean for journalists, and of course, for the people of Egypt?
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Well this latest development that you just announced is a very promising one. The head of the constitutional court is one person that has definitely not been tainted by the Mubarak regime and the things it has done over the past 30 years and it has particularly over the past 18 months, and this is a good omen for all Egyptians, but particularly for the press. He is a man that had long complained and had long used his official post to talk about and to illustrate forged elections and other irregularities in the 2005 election, and also in the most recent one in late 2010 so this is a promising development and I hope it has positive reflections on journalists.
I would like to briefly mention that whoever takes over next has to make it clear immediately to journalists that they will be allowed to report openly. That media, that this is a new day for Egypt and a new dawn for Egypt and that media will start doing what it is supposed to do, to report the news and let people make their own decisions.
And we urge whichever authorities solidify and take their place in the coming days, to also tell journalists and the people of Egypt what happened to Rida Haddad, a senior editor at Al Haram, that was snatched off the streets in August of 2003. We still don’t know what happened to him. It’s been 8 years now. CPJ and other have advocated vigorously on Rida Haddad’s behalf, and many suspect that he’s in state custody, or worse, and we simply don’t know and the time has come for whoever is in charge to let the people know what has happened to Rida Haddad.
AMY GOODMAN: Sharif, are you still with us on the line from Tahrir square? I can hear you. Just describe for us still what’s going on now and then I want to ask you, on these last days before Mubarak fell, pushed out by the Egyptian people, they were starting to say that you had to sign up, that you had to sign up with the Minister of Information or Interior, that you had to get some kind of license to practice journalism, but you had chosen not to do that, not to register.
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Firstly I’m standing here, on the El Jamil bridge, near the entrance to Tahrir, and it’s, just the entire bridge, from back to front, width to length, is just filled with people heading to Tahrir, they’re waving flags, people have climbed the two lions, famous lions that border the bridge, and everyone’s streaming into Tahrir, everyone is cheering and they’re saying, as I said before [speaking Arabic], which means "Lift your head up, you’re Egyptian".
And as far of the Ministry of Information is concerned, that’s true, I’ve met several reporters who are here who were told that they have to register with the Ministry of Information as a journalist in order to be accredited. Jon Alpert, from DCTV, former home who’s here in Egypt now, had his camera confiscated at the airport when he was coming in. And told he had to register with the Ministry of Information, he still has not gotten that registry.
I decided not to register, I didn’t want to give my name and number and photograph and address to a regime that was cracking down on journalists. I just saw no use for it. I could enter next to Tahrir. I’m an Egyptian, I have Egyptian ID, and there was no need to. And this was the same Ministry of Information that was spewing lies that the deceit and propaganda and you know, I saw no reason to register with that same body.
Again right now in front of me there’s a massive crowd coming in holding the biggest Egyptian flag I think I’ve seen in my entire life, over their heads, and they’re chanting coming in, there’s somehow a car, as well, and they’re all just streaming into Tahrir, it’s probably going to be, you know how we kept saying, "today’s the biggest day, today’s the biggest day". Today is the biggest day for sure.
Because I’m looking at other parts of Cairo, across the Nile I can see people everywhere, just simply everywhere. It’s going to be a night to remember. As you said it’s important to remember that this is just one battle in a lot more, that we’re not where we need to be, that this is not a free country yet, but we have toppled someone who has repressed us, who has kept many Egyptians hungry, who has beaten us down for so long, and Egyptians have always... seemed to walk in shame, being a puppet of the United States, being complicit in the siege of Gaza, of being an ally to Israel, the same Israel that punishes so many of its Arab neighbors, and now Egyptians can stand proud. I think that that’s what everyone is feeling today. That when you go tell anyone you’re an Egyptian, you say it with pride. So it’s a very special moment.
AMY GOODMAN: I just want to tell you that a spokesman for Egypt’s military has just appeared on television to read a new statement. Reading in flat monotone the statement said "the supreme council of the armed forces is currently studying the situation, and will issue further statements to clarify its position." The military also had a farewell message for Mr. Mubarak, they said "the supreme council of the armed forces is saluting president Hosni Mubarak for all he has given in sacrifice in times of war and peace."
Mohammed Abdel Dayem, before you go, I wanted to ask, because the significance of this goes beyond Tahrir square, beyond Cairo, beyond Cairo and Alexandria and Suez and Mahala, it goes to the Middle East, it goes to the entire world. But I wanted to, from your prism of looking at journalists, what this means for journalists in the Middle East?
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Well in the past two weeks or so, and again, this morning, governments throughout the Middle East are trying to repress free reporting, are trying to repress impartial reporting. Just today a journalist in Ahman, Jordan at a demonstration that was calling for more political and civil rights, had his camera confiscated and smashed. Earlier last weeks similar things happened in Yemen and Sudan. Again with journalists who were covering protests and social unrest.
And it would really behoove these governments now to take a short time out, and to reflect on what’s happened in Tunisia, and to reflect on what happened in Egypt, and to realize that the status quo that has been in place for decades upon decades of simply cracking down on the media, controlling the flow of information, is no longer the order of the day. It hasn’t worked in Tunis, it hasn’t worked in Cairo, and it’s not going to work elsewhere. And there are lessons to be learned, both for the demonstrators throughout the region, but also for the government. It would be a really good time to think about these things.
AMY GOODMAN: As we talk to you I want you to take a look at what is on television, because it’s very significant now. Let’s show the video, of Nile TV. Nile TV, which when the uprising happened, made no mention of what was taking place. It’s a little fuzzy, but we’re going to show it right now, a very different picture than we say a few weeks ago. They would not go to the protests in the streets. Your response Mohammed.
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Yes, well they’re finally transmitting news, it’s about time, it’s the Nile TV news channel, and for the past 18 days they weren’t transmitting news. They weren’t even frankly transmitting propaganda they were transmitting outright lies, and when people started criticizing the coverage by state-owned media, after days and days and days of furious criticism, they best they could do was do a very long shot of the protests from far, far, far away, so far away that you couldn’t see the signs or the flags or anything, and then they titled that shot as "Pro-Mubarak demonstration".
So even when they showed the right footage, they editorialized in such a way as to mislead the people, and the people simply have too many sources of information, and...
AMY GOODMAN: Shahira Amin is one who left, you know her.
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Yes, absolutely. And the people simply have too many sources of information that it doesn’t work anymore. It might have worked in the 1960s and 1970s when all the Egyptians had was 3 state-owned newspapers and one channel on TV. Now they have hundreds of newspapers and literally thousands of channels on their satellite receiver. So it simply doesn’t work, it simply doesn’t work, and that’s precisely what I was talking about, with regard to other governments in the region.
AMY GOODMAN: Before we go to the other governments, let’s just play a clip, let’s remember a few days ago when Shahira Amin, a well-known host of state television, of Nile TV, walked out of the studios and into Tahrir Square.
SHARIRA AMIN: I’m here in Tahrir Square and I’m determined to be on the side of the people, not the regime and that’s why I’m here.
AL JAZEERA: Right and so you’ve resigned from Nile Television?
SHARIRA AMIN:I walked out yesterday. I can’t be part of the propaganda machine. I’m not going to feed the public lies.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Shahira Amin, quitting Nile TV and joining the protesters in Tahrir. Again Egypt state TV is the largest in the world–It comprises 8 networks.Mohammed Abdel Dayem: That’s correct.
AMY GOODMAN: So more specifically, very quickly, Tunisia right now, which continues to unfold. The reporters–how much freedom they experience? And what about Saudi Arabia?
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Well the reporters in Tunisia, I’ve been in touch with people on the ground since last month, and people are able to report freely for the first time ever. There’s obviously security concerns at at one point there was still a curfew and moving around was very difficult. But people are reporting openly and they’re not scared, they’re not worried about the secret police tearing down their door in the middle of the night.
And they’re no longer worried about being slapped around by a military official or a police official in front of their young children, which was standard practice in Tunisia for many, many, many years, and they’re ecstatic to be able to report openly. And I think something very similar awaits Egyptian journalists and they’re also euphoric right now for all the obvious reasons, because primarily because first and foremost these people are Egyptian, but also because people have been working for decades under the yoke of a censorship regime that has finally crumbled and they can’t wait to write openly, they can’t wait to appear on camera and say what’s really going on in the street.
AMY GOODMAN: But isn’t that why governments are now trembling? Saudi Arabia. Jordan. Syria. Yemen.
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: Yes. It seems that they are. You know it would be wise of them to try something different than Ben Ali and Mubarak tried. Because they’re batting at zero percent. The repression, the attitude of repressing the media, and repressing the people as well I might add, is one that has proven its failure, two times out of two times. They’re batting at zero percent.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to break in because we have Salma Al Tarzi on the line, and whenever we get someone right in Tahrir we want to go right in so we don’t lose you. Salma, can you give your response to this latest news today, the forcing out of Mubarak?
SALMA AL TARZI: Overjoyed, you cannot imagine what the square looks like, what Tahrir square looks like, we had plenty of people fainting from happiness and we had to run get the ambulance for them. And obviously first thing I cannot believe it, I’m under shock, I’m smiling and dancing but I did not totally realize the immensity of what we’ve done, it’s incredible.
AMY GOODMAN: Salma, when we last talked to you, you were in Tahrir when the pro-Mubarak forces moved in, on camel, on horseback, flogging people, you were horrified, you saw someone shot in the head. This is a very different moment.
SALMA AL TARZI: It’s completely different and honestly, I think it’s partly thanks to all the brutality and violence they used against us that turned this from the 25th of January from a simple demonstration into a revolution. That very action that detonated empowered us. I think the people that died...
AMY GOODMAN: And now, how, Salma, do you ensure that what we’re seeing now, the ouster of Mubarak, yet the supreme military council in charge, not clear how Omar Suleiman fits into this with a very bloody past involved with extraordinary rendition and torture, how does this proceed democratically?
SALMA AL TARZI: How does this proceed – sorry, what?
AMY GOODMAN: Democratically.
SALMA AL TARZI: Uh…I, I think in the square, all the news service…it’s a bit chaotic. People chanting and dancing. But I think, the military just __ a few hours ago, that it’s going to be a civil state. It’s not going to be a military state, and that, the justice, the jury- the, you know what I mean?
AMY GOODMAN: The justice system.
SALMA AL TARZI: Yes, is going to be monitoring the transitional period, so we are quite comfortable with this.
AMY GOODMAN: How long do you plan to spend in Tahrir right now?
SALMA AL TARZI: Right now we are going home to take a shower because we all plan on coming back tomorrow to Tahrir and start cleaning the streets.
AMY GOODMAN: Thank you so much, Salma al Tarzi. In fact, the role of journalists this minute in Egypt, Mohammed, is so important because this is the moment that, well, it’s determined which way this country goes. Does it lead into a military coup? Does it guar- does it have watchdogs that ensure a democratic process?
MOHAMED ABDEL DAYEM: The two most important professions in Egypt as we speak are the military and journalism. They – they are the ones that are going to determine Egypt’s future, they are the ones that are going to determine, ah, in which direction Egypt goes, and journalists have a very, very important task to play now. And, from everyone I’ve talked to, hundreds and hundreds of journalists over the past 18 days on the phone, early in the morning and in the middle of the night, at every hour of the day and night, have been fully aware of what awaits them when this regime falls, and it has fallen, and they are anxious to play that role. They are anxious to play that role professionally, and they are anxious to play that role as Egyptians who have waited far too long for this moment to arrive, and it is finally arrived, and they are willing and ready and able to fulfill that role.
AMY GOODMAN: Mohamed Abdel Dayem, thanks so much for being with us of The Committee To Protect Journalists, and we’ll link to your website at democracynow.org. As we turn now to Robert Fisk who has been in the streets when the news came down of the fall of President Mubarak. This is the Independent reporter, that’s the Independent of London. Robert Fisk has been voted Best Foreign Correspondent by editors and reporters of Britain year after year. A veteran war correspondent, beaten almost to death covering the war in Afghanistan, has covered Iraq innumerable times. Also, Lebanon occupied territories, Gaza, West Bank, Israel, now in Cairo. I ask Robert Fisk: Your response to the latest news?
ROBERT FISK: Well, you can have a little bit more than two minutes. I was actually on the street with the protesters outside the state television center on the Nile at the moment they heard the news that Mubarak had, um, had effectively resigned. Resigned, mind you, to the army, I noticed, not to the vice president, which may be something they’ll think about tomorrow. But, the crowds, they – they – that wonderful line from Siegfried Sassoon about the crowds on the day the first World War ended, suddenly everyone burst out singing, came to mind. Here, in this case, it was and shouting and screaming and praying, and there were men literally kissing the filthy tarmac of the road and praising god, and there was a soldier in the Egyptian third army who just burst into a smile of joy when he heard the news. It was quite clear that the soldiers themselves were immensely relieved that the man had gone. Um, and I suppose, you know, I’ve been through a few revolutions including the Iranian one, which turned into a very sinister affair, and obviously revolutions often end in betrayal and sub-revolutions, and there’s always that moment when you’ve been out in a place like this, for 36 years in the Middle East, and you say, “Well, hold on a minute, what happens tomorrow?” The army council took over from Mubarak. This country is now being run by the army. Countries run by the army are not always very pleasant democracies. But, the army has insisted there will be fair elections. They want the people to go home, which I think they will not do immediately, but I think the relief of Mubarak going, especially only 24 hours after he told them in a miserable, self-regarding, narcissistic speech, that he was staying on, which no one could believe this morning, couldn’t believe that he was actually, you know, he had chosen to stay, that within 24 hours he is gone. It’s an enormous relief. These people, remember, many of them are frightened to go home in case they’re arrested by state security police if Mubarak was staying on. They believe that, you know, that this was a situation which they had to fight on and continue to refuse to be afraid, because if they didn’t cling on in Cairo, and today they were taking up more and more of Cairo, walking to the presidential palace here in Cairo and in Alexandria, ah, moving in on Tahrir Square, they were taking over more and more of the parliament grounds right up to the steps of the parliament itself. And I think it was – I think it was inevitable, although my understanding from my own sources is that the army simply gave up and said, we cannot, you know, we’re being humiliated by this man. I should add, however, that, and this is sort of the dark side of, I suppose, my response to all this, that effectively generals now run Egypt. And you’ve got to realize generals brought Nasir in in 1952. It was the army who – Nasir being a colonel then, of course – it was the army which introduced dictatorship to this country so many year ago. It has been the army who’s propped up, um, the regime. You’ve got to realize even the current cabinet, and so far it still exists, which was appointed by Mubarak, the new cabinet. You know, the vice president was a general, the prime minister was a general, the minister of defense was a general, the Minister of the Interior was a general, and now we’ve had a whole series of generals meeting today, fighting like vultures over the political corpse of Mubarak for new ministries, and that’s what this is about – it’s about an army takeover, whether you can have a coup de tat when in fact the people demanded the revolution, I don’t know. The revolution got rid of Mubarak, and this is undoubtedly, tonight, a risen people, but I always put up the word “but” after such statements.
AMY GOODMAN: And what you see, I mean, it’s of course impossible to see exactly what will happen now, though it is hard to believe that millions of people in the streets, not just of Cairo but of Mahala, Alexandria, and Suez, all over Egypt, that it could lead to anything, that this is certainly a trajectory toward democracy, but it, as you’ve said, isn’t necessarily, so what formations do you see could send it in that direction? Shape it?
ROBERT FISK: Well, the people who have been, um, trying to curry favor with the vice president, Omar Suleiman, Israel’s favorite Egyptian because he’s in charge of negotiations, Hamas Palestinian negotiations former intelligence chief, a rather ruthless man, um, they will – the 25 wise men, as inevitably the BBC clichéd them, um, various businessmen and leaders who offered their services, they will now have to go and plead with the army for the reforms which the army has promised. What we don’t know, you see, since the constitution itself was made of rubber since it was invented by the various dictators, Nasir, Sadat, Mubarak, is the way in which these negotiations could be carried out. Armies love power. They don’t like giving up power. So, the next question becomes, ok, if you have a democratic constitution, limited terms for a president, only two terms for example, as in the US, maybe four years rather than six years, fair elections so you don’t have this merry-go-round of fake elections which effectively kept Mubarak in power on a spinning merry-go-round for 30 years, um, will the army want a few of its generals in the government? We have extraordinarily seen today of Mohamed ElBaradei, famous Nobel Prize winner, UN ex-arms inspector, turning up in the square and saying, ‘Egypt is going to explode. We need the army to step in.’ I mean, I thought Baradei was supposed to be a civilian who wanted civilian rule in Egypt. And the big question next, of course, is will the army who have claws like talons for the rewards of office – I mean, most of the modern top generals here at the moment in the army council who – to whom power is being given – they all reap the awards of the regime in shopping malls, hotel chains, banking acquisitions, are they going to give up all these wonderful gifts they receive from the Mubarak regime and in some cases from the Sadat regime in order to have a true and functioning democracy? Or are they going to say, ‘Well, we’ll have a few nice civilians to represent the people, we love the revolutionaries, now go home.’ State security comes back, works for the same old masters, and elections, well maybe they’ll be free and fair, but, you know, there’ll be a few colonels, generals who’ll stand, bribes will be handed out. This is the kind of thing in the future, but, frankly tonight you can’t expect Egyptians to go through that.
AMY GOODMAN: Did you think you would see this when you landed in Cairo, Robert? When did you get to Cairo?
ROBERT FISK: On the 25th, the day it started. Um, well, it had already started, but I rushed here from Beirut for it, and on the 25th, so I was here on the day. Um, I thought it would go when I saw the state security police beating and savaging hundreds of thousands of protestors, and in the end I saw them come forward and they fought the thugs, plainclothesed thugs who had sticks and iron bars and knives, and they literally beat them and smashed the state security police and burned their trucks, and I thought, ‘If they keep up their courage and they stick to it, it’ll be okay.’ The famous Coptic philosopher once said, ‘The Egyptians are a remarkably moderate people,’ but I think if you’re trying to fight state power and brutality, you probably have to fight, not just with words. And when I saw them fighting, and they were in clouds of tear gas, I was choking and vomiting on it, I thought that if they stick to it they’ll get it done. And they have. I’m going to have to interrupt you and say I’ve got to do some work for my paper (laughs).
AMY GOODMAN: Hey, Robert Fisk, thanks so much for being there, as you are everywhere through the Middle East reporting for us for decades. Thank you very much.
ROBERT FISK: Take care, bye-bye.
AMY GOODMAN: And that was Robert Fisk of the Independent. His remarkable work, among his books, The Great War of Civilization, about the Middle East, also Pity the Nation about Lebanon where he has lived for more than 30 years in Beirut. He has covered Afghanistan, he has covered Iraq, he has covered Lebanon, he has covered Israel, West Bank, Gaza, and now in Cairo to cover this great moment in history. The latest news: Mubarak has been forced out. No, last night he would not concede in his address, but today it was announced he had stepped down. Now, military supreme council has taken over, where this goes the people of Egypt will decide. So, we’re going to go right now back to Cairo to one of those people who hopefully will be participating in this process. Her name is Ahdaf Soueif. She is a famous Egyptian novelist who was short-listed for the Booker Prize for her remarkable book, The Map of Love. We’ve just reached her at her home.
AHDAD SOUEIF: I – I am just completely, completely overwhelmed and I’m just trying to kind of, you know, write my copy for tomorrow, my article, but I can hardly breathe... You know, you can – you can hear all the joy cries, the phones – the phones just won’t stop ringing, people just saying congratulations. You know what I first thought? I thought I have seen two women in Tahrir Square fully pregnant and waiting to deliver, and they’ve been saying, you know, ‘When it comes, when it comes,’ and ‘I will call my daughter Liberty,’ and I – my thought was that they can now have their babies. (gasps) Oh boy. (laughs). You know, I – it’s not over. We have to be careful. We have to realize that, you know, the work – the work begins now. The work begins now. But we are so happy. And I cannot tell you the number of people who are now saying they’re coming home. People who work abroad and who now want to come home and just do everything that they can for this country.
AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what you, uh – where were you when you heard the news? And how do you think this happened?
AHDAD SOUEIF: Well actually, I was – I was home with, with, um, my brother, and various young people, our young people, my son and so on, are out in the streets, but I was trying to, to write copy, and as I was about to go out there was the news that there was going to be a statement, and so I thought, well if I’m just in the street I won’t know exactly what the statement is, so I stayed behind to hear it. And so, basically, this was in front of the television, and you can hear the streets and, I mean, you can just hear the streets, um, and the great cry that’s gone up. And we’re, I’m going out, I’m, you know, in five minutes, to just be part of all this, um…
AMY GOODMAN: And how do you think this happened?
AHDAD SOUEIF: Well, I think that we’ve, we’ve thought now for a couple of days that there has been, uh, you know, there has been a struggle, um, and that the army just has been on one side and, uh, the president and vice president and so on on the other and, um, you know, I mean it will all come out, and we don’t know, but it would seem that the army would not guarantee the president, if you like, that…We had 20 million people. There are 20 million people out on the streets of Egypt tonight, and they marched all day, and they remained good humored. It is incredible...
AHDAD SOUEIF: ...and basically they just took over. I mean in Asyut in upper Egypt, the governor of Asyut, who is an ex general in state security, who had been saying until yesterday that there are no problems in Aysut and people there are very happy with the development programs he’s put in place – well, two hours ago, the Army had to smuggle him out of his building because the protesters took over the building. So basically people have been on the march, and they have been taking over buildings and institutions and public spaces without one single incident of vandalism or violence. And I am just so moved and so proud that this is the way it has been done.
AMY GOODMAN: Well it’s truly amazing...
AHDAF SOUEIF: I also think that this sense of the world watching us, of the people of the world watching us and the people of the world just holding their breath, because this is really not in the end. I just have the sense now that this is not just about Egypt, this is about the power of the people. That people, with a just cause, and prepared to get out there and stand together for it, can actually take their lives and their future in their own hands. And I think this is a moment of great hope for all us civilians, citizens of the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Ahadaf, it’s the military council, the supreme council that will take over now, announced by Omar Suleiman, who has quite a bloody history. How do you ensure that this goes towards democracy, what we are seeing now, this formation?
AHDAD SOUEIF: This is what I meant by we are entering a new stage where we have to be very vigilant and we still have to work very hard. Basically, for the regime to depart immediately it’s hard to see another form that they could have departed with. Because, what we are saying that we want, of course, is a civilian council to either be a de facto presidency and to form a cabinet of technocrats and so on to run the country so that we can fix the country and have elections. But to put such a council…you know, you would need at least two or three days to set up the apparatus, the civilian apparatus for the transition to democracy to start happening. And I guess if they were going to leave straight away as they’ve done, then the only institution that is in place and can be entrusted in the country is the Army. And the army has over the last two weeks, I won’t say it’s proved, but, well, it has stood in the public places, it has intervened between the people and the thugs from time to time, and the people have been engaged in a protest of, you might call brainwashing it. They have sat on the tanks, they have lifted their kids onto the tanks and lifted photographs of them. Every tank that we have seen on the streets has had whole crowd of civilians around it engaging the soldiers. Basically we’ve been talking to them and so on. And the chant has been “the people, the army, one hand.” So for the moment I think that we need to accept that this is an acceptable way of transferring power and to believe the Army when it says that it has understood what this revolution about and that it will guarantee the process of realizing the demands of the revolution. And we’re not going to leave them alone to do it, I’m sure that even now, well people have been in talks with the army anyway throughout the last few days. So it will be a question of defining and limiting the role of the army. And I think that will just happen over the next couple of days. I think that things will move pretty quickly now.
AMY GOODMAN: I know that you are coming to New York to deliver the Edward Said address on March 8th, international Women’s Day at Colombia and last night I was with Professor Rashid Khalidi of Colombia, who invited you. And one of the things he said in a speech that he gave last night was in the first military communiqué yesterday, what he noticed when the military spoke to the people is it was the first time when he saw an official speaking that he did not see a photograph or a painting, an image of Mubarak behind him.
AHDAD SOUEIF: That is so true. That is so true, you know I hadn’t even noticed that. Absolutely, yes. You know they’ve been keeping themselves, I think they really have been very careful to keep themselves and to keep their image separate, even though, of course, Mr. Mubarak is a military man. But I think, you know just this feeling, he was so unmistakable, and that was what came through after his speech, that the mood up there was simply one of disbelief, that how could he still be talking the way he did and how could he [inaudible]…. it was really like they were in an alternative universe. Because it is just, you know, I don’t know…
AMY GOODMAN: That was Ahdaf Soueif, the great Egyptian novelist, author of Map of Love and so much more speaking to us from her home in Cairo. She had just gone there from Tahrir square when the news came down that Mubarak is out. What happens next has yet to be determined but there is a supreme military council that is in charge and the announcement came from Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s, handpicked, hastily handpicked, vice president. We’re going to turn right now to reach someone else in her home. She’s the great Egyptian feminist. 79 years old, she was imprisoned under Sadat, she has resisted dictatorship for decades, been in exile for years, but now has been going every day to Tahrir square. We just reached her in her home. The Egyptian feminist, the novelist, the psychiatrist, the writer, Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, and we asked her, “Hey, how do you feel right now?”
NAWAL EL SAADAWI: We are dancing in all streets of Egypt! Rejoicing!
AMY GOODMAN: How do you think this happened, Nawal?
NAWAL EL SAADAWI: By the power of people. You know, as I told you before, there were a conflict of powers, against Mubarak regime and men in the military, in the police, the media. So they used all that against the people. But the power of the nation, conquered all these small powers. Because the greatest power is the power of the nation when the nation is united. And Egypt was united – men, women, children, Christians, Muslims – we were all united. And unity is power. The power of unity and the power of millions. So he couldn’t stay. He tried all his best for 18 days, the revolution. He tried to maneuver, to stay in power, to beg the power, the support of the US and Israel. And many the military, the police he was begging for power, different powers outside Egypt and inside Egypt. And including Zarodia. Zarodia Arabian King came and said “I support Mubarak and I’ll give him money if the USA will not come.” So he was begging for power to support him against his people, against the Egyptians. But the 85 million conquered all Mubarak’s powers outside the country and inside the country.
Anjali Kamat, Democracy Now! correspondent
Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! senior producer
Mona El Seif, Egyptian activist
Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Committee to Protect Journalists
Salma Tarzi, Egyptian activist
Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the Independent (UK)
Ahdaf soueif, Egyptian novelist
Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian human rights activist and feminist