First they demanded the credentials of Al Jazeera’s reporters in Cairo. When they were shown the credentials, they revoked them. Then they demanded to see its broadcasting license. When they saw it they revoked it.
What I saw this morning when I clicked on Al Jazeera’a streaming video of Cairo was: Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, Al Jazeera is no longer available via the broadband services Jalipo and VDC. Hosni Mubarak’s grim and ugly efforts to cling to power had come right into my living room through cyberspace. (Today is Tuesday, February 1, and Al Jazeera is back again.)
You can’t think of the revolt of the Egyptian people, as the spin masters would like to get you to, as two equal parties pitted against each other. Egypt is a huge state with a massive security, military and police apparatus that is supported by billions of dollars a year from the United States. Raging against the dictatorship, finally breaking its spell, is a young, disenfranchised and politically powerless population that has suffered brutally at its hands for 30 years.
The characters in the TV series The Office often look right into the camera and tell us, the audience, what they are thinking. Then they go back to being their characters again and their fellow characters don’t know what they have just told us, the audience.
So I look into the camera and tell you, Mubarak is finished. Later, after he is finished, he goes on TV and ‘appoints’ someone vice president. The man who Mubarak “appointed” pitilessly murdered and smashed a similar revolt of the Egyptian people in the 1990s. Then, still finished, but still not knowing it, Mubarak, who knows all too well that the money is in power, orders military helicopters and jet planes to fly low over the protesters in Cairo, trying to scare the crap out of them.
Mubarak is finished. I just hope that he doesn’t bring the Egyptian people down with him.