- On February 12, AFP headlined, 'Euphoria sweeps Arab
cities as Mubarak ousted," saying:
- As news spread, jubilant crowds responded. "Across
the Middle East and north Africa, loudspeakers on mosques called on citizens
to rejoice in their own cities....In Lebanon, where the Cairo protests
(were) reminiscent of mass anti-Syrian" 2005 demonstrations, "convoys
bearing Egyptian flags blared their horns as fireworks went off across
the country." Thousands came out to celebrate, a scene repeated in
many Arab countries.
- Hezbollah and Hamas observed Egypt's "historic victory."
Crowds turned out in Beirut, across Lebanon, and "en masse (throughout)
Gaza....joyfully shooting in the air and honking their car horns."
Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, also rallied in support.
- Despite Israeli and PA security forces banning anti-Mubarak
demonstrations, Palestinians celebrated across the West Bank. In Ramallah,
hundreds turned out, waving flags, cheering Egypt's people. Activist Saed
Karazon told AFP:
- "What happened in Egypt is not only for the Egyptian
people, it is for all Arabs. The whole Arab world is going to change."
- Tunisia had a carnival-like atmosphere, crowds out in
streets dancing and chanting joyously. A student named Nourredine said:
- "It's wonderful! Two dictators have fallen in less
than a month." Many more are left, however, and major hurdles remain
against very long odds. Yet activism at times prevails when enough sustained
pressure accepts nothing less than real change. Letting up, however, assures
defeat against powerful dark forces giving nothing unless forced.
- Tunis activists called on Algerians to topple their president,
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, chanting, "One, two, three, viva L'Algerie,"
unmindful that the country's military has supreme power, and isn't shy
about using it brutally.
- Although Yemenis want their president ousted, thousands
celebrated with Egyptians waving flags, carrying banners, and chanting:
- "Yesterday Tunisia, today Egypt, and tomorrow Yemenis
will break their chains."
- Jordanians also gathered outside Cairo's embassy, exchanging
sweets and flowers as well as setting off fireworks, saying:
- "Long live Egypt, goodbye Mubarak. The people have
toppled the regime. Who is next?" They want their own regime change
and still protest for it.
- In Qatari's capital Doha, Al Jazeera's home city, thousands
also celebrated, singing Egypt's national anthem and chanting, "Long
live Egypt. Egypt is free, the thieves are gone," for the moment unmindful
that struggles everywhere need sustained pressure to succeed, and Egypt's
- Even Saudis Are Worried
- On February 13, Arutz Sheva, Israel National News' Hillel
Fendel headlined, "First Ever: Political Party in Saudi Arabia,"
- Perhaps fearing its own uprising, the Kingdom's government
(unchanged since its 1932 founding) "react(ed) to the winds of change
blowing throughout the Arab Middle East. For the first time, a political
party has been established - and though it has not yet received official
government approval," it asked King Abdullah to allow it.
- Saudi's Kingdom "revolves politically around the
royal Al-Saud family in many ways," headed by:
- -- King Abdullah in charge; he's also Prime Minister
and Commander of the National Guard;
- -- Deputy Prime Minister Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz Al-Saud
is Crown Prince, next in the line of succession; and
- -- Second Deputy Prime Minister Nayif bin Abd Al-Aziz
- Supported by lawyers, businessmen, and others, Saudi's
new Islamic Nation Party is a first. Saying it will work for political
reform and human rights, it stressed that the "regime need not fear
the democratic spirit overtaking the Arab world."
- Up to now and unless changed, King Abdullah appoints
a Cabinet of Ministers every four years, including many royal family members.
No elections are held. In 2006, a committee of Saudi princes was established
to serve unspecified future selection functions after Crown Prince Sultan
becomes king. A 150-member Consultative Council also exists, headed by
a royal appointed chairman to serve four years.
- In 2003, the Council of Ministers said future Consultative
Council elections would be held. None have been so far although some municipal
ones were held in 2005. The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi
Arabia supports democratic governance, so far absent in the Kingdom under
royal family rule. Who knows if change will come. Since mid-January, anything
is possible even against long odds, including in Occupied Palestine.
- Palestinians Celebrate Mubarak's Ouster
- Gazans chanted "Masr, Masr, Masr, Masr," Arabic
for Egypt. Along Umar al-Mukhtar, its main thoroughfare, hundreds of Egyptian
flags were displayed, adults and children enjoying a rare moment of relief
honking horns, launching fireworks, exchanging sweets, and sharing Abu
Mustafa's joy, saying:
- "I am so happy. This is a day that we have awaited
for so long as (Mubarak's) regime weakened the standing of the Arab nation
and its own people in the face of the Israeli occupation. I would like
to congratulate our Egyptian brothers and sisters on this remarkable and
historic day as their will has emerged victorious. I pray that such a victory
of the people will be repeated across the Arab and Islamic worlds and that
all regimes like (Mubarak's) will step down."
- With no accompanying text, the Los Angeles Times headlined,
"Palestinians celebrate Mubarak's ouster," displaying an image
only of hundreds rallying in Ramallah, waving Egyptian flags in celebration.
- On February 13, Haaretz writer Jack Khoury headlined,
"Israeli Arabs call for a democratic Mideast in wake of Mubarak ouster,"
- Israeli Arabs celebrated with "fireworks, gunshots
fired in the air, sweets and shows of solidarity....Arab towns and villages
across the country (rallied) in a spontaneous grassroots response."
- In Nazareth, hundreds of Balad party members gathered
in support of Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings, saying rallies were planned
last week. After Mubarak stepped down, they celebrated joyously, believing
events throughout the region strengthen their own self-determination dreams.
- Hadash party members also rallied in solidarity, its
statement calling Egypt's uprising a historic moment when mass protests
challenged a dictator and prevailed, saying:
- "The Egyptian people made its statement, and this
is a call to all Arab nations to arise, in the name of democracy and freedom."
- Ta'al party members issued a statement congratulating
- "Let us hope that these values will conquer regimes
in our region which (now) oppress their citizens," implying but not
- A Gaza City rally heard speakers say: "The people
want to bring Abbas down." Although Hamas restricted anti-Mubarak
protests, it joined others celebrating his ouster. It also asked Egyptian
authorities to open Rafah's crossing permanently as a first step to breaking
Israel's siege. So far it remains closed except for intermittent openings.
- Egyptian Expatriates Celebrate
- On February 12, Reuters headlined, "Egyptians all
over the world celebrate Mubarak's ouster," saying:
- "From New York hookah lounges to London streets,
(they) joined their countrymen in celebrating the fall of" Egypt's
hated despot. Around 200 gathered outside Egypt's London embassy beating
drums, dancing, hugging, and chanting, "Bye bye Mubarak" before
marching through streets.
- "In New York, dozens of people blocked streets in"
Queens, waving Egyptian flags and banners saying, "Congratulations
to Egyptian youth, your dreams came true."
- In Berlin, about 300 expats rallied at the Brandenburg
Gate, where East and West Berliners celebrated breaching the Berlin Wall
21 years earlier in November 1989.
- Nonetheless, some expats expressed caution, in London,
Sayed Galal speaking for others said:
- "We're happy but also scared. We're hoping that
finally we'll get someone who serves the people before himself. This is
the most dangerous time for Egypt."
- Imad Abu Othham agreed saying, "Saddam went, and
what did we get?"
- Anger was also expressed by how Washington reacted. In
New York, Mariam Allam said:
- "I was extremely disappointed in the way Obama and
Clinton handled the situation. America is a democracy. It should have stayed
by the people (from) day one. For me, it tainted the reputation of America."
- New York "On the Nile" cafe owner, Hamdi Hamza
agreed, saying, "The Egyptian people love the American people but
why did America stand by Israel and forget the Arabic people."
- A Final Comment
- Over the weekend, Egyptians and others globally celebrated.
Today they awakened to the cold reality of a new dawn. On February 14,
Reuters headlined, "Army orders last protesters out of Egypt's Tahrir,"
- Those remaining "were cordoned by military police
and soldiers on Monday, and they said they had been told by the army to
leave the square or face arrest....Witnesses said military police in red
berets had surrounded the protesters, supported by scores of soldiers."
- On February 13, London Guardian writer Chris McGreal
headlined, "Egypt's military rejects swift transfer of power and suspends
the constitution," saying:
- Its leadership "rejected the demands of pro-democracy
protesters for a swift transfer of power to a civilian administration,
saying it intends to rule by martial law until elections are held."
- A forthcoming article discusses more. For now, understand
that martial law is extremely dangerous, an authoritarian last resort measure.
It means government by military rule, suspension of civil liberty rights,
and force instead of rule of law protections accompanied by unrestrained
harshness against dissent. If maintained, promises so far made may again
go unfulfilled, what many pro-democracy supporters fear.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.