Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: "Orderly transition" in #Egypt

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  • lotech,

    It will be interesting the next 24-28hrs.
    NY Times Nicholas Kristof just got there - writes of entering the country and the first experiences.
    http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/im-in-cairo-finally/

    AKNZ • Since Dec 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    May be obvious, but I've found the Al Jazeera live blog and combined Twitter feed the most informative and up-to-date way to track what's going on.

    And I think our own PM's response to events has been...well, it's been, and that's the nicest thing I can possibly say about it. Otherwise it starts at "been exceptionally dimwitted" and goes downhill from there.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Otherwise it starts at “been exceptionally dimwitted” and goes downhill from there.

    On the other hand, we *have* learned that he thinks Liz Hurley is 'hot'. So there's that.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Danielle,

    On the other hand, we *have* learned that he thinks Liz Hurley is ‘hot’. So there’s that.

    In the scheme of "things I didn't need to know", I'm startled by how highly that rates.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Ewan Morris,

    Does Mohamed ElBaradei really have a "pivotal role" in events in Egypt? Or is he just a suitably West-friendly figure for the Western media to focus on?

    Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    In further breaking news, John Key is also of the opinion that water is wet.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    It's been interesting watching just who is lining up to support Mubarak. Milt Romney, The Israeli govt (one spokesman said they didn't think the Arab world was "ready" for democracy) - and John Key.

    These are the times that our PM is an embarassment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ewan Morris,

    Does Mohamed ElBaradei really have a "pivotal role" in events in Egypt? Or is he just a suitably West-friendly figure for the Western media to focus on?

    From what I can tell, the answers are "yes, probably" and "possibly". If he gets his million-man-March this week, on top of the Muslim Brotherhood's endorsement, it looks like that will be very significant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17983 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    In further breaking news, John Key is also of the opinion that water is wet.

    He probably had Curia conduct polling on the public attitude to wetness before making that announcement.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    These are the times that our PM is an embarassment

    As opposed to the times when he isn't. These are the times when you appreciate that our previous PM had some significant experience on the international stage.

    But all that is a sideshow to the concept of 80 million people having a change of government, most of them poor, half of them with little education. Will they know how this change is going to occur and what it will mean for them. While it may be fun to mock someone about his derision of twitter and facebook one thing to remember is that most Egyptians have no access to facebook or twitter. It is their revolution and from here it may look like facebook and twitter play a role but in Egypt I doubt it. It may be our portal to the events but not theirs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3115 posts Report Reply

  • Clint Fern, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The ex-BBC person on 9 to noon was of the opinion that El Baradei didn't have a support base in Egypt and that the Muslim Brotherhood might be backing away from him as a figurehead. He said that El Baradei was better known in the west than in Egypt but might get to be a short-term transitional figure because of the UN links.

    He's certainly one of the few Egyptians the wider world is familiar with and thus a handy spokesperson. Maybe John Key is on the phone to Mark Regev now seeing if its allowed to back him.

    Nelson • Since Jul 2010 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    ElBaradei doesn't seem popular on the street. When he talked at Tahrir Square there were protesters heckling him, accusing him of a hijack. And anything short of Mubarak first standing down could be a disaster. As noted by @Alaa, "just to be clear kids who tried to invade MOI are convinced if regime doesn't fall and they go home they will be hunted one by one." (MOI: Ministry of Information)

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    While it may be fun to mock someone about his derision of twitter and facebook one thing to remember is that most Egyptians have no access to facebook or twitter. It is their revolution and from here it may look like facebook and twitter play a role but in Egypt I doubt it. It may be our portal to the events but not theirs.

    So why did the regime block Twitter, Facebook and then any connection to the rest of the internet?

    It seems pretty clear that Facebook groups in particular played a significant role in the initial momentum of the protests. People have found other ways to organise since those tools were disabled, and the protest has spread, but that doesn't mean they weren't important.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17983 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I didn't read Key's comments as being a full throated endorsement of Mubarak. but perhaps I'm just being too generous. After all, calling for the removal of a head of another country's government is not something to be done lightly (as a certain Iraqi dictator might attest to, were he still alive) and quite frankly I'd prefer if my government continued to play the ball rather than the man-focus on fostering democracy rather than individuals in power, which is what Key did. His acknowledgement of the possible negative effects on peace in the region following a change in goverment were hardly out of line either.

    I feel dirty for even agreeing with a Tory, but in this case I think he had the right approach, and I'm struggling to understand what Clark would have done differently when faced with those questions while she was PM.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    Nice of you to say that, to save us 'dirty' 'tories' having to get our feet wet.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    but in this case I think he had the right approach, and I'm struggling to understand what Clark would have done differently when faced with those questions while she was PM.

    I disagree. The US and European leaders have effectively cut Mubarak loose; Key is still praising him. That said, I don't think what John Key says on Breakfast is really the big story here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17983 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    So why did the regime block Twitter, Facebook and then any connection to the rest of the internet?

    It seems pretty clear that Facebook groups in particular played a significant role in the initial momentum of the protests.

    Someone suggested that cutting off internet and phone service actually drove the protests, as people went into the streets and talked to their neighbours to find out what was happening. Once you're on the street anyway, and there's a crowd, why not join it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Clint Fern, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    I think you have to look at it in the context of other countries responses to it - the US calling for an 'orderly transition' ie shove off Mubarak your time is up, and the Israeli government calling on leaders to support Mubarak. Key is apparently following the line of Israel rather than taking the hardly radical step of the US and Europe in calling on Mubarak to go. I find it hard to accept that we should follow the lines of the Netanyahu administration and strongly doubt Clark would have done.

    Nelson • Since Jul 2010 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Talk of Twitter revolutions have been overblown but Gladwell underestimated the utility of these tools. This is definitely a revolution of the people but they've been highly organised, making good use of Twitter and Facebook.

    It will be interesting to see what Gladwell makes of this uprising (and hopefully revolution). Some of the arguments he used in his piece in the New Yorker haven't been the case here. It's relatively easy to follow feeds and get information from the street, many of which are in both Egyptian Arabic and English. And you can see organisers and journalists using it to talk to each other and swap news, including between cities.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Someone suggested that cutting off internet and phone service actually drove the protests, as people went into the streets and talked to their neighbours to find out what was happening. Once you’re on the street anyway, and there’s a crowd, why not join it?

    That would be ironic, wouldn't it?

    The story last week that had residents opening their wi-fi networks so protestors could communicate after mobile networks were shut down may or may not be true, but it's bloody lovely if it is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17983 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The US and European leaders have effectively cut Mubarak loose; Key is still praising him.

    praise?

    The United States has a close partnership with Egypt and we've cooperated on many issues, including working together to advance a more peaceful region.

    Obama

    maybe just recognising the complexity.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Fascinating events in Egypt and you have to wonder where unrest might spread to next. Saudi Arabia? Here's hoping. If the regime there falls, where will all the villains of the world seek refuge?

    Good to have Media7 back. On sort of related matters, some folk might like to check out a new UK site A Manifesto for Media Education www.manifestoformediaeducation.co.uk. Contributions from people like Henry Jenkins: I have contributed a perspective from New Zealand

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2219 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I disagree. The US and European leaders have effectively cut Mubarak loose; Key is still praising him. That said, I don’t think what John Key says on Breakfast is really the big story here.

    I didn’t read Key’s comments as “praise” in the slightest. Compare his statement:

    The New Zealand Government wants a peaceful outcome to this. In the end, whoever governs your country is a matter for the citizens.

    Versus the approach of Harry Reid (and by extension, Obama):

    Like Obama, Reid stopped short of calling for embattled Egyptian president and longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak to step down from power – as the protesters want – though he urged the Egyptian regime to respect the “universal rights” of its citizens to speech and protest.

    And also the Joint UK-France-Germany statement on Egypt:

    We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation which should be reflected in a broad-based government and in free and fair elections.

    None of these statements have ever explicitly stated “Mubarak must go” (although the implication is present in each, including Key’s answers, that free and fair elections will lead to Mubarak being removed from power) so I don’t really understand why there’s an expectation that Key would attempt a different approach when asked the question directly. I’m more than happy to admit that the subtleties of diplo-speak (and the consequent hyperanalysis in the media) generally go over my head though.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    It's worth noting that there will be another people who will gain hugely from the fall of Mubarak: the Palestinians. If Mubarak falls the siege of Gaza will be over too.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

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