After a year without Mubarak, Egypt is about to get a much longer reprieve: the 84-year-old former president has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of protestors during last year's popular uprising. The former Interior Minister—though not his aides—will also be cooling his heels in a Cairo jail. The effects of this news on national elections, with runoffs to be held in just a few weeks, remains to be seen.
Well, to put it simply, The Big plan is the same as the immediate plan: they want you dead. It’s not that they want to kill opposition; they want to kill the opposition, literally. This country ain’t big enough for the both of you, and they have everything to lose. And they have guns. And the media. And all the keys of power. And you want to overthrow them. How do you think they will react to that? Give you cookies? - an on the ground report of what's going on in Egypt now from a blogger turned parliamentary candidate.
The Crimes of Col. Qaddafi An original essay by Christopher Hitchens, that starts: In George Orwell's 1939 novel, Coming Up for Air, his narrator, George Bowling, broods on the special horrors of the new totalitarianism and notices "the colored shirts, the barbed wire, the rubber truncheons," but also, less obviously perhaps, "the processions and the posters with enormous faces, and the crowds of a million people all cheering for the Leader till they deafen themselves into thinking that they really worship him, and all the time, underneath, they hate him so that they want to puke."
Report: Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is to step down this evening. Vice President Omar Suleiman will take over. He's likely to address the nation tonight.
Why Mubarak is Out by Jadaliyya, an independent Ezine produced by ASI (Arab Studies Institute) — Many international media commentators are having a hard time understanding the complexity of forces driving and responding to these momentous events. This confusion is driven by the binary “good guys versus bad guys” lenses most use to view this uprising. Such perspectives obscure more than they illuminate. There are three prominent binary models out there and each one carries its own baggage: (1) People versus Dictatorship: This perspective leads to liberal naïveté and confusion about the active role of military and elites in this uprising. (2) Seculars versus Islamists: This model leads to a 1980s-style call for “stability” and Islamophobic fears about the containment of the supposedly extremist “Arab street.” (3) Old Guard versus Frustrated Youth: This lens imposes a 1960s-style romance on the protests but cannot begin to explain the structural and institutional dynamics driving the uprising, nor account for the key roles played by many 70-year-old Nasser-era figures. [more inside]
In preparation for massive protests after Friday prayers, it's being reported that Egypt has completely shut down access to the internet and most text and MMS messaging. [more inside]
Rioting spreads to Egypt. Plans had been percolating online for the past several weeks about a "Day of Revolution" in protest of the corruption of the Mubarak government, and widespread unemployment, similar to those seen in Tunisia. In response to the online coverage through social networks, the government has responded by blocking access to Twitter. It has also been reported that police have fired into the crowds, resulting in several deaths, and that the presidential family has fled the country.