Despite the sample headline I just made up, I don't want to whip up emotions. I think of myself as more informed than most Americans. But that's not necessarily saying much! I look forward to informative comments, low on emotion, but it's okay to point out where emotions make news and shape events.

I didn't know where to start wrt events in Egypt. I'm happy so far to see different perspectives at this point presented on mainstream media, but this is still before American politics and sentiment gains critical mass (in whatever form) and begin to focus more. There is enough "news" at the moment to keep journalists busy, and fortunately I'm not yet seeing a lot of foolish speculation. But I just saw a reporter hold up a used canister of tear gas with "Made in the U.S.A." clearly printed on it, evidence of where some protesters in Egypt might be getting some of their preconceptions or valid sentiments.

My paltry understanding of Egyption and Muslim culture and sentiments (in general) comes partly from liberal media (Frontline, I think?) pointing out how Hosni Mubarak may be at least partly responsible for the rise of Hamas and Al Qaeda. In spite of his goal to suppress radical Muslim movements in the name of secularist government and population control, the suppressed radicals came together as viable forces, even in pre-Mubarak prisons that Mubarak has not reformed. (President Sadat who preceded Mubarak was assasinated by fundamentalists.) His domestically powerful Egyptian military has successfully maintained order and control, up until now. But now, people have taken to the streets in protest. There is something like 40% unemployment in the lower classes, who are also demographically youthful, and restless.

Ironically (at least at this point), reports are that the military and people in the streets are practically embracing each other, peacefully. Is the military pragmatically preparing for an end to 82-year old Mubarak's reign? Is it true that the military doesn't like or trust Mubarak's son, who may succeed in power? Has the pro-radicalist Muslim Brotherhood had influence in the protests, and how might they help shape a street level, so-called "democratic" movement?

So far today I've seen FOX and MSNBC add the most historical perspective, while CNN is focusing more on events in the street. (I do enjoy the rare moments when a FOX news contributor contributes something that argues against a point that a FOX "reporter" is trying to make. FOX often has more news meat in stories than other mainstream news. I can often learn from FOX's perspective, despite that most of their "reporters" play roles of conservative cheer leaders. But you know, MSNBC and their loyal audience have their blinding biases, too.)

Finally, this may be too much to add to include, but I'm wondering about how social media is and will affect dissemination and validation of information, and governance and movements.

Can anyone add any insightful history or cultural knowledge, here?



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Replies to This Discussion

 Mubarak since1975 !!!! what kind of president is he?


From Tunisia to Egypt after the success of Tunisia's experience to remove Ben Ali... Now it's the turn of Hosni Mubarak..I see courage in their eyes they have the right to express their feelings anyway..

I find this link interesting also, it's about tear gas canisters. >

Controversial tear gas canisters made in the USA

In both Tunisia and Egypt, some protestors stopped to pick up canisters, and posted photographs online. A few inches long, blue and silver, they include warning labels and then a set of initials: CSI, followed by "Made in the U.S.A


Hi Paul,

Sorry I didn't understand what you mean :)

That's a meme in America now meaning something like "will someone out there respond"? (But it was a lot harder to find a usable clip, even when I spelled Beuller correctly.)

And the embed code I tried to post here is ignored, with no explanation. So here's a direct link.

Nice picture, by the way! And helpful links.

Egypt Protests: Flashpoints map

Anarchy vs order


Police/riot control in retreat, citizens taking up battle against looters. Organized marches, slogans, chants, signs & symbols materializing, but no Muslim Brotherhood or other "beardy" leadership apparent, yet.

Saudi king slams Egypt protestors


Muslim Brotherhood can not do anything without a government permission..


and about the Saudi policy,

I can not agree or disagree with the Saudi attitude..because criticizing the Saudi policy is something very sensitive (dangerous)....

I give up. If anyone else is actually interested, maybe doone can get an active discussion going? Do it! I think this is (probably) a historic moment that people should care more about. I want to close this thread so as to not split up any future discussion.

Paul, wait.. your discussion was great! I do really care about these kind of discussions.

Haha, thanks hope!

But there's still only a few of us here, and I want interest to pick up quicker.

So I'll leave this open but I'm absolutely open to someone with more gravitas (like, um maybe --> doone <--)  starting a new discussion to attract more people. Besides, I started out (at least in this discussion's name) focusing on America's influence/perception around the world, so perhaps a larger-context discussion could be started, now.

I mean seriously, I could be wrong, but even if these events ultimately don't lead to significant change in middle-east/west-asian/muslim-world politics (including secularist influence), the possibility seems to be there, at this moment.


As far as what America can do to influence events in Egypt, we're burdened with a balancing act.

On one hand, we hope to encourage some form of democracy or power of the people. On the other hand, we don't want the people there to perceive our influence as just another form of suppression--e.g. since we've historically supported the current leadership.

We also don't want to help kick out a stable government too quickly if another, possibly even more suppressive regime seems to be standing by, able to take over.

It's especially difficult to overtly/publicly announce to the world that secularism is a major ingredient in the success of empowering The People. Unfortunately, it even seems that Americans are generally not in favor of officially advancing secularism in any form, even if it's paraphrased that way in the constitution.

Meanwhile, it seems that Muslim, "beardy" influence in Egypt is not standing in the wings, ready to pounce. This might not remain true for long, especially if the old regime remains for too long, while in decline or amidst increasing corruption.

Has the pro-radicalist Muslim Brotherhood had influence in the protests, and how might they help shape a street level, so-called "democratic" movement?

I said "pro-radicalist" because of Hamas' and Al Qaeda's roots to them. It seems that maybe they're not so radical, and may even support democratic evolution. Here's a wikipedia article on the Muslim Brotherhood. (Better links and posts are welcome here. And corrections.) 



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