Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood Takeover Aborted by Egyptian Military, Egypt’s Democratic Revolution Continues

with one comment

flypast

“The Muslim Brotherhood stole the revolution, then we took it back. It’s as simple as that.”

Well, big goings on in Egypt. Millions of people recently took to the streets to protest President Morsi’s  attempts to seize absolute power, and his continued refusal to make good on his promises to the opposition. He seemed determined to establish the Muslim Brotherhood as the sole ruler in Egypt, and usher in, in the words of an eleven year old Egyptian boy, religious fascism. When people took to the streets recently they turned out in record numbers, some of the largest crowds in history demanding that Morsi fulfill his promises or step down. He did neither, and when the army tried to arrange a meeting with the opposition, Morsi refused. The army then told him he had to call early elections, or they would intervene. In democratic terms, both the Army and the people of Egypt gave Morsi a vote of no confidence. Sadly, the Muslim Brotherhood has responded with violence, unspeakable violence in some cases. This video is not for the faint of heart. Morsi and much of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership have been detained, but their followers seem determined to start a civil war.

The American government is none too happy about this. They’ve as much as called Morsi’s unseating a coup, and there is much stuff and nonsense in the media. The ugly truth is that the USA has very little influence in Egypt any more. Thirty years of support for Mubarek’s corrupt dictatorship didn’t save him when the people had finally had enough, nor did it endear the USA government to the people of Egypt. Obama’s attempts to influence matters in Egypt are laughable or contemptible, but most of all, they are irrelevant. As an Egyptian contact said:

“The USA has made so many “investments” in/with the Muslim brotherhood, so they don’t like it that he was overthrown after 1 year only but its not up to them, its our country and we get to decide what we want to do with it. People here are outraged that the US Media is calling it a coup.”

Yes, technically Morsi’s removal was “illegal.” The point? What George Washington did was illegal, because he knew that government had to come from below, not from above. If it’s a not a government of the people for the people, it’s just a criminal gang. Egypt is the oldest civilization on Earth, the Egyptian people know what they’re doing. The Egyptian air force flyover above was cheered and welcomed by the people of Egypt, they stood together with their military and took back their country from religious ideologues. We are witnessing a nation’s greatest generation.

That’s my current understanding of the situation in Egypt. And I sure as hell didn’t get if from the farce that is our western media. Even Al Jazeera is towing the western line, much to the ire of Egyptians. I’m getting my view of this from local sources in Egypt, few of which are in English. The translations in the interview with the 11 year old boy are indeed accurate. I will post more as this situation develops. I am filled with hope and fear, it’s 1848 all over again. With modern social media let’s hope the outcome will be different.

Note: This post is subject to revision as my understanding of this situation evolves.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. I think it’s a frame grab from a video, I couldn’t even find it again using TinEye, so I don’t know who to attribute it too. Interesting times indeed, for once I don’t feel like ending a post with levity.)

Written by unitedcats

July 8, 2013 at 7:34 am

Muslim Brotherhood Wins Egyptian Election, Let the Fear Mongering Begin!

with 7 comments

I love the Drudge Report! Matt Drudge, here was a man who realized that people don’t want to know what’s going on in the world so that they can make rational judgements about it, oh no, people just want their prejudices and hatreds reinforced! The above image is how the Drudge Report revealed the results of the election in Egypt. The first story: “Muslim B’hood takes Egypt.” Too much trouble to write out “brotherhood?” Of course not, but B’hood with its suggestion of gangsters and hoods is so much more delicious. Other helpful stories in this category included “Egyptian beats pregnant wife to death for not voting for Mursi…” and “Supporters mass, chant ‘Allahu Akbar!'” I’m sure the gentle Drudge reader is now so much more informed, Egypt is just a bunch of wife murdering, Allah worshiping, towel heads! Might as well nuke em now before hordes of Egyptian children with suicide vests stream across the border into Israel and onto the tarmacs of unsuspecting American airports from Egyptian airliners. Where’s Chuck Norris when you need him?

Is the Drudge Report really that bad? Pretty much. At least they’ve stopped running a banner headline every time a black teenager beats someone up. Reality check people: I’ve lived in Berkeley/Oakland for thirty years, I walk around for miles every day, passing dozens or hundreds of black teenagers every day. I have been assaulted and insulted exactly zero times. Granted I avoid the worst neighborhoods, but still, millions of Americans think that the streets are full of black thugs just looking for trouble. This is the reason I am highly skeptical about Zimmerman’s version of events, this kid, with no history of assault or violence, just attacked him out of the blue for no reason? The fact that Zimmerman got caught lying to a judge to save himself bail money doesn’t help his credibility then either, or my opinion of his judgement.

I see the Drudge Report has expanded their coverage of the Egyptian elections in the past few hours. (Yes, I write slow.) They’ve now added two new stories: “Islamist Joy …” and “Israel Jittery.” Yerp, nothing like a joyful Islamist to get people’s attention, since Drudge readers know the only joy in Islamist’s lives is plotting the destruction of Israel. Which is why Israel is “jittery.” Yes, a peace treaty with an Arab military dictatorship that was bought and paid for by the USA was such a great strategy for protecting Israel’s long term interests. And of course they used the breathing room the peace treaty gave them so productively, creating one of the world’s ugliest apartheid states … all in Israel’s best interests of course.

Sigh. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s even worse with Syria destabilizing. I do know that broad generalizations and stereotypes are silly, but sadly they infect us all. Over a half century of anti-Islamic and anti-Arab propaganda in the west, and it’s no wonder everyone’s thinking on the subject is muddy. Well, crystal clear but completely obscured. What’s going on in Egypt isn’t another Iranian Revolution, nothing like it really. (Yes,I have already heard that comparison made.) Not that Americans have any clue about the Iranian revolution. Most Americans couldn’t grasp how Iranians could still in 1979, 26 years after the fact, be still upset that in 1953 the USA overthrew a democratically elected Iranian government and installed a brutal dictator in its place. Yet in 2012, 33 years after the fact, many Americans still rant about the Americans taken hostage in Iran in 1979. Go figure.

As one American hostage put it, after a year in captivity, he one day snapped and told his guard how fucked up it was that they had been held hostage for a year. The guard, without any sympathy at all, told him that America took his entire country hostage in 1953. They don’t hate us for our freedoms (I still throw up a little in my mouth when I hear that,) they hate us for the horrific things the USA has done in the region for decades. Compounded by stupidity. Yeah, selling Egypt tear gas to use on protestors, that was smart. Then there’s American efforts to buy influence, which almost always give the kiss of death to their benefactors. Yeah, like an American political party funded by Iran would get anyone elected in the USA. Well, Maybe in Michigan. (Yes, that was a joke.)

In just four more years it will be a hundred years since France and Britain sat down and carved up the remnants of the Ottoman Empire for their own narrow self interest, the interests of the people living there be damned. We are still paying for their greed and short sightedness today, compounded by American and Israeli folly. I can only hope that the Muslim Brotherhood has the wisdom to lead Egypt, because American and Israeli governments can’t even lead their own nations into peace and prosperity, and they sure as shit aren’t spreading the same around abroad.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I got it from The Drudge Report, I have no idea where they got it or I would attribute it properly. It’s purportedly an image of people in Egypt after the election, I don’t think The Drudge Report sinks to Alex Jones’ level. Next blog, something fun. I been working on a  post about Lincoln’s second term, it’s a hoot.)

 

Written by unitedcats

June 25, 2012 at 8:12 am

One Million Hits and Thanks for all the Comments

with 5 comments

TUNISIA ████████████████ : 100% done
EGYPT ████████████████ : 100% done
ALGERIA ███░░░░░░░░░░░░░: in progress
YEMEN: ███░░░░░░░░░░░░░: in progress
PALESTINE: ░░░░░░░░░░░░░: VIRUS DETECTED

 

Well, I recently passed a million hits on Doug’s Darkworld. Kinda of a strange feeling. A million people have looked at my blog. Or my one or two regular readers visit it a whole lot I suppose, I’m not a tech guy so I don’t really know what those numbers mean. I do get a lot of comments, so I’m pretty sure it means I have a fair number of readers. Speaking of not being a tech guy, the guy who runs the wireless point I use took a week to figure out that all he had to do to get it working again was to hit the reset button. So I’m back on line and will try to post more regularly from herein out.

And again, thanks for all the comments. When I started this up I feared I would get all sorts of basically dumb or insulting (or both) comments, since that seems to be the norm on so many sites. Nope, very few indeed, I think I’ve only deleted one or two comments through the years for being patently offensive. In fact many of the comments are so thoughtful that I don’t have the time to respond to them. At least until I get a corporate sponsor and can quit my day job. Hint hint. Of course with my luck I’ll end up with the Scholl’s Odor Eater blog or some such.

Moving right along, well, Mubarak is gone. I’m sure him and his family have enough money to live several lifetimes, several millennium if some reports are to be believed. Hopefully things will go smoothly from here and a real constitutional democracy will be established. Sadly I fear that what will happen is what happened in the case of so many other recent “revolutions.” The guy at the top will flee (or be shot in some cases,) a mock democracy will be set up, and things will carry on pretty much as before. There have been very few real revolutions in the past century, for the most part the wealth and power remains concentrated in the same hands, and what changes that are made are superficial. Still, the trend has been toward more social and political freedom even when no big transfers of wealth have occurred, so I am optimistic.

As for what this means for the USA, I’m tired of hearing about it. All it means is that once again our spectacularly short-sighted, patronizing, self-serving, foreign policy has blown up in our face … and there is no plan B. No worries, the imminent collapse of the dollar will no doubt give us much more to worry about. I do plan to write a post soon on the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s an interesting organization with a long and checkered history. It’s not a incipient Al Qaeda, in fact Al-Qaeda has bitterly criticized the Muslim Brotherhood because of their secular and democratic leanings, and any organization criticized by Al Qaeda must be doing something right.

There’s been a lot of science news lately, I’ll get around to covering that soon. Dinosaur news and space exploration news for starters. There’s been an interesting discovery about the Voynich manuscript, a topic always near and dear to my heart. Weather has been in the news lately. Here in Berkeley it’s been sunny with record warmth. I’ve been sitting on the balcony in my shirt sleeves writing this while admiring the beautiful sunset. There’s been some snow in other parts of the country, but the Midwest is uninhabitable as far as I am concerned, so I haven’t paid much attention to it. My Midwestern friends are always welcome to come visit me and enjoy some sun, there’s enough for everyone. All these storms remind me I should do another post on global warming again, even if just to reinforce the point that climate and weather are two entirely different things.

As always, comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome.

(The above image comes to me by way of a contact in Egypt. She is ecstatic at the turn of events there, who can blame her?)

 

 

Written by unitedcats

February 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Berkeley, Uncategorized, World

Tagged with

Is it War Yet?

with 6 comments

I apologize for not being able to blog recently, there’s lots going on in the world, but alas, my Internet service as failed me miserably. We may very well be seeing the beginning of a world revolution on the streets of Cairo, and the only source of “news” I have most days is my television. Kinda like losing your glasses at the start of a sightseeing tour, I can make out dim shapes but that’s about it. On the other hand, hearing all the utter crap being spewed by the various “experts” in the mainstream media is heartening. I can do better than that, and I bet I do judging from the thoughtful educated comments I get.

So, since I don’t have time for in depth posts, here’s some wild speculation about how this is all going to turn out. OK, maybe it’s not that wild, I do actually know something about history and the region, but as I am sure I’ve said before, predicting the future is a fool’s game. If two months ago someone had suggested that millions of Egyptians would be taking to the streets in an attempt to oust Mubarak, I, and virtually every one else on the planet, would have said “not bloody likely.” Speculation about the future is always wild … but it can be lots of fun.

Well, option one is the West gets behind the democracy movement in Egypt and elsewhere, and does everything it can to support the nascent democratic governments that spring up. I mean, without the west’s support, most of the world’ dictators would be toast. Simultaneously the west would also have to launch a massive program to cut their dependence on foreign oil, since the free countries that would emerge in the Middle East would insist that the pofits from oil be re-invested in their countries, not the west. There would be some hardship and disruption at first no doubt, but in the long run it would be a good thing. Terrorism would decline over time as the grievances that have driven so many to terror would be addressed. And as education and wealth increased in former dictatorships, the market for western goods and services would blossom. Prosperity is not a zero sum game, there more prosperity there is in the world, the more prosperity that would create. Yeah, we would have to pay more for gas, but the increased trade and development in the world would only be good for the US and western economy in the long run.

Sadly, the chances of that happening are about zero. The west’s governments are about protecting the wealth of big corporations and the ultra-rich … no matter what the costs to everyone else, including their own populations. So there’s no chance the west will encourage true democracy and self-determination to spread throughout the world. It would really cut into oil and arms industry profits, enough said. It’s possible the west will finesse the establishment of faux democracies in Egypt and elsewhere, that’s certainly what they are going to try and do. A seamless transition into compliant western boot-licking “democracies” would be their wish. I’m pretty sure the cat is way to far out of the bag for that to fly though. The people of the world are more sophisticated, educated, and informed than ever in history, the era when they will be happy with lip service democracy and promises appears to be drawing to a close.

No, I fear something much uglier is in the offing. War. Big war. A big war with multiple purposes. To seize direct control of energy assets that are “threatened” by all this “instability,” including oil fields, pipelines, ports, the Suez canal, etc. And of course to install compliant quisling regimes in said countries. At the same time I fear that this will be used as an excuse to “transfer” millions of people out of Europe, the USA, and Israel’s occupied territories. This of course wold be ethnic cleansing by any other name, since the people so transferred would be Muslim in the case of Europe and Palestine, and Latino in the USA. And when it’s all over, no more “problems” with minorities or unemployment in the west, our oil supplies assured, and the Palestinian issue “solved” once and for all.

That at least would be the plan. The reality, God only knows. Which means, no one knows. The larger a war is, the less predictable its results. That’s never stopped anyone from starting big wars before, especially when they think they have “no choice.” And sadly when it comes to the ultra rich, anything is better than forgoing their power and profits. So in short, I think the west will do everything in it’s power to subvert or end this nascent movement for democracy and freedom in Egypt and elsewhere. And if it gets to the point where countries are truly declaring independence (and seizing assets such as oil fields and the Suez Canal,) we will see outright invasion and intervention along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ll do it right this time of course, Afghanistan and Iraq were failures becasue we didn’t try hard enough. Snort.

Hang onto your hats people, this is going to get a lot scarier before it gets any better.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, and I’m pretty sure it’s public domain to boot. It’s American Stuart tanks operating in North Africa in World War Two. Here’s hoping we don’t see American tanks in North Africa anytime soon.)

 

 

 

 

Written by unitedcats

February 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Posted in History, Politics, Propaganda, War, World

Tagged with , ,

We Are All Egyptians Now

with 8 comments

Well, the uprising continues in Egypt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s very possible we are entering a watershed period in world history where all sorts of things are going to unravel in the next few years. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to even focus on what’s important. Still, that’s never stopped me from blogging before. I’m also a little out of sorts because I have some friends in Egypt. One of them is a doctor and if I know him at all, he’s out in the streets at no thought to his own safety providing first aid to the wounded. Historical events unfolding kinda take on another dimension when people one knows are in the thick of them.

So, in no particular order, my thoughts about some aspects of this situation. First, some background. There’s two basic things fuelling the protests across the Middle East. One is wealth distribution; the other is western, primarily American, foreign policy in the region. Wealth is easier to understand. Basically the inequalities in the world have been growing in recent decades, both internationally and internally. The world’s poor nations have been getting poorer, and huge numbers of young people are unemployed with grim prospects n the region. I mean, this unrest was triggered by a fellow in Tunisia with a college degree killing himself because he couldn’t even get a permit to sell fruit in the street! And the people in the street know damn well their corrupt western supported governments, mostly dictatorships of some sort or another, are a huge part of the reason that poverty and unemployment are rampant. A subset of this problem is the populations in these countries have been growing quickly and are very young in general. (Nothing like unemployment and poverty to make birth rates spike, I mean, what else is there to do? This is why refugee camps usually have astronomical birthrates.) And when a huge percentage of a population is young, there’s proportionately fewer older wiser people to try and keep cooler heads prevailing. Ever see a mob of old or even middle aged people?

And then foreign policy. While the west has made noises about democracy and human rights in the region, their actions speak much louder than words. Governments that would be pilloried as torture regimes (because they are torture regimes on par with Saddam’s Iraq) are given a pass and propped up with western arms as long as they maintain “stability.” By which I mean they don’t do anything to hinder the region’s oil wealth being plundered and used to fuel development and progress in the west. “Supertankers are the treasure galleons of our time, freeway interchanges the cathedrals” is a very apt analogy. In the rest of the world the west has encouraged at least some democracy, and there are political parties even though the west manages to keep pro-western parties in power for the most part. In the Middle East, despots rule and the US looks the other way.

Another aspect of this that nicely illustrates the incredibly short sighted foreign policy of the USA is Israel. The USA literally bought Israel 30 years of peace with Egypt. Did Israel use that 30 years to settle the Palestinian issue and make peace with its other neighbours? Nope, they used it as an excuse to be completely intransigent on the peace process and put the Palestinians under ever more pressure. Not to mention invading Lebanon and creating Hezbollah and confiscating ever more Palestinian land. Basically Israel spent the three decades of breathing room that the USA so generously bought them by building walls when they should have been building bridges. It’s a pretty safe bet that whatever new governments emerge in the region, they are going to be more supportive of the Palestinian cause than the west’s bought and paid for dictators have been.

So how should the USA and Israel respond to these developments? Well, if we had any real leadership in Washington, we’d jump on the bandwagon and throw the dictators to the crowds so to speak. The results might be messy, but done right, good will towards the US could increase dramatically in the region. In the long run this would be good for US business interests in the region, and would take the wind out of the sails of Al Qaeda and the like. Hell, done right we could even force a settlement to the Palestinian question, a viable Palestinian State would be the worst thing that ever happened to Muslim extremists. Sadly, Eisenhower is long dead and Obama is a cunning domestic politician with zero aptitude for foreign policy. Biden claiming that Mubarak “isn’t a dictator” pretty much sums up our head-in-the-sand approach to the developing situation. (Head-in-the-sand is the diplomatic phrase, enough said.) The only good thing about the US response is that the right wing extremists running Israel now are probably going to react even worse than Washington.

I’m hoping I’m wrong, but I fear the over-reaction to this is going to sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The Middle East is too big now to occupy along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, but the abject folly of either enterprise didn’t stop the US from trying. NATO troops occupying Egypt? Anything is possible.

(The above image is public domain under US copyright law. Despite the perversions of the concept since, the founding fathers were onto something. We’re all in this together, every human has political and individual rights. And sometimes we have to fight for them. If we stand together, we cannot lose.)

 

 

 

Written by unitedcats

January 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm