Riz Khan interviews writers Ahdaf Soueif of Egypt, Hisham Matar of Libya, and Ariel Dorfman of Chile about the roles of artists and intellectuals in revolutions.
Tag Archives | Revolution
According to DEBKAfile, western military advisers have landed in Libya and are actively assisting anti-government forces:
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Hundreds of US, British and French military advisers have arrived in Cyrenaica, Libya’s eastern breakaway province, DEBKAfile‘s military sources report exclusively. This is the first time America and Europe have intervened militarily in any of the popular upheavals rolling through the Middle East since Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution in early January. The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk Thursday Feb. 24, for a threefold mission:
1. To help the revolutionary committees controlling eastern Libyan establish government frameworks for supplying two million inhabitants with basic services and commodities;
2. To organize them into paramilitary units, teach them how to use the weapons they captured from Libyan army facilities, help them restore law and order on the streets and train them to fight Muammar Qaddafi’s combat units coming to retake Cyrenaica.
Former CIA field officer Robert Baer writes in TIME:
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There’s been virtually no reliable information coming out of Tripoli, but a source close to the Gaddafi regime I did manage to get hold of told me the already terrible situation in Libya will get much worse. Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities. They will start by blowing up several oil pipelines, cutting off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya’s rebellious tribes: It’s either me or chaos.
Two weeks ago this same man had told me the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt would never touch Libya. Gaddafi, he said, had a tight lock on all of the major tribes, the same ones that have kept him in power for the past 41 years. The man of course turned out to be wrong, and everything he now has to say about Gaddafi’s intentions needs to be taken in that context.
Libyan military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in Tripoli, Al Jazeera television reported on Monday, quoting witnesses for its information.
“What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead,” Adel Mohamed Saleh said.
Saleh, who called himself a political activist, said the bombings had initially targeted a funeral procession.
“Our people are dying. It is the policy of scorched earth.” he said. “Every 20 minutes they are bombing.”
Asked if the attacks were still happening he said: “It is continuing, it is continuing. Anyone who moves, even if they are in their car they will hit you.”
No independent verification of the report was immediately available.
The protesters were reportedly heading to the army base to obtain ammunition of their own, but witnesses said the air force bombed the demonstrators before they could get there…
A man in Egypt has named his newborn daughter "Facebook" in honor of the role the social media network played in bringing about a revolution, according to a new report. Gamal Ibrahim, a 20-something, gave his daughter the name "to express his joy at the achievements made by the January 25 youth," according to a report in Al-Ahram, one of Egypt's most popular newspapers. Many young people used Facebook and other social media networks to organize the protests, which began January 25 and ultimately led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power. Wael Ghonim, a Google executive who organized a Facebook page on his own time, became a central figure of the revolution.
It doesn’t look good for a peaceful revolution in Libya, where Muammar Gadaffi confirms the West’s worst fears about his intentions for dealing with the many protestors demanding his exit. The latest from Reuters:
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Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi will fight a popular revolt to “the last man standing,” one of his sons said on Monday as people in the capital joined protests for the first time after days of violent unrest in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Anti-government protesters rallied in Tripoli’s streets, tribal leaders spoke out against Gaddafi, and army units defected to the opposition as oil exporter Libya endured one of the bloodiest revolts to convulse the Arab world.
Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on national television in an attempt to both threaten and calm people, saying the army would enforce security at any price.
“Our spirits are high and the leader Muammar Gaddafi is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are behind him as is the Libyan army,” he said.
Mark LeVine writes at Al Jazeera:
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A most modern and insane revolt
The following description, I believe, sums up what Egypt faces today as well as, if not better, than most:
“It is not a revolution, not in the literal sense of the term, not a way of standing up and straightening things out. It is the insurrection of men with bare hands who want to lift the fearful weight, the weight of the entire world order that bears down on each of us — but more specifically on them, these … workers and peasants at the frontiers of empires. It is perhaps the first great insurrection against global systems, the form of revolt that is the most modern and the most insane.
One can understand the difficulties facing the politicians. They outline solutions, which are easier to find than people say … All of them are based on the elimination of the [president].
All of Egypt was at fever pitch in anticipation that President Hosni Mubarak would resign in a televised speech this evening. Instead he refused to move and set himself up for massive conflict with a broad mass of Egyptians who want a real democracy in this large, civilized, educated but desperately poor country. What happens next is anyone’s guess. Al Jazeera continues to have the best coverage of any media service; here’s their latest report:
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Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has refused to step down from his post, saying that he will not bow to “foreign pressure” in a televised address to the nation.
Mubarak announced that he had put into place a framework that would lead to the amendment of six constitutional articles in the address late on Thursday night.
“I can not and will not accept to be dictated orders from outside, no matter what the source is,” Mubarak said.
Reality telling-vision ‘talent’ shows, aside from being another hastily buffed facet of the bread and circus, alpha-wave inducing media trivio-sphere, also, I believe, serve to substantiate and maintain an ugly and inevitably destructive cultural and social paradigm.
The Celebritocrats lean over us from their polished pedestals, purporting to be our salvation, overseeing the next chosen one’s ascent into their domain, casting aside all those deemed unworthy to be stood before their vapid (pay no heed to the man behond the mirror) visage. How easily the discomforting pornography of schadenfreude that parades in the initial stages of these shows, seems forgotten; contestants disposed of, ‘deleted’, mercilessly and without recourse, culturally guillotined whilst the baying hoardes jeer and mock.
The first myth that these events promulgate is that of audience (electorate) participation in outcome, that is bolstered by the temporary feeling of belonging that comes from a large (in this case discomfortingly vicarious) social event.… Read the rest