What Egyptian uprising says about the desperate desire for freedom

The Arab world is shaking. Crowds are seething. Anger is everywhere. Egyptian protesters are showing America, Israel and Mubarak what they think of them. Some of the latest reports here and here.

From Al-Jazeera:

The internet has been central to these protests, though impossible to tell how important. In an age of mass surveillance, it’s also vital that web activists in Egypt and beyond watch very carefully how they communicate; authorities are all-seeing.

I love this story from the last days:

When protestors in Cairo’s Tahir Square experienced an outage in cell phone data service, nearby residents reportedly opened their home Wi-Fi networks to allow protesters to get online.

Ultimately, the message from these protests should be a fundamental re-writing of Western policy in the region. If not, the Arab world will increasingly embrace extremists who rally against American and Israeli violence, instead of Islamists who may want a different kind of nation. Leadership is up for grabs. So is the future. Obama’s reaction thus far has been clear; say little, back Mubarak, be fearful for Israel. That’s not leadership, that’s cowardice.

Secular countries across the Arab world would be my ideal but I don’t live there. Isn’t it about time that we respect the wishes of the people there?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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