A Brand New Arab World

By AbdAllah Black













Did you ever wonder why there are a lot of straight lines on the map of the Middle East? If you don’t know already, it is because the European colonial powers decided to divide the colonies by a ruler and a pencil based on their interests and need.

The other attempt, again unsuccessful, was by President Bush to create a “New Middle East” that was supposed to follow the “birth bangs” of the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war. Yet, it seems that the Middle East is now drawing its own future, not with pens and rulers but using their own blood as ink to draw their demands for freedom and justice on the face of international politics.

It is very reasonable to think now about the same Tunisia scenario to be repeated in several countries in the Arab world. Simply put, people now know the way through which they can choose their leaders!

Egyptians are facing death on the streets — the death toll already is over 100 — for one demand: “The People want to overthrow the regime.” Yet President Mubarak is, and has always been, listening more to outside than inside.

The overall situation from an international perspective can be understood from the hesitant and superficial decisions that Mubarak has taken so far. The Middle East does not afford someone other than himself in this critical position. Unlike the reaction to the similar Tunisian scenario that took place less than two weeks ago, the Obama administration is still holding firm to Mubarak and his regime as the ruling power of the most important and central of Arab states, which fits Mubarak’s personal interests in staying in power and not joining Tunisia’s deposed president Bin Ali in his Saudi Arabian exile.

The fact is, Egyptians are no longer looking to the outside; no longer asking for the international help which they have always been calling for. It is all now in the hands of the people. President Obama, sadly, has already lost his credibility on the Egyptian street after the famous — now infamous — Cairo Speech where almost all promises turned out to be public diplomacy.

The question of what is on the horizon, although hard to answer, can only be answered through listening to the slogans heard all over Egypt. After 30 years of oppression, Egyptians are no longer demonstrating only in the hundreds or write their anti-regime slogans in tiny handwriting; now Egyptians are in hundreds of thousands all over the country tearing down the photos of president Mubarak that have been hanging there forever, telling him personally to step down.

The Egyptian regime has been portraying a false picture about the political movements inside Egypt in order to maintain its power. Yet, now after the veil is uncovered, the Obama administration has to look deep into Egypt for a new alternative. But this time around, Egyptians are not allowing foreign powers to choose their leaders. They are doing it for themselves.

Something is forming up, I would even drop the term “Middle East,” with all what it carries of historical connotations, and call it a Brand New Arab World.

AbdAllah Black is the pseudonym of a student affiliated with Columbia University.

Revolutions in the Middle East – A HISTORIC MOMENT compiled by Sheila Musaji

Compiled by the always reliable and resourceful Sheila Musaji


The people of Tunisia were the first to stand up to a dictator and demand democracy.  Now Egypt and Yemen have joined them.  This is a moment of hope for real change and justice.  Pray for the people of these countries that they may have success.

President John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”


Arab Americans Call On US To Support Egyptian Protestors, Niraj Warikoo http://www.newstime.co.za/WorldNews/Arab_Americans_Call_On_US_To_Support__Egyptian_Protestors/19689/

Arab Democracy and Israel: They Can be Compatible, Mitchell Plitnick http://palestinenote.com/blogs/blogs/archive/2011/01/28/arab-democracy-and-israel-they-can-be-compatible.aspx

4 Reasons Why Egypt’s Revolution Is Not Islamic, Haroon Moghul http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/guest_bloggers/4133/4_reasons_why_egypt%E2%80%99s_revolution_is_not_islamic/

A ‘democracy Renaissance?’, Arsalan Iftikhar http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/01/28/iftikhar.egypt.protests/

A people defies its dictator, and a nation’s future is in the balance, Robert Fisk http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/robert-fisk-a-people-defies-its-dictator-and-a-nations-future-is-in-the-balance-2197769.html

Al Jazeera creates consciousness in Arab world, Susan Krashinsky http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/al-jazeera-creates-consciousness-in-arab-world/article1887313/

Al Jazeera English, livestream from Egypt http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/2007829161423657345.html
Continue reading

The Modern Revolt Against Pharaoh

By Mehdi Khan

With the overthrow of the dictatorship in Tunisia (and soon to be Egypt), the world is in apprehension as to who will take the reins of leadership.   But in such a volatile part of the world, it is only natural for conflicts of interest, and only time will tell which group will come out on top.  With Egypt being so close to the state of Israel, the Israeli government is watching the situation unfold very closely, meeting every few hours to discuss the situation.  Meanwhile, Israeli embassy staff have been evacuated from Egypt amidst the turmoil.

Mubarak has historically been instrumental in pushing the Israeli agenda on his nation, playing a major role in supporting the humanitarian blockade of Gaza through the closing of the Rafah Border Crossing and through the construction of a steel wall along the Gaza-Egyptian border in order to stifle Palestinian smuggling tunnels.  Due to Mubarak’s loyalty towards Israel and the United States, Vice President Joe Biden has come out against the pro-democracy movement saying to PBS Jim Lehrer that “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator”.  Moreover, rather than supporting the will of the people for democracy he has said that “the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that – to be more responsive to some… of the needs of the people out there.” Continue reading

Protests in Egypt – as they happened

An extremely thorough and readable, up-to-date round up of the protests in Egypt by The Guardian

Give it a read here

A riot policeman fires tear gas at protestors in CairoA riot policeman fires tear gas at protesters in front of the l-Istiqama Mosque in Giza, Cairo, today. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

12.16am GMT: As we move into Saturday morning, we’ll be bringing the live blog to a close shortly. We’ll be continuing our coverage tomorrow, but there’s much more on the Egypt protests at guardian.co.uk/world. Thanks for staying with us, and in the meantime, here’s a summary of the main points today:

• President Hosni Mubarak appeared on TV to tell Egyptians he has asked the government to resign. Mubarak will form a new government on Saturday, but there was no indication that the president himself would be stepping aside.

• Barack Obama, the US president, said he had spoken to Mubarak following his televised address, and called on Egyptian authorities to refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters. “This moment of volatility has to be turned into a moment of promise,” Obama said.

• The White House said it was reviewing its $1.5bn in aid to Egypt, on a day which saw tanks move in after protesters defied a nationwide curfew ordered by President Mubarak. Reports said at least 20 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured on the fourth and most violent day of protests against Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

• In another significant development, Mohamed ElBaradei, the former UN weapons chief who may stand in presidential elections later this year, was placed under house arrest for “his own protection” after returning from abroad

Read the rest here: