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

Arab Democracy and Israel: They Can be Compatible, Mitchell Plitnick

4 Reasons Why Egypt’s Revolution Is Not Islamic, Haroon Moghul

A ‘democracy Renaissance?’, Arsalan Iftikhar

A people defies its dictator, and a nation’s future is in the balance, Robert Fisk

Al Jazeera creates consciousness in Arab world, Susan Krashinsky

Al Jazeera English, livestream from Egypt
Al Jazeera’s Egypt coverage embarrasses U.S. cable news channels, Alex Pareene

All eyes on Egypt, Daniel Martin Varisco

Al Qaradawi tells government shooting protestors is haram

Al Qaradawi calls on Mubarak to leave

Al Qaradawi hails Tunisian people for their revolution


China micro-blogging sites censor ‘Egypt’ as search term

Contemplating a post-Mubarak Egypt

Could this week’s protests actually effect lasting change?,

Days of rage, photographs of Egyptian revolution

Did Someone Recycle the Shah of Iran’s Last Speech for Hosni Mubarak?, Shirin Sadeghi

Egypt flips internet kill switch, will the U.S., Dan Costa

Egypt Revolution: the purity protests, Mike Giglio

Egypt, Tunisia and the youth revolt in the Middle East, Eboo Patel

Egyptian revolution, a very fine thing, Gary Leupp

Egypt’s day of reckoning, Robert Fisk

Egypt’s new political dawn, Walter Ambrust

Egyptians’ Fury Has Smoldered Beneath the Surface for Decades

Mohamed ElBaradei: When Will the West Stand for Self-Determination?, Robert Naiman

Mohamed ElBaradei: Egypt’s Potential Future Leader?

From Tunisia to Egypt VIDEO, Tariq Ramadan

German Government Supports Efforts For More Democracy In Egypt

The Guardian running continuous updates on Egyptian protests

How the US State Department fought to keep Twitter in Tunisia & Egypt

The Lede running continuous updates on the crisis in Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood: Don’t fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Bruce Reidel’t-worry/

Muslim Brotherhood a ‘wildcard’ in Egyptian uprising, Elizabeth Tenety

Muslim Brotherhood: Fear of Islamists paralyzes the U.S., Tony Karon,8599,2044902,00.html

Online activism fuels Egypt protest, Fatma Naib

Protests in Egypt – live updates, The Guardian

The road to Jerusalem runs through Tunis and Cairo, Philip Weiss

Tech world stunned at Egypt’s Internet shutdown

Time to give democracy a chance, Shadi Hamid

Tunisia: Raining on the Tunisian Revolution, Mona Eltahawy

Tunisia: The Thrill and Consequences of Tunisia, Rami G. Khouri

Tunisia: The God’s that are failing, Mustafa Aykol

Tunisia offers a possible model for Arab reform without autocrats or theocrats, Hussein Ibish

Tunisia: Reflections on Tunisia, James Zogby

Tunisia’s Uprising and the Arab World, Mona Eltahawy

Tunisia: Big trouble in Tunisia for America’s Mideast Raj, Eric Margolis

Tunisia: What Tunisia Means to the Arab World, Rami G. Khouri

US Policy: US reconsiders $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt and

US Policies: On The Wrong Side of History, Joel Hirst

US Policy: Rand Paul Wants to End foreign aid, including Israel and Egypt

US Policies: Fear Extreme Islamists in the Arab World? Blame Washington, Jeff Cohen

US Policy and the Middle East Protests AUDIO, Rashid Khalidi

US Policy: Revolts in Middle East Stunning Repudiation of Bush Doctrine, Ian Fletcher

US Policy:  Secret U.S. document exposes support for protestors

US Policy: Democracy & Political Order – TAM article collection

US Policy: Democracy, Freedom, and Imposition:  How Best Can the US Effect Democratization in the Middle East, Louay Safi

US Policy: America’s Image – How others see us, TAM article collection

US Policy: Double standards, TAM article collection

US Policy: Reaction to President Obama’s Cairo Speech, TAM article collection

US Policy: Egypt Protests Show American Foreign-Policy Folly, Stephen Kinzer

US Policy: State of the Union and Obama’s disillusionment with world politics, Louay Safi

US Policy:  No Longer Caring About Democracy, Bolton Disparages Egypt Protests And Defends Mubarak

US Policy: Obama Forced to Rethink Mideast Policy as Protests Roil Cities in Egypt, Indira A.R. Lakshmanan

US Policy: President Obama, say the ‘D-Word’ , Mark Levine

US Policy: Time for US to Recognize Democratic Islam, Alex Becker

Uncle Sam & The New Arab Revolt

US Policy: Washington eyes a fateful day in Egypt, Marc Lynch

US Policy: Western hypocrisy towards Arab World stands exposed

US Policy: Why can’t we watch Al Jazeera in the U.S.?

US Policy:  Most U.S. aid to Egypt goes to military

US Policy: The United States and the Prospects for Democracy in Islamic Countries, Stephen Zunes

US Policy:  How did the U.S. get in bed with Mubarak?, Justin Elliott

US Policy:  Open Letter to Pres. Obama about Democracy Promotion in the Middle East and the Muslim World, CSID

Policy: What next for Egypt, the USA and the Middle East?, Alex Spillius

Why Egypt matters, Roger Hardy

Will Egypt ignite the next big oil shock?, Andrew Leonard

With Egypt, Diplomatic Words Often Fail, Helene Cooper


Arab World: Arab rulers only option is reform

Arab World: From Tunis to Amman to Sana’a, wave of protest spreads across the region, Sam Jones

Arab World: How Tunisia’s revolution transforms politics of Egypt and region, Paul Salem

Arab World: Will there be a domino effect?

Arab World: The Winds of Democratic Change in the Arab World,  Louay M. Safi

Arab World: Greater Middle East Initiative (GME), TAM article collection

Arab World:  The CASABLANCA CALL FOR DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS by Arab scholars and activists

Arab World: PALESTINE PAPERS – A new truth dawns on the Arab world, Leaked Palestinian files have put a region in revolutionary mood, Robert Fisk

Arab World: More Tunisia’s please, Mona Eltahawy

Arab World:  Government’s Reactions expose gulf between leaders and the people, Abeer Allam

Iran: Ahmadinejad’s Days Are Numbered, Reza Aslan

Jordanian protesters demand political reforms

Jordan: Thousands of opposition supporters rally in Jordan, demand political freedoms, economic change

Palestine:  Egypt’s uprising and its implications for Palestine, Ali Abunimah

Saudia Arabia: Is Saudi Arabia Next?

Syria:  If Egypt falls, Syria must follow, Farid Ghadry

Yemeni protesters demand change of government – video


Joe Biden says Egypt’s Mubarak no dictator, he shouldn’t step down…

Pamela Geller cheers for mass arrests, worries that Obama will throw our “ally” under the bus

Israel fears radical takeover in Egypt,7340,L-4020585,00.html

Israeli’s are wary of events

Pro-Israel groups cool to Egyptian protests, Justin Elliott

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah slams the protestors


Sign Credo Action petition to President urging Secretary of State State Hillary Clinton: Demand Mubarak resign and call for free and fair elections immediately here.

MPAC has the information for you to take action and call or write the White House and your representatives about the situation in Egypt here


They are demanding that Mubarak leave. The longer we hang to his coattails, the longer we are likely to look like the country that supported the Shah up to the bitter end.
Rashid Khalidi

In Egypt, we British loved democracy. We encouraged democracy in Egypt – until the Egyptians decided that they wanted an end to the monarchy. Then we put them in prison. Then we wanted more democracy. It was the same old story. Just as we wanted Palestinians to enjoy democracy, providing they voted for the right people, we wanted the Egyptians to love our democratic life. Now, in Lebanon, it appears that Lebanese “democracy” must take its place. And we don’t like it.
Robert Fisk

As young Arabs around the Middle East continue to use Twitter and Facebook to awaken versions of democracy Renaissance around the region, they would be wise to remember the concepts of nonviolent civil disobedience taught by such giants as Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King.
Arsalan Iftikhar

The Obama administration line (as summarized by Joe Biden, interviewed by Jim Lehrer on PBS), can be summarized as follows: Egyptians have the right to protest. Many are middle class folks, with legitimate concerns. But we should not refer to Mubarak as a dictator. It’s not time for him to go. He has been a key ally of the U.S. and Israel, in the “Middle East peace process” and the War on Terror. Egypt is dissimilar to Tunisia, and it would be “a stretch” to suggest that a trend is underway. The U.S. should encourage those protesting and Mubarak to talk. Everyone should avoid violence.
Gary Leupp

And the lessons of Iraq and Tunisia and Egypt are that you don’t install democracy anywhere; no, democracy must arise from the people themselves, you damage the processes of establishing popular will by seeking to impose such a system. The western democratic revolutions also arose from within.    The lesson of Tunisia and Egypt for American foreign policy is that the United States is the most conservative force in the world, in this region. It didn’t see democracy coming because it didn’t want to see it coming to the Arab world and to the palaces we supported. And when democracy did come, the U.S. creditably reversed field in Tunisia, but has stuck by its dictator in Egypt.
Philip Weiss

A somewhat similar pattern can be observed in Egypt, Syria and Iraq as well, in which independence from colonial rule led not to democracy but brutal autocracy. The secular dictators that dominated these countries promoted a combination of nationalism and socialism, while imprisoning, torturing and killing their political opponents, which included the Islamic groups. Factions among the latter grew radicalized, waging “jihads” against their oppressors, and, ultimately, their Western patrons.    In other words, the Westerners who are understandably alarmed about “Islamic extremists” today should understand that there is a political context that helped create these people – a context to which their governments, knowingly or unknowingly, often contributed.
Mustafa Aykol

“What is indisputable, though, is that Tunisia has captured attention, generated excitement and become an inspiration to many Arabs. There is, of course, a difference between being inspired by a performance and repeating that performance.”
James Zogby

“Dictatorships are stable,” I have often been told by friends who object to my unwavering commitment to democracy promotion, “In a dangerous world we need stability more than freedom.” My answer to them has always been, “dictatorships are stable, until they aren’t.” Their argument continues, “But not all cultures are the same,” they say, “they don’t all value individual freedom as much as we do, we should stop pushing on them our western ideals,” and with their words serving as judge, jury and executioner for the world’s oppressed.
Joes D. Hirst

For decades beginning during the Cold War, US policy in the Islamic world has been aimed at suppressing secular reformist and leftist movements. Beginning with the CIA-engineered coup against a secular democratic reform government in Iran in 1953 (it was about oil), Washington has propped up dictators, coaching these regimes in the black arts of torture and mayhem against secular liberals and the left.    In these dictatorships, often the only places where people had freedom to meet and organize were mosques – and out of these mosques sometimes grew extreme Islamist movements. The Shah’s torture state in Iran was brilliant at cleansing and murdering the left – a process that ultimately helped the rise of the Khomeini movement and ultimately Iran’s Islamic Republic.
Jeff Cohen

“The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.”
—President Obama, Cairo speech 2009

Improving relations between the United States and Middle Eastern nations is not simply a matter of changing some policies here and there.  For too long, U.S. policy toward the Middle East has been fundamentally misguided. The United States, for half a century, has frequently supported repressive regimes that routinely violate human rights, and that torture and imprison those who dare criticize them and prevent their citizens from participation in peaceful civic and political activities. U.S. support for Arab autocrats was supposed to serve U.S. national interests and regional stability. In reality, it produced a region increasingly tormented by rampant corruption, extremism, and instability.
In his second inaugural address, President Bush pledged that the United States would no longer support tyrants and would stand with those activists and reformers fighting for democratic change. The Bush administration, however, quickly turned its back on Middle East democracy after Islamist parties performed well in elections throughout the region.  This not only hurt the credibility of the United States, dismayed democrats and emboldened extremists in the region, but also sent a powerful message to autocrats that they could reassert their power and crush the opposition with impunity.    In order to rebuild relations of mutual respect, it is critical that the United States be on the right side of history regarding the human, civil, and political rights of the peoples of the Middle East.  There is no doubt that the people of the Middle East long for greater freedom and democracy; they have proven themselves willing to fight for it. What they need from your administration is a commitment to encourage political reform not through wars, threats, or imposition, but through peaceful policies that reward governments that take active and measurable steps towards genuine democratic reforms. Moreover, the US should not hesitate to speak out in condemnation when opposition activists are unjustly imprisoned in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, or elsewhere. When necessary, the United States should use its considerable economic and diplomatic leverage to put pressure on its allies in the region when they fail to meet basic standards of human rights.
CSID Open Letter to Pres. Obama signed by 1,600 American –  Muslim and non-Muslim experts and scholars on the Middle East 2009

There is a difference in being an idealistic critic and an idealistic politician or even a statesman.  President Lincoln once equated the navigation of the ship of State with navigation through the Mississippi River; by necessity one has to follow the path of the river.  Even though one may be travelling south, when the river meanders to the north, one has to go along that short distance.  It takes time and sustained effort by a visionary leader to gradually institute new policies while educating and carrying the people along. It is not easy to challenge wrong policies and the propaganda of decades. Those idealistic politicians who get too far ahead and do not take appropriate time to educate the people are overwhelmed by the entrenched opposition and court failure. The good policies and noble intents find a place on the dust heap of history.
Mirza Beg

The winds of democratic change are blowing in the Arab world and Arab states would be better off to accommodate rather than resist. Arab states can choose to either use its refreshingly young energy to build a more inclusive political order and more prosperous economy and society, or can ignore the writings on the walls and, hence, turn the winds into unpredictable storms.
Louay Safi

“The Obama administration should take a firm stand with the forces of democracy in the Middle East and against the corrupt of dictators. By so doing, the United States does not only remain true to its values, but it will also invest in the refreshingly young future of the Middle East rather than its withering dictators.”
Louay Safi

Failure now to support Egyptian men and women braving police bullets and batons, and being too closely identified with an ageing agent of tyranny, could wipe out Washington’s credibility with a generation of young Arabs. Cairo, the very city where the US president famously declared a “new beginning” in relations between the America and the Muslim world early in his presidency, could become the graveyard of that ambition.
Alex Spillius


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