Posts Tagged ‘revolution’

Post-Mubarak era dawns on Egypt
Al Jazeera online 12 Feb 2011

“…we don’t really know if Mubarak decided to step down or [if] he was forcibly removed by the armed forces…”

People power has spoken in the biggest Arab nation just four weeks after Tunisians toppled their own ageing ruler. Egyptians have woken to a new dawn after 30 years of rule under Hosni Mubarak.

Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, said on Friday in a televised address that the president was “waiving” his office, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Suleiman’s 50-word statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as well as by other pro-democracy campaigners who were attending protests across the country.

After 18 days of rallies at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, resisting police assaults and a last-ditch raid by Mubarak supporters, people packed not just the epicentre but, it seemed, every street and neighbourhood of the capital. Similar was the scene in other cities and towns across the country.

Fireworks lit the night sky, cars honked under swathes of red, white and black Egyptian flags and people hoisted children above their heads. Some took souvenir pictures with smiling soldiers atop their tanks on city streets. Everyone cried, laughed and embraced in the hope of a new era.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from Cairo, said that in the coming days people will have some concerns. “The obvious thing that is going to be concerning many people is to have some kind of a clear roadmap for the progress towards democratic elections,” she said. “After all this was a revolution not only to overthrow President Mubarak, but also to remove the whole system and install it with one where people would have freedom of choice with [regards to who] who runs the country.”

The top figure in Egypt is now Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the country’s defence minister and head of the supreme council. In its third statement to the nation since Thursday, the council said in a televised address that it was examining the situation “in order to materialise the aspirations of our great nation”.

Nezar al Sayyad, a Middle East specialist, told Al Jazeera that Egypt “is in a very critical stage in terms of what is going to happen next. I think it’s extremely important to remember here that although Omar Suleiman made the announcement that Mubarak made the decision to step down, we don’t really know if Mubarak decided to step down or [if] he was forcibly removed by the armed forces and by the supreme council,” Al Sayyad said.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition leader, hailed the moment as being “a dream come true”. “I can’t tell you how every Egyptian feels today,” he said. “We have been able to restore our humanity … to be free and independent”….

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121253441731292.html

(Breaking News: New Tunisian government formed, more soon…)

Are we witnessing the birth of the second republic fueled by social media?
Al Jazeera online 17 Jan 2011

Contrary to civil unrests in Tunisia during the last few years, the dramatic death of 26 year old university graduate Mohamed Bouazizi sparked off angry protests in many parts of the country and have attracted international media attention thanks to social media networks.

The dramatic events have escalated into more riots in Bizerte, Jandouba, Gasserine, Baja, Sfax, Nabeul, Hammamet, and even in the capital Tunis, among other towns and cities.

This emergency situation has compelled the government to say that they will swiftly kick-start development projects, namely in the southern deprived areas of the country.

Faced with even more growing unrest (and in a latest move) the president promised to open up freedom of expression in the media, to free up political life, to bring to justice corrupt politicians and above all free the media and remove all restrictions on the internet.

Yet all these measure came in the eleventh hour. The mounting pressure, which turned into a revolution, has forced the president to flee the country.

The role of new media

In light of the dramatic development of events, on a considerable scale, it has become evident that new media have been playing a key role this time around in keeping the momentum going, and bringing the voices of the disengaged Tunisian youth to the attention of world media, and hence to international public opinion.

Mobile phones, blogs, YouTube, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have become instrumental in mediating the live coverage of protests and speeches, as well as police brutality in dispersing demonstrations.

The internet in this case has assumed the role of a very effective uncensored news agency from which every broadcaster and news corporation have been able to freely source newsfeeds, raw from the scene.

Such developments have proven very significant in changing the rules of the game, of journalism production and dissemination of information in a country where the government historically keeps tight control on the media and where almost no platform is available for opinions critical of the political elite.

Decades of state media control

Article 1 of the Press Code in Tunisia provides for “freedom of the press, publishing, printing, distributing and sale of books and publications”. The Tunisian constitution asserts that the “liberties of opinion, expression, the press, publication, assembly, and association are guaranteed and exercised within the conditions defined by the law”.

Yet as early as 1956, with the birth of the first republic under the leadership of President Habib Bourguiba, the ruling government gained control over the press – and later over broadcasting. As a result almost all the media outlets remained propaganda tools in the hands of Bourguiba’s government and ruling party.

(until now – Bette)

Be sure to read the rest of this fascinating, informative article!

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/2011116142317498666.html