For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
“Mubarak Will Hunt Us Down One by One”
“May be preparing for something which he does not want the world to see.”
WASHINGTON - Pro-regime forces in Cairo are attacking and detaining media and
human rights workers, leading to wide-spread concerns about an increase
in state violence against pro-democracy protesters. Egypt is 7 hours
ahead of U.S. ET. For online resources; see: accuracy.org/online-resources-on-egypt
Based in Cairo, Mekay
reports for Inter Press Service and other outlets. He just wrote the
Institute for Public Accuracy: "Just outside Tahrir Square right now.
Pro-Mubarak ‘hired muscle' is attacking journalists and stopping them
from going into the square. These are the government types, possibly
even police staff in plainclothes. They are confiscating all cameras.
They set up road blocks around most entryways to the square. I sense
they may be preparing for something tomorrow, Friday. Friday has been
called by the anti-Mubarak movement ‘The Departure Friday' i.e. a day
in which Mubarak will decide to step down. Government supporters and
apparently former police force members are searching all those heading
towards Tahrir before turning them back. They confiscate food, water
"Mubarak may be preparing for something which he does not want the
world to see. The government is using all tools it can to thwart
tomorrow's big marches in Tahrir Square and elsewhere. They are sending
text messages in Arabic through the local mobile phone companies
warning people about ‘getting into trouble.' One message reads: ‘Oh you
young people of Egypt, listen to the voice of reason and be warned of
rumors. Egypt is above all.' Mubarak has always portrayed himself as a
wise man and the ‘voice of reason.'"
Currently in Cairo, Cassel is based in Beirut, Lebanon and is assistant editor of The Electronic Intifada. His website is JustImage.org and his tweets from Cairo can be followed at twitter.com/justimage.
He said today: "Egyptians are risking their lives to stay in the
streets and demand an end to the U.S.-backed dictatorship in their
country. They've proved they will not surrender their fight until
President Hosni Mubarak leaves. ... As the peaceful protests have
continued at Tahrir (Liberation) Square effectively shutting down all of
Cairo, so has the thuggery of the regime. From Cairo it seems that the
outcome of the massive protests will be nothing other than Mubarak's
immediate resignation." See: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11773.shtml and http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11763.shtml
Hassan [a pseudonym] is
foreign student now in Cairo. She said today: "The situation is
changing quickly. Yesterday the army left Tahrir Square at dark,
leaving the protesters open to attacks by pro-regime forces. The
blogger Sandmonkey was beaten and detained. ... The regime might be
following a strategy of creating so much chaos so that the protests
Last night Sandmonkey wrote: "I have no illusions about this regime
or its leader, and how he will pluck us and hunt us down one by one
till we are over and done with and eight months from now will pay
people to stage fake protests urging him not to leave power and he will
stay ‘because he has to acquiesce to the voice of the people.' This is a
losing battle and they have all the weapons, but we will continue
fighting until we can't. ..." Sandmonkey, however, is no longer being
Lockman is a professor in the department of Middle Eastern and Islamic
Studies at New York University. He said today: "The initial vision of
the Obama administration and key military leaders in Egypt seems to have
been that Mubarak would hang on until his term ended in September.
Meanwhile, the regime would engage in ‘dialogue' with the opposition
without actually conceding anything of substance, and the momentum of
the demonstrators in the streets would dissipate. Some of the old
opposition parties, with little popular credibility or support, might be
willing to accept some crumbs from the table of power and cut a deal
with the regime; the hard-line opposition would then be isolated,
marginalized and destroyed. This is more or less how the Iranian regime
crushed the protest movement there after the June 2006 elections. In
the long run, this might enable the Mubarak regime to survive even
without Mubarak at its head, with no real opening to democracy, free
elections, etc. This regime is very good at using a calibrated
combination of repression and incentives to suppress the opposition; it
hasn't stayed in power for three decades for nothing.
"But it is not clear whether this scenario will work. The violent
efforts we saw yesterday to drive the protesters out of Tahrir
[Liberation] Square and other strongholds of the opposition suggest that
Mubarak is not ready to allow himself to be shoved aside, or even to
share power, which may well strengthen the resolve of the demonstrators
to hold out for Mubarak's immediate removal from power. If the masses
return to the streets, Mubarak will have to step up the violence, which
may isolate him further. And it isn't clear if the military is prepared
to let the situation get out of control; its leaders may decide to
throw Mubarak overboard sooner rather than later if that is what it
takes to maintain their position and status, and prevent more extensive
changes. So Friday's demonstration, and the responses to it of the
regime and the military, will be critical."
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