Salute! 17th of February

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 16•11

Something is happening, Mr. Jones

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 16•11

It is not that I think I will see world peace in my lifetime because of Twitter. I may be an idealist (semi-closeted) but I am not a complete idiot.  I do think something very interesting is happening though.

egyptinfluencenetworkthmbA man named Kovas Boguta has devised a really wonderful graphic showing the influences English speaking and Arabic speaking Twitter users have on each other. Or at least so it is assumed by the fact that they follow each other, I believe. ( I asked my friend Tom to explain to me how that would work mathematically, he is good at things like that. He finally said he’d need more information so I got no satisfaction on that question.) The graphic is a very high resolution image. My rapidly aging eyes did not see at first the names in the spheres of influence but they are all named as you’ll see if you zoom in on it.

Mr. Boguta says:

Experts say Egypt is the crystal ball in which the Arab world sees its future. Now that Mubarak has stepped down, I can share the work I’ve done making that metaphor tangible, and visualizing the pro-democracy movement in Egypt and across the Middle East. It is based on their Twitter activity, capturing the freedom of expression and association that is possible in that medium, and which is representative of a new collective consciousness taking form.

I don’t think Mr. Boguta goes quite far enough though.

Here’s the thing. My cousin Stephanie and I are about as far apart on the political spectrum as two people could be, as different just personally as two people could be in every possible way. But certainly politically. I guess I’d call her a far right wing Zionist if I had to call her anything. I would rather just call her my cousin Stephie.

Me and my cousin

Stephie's got the crown and that's me with the shield

We have a personal relationship.  That’s what’s happening with this method of communication, personal relationships and they are happening across the globe irregardless of distance. It doesn’t have to be Twitter. Twitter’s the medium at the moment, that’s all.

I’ve learned more about Egypt through individual Egyptians in the last four days than I had ever learned in any other way. Now I’m learning about other countries in that area too, through looking at photo albums from people like Mosa’ab Elshamy or listening to one of the mix tapes that was popular in Tehrir. Which I did not like much to be honest, but hey I know the kids like rap. It helps, of course that people in other countries know more english than Americans like myself generally know other languages. Google translate is a help at getting the gist of things. I’ve pretty much learned to recognize the difference between Arabic and Persian I will say that.

If this can happen to me it can happen to anyone, and it seems to me it’s happening to an awful lot of people. Maybe not a new global consciousness, but something.

There is even more to it than that. Communication between nations is bypassing governments. Because it’s so unwieldy to get governments together to talk about anything. You’ve got to arrange staff and tickets and red carpets and dinners and then all the staff and so forth all have to have the perks and the arrangements. Everyone’s got to have whatever the State Department equivalent of the bowl of blue M & Ms in the dressing room is. It all takes so long and then the two governments might end up having a fifteen minute conversation.

Further notes on online communication during revolutions

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 15•11

There’s an excellent overview of how online communication tools were used during the Egyptian Revolution as well as a timeline of communication shutdowns here:

Egypt Revolution 2011 and Communications. It’s by Ramy Raoof whose photos I followed via Twitter links during the demonstrations.

The proof’s in the pudding

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 14•11

Another thing the revolution in Egypt has done for me personally is to restore my faith in the power of people, together, to effect great change for good. I am an idealist (surprise!) and today I am not embarrassed to say so, although my idealism had about shriveled after 56 years of life. I graduated high school in 1973 and I still remember feeling like I could change the world, like WE could change the world. We did change some of it. I doubt the Vietnam War would have ended when it did if so many of us hadn’t been out protesting it. It all looks sort of cute now, in the old photos, but it had it’s revolutionary moments.

The example of non-violent protesters winning out over violence must have terrorost groups shakin’ in their boots. Because as my grandmother used to say: the “proof’s in the pudding” and here before us is a perfectly wonderful pudding, a pudding that everybody wants. What has suicide attacks, rockets and so forth gotten anybody so far? Not an improvement that’s for sure. Invasions, chaos and repression that’s what.

In this morning’s Times, Roger Cohen writes:

We’ve tried invasions of Muslim lands. We’ve tried imposing new systems of government on them. We’ve tried wars on terror. We’ve tried spending billions of dollars. What we haven’t tried is tackling what’s been rotten in the Arab world by helping a homegrown, bottom-up movement for change turn a U.S.-backed police state into a stable democracy.

From 9/11 to 2/11

And why not start getting to know others as human beings? I think that would help. I know reading Egyptian blogs, seeing YouTube clips of people in their homes ( I had to freeze a clip of Wael Ghonim and friends in his Mom’s apartment because I was so impressed by her living room set!) and so forth has made me know that culture in a way I did not before. In fact, I was just about completely ignorant about people in the Middle East and their countries. Now I’m not and I’m learning more all the time. That can only be good.

The Sandmonkey effect

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 12•11

Hearing that Sandmonkey had been arrested made my heart clutch up. My cousin (whose knowledge of the Middle East is better than mine) had told me I should follow a “witty Egyptian blogger” Sandmonkey, if I was interested in what was happening. I found his blog and read this post: Egypt, right now!. He said he’d be updating on Twitter. I began following him on Twitter, as well as his friends, and people he was following. Then his blog was taken down – Suspended, it said.

The post sprouted back up, on someone else’s. By that time I was hearing from him on Twitter and he’s a really funny guy. I liked him. He’s got a sharp sense of humor that’s aligned with mine.

He had tweeted he was on his way to the square with medical supplies. Then… nothing.  Then another tweet: Sandmonkey arrested!  Several days later another told of his release.

There was an account in the Times by a female journalist who was arrested with him, terrible  account.

Mubarak thugs destroyed his car, a Champagne colored KIA brand new. He gave an interview with MSNBC some time afterward. He had, apparently, always kept his real name a secret but now – he didn’t care.

Then someone posted a Where’s Waldo, a picture with an accompanying tweet – Find the Sandmonkey: here’s the picture:

He’s the tall guy just to the left of the second upraised baton, black shirt, turned toward the police and looking oddly delighted.

It is impossible to remain uninvolved when you feel as if you know people personally. At least it is for me.

Party in Cairo

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 12•11

I kept the BBC news online streaming minimized as I worked today so that I could at least listen. Al Jazeera’s live stream does not come through at work. It’s probably some firewall port or something. I haven’t investigated, if I had been able to get it I wouldn’t have gotten much done in the last couple weeks that’s for sure so it’s a good thing. But today I had to listen. When I heard it coming up I popped the window up and sat transfixed as Suleiman made the announcement.

Then it was time to go to the campus center for lunch and I could not stop smiling. No one at school seems to have been following the events in Egypt much, certainly no one as closely as I have, following the revolution in a Twitter stream as I have. But I could not help bringing it up when I sat with Kathy at lunch. I mentioned it to a few other people and everyone was happy to hear it of course.

For me, following the Egyptian Revolution in the “tweets” of individual human beings has been a really life-changing experience, I mean that. Not so much the messages themselves, although the immediacy of it is…  frightening and exhilarating all at once. No, what has been life-changing is reading the blogs, looking through the photo albums. Getting to know these strangers from halfway across the world – that’s what’s been life-changing.

Getting to know the protesters

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 11•11
sit in tonight at the Presidential Palace in Cairo
Hundreds of people infront of the presidential palace in Heliopolis. So peacful. So cold out here. #egypt #jan25
posted by @jarelkamar from Twitter for iPhone 2 hours 48 mins ago
I’ve been glued to Al Jazeera Engish’s live stream of Tahrir every moment I haven’t been at work or in the car (except when they’ve been down or I’ve been to bleary with flu to see it) and the coverage has been really good. Also the weather man on AJE is utterly wonderful.

The thing is, I was watching the first night they were attacked all night. I SAW it. I saw it happen.

My cousin had told me I should follow this blogger named Sandmonkey. So I did, on Twitter which I always thought was a crock, and then I started following all his friends. And I heard this woman, who I now know as monasosh she called Al-Jazeera that night – from there, from the square while shots were going off and they were throwing Molotov cocktails at them. She called in. She was about hysteric (and why wouldn’t she be – she was being shot at ) until the woman announcer asked: Can you tell me if there are women and children there? and her voice got perfectly reasonable and she said: Yes! I’m a woman. (what a ditz announcer) And there were still children there too because that day had been a peaceful protest. Anyway I did always think Twitter was a crock but this has changed my mind. I’ve been looking at these people’s blogs and photos and it’s all become very personal.

You know.. there was one night they were passing out cameras with night photo capability. They were thinking that if there was a massacre at least there would be photos so that people would see. The heroism of these protesters – peaceful protesters unless they had to defend themselves is more than I can understand.

I do not believe I have seen the like of people kneeling in prayer while being hit with water cannon before except in old clips of Gandhi. I do not believe I have seen anything like this before. I don’t really think the world’s seen anything like it for a long, long time.

If I were a teacher I’d have a twitter stream going constantly in my classroom, following the hashtags #jan25, #egypt #tahrir.

I’d have a live stream from Cairo. I’d be looking at the videos posted from mobile phones on bamuser. I’d be encouraging students to look at the Facebook pages of the protesters, We Are All Khaled Said and the April 6 Youth Movement
My students would watch, listen, hear their voices and get to know the human beings who are making a revolution. President Obama was right about something today. We are watching history being made.

Egypt, right now, via Twitter

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 10•11
H_Eid Hossam Eid®

by 3arabawy
كلام فارغ RT @RassdNews: عاجل ومؤكد || اعلان حاله حظر التجوال من الساعه 3 ظهرا اليوم وتم تبليغ جميع الشركات والموسسات عن طريق الهاتف
Hossam عمو حسام
3arabawy Hossam عمو حسام
Protests expected around 3pm RT: @bencnn: In Mahalla, few tanks, NO police. No demos yet. #Egypt #Jan25 #egyworkers
رواء ابراهيم
blooperrboom رواء ابراهيم

by mosaaberizing
Anderson Cooper on the lies of our government #Jan25 #Egypt
bencnn benwedeman
In Mahalla, few tanks, NO police. No demos yet. #Egypt #Jan25 #Tahrir
Hossam عمو حسام
3arabawy Hossam عمو حسام
Tweet of the day 😀 RT: @inwpress: @3arabawy Ghazl el-Mahalla is Egyptian football club?
Hossam Eid®
H_Eid Hossam Eid®

by 3arabawy
ياجماعة ابوس ***** بلاش إشاعات. حظر التجوال لسه تمانية زي ماهو.. ومافيش تلتين الف بلطجي هيهجمو علي التحرير وأبو رجل مسلوخة لسه مجاش #Jan25
Hossam عمو حسام
3arabawy Hossam عمو حسام
There r 200 #egyworkers only inside Ghazl el-Mahalla compound who started protesting. The mass protests will start by 3pm. #Jan25
negad elborai
negadelborai negad elborai

by 3arabawy
المحامين قطعوا شارع طلعت خرب وهم يهتفون تل أبيب بتناديك السعوديه خساره فيك ، مش جايين نوقف حالكم جايين نبني مستقلبكم
Wael Ghonim
Ghonim Wael Ghonim
It started to rain in Cairo, and I am optimistic. Hoping that sky is crying from happiness. #Jan25

Egypt Feb 9

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 09•11

For whatever happens next, Egypt’s mobilisation will remain a revolution of world-historical significance because its actors have repeatedly demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to defy the bounds of political possibility, and to do this on the basis of their own enthusiasm and commitment. They have arranged mass protests in the absence of any formal organisation, and have sustained them in the face of murderous intimidation. In a single, decisive afternoon they overcame Mubarak’s riot police and have since held their ground against his informers and thugs. They have resisted all attempts to misrepresent or criminalise their mobilisation. They have expanded their ranks to include millions of people from almost every sector of society. They have invented unprecedented forms of mass association and assembly, in which they can debate far-reaching questions about popular sovereignty, class polarisation and social justice.

Every step of the way, the basic fact of the uprising has become more obvious and more explicit: with each new confrontation, the protestors have realised, and demonstrated, that they are more powerful than their oppressors. When they are prepared to act in sufficient numbers with sufficient determination, the people have proved that there’s no stopping them.

Again and again, elated protestors have marvelled at the sudden discovery of their own power. “We look like people who’ve woken up from a spell, a nightmare,” observed writer Ahdaf Soueif, and “we revel in the inclusiveness” of the struggle. Protestor after protestor has insisted on a transformative liberation from fear. “People have changed,” teacher Ahmad Mahmoud told a Guardian reporter:

“They were scared. They are no longer scared … When we stopped being afraid we knew we would win. We will not again allow ourselves to be scared of a government. This is the revolution in our country, the revolution in our minds. Mubarak can stay for days or weeks but he cannot change that.”

We are all Khaled Said – Facebook group

April 6 Youth movement – facebook group

Egypt right now

Written By: Miranda - Feb• 08•11

Biggest turnouts to date, all over the country.

Wael Ghonim’s interview riveting

This is the real deal. The Berlin Wall of right now.

Faculty members of Cairo University


Fine Egyptian Youth


At the barricades