Just a quick post today, I'm sorry it's been a few days since my last one, but I've been trying to finish several more in-depth posts, and they take a little longer than my conventional updates and snark. I’ll have another post up soon, probably not today but certainly tomorrow. (This blogging stuff is a lot of work!)
I mostly just wanted to bring your attention to two very interesting things that happened in Egypt over the last few days.
First of all, Thursday night something incredible happened.
The Prime Minister of Egypt was a guest on a popular Egyptian late night TV talk show and he spent about an hour and a half reiterating double-talk and vague patronizing fluff regarding the next steps for the Egyptian government. (That’s not the incredible thing)
After 90 minutes of his pandering bullshit, the host suddenly brought in additional guests – two well-known and respected Egyptian journalists who sat down and gave the Prime Minister the grilling of his life. The show continued for another two hours and the heavy back-and-forth basically made the PM look like a myopic tool, an out-of-touch jerk, and a blatant holdover from the Mubarak regime.
The only word to describe this is unprecedented. Even Lebanon, which has a fairly healthy and robust fourth estate, has never experienced anything like this - a prominent head of state being called on his crap in front of a nation of viewers.
As if that simple but momentous act of accountability was not enough, Friday morning brought with another bombshell: the Prime Minister had resigned.
It's not clear if he resigned due to his own humiliation, or if he was told to step down because his actions showed him to be so obviously unfit to lead. Regardless, it's an amazing event, and one that should be celebrated by everyone who appreciates the power of a free press.
Egyptian blogger Zenobia gives a wonderfully entertaining account of this event here.
The Prime Minister's replacement, Essam Sharaf, has a very good reputation as an effective minister and a supporter of the Egyptian protesters. Profiles of him can be found here and here. (Thank you to MEI editor Michael Dunn for the links)
As exciting and encouraging as this event was, today something even more remarkable happened.
First, a moment of context: Shortly after Mubarak stepped down from his position as Egypt's President, "rioters" burned down a police headquarters. The circumstances of the incident were such that it was painfully obvious to everyone that the culprits were Egyptian police/State Security personnel intent on destroying the evidence of decades of wrongdoing preserved in the station archives. This was followed by another incident two days ago where another police station was set on fire, destroying countless more files documenting thousands of additional corrupt and brutal acts against the Egyptian people.
Today, clashes between Egyptian State Security (secret police) officers and protesters took place in Alexandria outside of an infamous state security building where documents were being destroyed. In this situation, however, the violence was escalating dramatically, and the military intervened when State Security snipers were beginning to fire on the protesters. The security forces were dragged off by the army and the building was secured by the Egyptian people! Many documents were lost, but many others were saved.
Zenobia has an amazing account of this as well.
This bodes well for the new Egyptian century, and very poorly for the butchers and thugs of its past.
It’s going to be pretty interesting...