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Crowd builds in Al Tahrir Square, Cairo, two million defy Mubarak intimidation

Al Jazeera has reasserted live footage in Cairo today, for the Friday demonstration billed as “Day of Departure” meant to depose dictator Mubarak. Already gone are the US major network talking heads, fleeing in advance the predicted mayhem as if to dot the exclamation point of their Chaos in Egypt meme. Alas, they won’t be here to offer color commentary on the hundreds of dozens of demonstrators of indeterminate religious-political orientation massing for Egyptian on Egyptian rioting. For the rest of us, this is a veritable revolution before our eyes. Perhaps the monumental event of our lifetime. Regardless the outcome, most of us are probably so estranged from reality to recognize it. This is what Democracy looks like.

We only know representative democracy, warped beyond recognition by an electoral college system only a statistician’s mother could love. Switzerland is the only direct democracy we’re taught in school. But democratic participation in Switzerland is not much more complicated than a homeowners association in an affluent neighborhood. People power taking to the street, denouncing the illegitimacy of its authoritarian masters, leaderless, allied, that’s real democracy.

What a shame the American celebrities are missing the party. Williams and Couric fled with the expat community, Amanpour is already giving her veneer of respectability to the next interviewee, Zuckerberg not Assange, because the corporate media wants to call this a Facebook revolution sooner than Wikileaks’. Anderson Cooper is cowering on the hotel floor of an undisclosed location, unafraid to confess that he’s fearing for his life, working that [brown] people-are-revolting angle.

On the heroic independent media side, Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous spent the night in Tahrir Square, sleeping among the activists, half of them with bandaged heads, waking at intervals by the alarm sounding for anticipated stone-throwers.

None of the network journos showed any hesitation to criticize the harassment they encountered on the streets, though blaming Mubarak’s thugs was never explicit, and none of them veered from celebrating the riots as “Egypts killing each other.” Even Al Jazeera pretended to confuse the Pro and Anti sides, failing to discriminate between the side which was armed from the side taking cover, the knife wielders from desperate stone throwers trying to keep their attackers at bay.

Finally this morning an AJ text crawl mentioned 300 fatalities since the protests began January 25th, otherwise there has been scant mention of innocent civilians killed, some of them shot in the head by nighttime snipers.

All of the networks, even Al Jazeera express their incredulity that the demonstrators project no central leadership, failing to speculate why that may be.

Al Jazeera takes care to mention, every time they consult one of their three correspondents on the ground, that they omit speaker identities “for their own safety.” Even when they interview activists, the AJ anchors thank them for being brave enough to reveal their real names. Not discussed is the certain probability that calling out a demonstration leader will direct the security apparatus to deploy their snipers, summary arrest, or detention of family members. As the media wax horrific the barbarity of Cairo’s street culture chaos, they maintain a rudely unrealistic civil pretense to mask Egypt’s cruel police state.

My nightmare scenario, now that I’m looking over millions of peaceful undaunted Egyptians chanting for deliverance from their uncaring dictator? I worry about the US advisors reported to have flown into Cairo this morning, reassuring their cabby, it was reported, that everything was going to be fine.

I worry that Washington has spot on advice to offer Mubarak about how to respond to a “million man march.” After all, that’s old hat for DC. Let ’em eat waffle cake.

American protesters get the same response from Obama as they did from Bush 43. Praise for the glorious display of citizens exercising their constitutional rights. Talk away, shout it to the rooftops. Feel better? I hear you America. Thank you for your faith in the system. You are the change you’ve been waiting for. Please collect your refuse on the way out. Be sure to leave something in the hat to cover the expense of the Port-a-Johns. Thank you America, I’m honored, really. Yes we can, see you at the polls in 2012. Thank you for flying Air of Democracy. Bu’bye.

3 thoughts on “Crowd builds in Al Tahrir Square, Cairo, two million defy Mubarak intimidation

  1. Mubarak’s Health Ministry reported 8 dead.
    There’s a little bit of difference, just a tiny bit, between the “official” total of 8 and the real total. Like the tiny bit of difference between me using sarcasm to point it out and bluntly calling the Officials the liars they truly are.

  2. Mubarak’s comment of “chaos if he resigns now” was followed by “I don’t want to see Egyptians fighting Egyptians” WTF?
    His regime has had Egyptians killing, impoverishing, imprisoning and torturing Egyptians for DECADES, but now he wants to play the Patriot Card?
    He’s an infidel dog who eats pork with his left hand.

  3. BBC said “100,000” again, WTF? Don’t they think people have graphics programs which would enable them to count heads?

    A hundred thousand would be a spit in the bucket of what the normal person-density in the middle of Cairo would be on any given day.

    Even a smaller city like Dallas. (which ain’t small) would put out a hundred thousand around Union Station during rush hour, just changing buses and light rail trains.

    I think the reason must be the same as why a centipede is called a centipede and a millipede a millipede
    Not for actually having a hundred legs or a thousand, but because people are too intellectually lazy to count past 38.

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