Egyptian revolution is just the beginning

Prepared by Antony Loewenstein

What a start to 2011. After decades of US and Israeli backed repression, countless Arab peoples are rising up and asking for freedom; freedom from us and our meddling. From Egypt to Yemen and Bahrain to Jordan, the status-quo is dead. The direction of the changes in Egypt are unclear – and the irrational fear of the Muslim Brotherhood were questions only obsessively asked in Western elite circles and Israel – and the idea upon which we in the West treat the Arab people as disposable is over. Wikileaks played its role , though slight, confirming the close Western ties, funding and arming of most Arab dictatorships. Al-Jazeera has been a beacon over the last month, not framing the news solely around the desires of London and Washington. Where to from here? Only a fool would predict but the fear of repression across the Arab world has been greatly reduced (even when US and British made weapons are being fired into peaceful protesters in Bahrain).

It’s an exciting time to be alive to work towards a more just world.

In other news:

– The Galle Literary Festival is an annual event in Sri Lanka. Early in 2011 a few people – including Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali and yours truly – were asked to sign a statement highlighting the gross human rights abuses in the country and challenging participants of the event to realise that the festival was being used by the Colombo government to signify that the conflict was over and a way to boost the tourism industry. The petition was aimed at generating debate on the politics of writer’s festivals. Here’s the Galle Literary Festival appeal statement, the Hindu news story response, Singhalese opposition, AFP article, Hindustan Times and Indian Express. Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk withdrew (for reasons that remain unclear) but South African writer Damon Galgut pulled out and cited human rights abuses as a factor. It caused debate over tactics of the statement and received thanks from a disappeared journalist’s wife in Sri Lanka. Most importantly, the petition generated debate at the festival itself. For those of us who support BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel, this entire experience shows the effectiveness of civil society in the face of repression.

Exclusive interview with former Guantanamo Bay inmate and Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib on his unique perspective over one of the new Israeli/US anointed thugs in Egypt, Omar Suleiman (and this was covered by Washington think-tank Institute for Public Accuracy and Australian online magazine Crikey).

Comment on Al-Jazeera English on the media battle being waged in Egypt over the internet and satellite TV and interview in the Chinese media on the Egyptian revolution.

Article in leading Indian magazine Tehelka on “what New Delhi can learn from Cairo”.

Interview on ABCTV News24 about the significance of the Egyptian revolution and the importance of engaging Islamist groups.

Analysis on ABC online about the Egyptian revolution.

– I was recently invited to speak at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India (my photos here), a week-long celebration of writing, culture and the arts. Tens of thousands attended from across the world, though the main audience was Indian. I engaged with Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish and the Indian media reported on the session. A highlight was spending time with the fine New Yorker journalist Jon Lee Anderson, whose latest essay on the deeply troubling situation in Sri Lanka is essential reading.

Statement alongside Noam Chomsky opposing Australia’s plans to dump refugees in East Timor.

Article in Australian magazine Crikey discussing Israel’s reaction to the Egyptian uprisings (ie. backing dictatorship over democracy).

Chapter in the just-released book My Favourite Teacher on a mentor-figure of mine, former Australian journalist Margo Kingston.

Essay with Online Opinion on what the media should learn from the Wikileaks story, namely more accountability.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Green Left Weekly, a leading alternative press in Australia.

– Finally, a truly remarkable documentary on Al-Jazeera English with exclusive access to the Pyongyang University of Cinematic and Dramatic Arts students in service to the Dear Leader.

Read Antony’s Blog daily AT


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: