Are you a teacher upset by your school’s resistance to allowing the original version of Huck Finn? I may have the solution–The Hunger Games.
I admit, I read the first page and thought I would hate it. The book is written in first-person present tense, has simplistic prose and starts with a huge load of back story. After the first chapter, though, I was hooked. The novel is bullet paced and winds through twists and turns that, for once, I did not anticipate.
So what does that have to do with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Well, Mark Twain’s 127 year old classic has racism as its theme: A young white runaway realizes he has more in common with a runaway black slave, than with affluent whites. The problem is that Twain was a product of his time and uses the “N-word” liberally throughout the text. Although class struggle and racism don’t bother school boards at all, the N-word apparently does, and the book is frequently banned from school libraries, English classes and social studies.
Enter the Hunger Games–a modern book with the theme of class warfare and imperialism that has an almost spooky resemblance to the Jasmine Revolution. (No small feat given the book’s copyright in 2008.) Because it is a futuristic novel, the N-word is no where to be found. In fact, there are no black people at all. That takes care of that. Instead, the former US is split into 12 Districts that are pitted against each other in a reality show that is must see TV. I mean the government makes you watch. Two children ages 12-18 are chosen by lottery from each district and forced to compete in a kill or be killed game for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Capitol district. Throw in media control, massive government spying, police state, and the exploitation of the periphery districts by the Capitol district and the themes of this modern novel should provide more than enough material for a discussion of the problems of modern society and how they are portrayed in literature.
And if you still miss the racism aspect of Mark Twain, well how about talking about the foundation of racism–artificial adversarial relationships that keep those without power from forming solidarity for the benefit of the powerful.
We gave you a sneak preview of this episode on Thursday. This week we examine the details of the no-fly zone over Libya established on March 17th. Though there has been wide speculation about what is not allowed under this resolution, the truth is that the only thing expressly forbidden is an occupation. After that, any action that the Security Council deems necessary to protect civilians or benefit the Libyan people could be approved.
Last Saturday, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to to impose sanctions and called for an investigation of war crimes by Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers. The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds. In the capitol of Tripoli there are bread lines, barricades and doctors telling foreign journalists that the bodies of the dead and wounded were being carried away from the hospitals by “Gaddafi cars”.
Christiane Amanpour interviewed Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and this morning, reported an interview with Gaddafi, himself, who is more delusional than Charlie Sheen.
I interviewed Col. Moammar Gadhafi this morning, when he told me he cannot step down because he is not a president or king, and claimed there have been no demonstrations in the streets of Libya’s capital.
“My people love me. They would die for me,” he said.
“I’m surprised that we have an alliance with the west to fight al Qaeda, and now that we are fighting terrorists they have abandoned us,” he said. “Perhaps they want to occupy Libya.”
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, delivered a strong message from the White House calling for Gaddafi to step down and for his government to be held accountable. In Behghazi, the new National Libyan Council was announced. Led by former justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abdel Jalil to put a political face on the revolution and to lead the country while it prepares for elections.
PARIS – The United Nations refugee agency says almost 100,000 people have fled Libya’s fighting to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt in what it called a humanitarian emergency.
The numbers seem to have increased over the weekend as armed rebel forces moved closer to a showdown with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his loyalists who were standing their ground in Tripoli, the capital, and a handful of other places.
The executive director of the World Food Program was traveling to Tunisia on Monday to meet with government officials on refugees’ needs and the impact on the region. In Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States Agency for International Development was dispatching two teams to Libya’s borders in Tunisia and Egypt to assess the need for emergency assistance. USAID, she said, had set aside $10 million funds for humanitarian assistance and begun an inventory of American emergency food supplies.
By NANCY A. YOUSSEF, JONATHAN S. LANDAY AND WARREN P. STROBEL
BENGHAZI, Libya — The United States is moving naval and air forces, including an aircraft carrier, into the Mediterranean Sea near Libya, U.S. officials said Monday, as the Obama administration and its allies consider how to respond to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s brutal efforts to suppress a widespread rebellion among civilians and army troops.
The U.S. decision comes as Gadhafi appeared to be making a concerted effort to retake control of Zawiya, a town about 30 miles west of Tripoli that has been in rebel hands since last week. Two people reached separately by phone said heavy fighting had broken out in the early evening Monday as militias loyal to Gadhafi attacked from both the east and the west.
Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state oil company, is ready to compensate for any shortfall in crude supply, Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih said, as oil prices rally on potential shortages from Libya.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Feb. 22 that his country and other OPEC members would make up for any production losses. The International Energy Agency said in a Feb. 25 statement that Saudi Arabia has been offering extra crude supplies to offset lost Libyan barrels.
(CNN) — Italy has suspended a treaty it signed three years ago with Libya that includes a nonaggression clause, a spokesman for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
“The friendship treaty is null and void,” said Aldo Amati, deputy press secretary for the ministry, in a telephone interview. Under the 2008 treaty between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Italy paid Libya $5 billion to compensate Libya for the colonial rule.
“We no longer consider the Gadhafi government as our interlocutor, so we don’t think it’s applicable right now.”
As constitutional amendments are rolled out , restrictions on religious political parties remain.
A panel of experts set up by Egypt’s ruling military council to amend the constitution has unveiled the first set of political reform since the revolution.
Sobhi Saleh, a member of the judicial committee appointed by the military council, told Reuters news agency, that the army is set to cancel a law which gave ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s administration the power to decide who
was allowed to form a party, .
The panel is also expected to call a referendum in March on historic changes to the constitution unveiled on Saturday, including reforms that will open up competition for the post of president which Mubarak held for 30 years.
Attorney general announces travel ban and freeze on Hosni Mubarak’s domestic assets in possible prelude to prosecution
The measures extend to Mubarak’s wife and children – including his youngest son, Gamal, a former banker and close associate of many of Egypt’s leading businessmen – and may be the prelude to a formal prosecution.
A number of former ministers from the deposed regime have already been made subject to travel bans and asset freezes since Mubarak was forced out of office on 11 February, and many are now facing possible trial on charges ranging from corruption to the unlawful killing of protesters.
Until now Mubarak had seemed to be shielded from investigation by the ruling military council, a source of much anger among pro-change demonstrators who accuse army generals of cutting a deal with the former leader.
SOHAR, Oman (Reuters) – Demonstrators blocked roads to a main port in northern Oman and looted a nearby supermarket on Monday, part of protests to demand more jobs and political reform that have spread to the sultanate’s capital.
A doctor said six people had been killed in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police on Sunday in the northern industrial town of Sohar. Oman’s health minister said one person had been killed and 20 wounded.
Hundreds of protesters blocked access to an industrial area that includes the port, a refinery and aluminum factory. A port spokeswoman said exports of refined oil products of about 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the port were unaffected.
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, during his talks with Bahrain’s leadership, reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to the military relationship with Bahraini defence forces, said Captain John Kirby, the admiral’s spokesman.
Admiral Mullen thanked Bahraini leaders “for the very measured way they have been handling the popular crisis here”, during his meeting with His Majesty King Hamad and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, said the spokesman.
The weariness has taken hold. Years of recession inevitably produces, pardon the phrase, malaise. We may not be falling farther down, but neither are we observing new growth. Though our tastes, as well as our ideological stances greatly differ, every tree that does not produce good fruit has been threatened to be chopped down and thrown into the fire. What constitutes “good” from “bad” is the very nature of our disagreements. Once upon a time, we complained heavily about high gas prices. Now we accept it with gritted teeth. We recognize now that our problems go well beyond the cost of crude oil. Nonetheless, the perceptible excitement once so prominent in earlier days is nowhere to be found. Disappointment laid upon disappointment builds upon itself prodigiously. Like the foolish man, we built our houses and mortgages upon sand.
Protests and violence continued across the region on Friday. The International community is considering its options and in a rare move the UN Human Rights Commission took sanctions against one of its own members, Libya. Meeting in Geneva, the commission voted unanimously recommending suspension of Libya from the Geneva-based body and decided to conduct an independent probe into violations by the Qadhafi regime, which has launched a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.
The United States closed down the embassy in Tripoli as the last of its diplomatic personnel were airlifted to safety. President Barack Obama signed an executive order freezing the assets of Gaddafi, his family and top officials, as well as the Libyan government, the country’s central bank and sovereign wealth funds.
Thousands demanded reform in Jordan and in Bahrain more changes. Virtually isolated in Tripoli, the military still loyal to Gaddafi opened fire on unarmed protesters.
Gaddafi gives a defiant speech to cheering supporters, as witnesses report indiscriminate firing on demonstrators
Libya’s uprising reached the heart of Tripoli on Friday as anti-regime demonstrators defied a security clampdown to demand Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow amid hopes that key military units in the west of the country would defect.
Gunmen in cars reportedly opened fire on protesters as they streamed out of mosques after Friday prayers. Witnesses described shooting in streets near Green Square in the heart of the city.
Information remained patchy, confused and sometimes contradictory, but up to seven people were reported shot dead in Janzour, Fashlum, Bin Ashour, Zawiyat al-Dahmani and other urban areas. “Security forces fired indiscriminately on the demonstrators,” said one resident.
Later, Gaddafi appeared in Green Square to give another angry and defiant speech to crowds of supporters waving banners and cheering him – a message that he is alive and in control – as he pledged to “open up the arsenals”.
No-fly zone or sanctions among options being considered as world bids to force Libyan leader to end the violence
International efforts to respond to the Libyan crisis are gathering pace under US leadership after a still defiant Muammar Gaddafi launched counterattacks to defend Tripoli against the popular uprising now consolidating its hold on the liberated east of the country.
The White House said Barack Obama planned to call David Cameron and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to discuss possible actions, including a no-fly zone or sanctions to force the Libyan leader to end the violence. Switzerland said it had frozen Gaddafi’s assets.
Gaddafi, in power for 42 years, has used aircraft, tanks and foreign mercenaries in eight days of violence that has killed hundreds in the bloodiest of the uprisings to shake the Arab world. Up to 2,000 people may have died, it was claimed by a senior French human rights official.
Opposing political camps rally in Yemen while protesters vent anger after prayers in Jordan, Iraq and Bahrain.
Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, have held rival rallies in the capital, Sanaa.
Protesters outside Sanaa University repeated slogans demanding that the country’s longtime president step down immediately, chanting: “The people demand the downfall of the regime.”
About 4km away, loyalists shouted support for the president, who they described as holding the fractured and impoverished tribal country together. “The creator of unity is in our hearts. We will not abandon him,” they chanted.
Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Sanaa, said that while the situation is calm in the capital, due to the huge presence of police and military, there have been reports of protesters being killed in the south of the country.
“The situation in Aden [in the south] is very tense, two people have been killed and at least 24 pro-democracy protesters were injured in clashes with security forces [today],” he said.
“Security forces have been asked by the ministry of the interior to block the main square to put an end to the escalations there, as it is the stronghold of the secessionist movement who want to break away from the north.
“There have been huge rallies in the province of Sadah, the stronghold of the Houthi fighters. They have said they are joining the protesters and that their fight will be similar to the fight of thousands of protesters who are asking for an end to the political regime.”
Yemen has been swept up in protests inspired by the recent successful uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The demonstrators are demanding that Saleh, in power for 32 years, step down.
At least 12 protesters killed by security forces, amid nationwide “day of rage” against corruption and poor services.
Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets across the country to protest against corruption and a lack of basic services in an organised nationwide “day of rage”, inspired by uprisings around the Arab world.
In two northern Iraqi cities, security forces trying to push back crowds opened fire on Friday, killing at least 12 demonstrators.
In Baghdad, the capital, demonstrators knocked down blast walls, threw rocks and scuffled with club-wielding troops.
Hundreds of people carrying Iraqi flags and banners streamed into Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, which was under heavy security.
Military vehicles and security forces lined the streets around the square and nearby Jumhuriya bridge was blocked off.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said there was a violent standoff between the protesters and the riot police on the bridge that leads to the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Ahmed Rushdi, head of the House of Iraq Expertise Foundation, tried to join the protests in Baghdad but was prevented from doing so by the army.
“This is not a political protest, but a protest by the people of Iraq. We want social reform, jobs for young people and direct supervision because there is lots of corruption,” Rushdi told Al Jazeera.
“If [prime minister Nouri] al-Maliki does not listen, we will continue this protest. He told everyone that we are Saddamists, but that is not right. We are normal Iraqi people.”
Eight years after the US-led invasion which ousted Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, development in the country remains slow and there are shortages of food, water, electricity and jobs.
Protesters confirmed that they were protesting for a better life and better basic services.
“We are free young men and we are not belonging to a certain ideological movement but we ask for our simple legitimate demands that include the right of education and the right of decent life,” Malik Abdon, a protester, said.
Libyan “madman” Muammar Gaddafi again took to the public airways via a telephone statement that the rebellion is being run by Al-Qaeda and that the young protesters were being drugged by Osama bin Laden. Tripoli is paralyzed and, according to foreign reports, food and fuel are in short supply contradicting Libyan official reports that everything is “normal”. Phone and internet service is intermittent.
Mustafa Abdel Galil, who resigned three days ago as justice minister, speaking to Al Jazeera, said that Gaddafi had chemical weapons and would not hesitate to use them. The United Nation’s Human Rights Council will meet in Geneva to decide to send a team to investigate violations of international human rights law in Libya.
In the east, the cities of Benghazi and Tobruk are now under the control of a civilian council of lawyers and doctors with the aid of military officers who turned on Gaddafi. Ferries have docked in Benghazi to aid in the evacuation of foreign residents and tourists. The eastern border with Egypt has been opened and tent hospitals and aid stations have been set up to care for the wounded and sick. Doctor Without Borders is sending a team from France to help the Egyptians.
Even as Gaddafi digs in, much of the country is out of his control and the military is deserting him. His assets in foreign banks have been frozen. Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, one of Gaddafi’s top security official and a cousin, defected and left the country on Wednesday evening, stating differences over “grave violations to human rights and human and international laws”. It would seem that it just a matter of time before Gaddafi is gone. The cost to be rid if him will be high.
Oil prices climbed to their highest level in 30 months in London today as Libya’s uprising reduced shipments and sparked fears of unrest spreading across the Middle East.
Brent crude hit 119 US dollars a barrel for the first time since August 2008, while benchmark crude for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up nearly four dollars at 101.67 US dollars.
Countries around the world step up efforts to evacuate citizens, but some warn an exodus of refugees could spark crisis.
Nations around the world are evacuating thousands of people from the violent unrest in Libya, amid fears in some countries that the situation will lead to an exodus of illegal immigrants.
On Thursday, European nationals and thousands of Chinese people landed on the Greek island of Crete, after boarding chartered ferries from Libya, while scores of Britons were evacuated via military plane to the Mediterranean island of Malta.
Scrapping the draconian law to placate growing discontent had been a major demand made by the opposition parties.
Algeria’s cabinet has adopted an order to lift a 19-year-old state of emergency in a concession designed to avoid the tide of uprisings sweeping the Arab world, but protesters said the measure did not go far enough.
A draft law approved by the cabinet would repeal the emergency law as soon as it is published in the government’s official journal, the official Algerie Presse Service reported on Wednesday.
Three stalwarts of the deposed Egyptian president are greeted by angry crowd at courthouse
Three former stalwarts of Hosni Mubarak’s regime have appeared in a Cairo court to face charges ranging from abuse of state power to squandering public wealth.
The trio – former housing minister Ahmed Maghrapi, former tourism minister Zuheir Garana and Ahmed Ezz, steel tycoon and one-time secretary general of Hosni Mubarak’s NDP party – arrived in police cars clanging with the sound of pelted stones and got out at the courthouse to a chorus of deafening insults.
President Saleh instructs security forces to protect demonstrators after at least 15 protesters have been killed.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president, has issued a directive ordering his security forces to protect demonstrators trying to end his 32-year rule, after at least 15 people have been killed in the country’s recent unrest.
The statement, relayed by the Yemeni press attaché in Washington on Thursday, said Saleh had “demanded security services to offer full protection for the demonstrators”.
“Late this evening [Wednesday] … Saleh instructed all security services to thwart all clashes and prevent direct confrontation between pro- and anti-government protesters,” it said.
“Furthermore, the government calls on protesters to remain vigilant and take all precautionary steps to prevent the infiltrations of individuals seeking to carry out violent actions.
“The government … will continue to protect the rights of its citizens to assemble peacefully and their right to freedom of expression,” the statement said.
Thousands of protesters were camping out for a fifth day in an impromptu tent city outside Sanaa University. Members of the university’s professors’ union also turned out to support the demonstrators, who have one demand: that Saleh step down.
The protests against repressive regimes has taken a violent turn over the last three days with police, the military and some armed counter protesters shooting and beating the unarmed, peaceful demonstrators in Bahrain, Libya and other countries in the region. Yesterday Human Rights Watch has reported at 173 protesters have been killed over the last five days in Libya and reports from hospitals there say 20 more were killed on Sunday. Other sources are putting the death toll at over 200. Reporting is hampered because journalists and the news media has been barred. The US is relying on reports from the HRW and other observers. News coming in from CNN say that [Benghazi now in the hands of Libyan protesters and that some of the military has now gone over to supporting the protest. CNN has reports coming from citizens, on the ground in Libya, calling the network.
Saif el Islam, Gaddafi’s son spoke on Libyan state TV. It is unknown if the telecast was live or taped.
An official of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said her organization is increasingly concerned and seriously alarmed about what she described as the ongoing murder of unarmed protesters who are demanding reforms in Libya.
Heba Fatma Morayef, researcher for the Rights Organization for Egypt and Libya, told VOA it appears is behind the shootings deaths of the unarmed protesters since the Tunisian and Egyptian-inspired protests in the North African country.
“The overall death toll now is at 223 and that is just in the previous days. Regardless of who is doing the shooting, in this case, whether its mercenaries, whether its plainclothes individuals with weapons, the responsibility remains (for) the state to protect the demonstrators,” said Morayef.
Oil for April delivery rose for a fourth day in New York as violence escalated in Libya, bolstering concern supplies will be disrupted as turmoil spreads through the Middle East and North Africa.
Crude gained as much as 2.2 percent after Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son warned that a civil war would risk the country’s oil wealth. Security forces have launched attacks on anti-government protesters, killing more than 200 people, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. The North African nation, holder of the largest crude reserves on the continent, pumped 1.6 million barrels a day of oil in January, equivalent of about 8 percent of U.S. consumption.
Top US and EU diplomats denounce violence against protesters but stop short of calling for a change of government.
Western countries have expressed concern at the rising violence against demonstrators in Libya.
The United States said it was deeply concerned by credible reports of hundreds of deaths and injuries during protests in Libya, and urged the government to allow demonstrators to protest peacefully.
“The United States is gravely concerned with disturbing reports and images coming out of Libya,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “We have raised to a number of Libyan officials … our strong objections to the use of lethal force against peaceful demonstrators.”
The State Department said US embassy dependents were being encouraged to leave Libya and US citizens were urged to defer nonessential travel to the country.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice spoke out against brutal crackdowns on protesters in Libya and Bahrain but stopped short of calling for a change of government in any of the countries facing large protests.
Appearing on Libyan state television, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi says his father is in the country and has support of army.
A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has promised a programme of reforms after bloody protests against his father’s rule reached the capital, Tripoli.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi also hit out at those behind the violence. He said protests against his father’s rule, which have been concentrated in the east of the country, threatened to sink Libya into civil war and split the country up into several small states.
Libya has become a key player despite decades-long image of political pariah.
A weedy, overgrown backyard in Englewood, New Jersey seemed likely for a time last week to become the scene of the latest flashpoint in Libyan-US relations.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, is planning his first visit to the US since he seized power in a military coup 40 years ago. He is set to address the yearly UN General Assembly in September.
Now, wherever the long-time Libyan leader goes, he likes to take a little bit of Libya with him – in the form of a huge, air-conditioned Bedouin-style tent. He pitched his pavilion in the Kremlin during a visit to Moscow. In Rome, the tent sat prominently in a public park.
Gaddafi initially planned to set up camp in Manhattan’s Central Park, but Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, said no dice. So a squadron of gardeners and construction workers descended on the dilapidated estate of Libya’s UN ambassador in lovely Englewood, a suburb of 30,000 people with a large Orthodox Jewish community.
You can guess what happened next. Protests were organised. Petitions were passed around. Lawsuits flew hither and yon.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Gaddafi backed down. There will be no tent party in Englewood, and the Colonel will stick to Manhattan on his visit.
Demonstrators demand large-scale political and economic reforms in the North African kingdom.
Calls for change sweeping the Arab world have now spread to the kingdom of Morocco, where thousands of people have taken to the streets in the capital to demand a new constitution.
The demonstrators shouted slogans calling for economic opportunity, educational reform, better health services and help in coping with rising living costs during the march on central Hassan II Avenue in Rabat on Sunday.
A protest organiser said the turnout at the rally was more than 5,000. But police said fewer than 3,000 people had marched.
Many in the crowd waved Tunisian and Egyptian flags, in recognition of the uprisings that toppled the two country’s long-standing rulers.
Several people are injured and others are arrested as police thwart pro-democracy rally in capital Algiers, reports say.
Algerian police in riot gear have used batons to break up a crowd of hundreds of opposition supporters trying to take part in a protest march inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.
Police brandishing clubs, but no firearms, weaved their way through the crowd in central Algiers on Saturday, banging their shields, tackling some protesters and keeping traffic flowing through the planned march route.
Security forces clashed with anti-government protesters and briefly detained the daughter of Iran’s former president.
There are reports of renewed anti-government protests in Iran, with demonstrators taking to the streets in several cities across the country.
There have also been clashes between protesters and security forces, posts on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter said on Sunday. There were also reports of one protester being shot dead in Tehran, a story denied by government official in state media.
The official IRNA reported that Faezeh Rafsanjani, the daughter of ex-president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been among those arrested for particiapting in the protest. Fars news agency reported that she was released shortly thereafter.
Leader of Yemen’s separatist movement arrested in Aden amid countrywide protests against President Saleh.
Shots have been fired at a demonstration in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, as anti-government protests in the impoverished Arab country entered their 11th consecutive day.
Thousands of people also staged sit-ins in the cities of Ibb and Taiz on Sunday, demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who renewed his call for opposition parties to pursue a dialogue with the government.
The protests are spreading across the Middle East. What started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Iran, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain. Two protesters were killed in Manama, Bahrain as heavily armed police made an early morning raid on sleeping unarmed protesters in Pearl Square. Using tear gas and percussion grenades, many men, women and children were overcome and trampled in the chaos. Two people were reported killed and hundreds are in hospitals. In Libya protesters are preparing for a “day of rage” against the 40 year old repressive regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Two protesters were reported killed there yesterday
Demonstrators vow to avenge three men killed by police during a pre-dawn raid on their base camp in the centre of the capital
The demonstrators have vowed to avenge three men killed by riot police during a pre-dawn raid on their base camp in the centre of the capital. The raid left their tent city in ruins and temporarily destroyed hopes of a peaceful change. They had spent the day regrouping inside the grounds of the hospital after being evicted from the Pearl Roundabout by up to 500 officers who attacked them shortly after 3.15am on Thursday.
Their numbers had grown to around 4,000 by late afternoon, rallied by calls through social media and by a restless middle class, which until now had not been prominent in protests.
Troops and tanks lock down capital of Manama after police smash into demonstrators in pre-dawn assault, killing four.
Troops and tanks have locked down the Bahraini capital of Manama on Thursday after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smashed into demonstrators in a pre-dawn assault, killing at least four people.
Hours after the attack on Manama’s main Pearl Roundabout, the military announced a ban on gatherings, saying on state TV that it had “key parts” of the capital under its control.
Khalid Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, justified the crackdown as necessary because the demonstrators were “polarising the country” and pushing it to the “brink of the sectarian abyss”.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with his Gulf counterparts, he also said the violence was “regrettable”. Two people had died in police firing on the protesters prior to Thursday’s deadly police raid.
MoD to review arms export licences after Bahrain clears protesters with UK-made crowd-controls weapons such as teargas and stun grenades
The British government has launched a review of arms exports to Bahrain after it emerged that the country’s security forces were supplied with weapons by the United Kingdom.
After a bloody crackdown in the capital, Manama, left up to five people dead and more than 100 injured, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the government will “urgently revoke licences if we judge that they are no longer in line with the [UK and European Union] criteria”.
Al Khalifa regime hires non-native Sunni Muslims in concerted effort to swing balance in Shia-majority Bahrain, say analysts
Bahrain’s security forces are the backbone of the Al Khalifa regime, now facing unprecedented unrest after overnight shootings. But large numbers of their personnel are recruited from other countries, including Jordan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Tanks and troops from Saudi Arabia were also reported to have been deployed in support of Bahraini forces.
Precise numbers are a closely guarded secret, but in recent years the Manama government has made a concerted effort to recruit non-native Sunni Muslims as part of an attempt to swing the demographic balance against the Shia majority – who make up around 65% of the population of 1 million.
Gaddafi supporters clash with protesters in al-Bayda and Benghazi on the second day of unrest in the country
Libya’s government has brought out its supporters to express their loyalty to try to stifle a planned “day of rage”, but sporadic violence has continued in the east of the country, far from Tripoli.
Unconfirmed reports said up to 15 people have now died in the unrest.
Clashes were reported for a second day between supporters of Muammar Gaddafi and the relatives of two men killed during a protest in al-Bayda on Wednesday, when unrest also erupted in Benghazi, Libya’s second city and opposition stronghold.
Snipers were said to have killed four more protesters in Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, where six more dead were reported by the Libya al-Yawm news website. “There are thousands of people in the centre of town, and it is spreading, and they are being repressed,” said Ramadan Jarbou, a leading local journalist.
Three former ministers close to Mubarak held on suspicion of wasting public funds in an attempt to calm public outrage.
An Egyptian prosecutor on Thursday ordered the detention of three ex-ministers and a prominent businessman pending
trial on suspicion of wasting public funds.
The prosecutor dealing with financial crimes said former Interior Minister Habib el-Adli, former Tourism Minister Zuhair Garana, former Housing Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz must be held for 15 days.
Egypt’s new military rulers came under criticism Thursday from a leading democracy advocate as well as from youth and women’s groups for what they say is a failure to make decisions openly and include a larger segment of society.
Five days after ousting Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising, Egyptians continued protests and strikes over a host of grievances from paltry wages to toxic-waste dumping. They defied the second warning in three days from the ruling Armed Forces Supreme Council to halt all labor unrest at a time when the economy is staggering.
The caretaker government also gave its first estimate of the death toll in the 18-day uprising. Health Minister Ahmed Sameh Farid said at least 365 civilians died according to a preliminary count that does not include police or prisoners
With Hosni Mubarak gone and rumors running rampant on his fortune, health and whereabouts, promises of democracy and reform from the military, one would think that the revolution was finished. Today, despite threats of arrest and pleas to go back to work, thousands of striking workers took to the streets again in Tahrir Square and across Egypt demanding better pay and working conditions. Even the police held a demonstration. Even though the internet and phone service is working, the press is still being harassed. There have been reports of camera equipment confiscated, reporters taken into custody and the military has ordered Al Jazeera to stop filming the protests. However, the state media has now taken to praising the revolution with proclamations of “the people ousted the regime”.
The military is walking a very fine line trying to get the economy running and a semblance of order so the government transition can progress to elections in September, as hoped. Banks did not open today because of the continuing protests and tomorrow is a bank holiday. The military council has promised that banks will open on Wednesday.
Protests in other countries are getting larger and louder, as the young Arabs grow weary of stifling regimes. There were many large demonstrations in Iran, Yemen, and Bahrain disregarding bans by governments and the strong presence of police and military.
Guardian has a Live Blog from their reporters in Egypt and around the region refreshes automatically every minute. .
The “Jasmine Revolution” that started in Tunisia is growing It is going to be an interesting summer.
Pro-reformist marches under way in Tehran despite a heavy security presence and police crackdown.
There are reports in social media sites and non-state Iranian news sites of clashes between protesters and security forces in Tehran, the Iranian capital.
Thousands of demonstrators were marching on Monday on Enghelab and Azadi streets [which connect and create a straight path through the city centre], with a heavy presence in Enghelab Square and Vali-Asr Street, according to these reports.
Several clashes have been reported on Twitter, the micro-blogging site, with claims of some demonstrators being teargassed and others beaten and arrested.
Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, in Tehran, confirmed reports that security forces used tear gas, pepper spray and batons against the protesters.
She said up to 10,000 security forces had been deployed to prevent protesters from gathering at Azadi Square, where the marches, originating from various points in Tehran, were expected to converge.
The frustrated generation at the heart of the protests tell how their progress is being stifled by unemployment and corruption
They live with their parents, hang out in cafes, Facebook their friends, study in their spare time, listen to local rappers – and despair about ever being able to get a good, fulfilling job and start a family. The young people at the vanguard of the protests sweeping the Arab world are an exasperated demographic, the lucky ones stuck in poorly paid jobs they hate, the unlucky ones touting degrees that don’t get them anywhere, an entire generation muzzled by tradition, deference and authoritarian rule.
US ambassador to Cairo gives his opinion on Muhammad Tantawi and number two general, Sami Enan
Nothing Egypt’s military council has done in its past suggests it has the capacity or inclination to introduce speedy and radical change. Guaranteed its $1.3bn (£812m) annual grant from the US – a dividend from the Camp David peace accord with Israel – it has gained the reputation as a hidebound institution with little appetite for reform.
Last night’s announcement by President Hosni Mubarak that he was not leaving office infuriated the Egyptian people who immediately marched from Tahrir Square through dark Cairo streets to the building of the state run television station for a loud but peaceful demonstration. Today portends to be another day of peaceful marches and protests with a planned march from Tahrir Square to the Presidential Palace. Protests are planned throughout the country but everyone is anxious with the rise in anger and Vice President Omar Suleiman’s speech that was taken as an offensive. Al Jazeera is reporting that “Egyptian military’s supreme council has held an ‘important’ meeting and will issue a statement soon”. So far the military has remained on the sidelines. They were, however, embarrassed by Mubarak’s continued refusal to leave office since they had made public announcement that indicated that the protesters demands were going to be met. Day eighteen promises to be large and loud and let us all hope peaceful and successful.
Here is some of the current news as the day has already begun in Egypt.
The stubbornness of the beleaguered Egyptian president has embarrassed the army and endangered the people
Mubarak’s speech came at the end of an extraordinary day during which all the evidence seemed to indicate decisive intervention by the military, with officers telling protesters in Tahrir Square that their demands would be met.
Even more significantly, state TV broadcast pictures of the higher armed forces council meeting without Mubarak, the commander-in-chief, reinforcing the impression the generals and the defence minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, were moving against him. Tantawi is said to be close to and in close contact with the US government.
The council’s statement – the title “communique number one” redolent of past military interventions in Egypt and across the Arab world – said it would “remain in continuous session to discuss what measures and arrangements could be taken to safeguard the homeland and its achievements, and the aspirations of the great Egyptian people”. Omar Ashour, an Egyptian academic at Exeter University, said: “We may be seeing factional fighting inside the regime and in the end the Mubarak faction won. Or maybe we see him attempting to cling to power regardless of the views of the military. This is certainly embarrassing for them.”
Mohamed ElBaradei, the nearest the fractured opposition has to a single well-known leader, said Egypt’s fate now lay in the hands of the military. “The army must save the country now,” he said.
WASHINGTON – Even as pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo have riveted the world’s attention for 17 days, the Egyptian military has managed the crisis with seeming finesse, winning over street protesters, quietly consolidating its domination of top government posts and sidelining potential rivals for leadership, notably President Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal.
Then came Thursday, a roller coaster of a day on which the military at first appeared to be moving to usher Mr. Mubarak from the scene – and then watched with the world as Mr. Mubarak clung to his title, delegating some powers to Omar Suleiman, the vice president and former longtime intelligence chief.
The standoff between the protest leaders and Mr. Mubarak, hours before major demonstrations set for Friday, could pose a new dilemma for military commanders. Mr. Suleiman called for an end to demonstrations, and Human Rights Watch said this week that some military units had been involved in detaining and abusing protesters. But by most accounts, army units deployed in Cairo and other cities have shown little appetite for using force to clear the streets.
US president says Egyptian government has yet to put forward a ‘credible, concrete and unequivocal path to democracy’ after Mubarak refuses to step down
Barack Obama expressed dismay at the failure of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to stand down and said the Egyptian government has yet to put forward a “credible, concrete and unequivocal path to democracy”, as Egypt braced itself for what demonstrators predicted would be the biggest protests yet.
The US president’s patience appeared to be nearing its end after being wrong-footed and embarrassed earlier in the day by an expectation that Mubarak was planning to stand down.
American unhappiness with Mubarak was echoed by European leaders.
The White House, the state department and the Pentagon will be seeking explanations from their counterparts in Egypt as to what went wrong. Obama’s critics claimed he had been set up and the incident reflected his naivety.
The Obama administration had hinted early on Thursday that Mubarak was on the eve of departure. The CIA director, Leon Panetta, giving evidence before the House intelligence committee, predicted there was a “a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down” by the end of the day.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. director of national intelligence sought Thursday to defend the intelligence community against criticism that it had failed to more clearly warn of the recent crisis in Egypt, saying that the buildup of potentially explosive pressures had been amply reported but that the specific triggers to action were far harder to predict.
“We are not clairvoyant,” said the director, James R. Clapper Jr., at a hearing of the House intelligence committee.
The intelligence community has faced criticism for failing to provide a clearer warning, or more timely descriptions, of the fast-moving developments in Egypt. President Barack Obama and other top administration officials have repeatedly seemed to be scrambling to catch up with events.
But Mr. Clapper, and also Leon E. Panetta, the director of central intelligence, suggested that it would always be difficult to know precisely when a potentially critical situation would turn explosive – to know, for example, when a frustrated merchant in Tunisia would set himself afire, an event that indirectly fed into the Egyptian crisis.
PARIS – After President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt refused to step down on Thursday night, infuriating demonstrators in his country, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, issued a sharp statement saying that “the time for change is now” and that Mr. Mubarak “has not yet opened the way to faster and deeper reforms.”
Her rapid response was a marked change from the past few weeks, when she has been increasingly criticized as being painfully slow to respond to the crisis in Egypt and elsewhere, and as simply following an American script that has shifted several times with the flow of events.
It has been very difficult for Ms. Ashton, whose job was created in December 2009 by the Lisbon Treaty, to get ahead of the curve.
She must maneuver among the 27 member states – all with their own foreign ministers – as well as the European Union bureaucracy and the European Commission, run by José Manuel Barroso, who has foreign policy aspirations of his own. She is still struggling to build a staff and a new European diplomatic corps, and she must cobble together money and agreed positions from all the members.
TEHRAN – Iran’s authorities have increased pressure on the country’s political opposition days before a rally proposed by opposition leaders in support of the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
Security forces stationed outside the home of the reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi, one of the country’s most prominent opposition leaders, prevented Mr. Karroubi’s son from seeing his father on Thursday, according to the son, Hossein.
In an interview with an Arabic-language news Web site, Al Arabiya, Hossein Karroubi, who is politically active, said that the security forces told him that other family members, except his mother, were also barred from seeing his father.
The elder Mr. Karroubi and another government critic, Mir Hussein Moussavi, had submitted a formal request to the government to hold the rally on Feb. 14. Opposition Web sites have also reported the arrest of a number of people associated with the two opposition leaders. On Wednesday night, Taghi Rahmani, an activist close to Mr. Karroubi, and Mohammad-Hossein Sharifzadegan, a former welfare minister and an adviser to Mr. Moussavi, were arrested at their homes by Iran’s security forces. The Web sites also reported Thursday that two reformist journalists had been arrested.
BREAKING: Reports indicate Mubarak will possibly step down in an address to the Egyptian people tonight. It is unclear if he intends to hand over power to Suleiman or a Military Council and whether or not new elections will be held in 60 days.- ek
The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.
As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt’s future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair.
We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek. Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard.
The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.
By refusing to leave office, the Egyptian president has exposed Obama’s inability to decisively influence the country
The Obama administration has been embarrassingly wrongfooted as Hosni Mubarak confounded expectations by refusing to stand down.
The Egyptian president’s speech came only hours after Barack Obama and the director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, had appeared to give credence to rumours that he was heading for the exit.
The decision by Mubarak to transfer presidential power to his vice-president, Omar Suleiman, but not leave office caused dismay in the US and around the world. The British government issued a cautious statement saying it was looking closely at Mubarak’s and Suleiman’s speeches, but the disappointment felt by the White House was shared in private in London and elsewhere.
The Obama administration has been putting pressure on Mubarak since last week to stand down straight away, but Mubarak, in what appeared to be a direct snub to the US president, said he would not bow to international pressure.
Up Date 1730hrs EDT: After listening closely to Mubarak’s words and the translation. He said that he has given some powers to Suleiman. That may refer to some of the responsibilities that he has already given Suleiman to meet with the opposition groups. He also reiterated changes to the constitution which he has also said he would do.. Here is the video of his speech from CNN with the simultaneous English translation:
Up Date 1645hrs EST: Suleiman has spoken, blaming outsiders, imploring demonstrators to go home and has been promptly ignored. The demonstrators are peaceful and loud, refusing to leave the Tahrir Square until Mubarak steps down.
Up Date 1630hrs EST:In a rambling, sadly defiant statement, Hosni Mubarak refused to step down. My understanding is that he said he would transfer power to his Vice President, Omar Suleiman. This is completely unacceptable to the crowds in Tahrir Square and they are now marching to the presidential palace where the speech. A speech from Suleiman is expected but at this point I think it will fall on deaf ears.
CAIRO – President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people Thursday that he would delegate more authority to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, but that he would not resign his post, contradicting earlier reports that he would step aside and surprising hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered to hail his departure from the political scene.
In a nationally televised address following a tumultuous day of political rumors and conflicting reports, Mr. Mubarak said he would “admit mistakes” and honor the sacrifices of young people killed in the three-week uprising, but that he would continue to “shoulder my responsibilities” until September, and did not give a firm indication that he would cede political power.
Even as Mr. Mubarak spoke, angry chants were shouted from huge crowds in Cairo who had anticipated his resignation but were instead confronted with a plea from the president to support continued rule by him and his chosen aides. People waved their shoes in defiance, considered an insulting gesture in the Arab world.