Hope, pride, and apprehension

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Arab people power, Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, People power

It’s the Chinese Lunar New Year!

The year of the metal rabbit, to be precise.

As I write, I hear firecrackers and rockets exploding in the night sky over Diliman, Quezon City.

Thousands of miles and several time zones away,  the largely-peaceful anti-Mubarak demonstrators and media persons in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt are being terrorized by ‘security thugs’ and apprehensive pro-regime supporters on camels, horses brandishing clubs, swords, and other weapons.  The anti-regime protesters protected themselves by throwing back stones and rocks.  At the moment, the Tahrir Liberation Square is a literal ‘war zone’ with petrol bombs and Molotov cocktails raining from the roofs of surrounding buildings unto the anti-Mubarak protesters.

Reports from Al Jazeera correspondents in situ indicate that the army is trying “its level best” to interject soldiers and armored vehicles between the clashing groups as the number of injured increased by the minute.  Soldiers also reportedly used firetrucks and water cannons to douse fires in the square.


DailyNewsEgypt reports that several men in religious garb stand in between two sides in Tahrir trying to stop the violence.



Back home, at out neck of the woods, we are luxuriating at the bravery of Heidi Mendoza, the former Commission on Audit (COA) auditor who had earlier painstakingly investigated fraudulent disposition of public monies at the  Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and testified the day before yesterday at the Senate.

Mendoza and the anti-Egyptian demonstrators (who have been protesting since January 25) and the Tunisian people are beacons of hope for decent and freedom-loving people the world over.

The sword-wielding thugs on horseback are a source of worry.  But worse, the intransigence of Mubarak suggests the possibility of a Tien-an-men style crackdown.  Mubarak maintained his tough stance amid denunciations of the violence by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon and even as Western governments, including Washington, called for an immediate transition of power.

We hope that the current impasse in Cairo will be resolved without further violence and bloodshed.

Obviously, something has got to give sooner or later.

The anti-Mubarak opposition will up the ante this coming Friday declaring it the “Mubarak will depart” day.

Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Cairo called on the anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir to go home as it is haram (forbidden) to defy authority.

It remains to be seen if petrol bombs and the Grand Mufti’s words will be enough to give a longer lease of life to the Mubarak regime.

Every new year ushers hope and good cheer.  Every courageous act of fellow human beings anywhere in the world inspires others about the possibility of a better world.

Every act of violence of any human being against another diminishes us all.



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