Australian Jewish News Feb 11 2011

The publisher of the AJN, Robert Magid, has an op ed, with the headline “Just how democratic is the Egyptian uprising?”

As a demonstration of how knowledgeable he is, he says “However, here not one flag was burnt, not an anti-American peep out of the crowd.” (comparing it to rallies with “Down, down USA” chants and burning American and Israeli flags)

“Why? The answer, in my opinion, is discipline. I believe the crowd was well controlled by its leaders, who realised the importance of support from the international media and that such flag burning would be counterproductive.”

I mean, this is just comical. Firstly, Mr Magid, neither of us speaks Arabic, which is why you should read translations of the chants. Secondly, Magid’s belief in the leaders of the crowds. (who they are, he doesn’t explain). I’m just going to record his absurdities for future reference.

He then says –

When watching the crowd in the first days of the demontration, we realised there were no women present. None. … After about a week, however, suddenly we saw flocks of women before the cameras. … here the women were kept together in tight pods, shepherded by men. Significantly, all the women were wearing hijabs.

Now where was the secular component of the population? After all, a significant proportion of Cairo is secular. Among the men one cannot tell their religious orientation by their attire, but with women the hijab is the telltale sign. Where then were the secular women?

From my reading of the situation, a large, well-organised and controlled section of the gathering at Tahrir Square was heavily influence by the Muslim Brotherhood, the only highly disciplined and organised political group outside the Government.

To his slight credit, he notes “Mubarak has led a ruthless regime, which tortured its opponents, suppressed opposition, was corrupt, provided limited opportunities and held the country back. But he did maintain peace in the region.”

He thinks the problem is that what may come next (due to his expert TV watching will be the “above but no peace”).

UPDATE:

Paul Amar at Al Jazeera has some sort of naive view of the protesters featuring women based on actual knowledge. Someone should tell him how wrong he is, given Magid’s expert tv monitoring abilities.

UPDATE:

Even the world’s stupidest reporter (Thomas Friedman) notices secular and veiled women together. Friedman’s column has the obligatory mixed metaphor

And the ”this” is a titanic struggle and negotiation between the tired but still powerful, top-down 1952 Egyptian army-led revolution and a vibrant, new, but chaotic, 2011, people-led revolution from the bottom-up – which has no guns but enormous legitimacy. (Emphasis added)

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