Sunday, February 27, 2011

Erdoğan: Time to return the Qaddafi International Human Right’s Prize

When the uprising in Egypt took place, I remember thinking how hypocritical it was that Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan was among the strongest voices demanding from Mubarak to step down. It was hypocritical since in the recent past Erdoğan has surrounded himself with so many autocratic and anti-democratic leaders such as Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran. As Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s zero-problem with neighbors plan was so carefully implemented, no one in the AKP thought for a second about warming up with these leaders. One example of this was almost two years ago, when Iranian forces violently stomped out the opposition and apparently rigged the election ballots, Turkey sat quietly on the side, opting to “mind its own business” and stay out of Iran’s internal politics.

Let’s face it, Erdoğan was simply staunchly anti-Mubarak due to the fact that the former Egyptian president had strong ties with the “pro-Israeli” camp in the Middle East: Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, and Saudi Arabia; in other words, Egypt, in terms of geo-political terms was Turkey’s main competitor, challenging their hegemonic onslaught into Middle East affairs.

Well, with the uprising in Libya, Erdoğan’s integrity has been tested. In November 2010, the Turkish leader who portrays himself as on the “side” of the people received the Gaddafi International Human Rights Prize, walking away with a large monetary prize of up to $250,000. Yes, you heard right. Among many shenanigans of the soon to be past dictator of Libya was the founding of a human rights prize in his name! Erdoğan in fact can claim that he shares this honor with Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, among others. Also, he can be proud that he won this prize due to his endless commitment to the Palestinian cause. And, now he will also be the last recipient.

Yes, like so many of the Middle East tyrants, Qaddafi’s regime and crimes have been hidden behind a façade as if he was really interested in the Palestinian cause. During the last few decades, numerous Arab leaders publicly championed the Palestinian cause allowing them a great deal of regional and world support when in essence this only blurred the crimes taking place in their countries; the former Saddam Hussein, and the Assads of Syria top the list, right alongside of Qaddafi.

This leads us back to the prize. Prime Minister Erdoğan, if you really are serious about being on the side of the people, and you really support the Palestinian cause, then there is only one thing to do: return the reward to Qaddafi, and return the money to the Libyan people from whom he stole it. Also, while even the Libyan diplomats have backed sanctions against Qaddafi’s regime, along with China, and every country on the Security Council, also show some leadership, support the sanctions or offer something more effective; and at least call for Qaddafi’s resignation in the same strong voice as you did with Mubarak.

For a look at an article in English about the discussion in Turkey click here

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Day of Solidarity with Hebron and Sheikh Jarrah (Part Two)

On our way back to Jerusalem, I waited anxiously for the demonstration at Sheikh Jarrah. Over the last year (or so), I have been following their struggle on facebook and in the press. My main reason however to go to the Sheikh Jarrah demonstration was that during my last two months, after years of only briefly visiting Jerusalem, I have had a chance to come in touch once again with the city which during the last decade took second place to Tel Aviv. In fact, leaving to the states for my graduate studies in 1995 somehow cut off new ties which I formed with the city; in 1994 one of my final BA paper at Haifa University was on “East” Jerusalem under the Jordanian and Israeli occupation, and I also managed to pull off a successful meeting between students at Al-Quds University and Haifa, during the same year.

Like my trip to Hebron, I cannot help but to feel frustrated also when seeing Jerusalem. Clearly, the Palestinian neighborhoods are under threat from radical Jewish groups who see fit to create “mini-Settlements” within neighborhoods once exclusively Arab. With the same ideology as those in Hebron, they can only do this through a violent hegemonic presence, protected by weapons and walls. Every new Jewish home is quick to wave an Israeli flag in the faces of a people who simply would like to live their normal lives but are faced daily with an onslaught of hatred. This is happening everywhere: the Old City, Silwan, and Sheikh Jarrah, not to mention in the heart of the neighborhoods on the Mount of Olives. This along with home demolitions carried out by the Jerusalem municipality has created a reality where the Palestinian community sees themselves under an imminent threat, in terms of their culture, heritage, and physical being (see my blog entry from March 2010, entitled Home to Israelis and Palestinians, Jerusalem A Shared City, where I briefly focus on Sheikh Jarrah, and on the controversy surrounding the building of the Museum of Tolerance on the grounds of a Muslim Cemetery).

These homes are occupied through Israeli legal channels (not recognized by international law), and with foreign money which purchases the homes at extravagant prices. Legally, some Jews following 1967, who possessed title-deeds of the property from Ottoman and mandate Palestine, successfully reclaimed their property through legal loopholes; obviously Palestinians who were forced out of their home during the 1948 War (or were not allowed to return to them following the war) do not have that luxury. While the tenants were protected for decades as long as the paid the rent, this too has been coming to an end, with families being evicted during the last few years; some cases after the homes have been taken over by force by the new Jewish tenants and owners. One of the latest development was the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in January of this year, to make way for a Jewish neighborhood within the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

It is within this environment the Palestinian-Israeli protest group Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity group emerged. Importantly, their struggle now has expanded to include other neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Bedouin settlements which are losing legal battles, and Arab communities in Lod. The important part linking all of these struggles is the blatant lack of justice dealt to the Palestinian community (within Israel and in the occupied territories) by the Israeli establishment. Below, at the end of this blog entry, I have attached the English version (taken from their webpage) of the Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah’s answers to why the struggle.

During my time at the protest, I could feel the power of the struggle. Not like so many leftist movements in Israel, this movement is much more of a grass-roots movement, which from the beginning has integrated the needs and the participation of the local population. Essentially, they have created a robust and strong voice against the violence of expulsion, and thus created a sincere challenge to the demagoguery of the extreme-right settlers.

Jerusalem is both an Israeli and a Palestinian city, regardless of how the borders will be carved out in the future (if the two sides ever reach an agreement). While countries in the region have successfully erased our memories of the past, with the wiping out of villages and the cleansing of historical documentation, it is important to stop the process while it is taking place. I for one will work to keep the Palestinian heritage alive in Jerusalem, a struggle that is literally losing ground with each passing day.

For a link to photographs from my day in Hebron and Sheikh Jarrah click here

Here is a piece taken from the Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah Webpage concerning why the struggle:

Why is the struggle against settlements and evictions in Sheikh Jarrah so important?

  • Because the injustice is crying out and is being perpetrated in our name: Families of refugees from 1948 have been expelled from their homes in 2010 and turned into refugees for a second time, and their houses are in the hands of settlers who instigate violence, protected by the Jerusalem municipality and police.
  • Because the construction of a settlement in this location will complete the encirclement of the old city by Jewish enclaves and disrupt any possibility for the division of the city as part of a just political arrangement, as well as the possibility of a shared life together.
  • Because we are scared that Jerusalem is going to turn into Hebron, ruled by groups of racist zealots.
  • Because the triumph of settlements in Sheikh Jarrah, without the return of the ’48 refugees to their houses, destroys the chance of realising a democratic society. The court ruling in favour of the Nahalat Shimon company is based on title deeds showing Jewish ownership of the land from the Ottoman period; many Palestinians are in possession of similar title deeds, for territories and properties within the Green Line. Democracy demands equality before the law. The situation in which there is one law for Jews and another law for Arabs is intolerable. (“Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for the citizen” Leviticus 24:22)
  • Because the arrests carried out at the weekly demonstrations are illegal (as the court determined) and endanger the rule of law and the human rights of all of us in Israel.
  • Because in the struggle in Sheikh Jarrah partnership between Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis is developing – this is the place from which an alternative to the hatred and suspicion, which are imprisoning us all behind walls, might grow.
  • Because in Sheikh Jarrah there is a growing group of Israelis who are saying, enough! Enough of the settlements! Enough of the intimidation! Enough of the hatred, the provocation of disputes, the racism! Enough of public apathy! Enough of the long years of cooperation of all the authorities with right-wing, extremist settlers. Enough, to all those who want to destroy the life of us all and trap our future here for the sake of a nationalistic, messianic dream, and prevent any future peace agreement.
    Here is the Link for a reference of where it appears online.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Day of Solidarity with Hebron and Sheikh Jarrah

February 19, 2011

Yesterday, I took part in a day of solidarity with the Israeli/Palestinian activist group Solidariut Sheikh Jarrah, which included a educational tour of Hebron, followed by their weekly demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, one of the Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which has been subjected to a systematic transfer of its Palestinian residents.

Travelling to Hebron was especially interesting and eye-opening. The last time I had been there I was a soldier serving during the first Intifada,just over twenty years ago. Our base was located at a half-way point between Bethlehem and Hebron. While we patrolled in Bethelem and surrounding villages, I use to cross Hebron to reach a different base of ours. However, just upon entry of the city, as was the case in Bethlehem, clashes with the local Palestinian population protesting the Israeli occupation was common, and we were met with rocks showering down on us.

Long gone are the days when rocks were hurled at Israelis entering the territories, with the main roads crossing major cities and along side refugee camps. The Israeli occupation/colonization of Palestinian lands has become more sophisticated: miles of walls, fences, checkpoints, and tunnels, now allow Jews to roam freely in certain parts of the West Bank. As we left Jerusalem, we passed the check point for Israelis and Jews, entering a tunnel, which bypasses Bethlehem. If this was a Israeli checkpoint for Palestinians this could have taken hours. The separation fence, which is actually a huge wall, blocked any vision of the Palestinian cities. Only visible were the few Palestinian homes remaining on the "Israeli" side, making it look as if we were passing through a beautiful territory decorated by the numerous grapevines. Virtually, a trip that once included seeing thousands of Palestinians now has been crafted so that during the same trip twenty years later one almost only see Jews.

Within a half an hour we were in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, waiting for the army to escort us into Hebron. Of course, if we were mere Israelis (or simply Jews) wanting to pray in Hebron, no escort would be needed; however, due to the fact that we were a group of leftists, it seemed best to have an escort to prevent any clashes with the right-wing radicals. Our guide, Avihai, a former soldier who served during the second Intifada, waited patiently and took the chance to explain about the organization whom he represented, Shoverim Shtika-Breaking the Silence. This organization’s mission is to educate Israelis about “what is happening” in our name. It was founded by a group of soldiers, who have taken the testimony of former soldiers (which you can see on their website) who have served in the occupied territories: the West Bank and Gaza, including the last war.

Once in Hebron, after passing numerous other small checkpoints and clarifying that there were no Palestinians with us (including Palestinians with Israeli citizenship), we passed into the city after a short trip to the grave, or shrine, of Baruch Goldstein who massacred Muslims while they were praying almost 12 years ago to this day. Yes, sadly, a doctor by profession and someone who ended his life killing Palestinians has become a hero for some Jews (he certainly is not supported by all settlers).

To explain here the reality of Hebron would be too much. I will suffice to say that it is holy both to Jews and Muslims since it is home to the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Sarah, Issac and Rebekkah, and Jacob , Yakob, Rebecca and Leah (Rachel is buried in the vicinity of Bethlehem). It is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank with 165,000 residents, and is home to 500 Israeli settlers, who following the Israeli 1967 victory over Jordan (who occupied the Palestinian land from 1948-1967), occupied the city to “reclaim” the Jewish land, property, and heritage, after the city’s Jews left in 1929, following a massacre of their community.

While it would be wrong to collectively tag every settler in Hebron as radical, as a whole it certainly is radical, dangerous, and has systematically succeeded in creating a presence in the heart of an Arab city with continued support from every Israeli government. With a no-negotiation policy with the Israeli establishment, it has managed to create a situation that is unbearable for Palestinians, and caused an absurd situation where Palestinians have been punished year after year for the settlers’ unruly actions, with the Israeli soldiers finding themselves in the middle of this mess. I suggest everyone read the pamphlet written by Betselem, which explains the ugly reality in a pamphlet entitled Ghost Town , and to have a look at their page on Hebron in general.

My trip to Hebron was sad to say the least. Hearing the former soldiers’ testimony verified what I already knew. An occupying force cannot remain innocent and protecting radical settlers only degrades the morale of the soldiers; Meaning, not much had changed from when I was a soldier. Finally, the Palestinians as a result have yet again fallen victim to population transfer and this is in the name of a group that in no way represents the Israeli population at large; yet, the Israeli population at large ultimately falls on the side of Jews regardless if they agree with them or not; or they simply remain indifferent.

To sum up, it truly was a bitter-sweet trip. Visiting the Tomb of Avraham Avinu (Abraham, Our Father), seeing his grave dressed in Islamic coverings and in a Tomb so typical of Ottoman tombs in Turkey, I was amazed how both Jews and Muslims for centuries both recognize this as the Tomb of Abraham. However, in religious terms, no one can legitimatize the forced Israeli hegemony. Yes, I believe that the Jews have a right to live in Hebron; however this city is a Palestinian city and not an Israeli one and if the Jews want to remain there they will have to adopt their ways to a Palestinian government, just as Palestinians with Israeli citizenship abide by Israeli law.

My next blog entry will continue with the demonstration at Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem. For more photos see my the following link of photos on my day of solidarity with Hebron and Sheikh Jarrah.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Goodbye Mubarak and a New Day for Egpyt

February 14, 2011

So many of the Arab countries following the age of colonialism, fell victim to endless years of military regimes which has prevented progress and development, promoted endless corruption, and clearly set limits on their citizens’ creativity and potential to contribute to their own societies and the world at large. This especially was the case with Egypt. Since the late 1880’s, when Egyptians turned against their British occupiers, reaching independence in 1919, and finally freed from their monarch with the 1952 Young Officers’ revolution, which ushered in the revered Jamal Abdul Nasser, Egyptians have shown their resilience to oppression. This time was no different.

Following Nasser’s sudden death in 1970, Anwar al-Sadat was handed the reins of the state, and following his assassination, Hosni Mubarak came to power. After six-decades, the story seems to have come to an end and certainly a tragic one. What started off as an anti-colonial movement turned into a state ruled by a massive bureaucracy and autocrats. Sadly, it seems that Mubarak had removed himself so far from his people that he was blinded by his own bureaucracy, clearly underestimating his people.

It is tragic also due to the simple fact that Egyptians will have to painstakingly reassess not only Mubarak’s period in office but will need to rethink how Nasser’s legacy plays into the picture. To place all the weight on Mubarak would be unjust, simply because it was the institutions and the military which allowed Mubarak to remain along as he did. Mubarak did not just emerge one day, he was part of a greater group that created him, shaped him, and used him for their benefit.

Now, free from Mubarak, Egyptians for the first time since the 1920’s-30’s, will return to a process of electing civilians to run their country without state intervention (however, this time without the monarch). After years of a failing government, their politicians will be held accountable and will need to compete in fair elections which will also include the Muslim Brotherhood along with numerous other political parties. I specifically mention the Brotherhood since no party during the last six-decades was seen more as a threat to the establishment’s status-quo than they were.

For now, we need to say goodbye to Mubarak. The Egyptians are at the dawn of a new day. In the next few months, there will be quite a bit of questions concerning the former regime’s tactics and crimes and Egyptians will face an onslaught of information which will certainly challenge the state’s national narrative. Furthermore, they will have to move on, not only looking at Mubarak, but at all the forces that kept him so strong for so many years, and will have to part with many myths that have created this reality.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Testing the Flood Waters of the Nile: Mubarak’s Latest Attempt

Today, after arriving home, I did not turn the television right away. After days of watching daily coverage of the protest in Egypt, I decided to give it a break after a week of relative silence in Egypt. Further, after spending the last week in the archives reading documents related to the 1908 Young Turk revolution, I thought I might come home and spend a few more hours in that revolution. However, I could not resist turning the television on, and when I did, was I surprised! Reports coming from Egypt and the US, reported that Mubarak was about ready to hold a press conference where he was going to submit his resignation.

As we waited, twitter and facebook picked up pace. Millions poured into Tahrir Square and its surroundings. After three hard weeks of protests, it seemed that at last Mubarak was going to resign. Further, the army confirmed that it was going to lead Egypt through the process of transformation, almost as if it was on the brink of a coup d’état. All of this movement happening just before the Friday Prayers which could bring a new wave of protests despite the Egyptian government’s campaign to get back to work and that “worst was over.”

Well, we were wrong. Less than hour ago, Mubarak came out and in a long drawn out speech finally mentioned that he was transferring the power to his Vice President Omar Suleiman. Then the bombshell came, when he stated that he would not resign and would retain the presidency, at least in name, during this transition period. No, Mubarak would not step down, adding that he would never leave the homeland he had served for over 60 years of army service and as president. One has to ask, what is Mubarak’ strategy since it makes no sense whatsoever, and really shows to what extent he is out of touch with reality.

Sadly, Mubarak is now testing the waters of the Nile, the patience of his people. Mubarak clearly has placed Egypt on the brink of disaster and it is unclear now if he will be able to control the flood waters once the dam, the anger, of the protestors explodes. The countdown to the possible violent reaction has started; how much more can a peaceful movement stand up to the ultimate hutzpah of a leader that has put the two sides on a collision mode.

Once again we are now waiting, with the protestors energized more than ever. If the army does not step in soon and declare the overthrowing of Mubarak, they too might be caught in the tsunami of rage. Not to mention, the uncertainty which will ensue if they chose to take the reins of the state. Let us hope for all events to play out as peaceful as possible. For now, Egypt's future looks more unclear than ever.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One more Day in Tahrir Square and the Meaning of Victory

February 6, 2011

Few would have imagined that the struggle would go on for so long. Even in my last blog, I stated that victory was near. Well the fact is it is near, especially for those waiting for thirty years! As another day passes, we continue to see a strong opposition, and cracks in the Egyptian government. Everyone however is right to ask how long can this go on? And, what does victory exactly mean? Now that almost two weeks have passed, it now seems unlikely that Egypt will see their President fleeing the country on the next plane as we did in Tunis. However, this does not equal failure; in fact, the opposite is true: the protestors have shown a great amount of strength which is seen in their soberness not to be enticed into violence. Simply, they have demonstrated that they are a responsible opposition, keeping the wellbeing of the majority at the top of their agenda.

Today, banks and businesses slowly began to open their doors, in an attempt by the government to show that life is “getting back to normal.” However, the protestors’ numbers grew throughout the day and they still can be sure that they have the majority of Egyptians behind them. Once again we saw both Christians and Muslims praying and protesting side-by-side; like so much of Egypt’s modern history, and Arab history in general, we see the two main denominations uniting together for a common cause. Not to mention the fact that both the Muslim and Christian communities in the square are not monolithic, meaning they are numerous groups in the square representing a spectrum of secularists and religious groups, and alongside them are the masses of citizens, who perhaps while not belonging to a certain political grouping, certainly have voiced their opinion much louder than any political party could have orchestrated.

As the protest continues, President Hosni Mubarak has remained hiding by the scenes with his government scrambling to try to end the popular uprising. However, it will take much more than the resignation of the top leadership of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, including his son Gamal, as we saw yesterday. Today, in attempt to start negations with the opposition, Vice President Omar Suleiman met with numerous political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been outlawed since the 1950’s, with some of their leaders still in prison. One person who was not invited who is one of the symbols of the protests, Nobel Peace prize recipient Mohammed al-Baradei, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Until now, he has been the strongest voice in terms of reaching the US and Europe, demanding nothing less than Mubarak’s immediate resignation.

It is perhaps for this reason that al-Baradei was not invited since the government is interested reaching a compromise where Mubarak will remain as President without any real powers. In a sense, a move to save his image, allowing him to step down in a few months on his accord. Rightly so, the different opposition parties remain quite suspicious. With the continued arrest of journalists, the Egyptian government is still enforcing the State of Emergency Laws which has limited freedom of speech in Egypt for the last thirty years (actually since 1967, abolished for 18 months by assassinated Anwar Sadat, and then reinstated by Mubarak in 1981).

With the Egyptian establishment remaining stable and steadfast, and the army and Omar Suleiman remaining loyal to Mubarak, it seems almost inevitable that the real change will come once a deal is made between opposition parties leading to early elections. While it hard to say how this will play out, it seems safe to say that indeed the protestors have changed the future of Egypt; certainly, if Egypt will see free and fair elections in the near future this will be the true victory of the millions who sent their leaders a message of “no more,” showed other Middle Eastern regimes that they are living on borrowed time, and demonstrated to the world that every voice really can count.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sweetness of Victory: A New Egypt?

February 4, 2010

At the moment, as I am writing this, one almost does not need more proof; the pro-democracy protestors' victory is closer than ever, with millions of Egyptians from all of walks of life gathering throughout Cairo and Alexandria in a festive atmosphere calling in unison “Down with Mubarak!” Clearly, the “Day of Departure” has brought the victory so close that from Tahrir Square all the way to the other side of the world, we all can smell and taste its sweetness.

President Hosni Mubarak last night in a non-televised interview with ABC’s Christine Amanpour sent out a message that he himself was “fed-up” and that he is not stepping down because he is afraid of Egypt falling into chaos. Vice President Omar Suleiman also aired an interview confirming the tired President’s words, and also reiterated that the Egyptian government will not use the army against the protestors. And, this was the case today with the Egyptian army which worked together with protestors and has ensured their security. Truly, Mubarak should recognize that it is he who is causing chaos and that for the first time he needs to trust his own people, and not the other way around.

It is imperative that the government and the protestors come to a compromise which will bring the immediate resignation of Mubarak, in order to ensure that the “New Egypt” will not fall into a state of absolute chaos and violence. However, for now we can still remain upbeat. The anti-Mubarak campaign has shown their utmost respect for order, and inclusiveness; in short, a true democratic revolution. Egypt has always been a leader in the Middle East and their citizens have given the world a lesson in how to hold massive peaceful demonstrations without falling into the trappings of a regime which up until yesterday did everything to light flames and to incite violence.

Today with the government taking the backseat,the pro-democratic forces have ushered in a new beginning for Egypt. Once Mubarak resigns, the real test will be for the New Egypt to show their citizens (and the world) that after the Mubarak regime a true democracy based on a liberal democratic system will ensue, promising a place for all to live in freedom and dignity. Otherwise, this will all have been in vain.

In conclusion, as I write from Tel Aviv, I put my trust in all of those protestors, who after a long day are slowly returning home to be with their families, unsure of what tomorrow will bring. They should be satisfied that, together with the Tunisians, they have set a new bar for democracy not only for the Middle East but also for the world.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mubarak’s Last Stand?: A Pathetic Attempt

If President Hosni Mubarak wanted to impress the world by showing that among the millions of people protesting his regime there are also a fervent pro-Mubarak group, he radically failed. The pro-Mubarak groups seen on television have broken all the rules by raiding the opposition camp and beating and injuring thousands as a scare tactic to break up the masses. Sadly, we can see that these organized groups of thugs have only one thing in mind: to cause as much chaos as possible, minimizing death (5-6 people killed) and injuring high numbers (thousands). And, indeed the fact that the army remained neutral, gave the chaos a pogrom type characteristic; however, in a show of force and unity the anti-government protestors held their own.

After a night of protests which included a war of Molotov cocktails, rocks, and sporadic gun fire, Mubarak regime’s looks even more tired, corrupt, and above all authoritarian. While affixed on our television and internet, it is clear that the situation could have been much worse. With Friday prayers coming up tomorrow, marking a week since the anti-government supporters’ Day of Rage, Mubarak’s regime is holding on to its last days. Tomorrow will be crucial for rallying the masses and showing that they have not given into the violent outbursts of the pro-Mubarak groups. In fact, tomorrow might hold a few surprises for all if the anti-government forces come out in the millions.

After last night’s violence Mubarak is at risk of losing support within his own government. It is quite possible in attempt to capture the reins of the state, newly appointed Vice President Omer Suleiman might abandon ship and work to lead the country through a transformation period. It is also clear that the army has lost its patience. If yesterday they sat on the sidelines while the two warring sides were fighting, this will not be the case if the pro-Mubarak supporters/thugs adopt a new violent onslaught. Furthermore, the top generals need to start worrying about the fact that if they don’t move quickly, an internal revolution in the army could lead to the toppling of the generals close to Mubarak, spelling an end to the regime, and ushering in even more chaos.

Therefore, today Wednesday, February 3 2010, it seems like if in my last blog entry I talked about it being the “beginning of the end,” we are now at the stage of the “middle of the end” of Mubarak. If the anti-government protestors remain steadfast, their wish for Mubarak to step down will happen quicker than the President ever imagined. However, after yesterday’s show of cheap tactics, my optimistic option for Mubarak of remaining in Egypt with a bit of respect is no longer feasible. It seems likely that Mubarak and his family will soon need to board a plane and leave the homeland. Truly, a political tragedy for someone who did not know when to step down and never estimated correctly the hate which so many Egyptians (from all walks from life) had acquired for him over the years. For now, let us hope that yesterday’s violence will be the peak since Mubarak still has the means which could make the struggle for democracy a much more bloodier revolution than has been up to now.