Sunday, February 13, 2011

Layer 445 . . . A Larger Global Consciousness, Solidarity, Unity, Defiance, Paths to Democracy, Algeria, Egypt and Learning How to Demonstrate


More excellent photos here -


A Larger Global Consciousness
What I like about Al-Jazeera is that its presenters and the people who contribute to its coverage seem to have no great egos, are good communicators, and are extremely knowledgeable about their subject matter, without having a particular axe to grind.

The format of the programmes is less about achieving "balance" than it's about targeting the truth - as any fair-minded and intelligent person might perceive it. Unlike the British (and American!) media they have no compulsion to bring on tedious neo-conservatives to drone their way through the usual rubbish on any given topic or event - for the sake of 'balance'. If we want to hear right-wing bullshit - well we know where to go in order to get it.

Similarly there's no space on Al-Jaz for people advocating violent solutions to political problems. There are no ranting pseudo-Marxists or fundamentalist jihadis.

The other great thing is that it's not Euro-centric or North American. It's bloody good to hear the voices of journalists, commentators and intellectuals from North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, etc, talking about things from a global perspective.

The exciting news this weekend is that people in Algeria are now out on the streets - protesting against their regime, which is similar to the Mubarak regime in virtually every respect. Thousands of police personnel have been deployed against the protesters - just as they were in Egypt on their initial 'day of rage'.

There was a brilliant programme yesterday on the al-Jazeera website showing how citizen activists have been carrying out training programmes on how to demonstrate peacefully - putting a strong emphasis on unity, discipline, planning, clarity about aims, how to get people to turn out, etc. It's what might be called training in the key skills needed for emotional, social and spiritual intelligence.

I loved the intensity, energy, commitment, seriousness, unity and determination of the people featured in the film. They have a kind of controlled rage about them - an attitude that says, "Don't get mad - get even." But they're not interested in power for power's sake - they're interested in poverty, oppression, inequality, torture and corruption - and how to get rid of these evils from their societies.


Yesterday Egypt, today Algeria

This was the slogan of the brave protesters in Algiers on Saturday, making the first breach in Algeria's wall of fear


Amnesty International

We are ordinary people from around the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect individuals wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.

Egypt: Stand in solidarity and defiance

As events unfold in Egypt, please join us pledging solidarity with their calls for freedom and basic human rights. Today we held a rally in Trafalgar Square Today as part of a global day of action in support of the people of Egypt, and the wider Middle East and North Africa. We stand in defiance against all those who try to suppress the growing movement of people standing up for their rights, facing down injustice and offering hope for a better world.

We can all do our bit towards keeping up the momentum for worldwide engagement.


Hosni Mubarak is gone, but can Egypt's digital revolution unite the country?

Twitter and Facebook played an integral role in helping to topple Hosni Mubarak, but if Egypt is to be reformed, the online momentum of recent events must go beyond mere protest


Twitter's five-year evolution from ridicule to dissidents' tool
People laughed in 2006 when Twitter started. Now it's hard for me to imagine life without it



Blair on the Marr programme this morning said that he's discovered during his time in the Middle East in the past couple of years that religion is very important to people who live there. Well fucking hell - the man's a genius. No wonder we needed him as our PM for 10 years. Who'd have thought? Thanks, Tone, for your brilliant insights. What a pity that Tone believed for so many years that Muslims didn't really feel that religion was important to them - not like it is to Christians, obviously.

It's interesting how the media, who befriended him and schmoozed him for so long, continue to believe that Blair's opinions are worth listening to - when everybody else just wants to see the bastard locked away for war crimes and for being such a neo-con psychopathic prick. The man's a total fuckwit - always has been - and it's almost unbearable listening to that slimy 'tone' of his ever again.


Army and protesters disagree over Egypt's path to democracy

Activists reject army appeal to leave Tahrir Square as new leadership resists pressure to hand power to civilian administration

Egypt's new military administration and the pro-democracy protesters who brought down Hosni Mubarak are at odds over the path to democratic rule.

The army sought to stave off pressure from jubilant protesters to swiftly hand power to a civilian-led administration by saying that it was committed to a "free democratic state".

The military leadership gave no timetable for the political transition, and many of the demonstrators who filled Cairo's Tahrir Square for 18 days rejected the military's appeal to dismantle the barricades and go home.

They said they were waiting for specific commitments from the military on their demand for a civilian-controlled interim administration, the lifting of the oppressive state of emergency and other steps toward liberalisation.

The shockwaves of Mubarak's fall were felt across the region, particularly in Algeria and Yemen. Thousands of anti-government protesters, apparently inspired by events in Cairo, turned out in Algiers to confront the police. There were reports that hundreds had been arrested. In Sanaa, a protest by about 2,000 people to demand political reform was broken up by armed government supporters.


Meanwhile . . .
I've been neglecting domestic matters recently - so it's worth making a note of a couple of Polly Toynbee's latest pieces:

These brutal cuts form a turbo-charged programme for accelerating inequality

Beware the tales of statistics-wielding ministers – the poorest areas will be hit hardest by the council cuts

Big society's a busted flush, but who will admit it first?

Politicians should quail: the nasty party detoxifier has not worked – and for public servants, silence is no longer an option

Even the pro-market Blairites know the NHS faces chaos

Alan Milburn, a former health secretary and now a David Cameron aide, has no dog in this fight. But he says the reforms are a fatal mistake


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