"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Friday, February 11, 2011


That's all there is to say.  I'll leave it to Egypt analysts to tell us what happened, and what happens next, but I know I'll never forget watching al-Jazeera on the computer, and the joy in the crowd when they realized what they had won- what they had earned.

Who couldn't be moved?  Who couldn't help but contrast the youth and exuberance and life of the crowd with the gray pallor and ossified phrases of their former leaders, glumly going through the motions, hoping to stop the future.   When I studied at the American University of Cairo, I had a professor of Arab politics- one of the best and most interesting men I have ever had the pleasure of learning from- described Cairo as a "tired and tiring city".   And he was right- the deliberately slow rhythms of the regime lulled the country into a waking sleep.   That was the plan- it wasn't the brutality of Asad or Saddam (though there were elements of it), or the humiliation and dehumanizing tactics of Ceacescu, but a more subtle way of arresting  history.  It provided sleep without the kindness of dreams.

No more.  The Middle East will never be the same.  As this is largely a Yemen blog, I think Salih has to be nervous.  It was one thing to offer concessions and promise peace when contrasted with last week's violence in Egypt.   But now?  Now that it worked?

I still don't think that Salih is going to go, at least because of a democracy movement, but if this last month proved anything, it is that predictions are a suckers' game, intellectual three-card monte.   You can estimate, and gameplan, but predictions are going to leave you slack-jawed, whiplashed by the tumultuous force of people.   Thank you, Egyptians, for reminding us of that.   Thank you for everything.


  1. Spontaneous demonstrations in Sana'a are taking place right now.

  2. In case you haven't seen it yet, Human Rights Watch just reported on pro-Saleh thugs attacking demonstrators in San'a, in a big way. Link to the HRW article and my reactions are at http://www.yemenpeaceproject.org/wordpress/?p=231

    We talked about this kind of thing in your comments section last week, but I really didn't see this coming, not today. Can't wait to read your thoughts.

  3. i think president saleh is shitting bricks now. and may they rip!

  4. Thanks for the tips Akide and Will. And well-said Anon.