Tunisia Setting a Trend of Burning Men

19 Jan 2011 8:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
Tunisia's uprising was catalyzed by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor who lit himself on fire as a result of police harassment.  Following Bouzizi's example, four Algerians and an Egyptian man have set themselves on fire in protest to their respective country's political and economic conditionsThe rash of suicides spark sympathy and attract attention but most importantly, they represent an important marker for indicating the political will of the people.  Predicting the viability of a democratic revolution is difficult because no matter how many people turn out in the streets, one never knows how much staying power they will have when the regime in power uses brute strength.  The burning men are symbolic of deep desperation and of the highest possible sacrifice for a cause.  Self-immolation is the antithesis of suicide bombing because it makes a spectacle of one's own misery rather than attempting to exact punishment on anyone else.  As such, it stands apart, as an idealogical act, from the trend of terrorist bombings.  The next question, for every country (Algeria, Jordan, Egypt...) in the position of Tunisia, is how many people have the zeal of the burning men and how that zeal will manifest politically.  

                                                          - Graham Plaster, Navy FAO, Middle East


  • 27 Jan 2011 9:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    notes from a friend in Jordan:

    Egyptian police fired tear gas Wednesday on thousands of protesters in Cairo, three people died during unprecedented nationwide. The "day of anger" on Tuesday was inspired by Tunisia's uprising which rang the death knell for veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali this month, forcing him to flee the country after 23 years in power.

    In Egypt two demonstrators, Ahmed Soliman Gaber and Mustafa Ragab, died in the port city of Suez in clashes between police and demonstrators, medical officials told.

    Policeman Ahmed Aziz died from his wounds in Cairo, where thousands gathered in central Tahrir Square, home to several government buildings, a security official said. No details were provided on the circumstances of the deaths.

    In several cities, including Cairo and Suez, police fired tear gas at protesters, who responded by throwing rocks. For the first on public protesters said clearly "Mubarak get lost," "Bread, liberty, dignity," and "We will follow Tunisia," the demonstrators chanted.

    The protests were considered the largest and most significant since riots over bread subsidies shook the Arab world's most populous nation in 1977. Despite some 20,000 to 30,000 police being deployed in central Cairo, thousands of demonstrators marched to Tahrir Square, where they chanted in unison: "The people want the ouster of the regime. They also tore down posters of Mubarak.

    In a nearby road leading to parliament, police sprayed water cannons as protesters threw stones. Police moved into Tahrir Square shortly before 1:00 am (2300 GMT) Wednesday firing tear gas canisters at protesters, who then scattered to nearby streets. Official estimates put the crowd at around 10,000.

    The protest, called by the pro-democracy youth group the April 6 Movement, coincided with a national holiday to mark Police Day.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged all sides to "exercise restraint" and said Washington believes the Egyptian government is stable.

    A statement released by the Egyptian interior ministry said security forces had decided to allow demonstrators "to voice their demands and exercise their freedom of expression," with a commitment to "securing and not confronting these gathering". The ministry said a number of protesters, "particularly a large number of those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood... began to riot, damage public public property and throw stones at police forces."

    The protesters' demands is the departure of the interior minister whose security forces have been accused of using excessive force and violent, an end to a decades-old state of emergency (Emergency Laws), and a rise in minimum wages. NOTE - these are the majority of demands for any political changes or reforms.

    Status city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura and Tanta, and in the southern cities of Aswan and Assiut, at least 20,000 demonstrated in Alexandria, Egypt's second city. Thousands gathered in Mansura, waving Egyptian flags and demanding more rights for Egyptians. In the port city of Ismailiya, over 1,000 people chanted anti-government slogans and warned other Arab leaders they would meet the same fate as Tunisia's Ben Ali.

    The protests have been inspired by the month-long street riots in Tunisia that prompted former leader Ben Ali to take refuge in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

    Tunisian grievances have been echoed throughout the Arab world, whose mainly autocratic leaders have been unnerved by the turn of events.

    Egyptian authorities have rejected any possibility that they might face a similar scenario but, in a sign of anxiety, they have moved to reassure the public that subsidies on basic commodities will remain in place.

    Around 40 percent of Egypt's population of 80 million lives on as little as two dollars per day and many people rely on subsidized goods. According to Labor & Economics Egyptian Ministries.

    Suez Status until 1 AM on Thursday until police dispersed the demonstrators , the number of citizens and security forces injured during Day of Anger protests in Suez has reached 350 people. Around 100 of the injured have been registered at the Suez, Hawd al-Ders and health insurance hospitals in Suez.

    Medical sources said around 20 of those injured were members of security forces. The sources said that rubber bullets and tear gas, which caused respiratory complications, were the source of many of the injuries.

    About 20 protesters were referred to the prosecution for questioning. Officials at the Suez security directorate accused some protesters of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones in the direction of security officers, which forced them in return to fire tear gas bombs and rubber bullets. Security sources added that protesters set two private cars on fire and smashed public and private vehicles.


    SOURCES from

    http://af.reuters.com . Press ESC) and Nite TV all owned by the government.

    Local TV channels

    Regional & International media

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world/middle_east/ .
    http://edition.cnn.com/MIDDLEEAST/ .
    http://www.ahram.org.eg/ (newspaper funded by the government)
    http://www.algomhuria.net.eg (pro-regime)

    Additional Links:
    www.ndp.org.eg National Democratic Party current ruling party. Note - I am trying to log on this site and since 11 pm Wednesday local time I couldn’t access it.

    www.ikhwanweb.com Muslim Brotherhood Ideology Salafism
    http://www.emerglobal.com/lex/law-1958-162 this is the script of the Emergency law
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