Monday, February 27, 2012

The Great Egyptian Symbol Activist Mona Al Tahawy PART 4

Mona Eltahawy on CNN Newsroom speaking about Libya and Gadhafi's clinging to power against the Libyan people. Despite his unbelievable brutality they persevere, inspiring a region to fight against dictatorship

Mona Eltahawy speaking at the J Street Conference 2011 (2.27.11) 

History before Our Eyes: Broader Implications of Democracy Movements in the Arab World.

Mona Eltahawy, Journalist
Ron Pundak, Director General, The Peres Center for Peace
Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

Moderator: Steve Clemons, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Chair: Ambassador Samuel Lewis, Former American diplomat and former head of the U.S. Institute of Peace

From the ICFJ's panel discussion on "Covering Egypt: The Media and the Revolution", Mona Eltahawy discusses the early use of social media in the Middle East which culminated in the toppling of regimes, and perhaps the end of cultural stereotypes as well

From Mona's earlier appearance on CNN today.

Mona Eltahawy on Egypt's 'virginity testing'

Mona Eltahawy comments on how Egypt's peaceful 18-day revolution didn't just bring down a dictator, it also toppled stereotypes about Arabs, who are often seen as violent and as a people who crave an iron-fisted strongman.

"Hello, I'm an Arab and I toppled two dictators in one month!"

Those were the words of a young Arab celebrating on Friday the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for 30 years. Mubarak stepped down just weeks after an uprising in Tunisia toppled Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali's dictatorship.

But Egypt's peaceful 18-day revolution didn't just bring down a dictator.

It toppled stereotypes about Arabs, who are often seen as violent and as a people who crave an iron-fisted strongman.

And it's helping to topple media portrayals that perpetuate those stereotypes. Those very same strongmen - such as Mubarak - often use those stereotypes to ensure the silence of western allies. They would argue only they could control their violent population.

In Tahrir Square was Alaa, a blogger friend who took me to my first protests in Cairo in 2005. He returned to Egypt from South Africa for the revolution. Also marching were Egyptian-American friends. They all did me proud!

From tech savvy young people, to businessmen, to scientists and farmers - thousands upon thousands joined pro-democracy demonstrations that told Mubarak and the entire world something Americans will still remember from Election 2008: Yes we can, too!

Mubarak tried everything to push them back home but they served him notice - we're not scared of you anymore.

He sent thugs, water cannons, tear gas, and still they came out. More than 300 died and hundreds more were injured, and still they came. And just as importantly their demonstrations were filled with "Selmeyya, Selmeyya" - that's the Arabic word for "peaceful."

By toppling Mubarak they have shown fellow Arabs that it's possible to bring about change through non-violence.

Now it's sexy and cool to be an Arab revolutionary! What an intoxicating message for a part of the world where the majority is younger than 30.

And now the entire region is captivated by our freedom rally. The baton started in Tunisia, which handed it to Egypt, which is now ready to hand it to the next candidate.

Who's next?

(CNN) American-Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy describes her assault at the hands of uniformed Egyptian riot police.