The Way Forward

Today started with two very important facts: 1) The Mass resignation of important Mubarak regime figures from their posts in the Ruling National Democratic Party, including his longtime crony Safwat ElSherif and his own son Gamal Mubarak ; 2) The number of people who called me asking what the next move for the Tahrir Protesters will be and were disappointed by the lack of a clear way forward to the movement. They feared the protests would lose momentum and this historic moment would slowly dwindle and die.

Now, I am not a leader of this movement, and god knows I would be loathe to name myself as a spokesperson for the 5 million individuals nationwide who have joined these protests. If anything, I am simply a promoter and a participant who is way too proud of the fact that this is a movement with no leaders or representatives. In many ways this has helped the cohesion and unity of those protests: people agreed on a set of demands that promote general democracy, accountability and freedom. Demands that promote self-governing and personal rights no matter what your ideological leanings may be. We thought that was enough, and now we are thinking it might not be after all.

If we are to assess the successes of the movement so far, there have been a few key victories, but not any truly major ones. Mubarak says he won’t run again, but he won’t step down. Mubarak will change the constitution but will use the same parliament that has election fraud indictment tarring over 85% of its members. Even with today’s news, what the NDP did so far has been more cosmetic than actual change. We shouldn’t be appeased by it. Mubarak is still President, Emergency law is still in effect, the parliament hasn’t been dissolved, new elections haven’t been called for and the constitution is still that flexible document that the ruling party can change whenever they see fit. Even though we appear to be winning, we are not by a long shot.

Now, regarding the way forward, so far we seem to have two options on the table : 1) For the Jan 25 protests to remain as is: anarchic yet goal-oriented; & 2) the Wisemen’s council , which is currently being promoted as the third option between the Government’s Stubbornness and the Protesters unyielding persistence . They are gaining traction amongst those who do need leaders to represent their views and negotiate with the government, and their proposal is worth considering. The problem with the Wisemen’s council as a third option is this: while it is respectable and contains prominent Egyptian leaders and businessmen, I am not sure what leverage they got on either side or if either side would accept it as a mediating force.

That being said, the status quo just won’t due. This lack of action and organization will be used against us (the protesters) in every way possible. The participants will start complaining about the lack of direction or movement leaders. The government will start complaining that the protesters haven’t offered a single person to represent them and negotiate with the government for them, and that the protesters don’t know what they want. Mind you, this is utter rubbish: It’s not that the protesters don’t know what they want (you can read about their demands everywhere), it’s that their demands are so nonnegotiable for them, that it makes no sense for them to engage in negotiations until a number of those demands get realized. Thus, Gridlock!

So here are my two cents: next time when you head to Tahrir, alongside blankets and food and medicine, please get some foldable tables, chairs, papers, pens, a laptop and a USB connection. Set up a bunch of tables and start registering the protesters. Get their names, ages, addresses & districts. Based on location, start organizing them into committees, and then have those committees elect leaders or representatives. Do the same in Alex, In Mansoura, in Suez, in every major Egyptian city in which the Protesters braved police suppression and came out in the thousands. Protect the Data with your life. Get encryption programs to ensure the security of the data. Use web-based tools like Google documents to input the data in, thus ensuring that even if your laptops get confiscated by State Security Goons, they won’t find anything on your harddrives. Have people outside of Egypt back-up your data daily on secure servers. Then, start building the structure.

You see, with such Proper citizen organization and segmentation, we’ll have the contact information and location of all the protesters that showed up, and that could be transformed into voting blocks in parliamentary districts: i.e. a foundation for an Egyptian Unity party. That Egyptian Unity Party will be an Umbrella party that promotes equality, democracy & accountability, without any ideological slants. It should be centrist, because we don’t want any boring Left vs. Right squabbling at that stage. Once you institute the structure, start educating the members on their rights and their obligations as citizens. Convince them to bring their friends and relatives into meeting. Establish voters’ critical mass , all under that party.

The Egyptian Unity Party, however, will not be a permanent structure, but rather a transitional entity with a clear and direct purpose: create the grassroots organization to take back the parliament and presidency in the next elections. Once sufficient votes and seats have been obtained, the party will amend the constitution to promote civil liberties, plurality, and truly democratic elections. Once that constitution is in place, the party can disband, and its elected members can start forming their own parties and collations, based on their personal beliefs and ideologies, or they can join any of the existing parties, and breathe some life into their decaying carcasses. We will end up with an actual political process and representative political parties that will actually discuss policy and have to represent those who voted for them so that they can get re-elected. Democracy in action. An old but brilliant concept. A way to ensure that no matter what, we will have a huge influence on who becomes the next Egyptian President come election day in September.

I am extremely hopeful we can do this. So far we have proved all the critics and the haters wrong. It’s time to do that again!

363 Comments on The Way Forward

  1. solidarityWithEgypt
    February 6, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Brilliant SandMonkey. Great Idea.
    My only worry, how many people would be able to comprehend what you are asking?
    How many of those there have access to the tools you proposed? If you can sell this idea to the current Unity leadership, may be they can get your message out by “mouth” to the millions who don’t read your blog.

    On another note, the regime will perhaps focus on breaking the ranks on the Protest organisers. If they haven’t pledged for enough for unity, it is more important to do so now. Everyone should be self less and be willing to make sacrifices, even if they don’t agree.

    Reply
  2. Angela
    February 6, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Well if you need somewhere to back-up information, I am here! Great blog, you are doing a fantastic job keeping everyone updated! Good Luck to you all!

    Reply
  3. Barbara Wilson
    February 6, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Security
    1.watch out for Google Docs. I don’t think that it is particularly secure, and upon the Turkish government’s pressure it became completely un reachable in Turkey for some period of last year.
    2. Please contact Jake Appelbaum aka twitter: @ioerror. He is a security expert and has been working hard for your cause. He is the person to contact about Tor security.

    Reply
  4. Angela
    February 6, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Well if you need somewhere to back-up information, I am here! Great blog, you
    are doing a fantastic job keeping everyone updated! Good Luck to you all!

    Reply
  5. fandango52
    February 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

    This takes money. And I suspect you have a great many willing donors in the states. Citizens that are appalled by the realization that their tax dollars have been going to an oppressive dictator. In your opinion, would there be broad acceptance by the Egyptian people if US citizens (not to be confused with the US government) helped to fund the Egyptian Unity Party. How are you funding this… the tables, chairs, laptop, and apparently the new car?

    Seems to me that one of the many things those at the top have that you don’t is money.

    I have no idea if US citizens are allowed to donate to foreign political parties mind you.

    Reply
  6. redallica
    February 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Hi Sandmonkey,
    I am a french guy following you on twitter. I have no pretention at all, but I am only hoping guys that you will prevail. My only comment is that there is still no visibility in the way forward to give to this movement. And what will happen if the stubborn still don’t want too step down in the coming days ? You need to have an option to implement for this scenario, otherwise I am afraid you might loose sympathy.
    All the best for youu guys, the world is watching & supporting you !

    Reply
  7. fandango52
    February 6, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I guess what I’m saying is… should we as US citizens butt out, or try to help?

    Reply
  8. Moody
    February 6, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I agree and we have been discussing it in the population but I see no progress on that going anywhere. Why don you take the honor of appointing people to start diong this on the ground. You have many Egyptian followers on twitter and on a personal level as friends. I sleep daily as part of the job since Jan 29 in a hotel overllooling the Sqaure, I can help in many ways….

    let me know @Repent11

    Reply
  9. noshokaty
    February 6, 2011 at 12:40 am

    I think it’s a brilliant idea. However I fear that people might be initially skeptic about giving out personal information. But I am sure we can work around it.

    Reply
  10. Surayah Ibrahim
    February 6, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Dear Sandmonkey,
    Everything you’ve done so far demonstrates LEADERSHIP and if ever the pro democracy Egyptians need a voice to represent them, yours is it. Please consider. I’m not Egyptian, nor live in Egypt but am married to one and what’s happening in Egypt makes me very proud to be part of a larger Egyptian family. May Allah swt bless the Egyptians with peace, freedom, democracy and self-rule.

    Reply
  11. Dr. Guy
    February 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Well written- you have an excellent, articulate vision, and one that will be beneficial not only for Egypt but also for Egypt’s neighbors. Also, remember- many leaders never wanted to become leaders, they did so because they had to when the times demanded it. You may be one of them, or you may know one of them. What is going on now is much bigger than you, and you need to make sure that the process doesn’t get hijacked by some opportunistic group like the Muslim Brotherhood that may take the current bad status quo to even worse. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  12. Youri/Netherlands
    February 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

    The following issue that you’re up to is that a lot of people doesn’t have any responsible govenmental expierience, so you are still left with key figures from the “old regime”, from what i’ve heard among them are a lot of big-money making businessmen.

    Fist thing to do is indeed to let the government fall completely after starting revelutionary attempts, but pease bear in mind that there will always be people that will influence your revolution with their own agenda.

    At this very moment the USA is already busy with the forming of a transitional system, you can bet your ass that there will be key figures from the US involved in it, most likely with El Baradei or Amr Moussa in forefront.

    I wish you and the whole of “Fort Tahrir” good luck on your revolution and I will follow this site by the minute.

    Reply
  13. Moody
    February 6, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Just read other’s comments. The money is no issue. The amount of people waiting to donate it massive here in Egypt. Just look at the medeicines donated as an example. Even if the process starts slow, and we take a while to convince the masses, it could work after all and as u know, the spirits are high and the averag egyptian man on the street and in the medan has never been so open for change and their mind is now on fire…

    lets do it champ.

    Reply
  14. Elfalakiste
    February 6, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Have been thinking thoroughly about the way forward. Don’t think the revolution is simply about the removal of a president or a system, essential as those are for the way forward. It is what these represent; corruption, injustice, police brutality, failed brutality etc.. The only change we can ever experience is the change in our behaviour. I think there are some values and behaviours that were particular and unique to the Revolution. I don’t mean that they didn’t exist before, simply that they were really prominent in the context of the revolution sin Jan 25. These include brotherhood and equality, cleanliness and not compromising on essential rights, etc.. I think for the revolution to succeed we have to carry such ‘revolutionary principles & behaviours’ beyond the protests and into every Egyptian’s daily life. This isn’t easy, but nothing is, and I propose a survey gather what the Egyptian people believe to be the 3 or 5 main principles and behaviours that best represent the revolution. Once identified, these will be declared the principles/values and behaviours that any ‘revolutionary’ should abide by as testament to their commitment to arrive at a better Egypt. Tahrir survey can easily be arranged and I have done some prelim surveying there, but I could use some help. Could identify 30 of these (1 for each year of silence), put on a big banner in the middle then have free & democratic votes from Tahrir on the top 3 values and top 3 behaviours that revolutionaries feel best represent the revolution. Logistic challenge but I see benefit on so many levels, could use some help from community. This would send a major message of organization to Egyptians and abroad. Lofty, but my 2 cents

    Reply
  15. Moody
    February 6, 2011 at 12:47 am

    fandango52 I believe if u can help in anyway as a person who believes in this movement then go for it, reagrdless of citizinship. just lets hope Egypt’s retarded state tv does not turn into another sit-com.

    Reply
  16. Cheryl Edwards
    February 6, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Hi Sandmonkey……GREAT writing! maybe even suggest…you can get a database online and get people to ‘register’ online..just a thought

    Reply
  17. hidup sihat
    February 6, 2011 at 12:48 am

    for now, how about seizing control the state media outlet? tv station, radio, newspaper, etc. ?

    -just my opinion.

    Reply
  18. Esther
    February 6, 2011 at 12:49 am

    You are answering all questions the world have.
    Sandmonkey for president!
    All the best to you,
    Esther (Germany)

    Reply
  19. Melinda huntley
    February 6, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I live in canada and support your movement

    Reply
  20. Angela
    February 6, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Sorry for some reason my message posted several times, it kept saying it had already been posted and I kept hitting submit! Apologies!

    Reply
  21. Hani
    February 6, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I think you are bloody brilliant and you along with a few others should help set this up; this is like optimum political organisation at the grassroots level. I for one, on the other side of the atlantic feel ashamed of not being to help and would love to be able to help out where possible.

    Two things though, not to rain on the idea but would people be generally willing to give out their information?
    Two: web based tools in the heart of Tahrir, (that’s if there is wireless) might still not be the safest thing to do (unsecure networks for instance)….

    Again, for servers abroad, you’ve already got a volunteer for that, may-haps a few more, I can talk to people.

    Reply
  22. yt
    February 6, 2011 at 12:55 am

    i say people choose you as a representative.. if it was up to me i would

    Reply
  23. paul
    February 6, 2011 at 12:56 am

    This is so beautiful. If I can speak frankly, the thing I find lacking most in the Mideast is organization! If you did this, it would also give the continued demonstrations in Tahrir new purpose and interest. I would love to go myself, just to witness it!

    But those lists! In the wrong hands, they would be a total disaster. And for people coming to the square, how would they know some impostor with a computer is not pretending to be in on the game, when is actually one of Mubarak’s goons?

    I suggest you create a rotation of official people who will monitor the square. Have the people meet at a specific place first to be told which breakout group to join.

    You need to form an online team. Talk to Assange and your brightest developers to create a secure, distributed online platform. Perhaps you could use something like a blend of OpenAtrium and ManagingNews, by the good folks at Development Seed? Why, I could even see them agree to help you if you talked nicely to them.

    I love your perspective of a centrist government. I hope to see the same, and above all, and I believe this is the best way forward.

    Reply
  24. Shehab
    February 6, 2011 at 12:59 am

    i agree with you on all your points… you perfectly solved the short term and the long term problems… but the really difficult part is what is between… i might have not understood everything you said, but if i did you are saying we should keep protesting until a minimum of demands is met and a kind of party should be formed and public awareness should be raised so we can vote in a new capable president who can lead us forward… i agree with you about that 100% but i don’t know how that can be done… what happens between resignation of the president and the voting in of the new president??

    Reply
  25. cocorosa
    February 6, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Hiya,

    I like this however I’m not a political expert:)

    I was/am afraid that the way things are going and with help state tv the … party would use these 6 months to regain “trust” (it’s trying to do that right now by “cleaning” up and distancing itself from a few of its “members”) also it would use propaganda and whatever to have someone of their party be elected, you would be rid of Mubarak but get someone similar instead with most of all the same corrupt fucked system!!

    Also and I hope I don’t piss anyone off but I just don’t think that any state which is a “military state” functions… it’s trouble

    So if your theory can wash out the corruption first by starting at the base of democracy by first getting the constitution right, it is the most brilliant thing I have heard all week :)

    I have so much trust in you guys and the younger generations and I really really hope you guys are the building stones for the world to come! Not only for Egypt but the rest of the world too, there is this vicious circle of hate and mistrust that needs to be broken!

    I believe in our generation because no matter where we come from or what we believe we have proven that we can easily connect with everyone in this world and very important; we learned never to get our resources from 1 place ( viva la google ) I hope we are the generation that truly sees the world 3D !!

    xoxo

    Reply
  26. Kristen Jensen
    February 6, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Its good to see a reasonable plan. Good ideas. Doable..turn passion into concrete political action.

    Reply
  27. Daniel
    February 6, 2011 at 1:09 am

    If I haven’t seen what you did for 12 days, I would have laughed about it.
    Anyways, you still need to make it more practical…..of course you need discussion for that.
    Good Luck.

    Reply
  28. Valerie
    February 6, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Go for it.

    Reply
  29. paul
    February 6, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Another thing. Breakout groups in Tahrir are good because you rub shoulders and actually discuss issues. If you just setup an online registration site, it would be so clogged with the press, the curious, and of course, the goons.

    But in person, you can learn a lot. Get those breakout session/team leaders trained. Make sure they get EVERY person in the group talking and contributing.

    Reply
  30. Julia Bullough
    February 6, 2011 at 1:10 am

    You are one of the leaders of the movement. I have been following from Canada your tweets for the last few days (you have a very large number of followers), you are active in the protest, were detained/ mistreated by police, disclosed your identity and had an interview on CNN. When you went missing a lot of people were worried. You are a young Egyptian journalist – you have to step up as one of the leaders of the movement and consult with International Democracy organizations. Because you are now so well known the police cannot arrest and hold you anymore (comes with being a well known dissident) due to potential international outrage. You should keep in touch with Amnesty International in Europe or Canada to ensure they will protest if you are detained by accident and will help you recover the arrested revolutionaries (eg. the revolutionaries that met with El Baradei).

    I am a history enthusiast, originally from Romania, Bucharest. I was 16 years old in Dec 1989 when Ceausescu’s regime fell and I vividly remember everything that happened in 1989, 1990 onwards. I have been following the Tunisian and Egyptian movement and may one day write a book. I have a good understanding of how dictatorships work and what type of issues arise when they try to become more democratic. If there is anything I can help with – locating resources, talking to Egyptian associations in Canada or providing my opinion, please let me know. A lot of information regarding the 1989 Romanian revolution is available online and some items will be applicable also to the Egyptian revolution.

    The Egyptian secret police and army have a lot of training on how to deal with demonstrators: the Tahrir demonstrators need all the help they can get. They need tactics and strategy fast. I am sure if you ask on twitter for help, international organizations will help you and other young protesters. I suggest you contact also the Tunisian bloggers and ask for some IT help also. There are a lot of Egyptian hackers – they blocked even my tweeter accounts for just retwitting what you and other journalists said over the last few days.

    The revolutionaries have accomplished a lot already: undivided attention from the Foreign Governments and International Organizations (including getting Obama and the U.S. upset on Mubarak and the current Egyptian regime. You will have to learn how to continue to fight for democratic rights asap and how to efficiently deal with the Egyptian military who will decide the future of Egypt.

    All the best to you and Egyptian revolutionaries! I am very impressed with what you have accomplished so far.

    Best regards,

    Julia

    Reply
  31. Thinking
    February 6, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Something the opposition could demand now (to improve all Egyptians’ lives near-term) is the creation of a new, independent, apolitical police force, trained by US and/or European instructors.

    Reply
  32. Barbara Williams
    February 6, 2011 at 1:19 am

    I am writing to you as a caring US citizen and writer who has been following events closely in Egypt. I applaud your bravery and that of the Egyptian people as you fight to overthrow Mubarak. Please exercse extreme caution as I worry that your organizing role will make you an immediate target. If possible, change your location often and remove the sms card when your phone is not in use. You probably know all this. I just want you to know there are many on the other side of the world that believe in your right as citizens to self determine your future. Bless you all, be safe.

    Reply
  33. nissl
    February 6, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Creating a database… sounds like another step. I would worry about the information falling into the wrong hands. It would certainly galvanize protesters to keep pushing against the regime.

    Watching from the outside, I think the focus has to be on Mubarak giving up most of his functional power. Perhaps he could go get medical treatment at home or in Germany. Give opposition figures who have already emerged a large handful of cabinet posts, free current political prisoners, lift the emergency law, guarantee international observers for elections. I am hopeful that the talks today can be the beginning of a productive process in light of the current stalemate. I think the most important thing is for protesters to get in the mindset of coming out in big numbers every day for a couple more weeks if necessary while this is going on.

    The main question in my opinion is what you can use to sweeten the pot for the high level regime members who have benefited from the old system. One thing would be some guarantees of army funding, ideally several billion in “reconstruction aid” from US/EU. But I am not sure whether there is anything additional the people in the street can offer.

    Reply
  34. Eowyn9
    February 6, 2011 at 1:35 am

    A number of friends & I have spoken on Skype about this. Note, none of us are Egyptians, we are merely international supporters watching on Twitter. Two main thoughts:

    (1) Recording the names of people en masse is far, far too dangerous given the current attempted crackdown by the security forces. We know they are already trying to trace tweeters and bloggers and many people have been watched and in some cases tracked. The news also came out today that Egypt has DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) technology, allowing them to spy on all electronic communications and making uploading to a “cloud” platform like Google Docs problematic & dangerous.

    (2) A friend of mine suggested a random number generator – assign every person in Tahrir an random ID number for the purpose of tracking votes. The numbers could be assigned on the basis of location if you’re voting by district (e.g. numbers 1-100,000 are from district X, etc). This would ensure that voting is fair (no double votes) without putting any people at risk.

    - @Eowyn9

    Reply
  35. captainlarab
    February 6, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Do you have lawyers on your team? Someone qualified to re-write the constitution, or tell us what’s wrong with it?

    Reply
  36. Emily Sommer
    February 6, 2011 at 1:46 am

    I’m nobody. But I’m writing to say, do it. I have little to give, but what I do, I will give. I suspect there are an awful lot of us willing to help. However we can. I wish you the best of luck and will be keeping you in my thoughts. Good luck!!

    Reply
  37. jules
    February 6, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Hey, good post.

    Look I’m in Australia, and so its not my fight, cept it is cos all people are my people too and what they do to one they do to everyone. (or would if they got the chance.) So this is just my opinion and if there’s any good ideas I hope you can use them.

    I don’t think people realise yet how powerful these protests are. They have shut the Egyptian economy down.

    Thats one of the reasons why pressure will come to stop the protests before their nonnegotiable demands are met. Lots of people make money out of “the economy” and it doesn’t do when the economic units stop working. Many of those people, esp the ones that make the most money won’t care about the consequences for ordinary people.

    I’m sure everyone wants to get back to normal life, but for everyone thats marched that won’t be possible till the regime has no power. Otherwise they’ll come for you. I’m sure you know that anyway.

    The strength of your movement has been thats its “open source” and uses “non locality” (well kind of, not technically). The lack of leadership is a great strength, and the simple demands, end the regime, and the state of emergency and some justice – they can’t be negotiated.

    If you start the The Egyptian Unity Party it’ll need a mandated end date, otherwise it could become the next NDP, and it’ll need spokespeople, not leaders. (Thats what I reckon anyway, its just opinion.)

    I dunno how you are going to achieve all this, but for a civ as old as yours, one that astounded and inspired the world with your courage, inventiveness, intelligence compassion and courage (yes twice) this year… I’m sure you gals and guys will figure it out.

    Its important that the main demands are non negotiable (can’t trust HM, sulliedman or anyone else connected to the regime) and that the party has spokespeople not leaders.

    Its been obvious to me this isn’t a movement of followers but of free people, tho the media in my country and the west in general struggles with that idea.

    Its your greatest strength (I reckon), people may take leadership roles on the ground, sure, but thats only to get stuff done, (it certainly doesn’t seem ideological from here.) No one is claiming the thing as “theirs” cos it belongs to everyone.

    Anyway its your choice to make, not mine. You guys have to make the hard decisions on this and wear the consequences. If you stick to your positions the consequences might never be the same again. Really the consequences could well be freedom and an open society the way you choose it.. Cos I reckon you’ll win, in fact I reckon you already have and people are just starting to notice.

    Reply
  38. Brynhilder
    February 6, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Sent this to you via twitter:
    Brynhilder Bryn
    @Sandmonkey I think it’s a very good read. Occupy the political process by the Egyptian people is a great idea.

    Reply
  39. Beth
    February 6, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Now, I am not a leader of this movement

    I know you don’t mean to be, but you are, and you SHOULD be. May God bless you and keep you safe, my friend. The future is YOURS, carpe diem!

    Reply
  40. fandango52
    February 6, 2011 at 1:58 am

    I disagree with everyone above that commented about registration being a bad idea. I think this is a GREAT idea so long as the WORLD can see the people who register. At a certain point there is MORE not LESS safety in revealing your identity to the world.

    Reply
  41. maigesheng
    February 6, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Breathtaking. You are all so inspiring. Every American I know inspired, excited and envious of the courage of the people of Egypt!

    Millions upon Millions of prayers are with you every moment.

    Reply
  42. Watcher
    February 6, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Sandmonkey,
    Don’t use on-line tools to backup your data – unreliable as it can be taken down or hacked into. Instead, use those sympathetic to your cause outside Egypt, especially in the West; there are many who will gladly help you, myself included.

    Reply
  43. ellen
    February 6, 2011 at 2:18 am

    As so many have said, you are already one of the leaders, Sandmonkey. Destiny calls and you and your heroic comrades have answered. May you be victorious!

    Internet security is also paramount. Your proposed database with names/addresses is immensely risky. Beware. Perhaps there are options for organising better than this one.

    Regardless, please know that people around the world are already looking to your heroic, humane uprising as a model for change in many countries, including many of us in Europe. You may be supportive of business elite yourself, but already the megarich cabel has destroyed economies and nations well beyond MENA, all in its own favour. I am writing from Ireland – need I say more?

    Solidarity from Dublin!

    Reply
  44. Domo
    February 6, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Egypt needs a benchmark to use for moving forward. The best example they can use considering their size, culture,and the political disastres they faced in the last 50 years is JAPAN following WWII. The best hope Egypt had ( and lost for the hands of the devil) was Mohamed Naguib . His visions 57 years ago about the future model for Egypt still is the best model for todays Egypt. Simply put Egypt should build itself as a neutral country with an army , not an army with a country image. God bless

    Reply
  45. Omar Abdelghany
    February 6, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Hello all, I am another follower from the US…you guys on the ground know exactly what is going on so can determine best the next steps, but what I would like to say is over the past 12 days you guys have been struggling with patience and power, you are in control and everyone knows that. CNN has shown excellent coverage to every1 here in the US and the regime’s game is clear. Can you guys push to the presidential palace and force the army to turn with you? I think your plan is a great idea for what happens after Mubarak but can the presidential palace idea be implemented to end the regime’s game? If not, then patience and keep doing what your doing, if not tmrw then the day after, with enough pressure the arrogant dictator will leave, and at least the first major step will be accomplished. Just some thoughts.

    Reply
  46. Concerned Couple
    February 6, 2011 at 2:31 am

    Dear Sandmonkey,

    We have been reading your blog even from before the revolution and following your tweets, we have a lot of respect for your opinions. That said, We think that the suggestion you make here is impractical, time-consuming and unsafe particularly regarding the increasing disillusion and discontentment that is plaguing the Egyptian streets concerning the presence in Tahrir. Irrational, illogical and somewhat outright ludicrous conspiracy-theory regime-oriented rubbish is being spewed, but for good reason- people are tired, scared, and now often hungry.

    Though we are not the mistaken ones, our battle unfortunately has unwanted collateral- the poor who are currently out of work. We are not saying to withdraw form Tahrir, on the contrary, I think we should do what a lot of trade-unions have done both internationally and locally which is to set a demand that easy to agree with across the board and to call for its immediate action and in return to offer to sit down with the regime for negotiations.

    In this sense, we would enter discussion in a position of strength, however we would retain the good faith of the people in speaking to their concerns over their own safety and livelihoods while not compromising our positions. I think a good start would be to call tomorrow in Tahrir for the immediate cessation of the emergency decrees in lieu of our walking away from Tahrir square.

    That coupled with the small “gains” if you’ll even call them that over the past few days would make it so that we could exit from this process stronger than before, without compromising popular support. This is a political chess-board and (El- Qanah el-Oula) is unfortunately and ridiculously beating us out for the popular support.

    Yours,

    A concerned couple.

    Reply
  47. F. Rogier
    February 6, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Ditto to Jules (.42). Totally.

    Reply
  48. northener
    February 6, 2011 at 2:55 am

    you guys need regular access to state tv i would think.

    Reply
  49. Patrick Springer
    February 6, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Julia Bullough said most of what I would have liked to write as a comment. Only two things I’d like to add: 1-she recommended Amnesty Int. Europe/Canada, smart move. Maybe you can also persuade someone with leverage within the US gov like Jimmy Carter to monitor the process, you have reached so much the last week and you need allies to remember your government it made promises and 2-you do not want the job of leading; that is very wise:) but in my view those who do not want the job though are capable are the best, those people will have the smallest burden of self-interrest and personal gain…

    respect&regards,P.

    Reply
  50. brooklynjon
    February 6, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Sandmonkey,

    Look to the American Revolution. You cannot organize by committee. You need to have someone in charge. Someone well educated, articulate, and with credibility among both the elites and the masses. Not to be a dictator, but to be a focal point. To say precisely what the revolution is for, and not just what it is against. Someone who, once the job is done, will step down. You need a George Washington. I’m sure there are a number of people, you among them, who could fill that role. But it’s a role that has to be filled soon. Very soon.

    There are two issues regarding the Muslim Brotherhood. One is that they may step in at some point and co-opt your revolution. Two is that people in the west fear (rightfully or wrongfully) that the protesters are MB in sheep’s clothing, or that (if they aren’t) that the MB will step in at some point and co-opt your revolution. If you had a leader that was decidedly NOT MB, and reassured people that the MB will NOT be allowed to take over (participate but not take over) then you’d start getting warmer support from democracies near and far. Say something reassuring to Israel. Like, we’re not interested in fighting you. Say something reassuring to the USA. Like, we’ll still help you fight Al Qaeda.

    Right now the best you got is Mona Eltahawy (who I love) throwing a tantrum on CNN about how no one is allowed to have an opinion about who Egypt might elect. Someone’s gotta sound like an adult. Say what you’re against. Say what you’re for. And say what you’re NOT for.

    Go, Sandmonkey! Be George Washington!

    bj

    Reply
  51. Tallulah
    February 6, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Sandmonkey,

    I think your ideas are well thought out. And the suggestions given, about safety of information and getting legal representation to help write a new constitution, are important.

    However, as we are reading this, so are they… and you can be sure they will be plotting ways to stop this movement. So if possible, keep everything out in the open, utilizing whatever media that can be trusted whenever possible, to keep public focus on what you are doing. As long as it is transparent and public, it will be very hard to stop by opposing forces.

    As for you being the leader… you definitely *are* a leader, but I suggest that you are also the public voice of the people, able to hold up a mirror to your society and show where the problems are, and speak freely to bring about change. Once you join the government, in any form, that freedom is altered…not quelched, but changed. A leader becomes responsible to *all* the people, and often has to be diplomatic (read: censored) in order to keep peace. As you are now, you can speak freely regardless of who is involved. That is your gift to your people: your ability to write, to inspire, to raise consciousness, and to speak for those who are afraid to speak for themselves. In my humble opinion, you can do far more with your words/writing, than by becoming the public leader.

    Do the people have any leaders in mind to take over once this current regime has been removed? This is the next step.

    If there is anything that we, outside of Egypt, can do to assist you in your quest for freedom, you need only ask. As you can see here, there are many ready and willing to lend a hand if asked.

    May God keep you all be safe, as you continue this long journey towards real freedom. You all are an inspiration to the world!

    Power to the people!

    Reply
  52. Jupiter
    February 6, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Another US watcher.

    Something has to be done about state TV. Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of liberty. You have no hope of winning freedom as long as the press is under censorship, and if the press/media becomes free, your freedom is certain.

    If I were you, I’d collect the smartest motherfuckers I could find to come up with a plan to create media/press freedom ASAP. Unrelenting propaganda is quickly becoming your #1 enemy.

    Reply
  53. dehkah/Germany
    February 6, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I’ve read you have been to Berlin. When the Wall fell down, leaders of several oppositional groups met with members of the GDR-regime for so-calles ’round table’ talks. They worked on a new constitution, influenced the governments work. Maybe your wisemen’s council is something of that kind, but perhaps you can take inspration from the transitional phases in the GDR or Poland.

    You really need some leaders or speakers for the movement – and you’ll have to find them in a quick and easy way. Perhaps starting a ‘transformational’ party and register potential members will take to long. If possible, elect some speakers right from the tahrir crew.

    Finally: you won’t be able to camp on Tahrir forever. Some people may want to go on with normal life, but perhaps are willing to meet once a week for a powerful demonstration, to push the transformation process.

    The end of the GDR started in 09/1989, when people demonstrated every monday after a evening prayer. It took three months to open the wall, a few more to end the regime. The fridays demonstrations on tahrir were quite powerful. Maybe that’s a good day.

    I hope you guys and girls will be able to bring that revolution to an good and peaceful end. Best wishes!

    Reply
  54. Julia Bullough
    February 6, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Just some suggestions based on my experience:

    I just read that the Muslim Brotherhood is entering negotiations with the government now.

    It is likely that there would be a few parties in Egypt soon – maybe even up to 100 (this is what democracy is about). You and other leaders of the should be involved in negotiations also (as a group with Muslim Brotherhood, socialistic party or separately). I suggest you set up a Revolutionary party – if other leaders want to set up other parties they can do that also (you do not need to have papers yet, just a name and principles – liberal or conservative or other principles).

    The “Unity Party” at the first elections will likely be a coalition of several parties including the Muslim Brotherhood, other parties, each party receiving its own votes. If this coalition forms a government it would divy up the portofolios based on votes, negotiations. Your party will be in contact with all the other parties throughout the election campaign. In Romania for example the Liberal party and Conservative party were historical parties and in 1990 were set up again with the same principles.

    The problem in the Sept elections will be the rigging of the election by the current ruling party (there are a lot of ways to do that, double voting, etc). This is why you need a lot of international observers and observers from each party at the vote. EU has announced they are willing to send a lot of international observers.

    There are a lot of human rights violations in Egypt – this is an area you should focus on in negotiations- these are the basis of democracy. Beatings, police brutality, hacking, lying, burning TV station offices and harassing foreigners are a total breach of democracy.

    I thought the idea (mentioned above) of having a protest (half the people from Tahrir square can stay there and half go on a march) at the TV station and/or the American, UK, France, other EU country embassies is a good idea. Or get buses for the trip to the presidential palace….

    Good luck!

    Best regards,

    Julia

    Reply
  55. Jupiter
    February 6, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Another idea…

    Tomorrow is a big Christian gathering in Tahrir, right? Spread word amongst the Coptics about the Unity Party there and ask them to select a few leaders. Also contact the MB and let them know about the UP. Spread word through twitter to the youth activists, and pick a few leaders.
    You might want to select leadership by word of mouth and send the leaders elsewhere for a while (Canada, US, Australia, whatever). Leaders are not going to be safe in Egypt till the regime falls.

    Or something like that.

    Just brainstorming here…

    Be safe, operate in secret as much as possible when appropriate.

    A “Free Wael Ghonim” campaign might be useful, too.

    Reply
  56. Hossam
    February 6, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I think it’s a very good idea. As for getting the people’s voices i think an easy way ‘on the ground’ ad-hoc approach would be a kind of a reverse-surviver style, where every 10 people agree for one person to represent them. If there are a million people, they can be reduced to 10 people in a 5 step election. i think it will be relatively easy as i think most people have the more or less the same demands, which everybody knows, but getting people directly from the ground would be extremely powerful as it is indisputably the voice of people protesting. Needs good organizing though to make sure whoever has voted someone is counted as already voted.

    Reply
  57. Susan
    February 6, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Here’s what I love about this: no more of the, “We need a new leader to save us from the old leader!” This is all about the nuts and bolts of representative democracy, the building blocks of real democratic institutions.

    My only cautionary note is that it’s messy: there’s a risk of it degenerating into squabbling, and then one day you turn around and find out that, while you’ve been holding meetings about how to hold meetings, the Brotherhood has stepped in and taken control.

    So please, don’t fall so in love with procedural arguments that you forget that you actually need to get things done.

    Bless! :-)

    Reply
  58. James
    February 6, 2011 at 3:43 am

    I think this is a brilliant technique SM.

    My first thought is you shouldn’t call it a “Party” – on the surface it sounds more permanent to me, despite your intentions it not be. I’m sure most people will have the same misperception. But the same initiative could be called “Egyptian Unity COALITION” – which to me also sounds less permanent, more flexible, more inclusive. The term “coalition” generally is an umbrella that can include various parties, entities. ‘Marketing’ is extremely important.

    Also, as great as this approach is, it is my sense strategically speaking that it will take longer than is available b4 decisions get made & instituted, re: transitional government. Re, how much time is available? Who can say?
    But you’re right that for some the morale, the enthusiasm will fizzle over time. And like it or not, it is a fact that the international political community is not about to sit still. They are too nervous about where this unresolved situation may lead, so although there is currently space for the process to be inclusive, consultative, without more focused leadership & platforms for the way forward, I think the big fish will forge & enforce a plan sooner rather than later. So in one way pressure is growing, while in another way critical pressure is in danger of fizzling.
    And if the international community does come up with a feasible plan forward before the movement, the decision will have been made and be spun internationally by rationally sounding, compassionate sounding political actors as the best possible way under the circumstances. Then, even if Jan 25 movement doesn’t agree, opposition & holding out becomes tenfold more difficult and under those circumstances the Movement ends up looking unreasonable and loses global opinion.

    Since this is about regime change and not just changing the figure head, a transitional, I’ll call it a caretaker government, should definitely do the work and get Mubarak & Suleiman & their gang of thieves away from the power structure as soon as possible so they don’t cover their tracks and re-arrange things structurally in the economy, in the judiciary in the army to perpetuate the old system despite whatever comes after them. They’re already able to be doing that with every day that passes while they retain the keys to the government machinery.

    So I think it’s more important to get a couple of spokespersons, i.e. from the Council of Wise Men, or from wherever, out there for the movement – even while this work of building the infrastructure of a Egyptian unity coalition goes forward simultaneously. The spokespeople or council will still be able to do consultations with the grassroots as the process unfolds, indeed much better if the movement is building the documentary & communication infrastructure you suggest.

    The last thing is that the movement itself should invite the UN to be part of your process. El Baradei clearly has contacts there. So rather than waiting while the movement is at a distance from the government and the govt has closer contact with Obama & other politicians, who obviously are not making the UN a priority … the movement can take that initiative and thereby also change the game by introducing the UN as a relatively impartial big player to advocate for you, whom Obama and club cannot easily ignore.

    I hope that’s helpful,
    J

    Reply
  59. Beth
    February 6, 2011 at 3:54 am

    DITTO everything BrooklynJon said in comment #60. !!!!!

    Reply
  60. Wade Allsopp
    February 6, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Sandmonkey – Your plan is unrealistic especially in the time frame we need to be talking about. Having said that, at least you are starting to generate ideas which puts you ahead of 99% of the protestors and everyone else I guess and you are very much to be congratulated on that.

    Right now the only thing unifying the opposition is the desire for Mubarak to go. Beyond that I doubt if there is any consensus at all. Sure everyone wants “Freedom” and “Democracy” but what they specifically want is freedom for them and people who think like them to be able to do and say what they want whilst constraining others.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but from this distance, Sulieman looks to be the only credible and potentially very effective interim President. If it was clear that Mubarak’s departure leaving Sulieman in interim power ideally supported/monitored by some sort of council firstly of respected elders but ideally also including a couple of real credible representatives of the young people – such as yourself perhaps, was enough to get the protests to stop, then this would put immense pressure on Mubarak to go. His only real argument for staying is now that the protestors have unlimited demands and they will be satisfied at nothing less than anarchy from which the only passably organised element of the opposition, the Brotherhood is the only victor unless the military step in.

    Building democratic institutions takes time and huge effort. The place to start is probably press/media freedom. State TV needs to be free from the shackles of Government control and people need to be able to print and say what they want without fear. This can potentially be done almost instantly. Typically in state run media there are quality frustrated journalists who are yearning to be proper journalists and start telling the truth and uncovering corruption etc.

    Beyond that, the real hard work must start.

    Reply
  61. Bill Holbung
    February 6, 2011 at 4:22 am

    You can’t work the crowds to sign people up, because the cops could do that, pretending to be you. People have to come to you. So set up a place to sign up and place and send people out to inform the crowd of where it is. It only takes a few people with laptops to get it started. But the natural suspicion of the people will have to be overcome.

    Reply
  62. Call on the Experts...
    February 6, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Great idea. What about architecting the registration so it can be the foundation of an open and transparent referendum process – maybe register the whole country on Facebook, verify with photos of people with their id cards?? Easy to vote on issues – I’m sure someone has thought of how to do such a process securely online.

    Also, why not call on nations who know about nation building not America or Europe – but ones like Singapore and Korea. Ask them to lend expertise and practical support to help plan immediate creation of the jobs you guys deserve.

    I’m sure with a public plan for the country to develop at the speed of Korea or Singapore, along with transparent populous political stability, you’d attract more foreign investment than you’d ever need to build the required infrastructure for a prosperous future – no more aid required.

    All the best.

    Reply
  63. ellen
    February 6, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Repeating what many have said above:

    PROPAGANDA FROM EGYPTIAN STATE TV MUST BE STOPPED !!

    By any means necessary!

    They are a growing cancer infecting Egyptian society now with twisted lies and bizarre propaganda. I know that you oppose violence, but really, some segment of your comrades must quietly leave Tahrir and find a way, any way, to take out the State TV broadcasters, immediately.

    Reply
  64. AN0NY
    February 6, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Hello Sandmonkey. I am deeply upset with the way things are going in Egypt. I do not understand the willingness to let Mubarak rule for yet another second. You have the United States knee deep in plans and proposals for the way forward. Is this what the Egyptian people want? Another “democratically elected” leader that will be a puppet for the US foreign policy interests? In order to gain freedom the Egyptian people must realize they cannot rely on these violent rulers to decide the Egyptian fate. The Egyptian people must storm the palace and take back what is rightfully theirs. The world is watching, and we are sick of the governments stampeding the people. You hear talks of stability and security as if the Egyptian people are not capable of taking care of themselves. I watched them band together to protect their own neighborhoods. You are fully capable of doing these things without the Mubarak regime in place, so go on and remove him yourselves. If you do not, you will sacrifice liberty for security, and when you do that, you deserve neither.

    Reply
  65. Boonie
    February 6, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Split the military. It is absolutely crucial that some fraction of military leadership is with your cause.

    Reply
  66. Malia
    February 6, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Your passion is so inspiring! So much so, in fact, that I was inspired to created a character loosely based on you in the first book of a series I’m working on, which I’ve spoken to you about in the past.
    I agree with some of the comments from the other people on here- perhaps the protesters need to branch out and claim more areas than Tahrir in the city. Of course that’s easier said than done, I’m sure. Ironically, in my book, (the concept of the story that I developed several years ago) the protesters took over the Arab TV building to broadcast a message to the people. Also, just curious, what is stopping people from marching on the Presidential palace? Too dangerous perhaps?
    Again, I love your passion and dedication to this cause. Don’t give up! Many of us Americans have the Egyptians in our thoughts and prayers! My spirit is with you all!

    Reply
  67. MWforHR
    February 6, 2011 at 4:55 am

    This a speech by Alec Ross, Senior Advisor of Innovation to Hillary Clinton, made January 25, 2011 (of all days) about Digital Diplomacy. Whatever your opinion of Clinton, I think it’s worth watching regarding the roll of technology in political, human rights, and emergency situations. There may be lessons to be learned here for your efforts in where to move forward. It leaves lots of questions, and I’m no expert on the matter, but it may be relevant. Good luck from a Dutch-American who grew up in Panama.

    http://www.clintonschoolspeakers.com/lecture/view/diplomacy-digital-world/

    “Connection Technologies/Social Media can make weak ties stronger.” -Alec Ross

    Reply
  68. Malia
    February 6, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Your passion is so inspiring! So much so, in fact, that I was inspired to create a character loosely based on you in the first book of a series I’m working on, which I’ve spoken to you about in the past.
    I agree with some of the comments from the other people on here- perhaps the protesters need to branch out and claim more areas than Tahrir in the city. Of course that’s easier said than done, I’m sure. Ironically, in my book, (the concept of the story that I developed several years ago) the protesters took over the Arab TV building to broadcast a message to the people. Also, just curious, what is stopping people from marching on the Presidential palace? Too dangerous perhaps?
    Again, I love your passion and dedication to this cause. Don’t give up! Many of us Americans have the Egyptians in our thoughts and prayers! My spirit is with you all!

    Reply
  69. Jane Stimmen
    February 6, 2011 at 5:16 am

    I think the idea is a sound one – and even if it’s just down to pens and paper a valuable one – the people should decide the way forward, not Washington/London, etc.

    I would urge you to be as inclusive as possible – remember that the Revolution of 1917 (October, not February!) was a mass revolution – they, too, were tired of being lied to, and realized the bankruptcy of the old organizations. Be independent of the trade unions, NDP, etc.

    Reply
  70. Ian
    February 6, 2011 at 5:20 am

    It seems to me out of all that you have written, giving electoral legitimacy to the movement and thus, taking it away from the current power structure is the ultimate goal. Am i correct in assuming that in an actual free and fair election, mubarak and his party would be trounced (obviously if not part of my follow on suggestion is… problematic!)

    So, the first demand is to immediately nullify and rerun the last election. International observers already believe the last elections were a fraud.
    Therefore, the Coalition could call for immediate free and fair elections, overseen by international obsevers. The point of the election is to create the stucture that will recast the constitution, and create a new structure for parties to compete.

    As that is happening, the party organizations begin to form as you describe.

    One of my biggest questions that i think is a roadblock is what i believe are unwarranted concerns in a variety of world actors about what would happen in a free and fair election. In other words, those who have proposed “let’s wait 6 months”… the reality is that more international pressure could “help” make this happen, much in the same way i think (or, really suspect) that they were able to persuade the regime against much more violent action after the press was banished a few nights ago.

    My point in this concern? The reason other international actors haven’t gone further in endorsing a quicker ending is they can’t figure out how to “work” with anyone but a small group (or even one person) as a leader.

    So here is one thought. The revolutionaries make one additional demand of free and fair elections, but that free and fair elections and mubarak leaving are the two talking points that are repeated everywhere and anywhere, as often and loudly on every available news outlet, supporters groups, etc. It makes you look organized, gives hope to supportes that you are active and working towards a new goal they can hope in.

    The square elects a small group of representatives that can be backed by international actors, and they demand on every available outlet for free and fair elections for the transitional government. If the small elected group has enough credibility and support in the square (and can show the initial organization within the square), wouldn’t that provide enough assurance, for now, that you are a credible and reliable alternative that will provide the transition everyone wants.

    Two other thoughts. Minus mubarak, what if the current party were allowed to run? If they did in fact get trounced, what an easy way to relieve them of power.

    Finally, any movement needs facilitators to help leaders lead. That sounds like you to me.

    Continued hope for your success!

    Reply
  71. MWforHR
    February 6, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Please be careful. Security on the list of names will be an issue, as well as who is in control over it, & who is being trusted with it. The masses that the world witnessed on Tahrir square need to be able to speak as a voice. They’ve done it in chants, but who can negotiate for them? Who can speak for them?

    I like the idea of having offline, safe discussions to pick group leaders…. your own representatives, and those representatives work together to find a common ground that everyone agrees with & then deliver the message of the masses to the table. Become a force to be reckoned with as a political entity. Perhaps it’ll take some brave souls to step forward and put their names in the hat. There will be risks involved to them. As soon as they are dubbed “leaders” they will be targeted. Watch out! Online, Use Tor, protect yourself… yourselves. Remember how Iranians were hunted down via IP and their cell phones!! Be safe! We are with you!

    Reply
  72. dartigen
    February 6, 2011 at 5:30 am

    I would be cautious with browser-based stuff. Things can be found via the cache.
    Take down names, yes, and perhaps an email address, but no home addresses or phone numbers until it’s clear that it’s safe to do so. Only one person needs to slip up for hundreds to be in trouble. What would be safer would be to use raffle books or even just coloured pieces of paper with the district name on it (and agree on the colours for each area of a city) and hand out a ticket to each person to identify them as part of one electorate (that’s the word we use here in Australia) or another. The problem then will be making sure people don’t lose them, but it’s a start. (And there’s no personal info on the pieces of paper, just the electorate you live in.)
    But seriously, something has to give soon, and it can’t be the protesters. While I know you may feel like you’re on top of the world right now, you can’t keep up this level of pressure until September – that’s nine whole months away. People have to work, go to school, and for some they need to go back to their home countries or face serious problems when their visas run out. You might be able to keep going until March or even April, but keeping up these protests every day until September is asking far too much.

    (The Australian system isn’t too bad – we have compulsory voting, but only if you’ve registered to do so. The Electoral Commission is pretty good at organising voting in such a way that everyone who can vote does – they do postal votes, early voting (for people overseas) and they take portable voting booths out to small country towns and nursing homes as well as having plenty of polling booths for every electorate. I’ve heard of a few people being convicted of electoral fraud here, and IIRC they are extremely strict about all of their procedures during elections.
    As far as I know, the Electoral Commission here has helped a few countries out with getting their voting systems up and running – maybe once everything settles down you could direct some questions at them? I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help.)

    Reply
  73. Ahmed
    February 6, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Been aware of your blog for a while now , actually disagree with most of what’s in it , but there is none in this situation. Anyone willing to put his life on the line fighting these criminals deserve all the support they can get.
    Just hope that realize just how dead set the Us gov is against the revolution and is trying oh so hard to disperse it.

    Reply
  74. Netta Thompson
    February 6, 2011 at 5:44 am

    News reports have nothing on you and all the bloggers and twitters and etc who are sharing their lives during these dynamic days. News gives you sound bites and cameras in faces.
    While it is wonderful to see the faces with which we can witness such intensity and determination, it is still just sound bites and images determined by someone else of what we are to see.
    ALL OF YOU who have tweeted, phoned, blogged and/or whatever it took to share your passions, thoughts, experiences have given us something more powerful than any news coverage could.
    You have shared your souls.
    You have given the faces depth and meaning.
    You have shown there is such passion and determination.
    You have shown there is also common sense (a LOT of common sense) and realistic expectations about the work ahead. There’s no blinders.
    You show the wisdom needed for such an historic undertaking.
    Don’t stop “showing”. Ever.
    Never loose the passion, the wisdom, or your souls.

    Reply
  75. @adler1962
    February 6, 2011 at 5:48 am

    I’ve read through 85 posts… Your getting a lot of good info here. Let me try and summarize what I’ve gotten so far.

    It’s not a good idea to collect peoples names in database etc. This is very dangerous at this point in time.

    James term of “coalition” is very good and hits the right tone.

    Also James Idea of getting the United Nations involved is one I had as well.

    Julia Bullough help regarding her experience with Ceausescu’s fall in Romania is very useful. Julia, please feed SM as much of your experience as possible.

    Elfalakiste puts forward the closest idea I was trying to give which is to get a few proposals which are based on consensus from your people who have been demonstrating in Tahrir Square.

    Here is the kind of list of goals which needs to be put together in order to focus the demonstrators and keep them engaged.

    1) Continue calling for the removal of HM.
    2) The parliament be disbanded.
    3) An interim government be established to pave the way for true elections.

    This is just an example list. The main point is that its short. Something like 3-5 goals. You and your people need to establish this list and it will become your rallying point to push forward.

    Once you get a consensus on the list, then publish it, distribute it everywhere. Get on CNN and promote it, use your blog, tweet tweet tweet. We’ll re-tweet for you. It needs to be the “voice” of your demonstrators. It will reach the world, trust me on that. You will be acting as the conduit of the Egyptian “voice”. All Egyptians need to know this list of goals.

    You need to pace the demonstrations. I heard the idea of demonstrating on Tuesday and Friday. The demonstrations need to get bigger and bigger if the goals are being either ignored, or delayed. And if so, more frequent. My guess is that people will rally like it or not…. Again, the important point is that you have a list of goals written down, published, and you can use them as the foundation to your demonstrations.

    The next issue is who is going to speak for those goals to the government in power. One possibility is the wise council adopts these goals. If they do, that would further legitimize the wise council as speaking for the people. This would make the push forward much easier since they seem to be becoming the ones which are negotiating the possible transition going on now. Once this list of goals is created, can you find your way to meet with anyone of these wise council members and discuss these goals?

    SM, if you can help organize the demonstrators to generate such a list of goals, get this out into the media, tweet @ivanCNN, he’s there, or call CNN like you did the other day and get on the air. Finally, get a hold of the wise council, and find out where they stand on your demonstrators goals. If you can do that in the next couple of days, that would be amazing!

    SM, good luck, and god’s speed! We’re all here working for *your* success and your Egyptian brethren.

    Reply
  76. Tallulah
    February 6, 2011 at 5:54 am

    When I read about storming the palace, or taking over a television station, that can, and usually does, involve violence, as the palace will be fortified, and the television station probably as well. And if they haven’t been fortified thus far, it soon will be after reading the comments here.

    So far the protestors have not been violent, only defending themselves when attacked. Any violent action on their part will work against them. And a couple of bus loads of protestors on their way to the tv station would make a prime target for the police. Look what they’ve done to people in cars… a bus load of people would be perfect for them to kidnap. Staying together as a large group is wiser, imo.

    Reply
  77. @adler1962
    February 6, 2011 at 5:59 am

    I just read Ian’s post 93. I agree very much with what he writes. We were writing at the same time I believe. I was going to suggest international observers, (UN?) for the elections, but its important for Egypt not feel like the world is melding with its internal affairs. If the people of Egypt welcome someone from the outside to help monitor the elections, believe me, the resources will be made available.

    Another point. It’s important to try and keep the US as far out of your ‘way forward’ as possible. We (I’m American) have done some very bad things in your area, which I’m very ashamed of, At this point, too much American involvement could fracture the demonstrators.

    Reply
  78. Husam
    February 6, 2011 at 6:01 am

    My opinion, a unity to produce democratic leadership within you will do great in the first post-Mubarak transition period, it can be very valuable to start doing it now, but it will take a long time to practically achieve, so it shouldn’t distract you guys from what needs to be done now, my 2 cents for what is next:

    1- For the status quo, the fuzzy unclear leadership is giving a desired space for the government propaganda to keep bringing that there are intruders within you with external agendas and all that conspiracy theories treatment that common Egyptians are falling for, also practically reaching a leader among you at this moment is impossible, but wait you already have a very symbolic leader the hopefully arrested Wael Ghonim, it wont be hard to agree on him for the current time within all the protesters parties, then as a united voice from all push high this demand that you want him back to represent you, should spread as the main non-stoppable news in Alarabia and aljazeera, at this moment you are just one united behind one leader and a very legitimate and emotional demand, while some Egyptians think it’s enough achievement for Mubarak to leaver after 7 months, and they dont see a necessity in now, but most of them wouldn’t agree on what is done to Wael, they will start to feel emotional about it again, a kind of clear continual injustice by the old regime, within a couple of days not listening to this simple first demand, a new bigger rage will face them, if hopefully they release him, an increased sense of pride and success by protesters a new spirit to continue, and a bend to the regime, and we all know the first demand, if gods forbidden he died then Mubarak deserves to fall now for this hero, all revolutions have heroes and you all are the heroes of this one.

    2- State-tv maybe find a way to STFU!

    3- Demand “”extreme transparency”” from VP Suleiman if he is negotiating with any opposition party, he is a prominent under the table negotiator, don’t play the game by his rules, take him to the intelligence-free zone of extreme transparency or no negotiation.

    Reply
  79. @adler1962
    February 6, 2011 at 6:02 am

    I just read Ian’s post 93. I agree very much with what he writes. We were writing at the same time I believe. I was going to suggest international observers, (UN?) for the elections, but its important for Egypt not feel like the world is melding with its internal affairs. If the people of Egypt welcome someone from the outside to help monitor the elections, believe me, the resources will be made available.

    Another point. It’s important to try and keep the US as far out of your ‘way forward’ as possible. We (I’m American) have done some very bad things in your area, which I’m very ashamed of, At this point, too much American involvement could fracture the demonstrators.

    BTW, I think there is a bug in my Firefox or something. When I posted this comment, I ended up actually reposting my first comment. Looks like the first comment was cached and it was posted instead of this one. I exited Firefox and started it up again in hopes of clearing out all stale cache…

    Reply
  80. snot
    February 6, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Here’s an additional idea:

    I am extremely worried about the safety of the protesters once they leave Tahrir. As you know, the Egyptian police will have the means to easily identify and track down every one of them who e-mailed or tweeted anything about it, or who even visited a pro-democracy website.

    So I worry about the idea of compiling a list of the protesters; but in fact, those that have used computers or phones might not be at any greater risk for having their names on a list.

    But IF any such list is compiled, perhaps it could actually be used to help make the protesters SAFER — IF it could be given to independent agencies such as the UN, Amnesty International, AlJazeera or whoever the protesters think best — probably the more agencies, the better — and accompanied by a strong threat to Mubarak and his regime that if any of the protesters are disappeared or even harassed between now and free and fair elections, there will be some dreadful consequence to Mubarak.

    Then anyone who became aware of any such disappearance could report it to these agencies.

    Obviously, the sanction against Mubarak et al. would have to be very severe and credible.

    I don’t know if this could work, but pass it along for consideration by others with more experience of these situations than I have.

    Reply
  81. H m
    February 6, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I think marching to the palace should be considered…

    Reply
  82. Jupiter
    February 6, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Regarding violence and state TV, you can invent some creative nonviolent solutions. I definitely DON’T think you should do anything violent to anyone who works for state TV. There are a lot of creative alternatives to violence there that come to mind immediately that I’m going to let you guts think of (that I don’t want to say, for obvious reasons). But SOMETHING HAS to change with the propaganda machine. The wikileaks crew et al might even be able to give you more effective ideas.

    Reply
  83. skeeter
    February 6, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Shut up, you dumb shit.

    Reply
  84. Khaled Tewfik
    February 6, 2011 at 7:09 am

    About a week ago I posited a survey on Facebook asking people to nominate representation beliveing that it was the only way to establish a democratic process for change. If I had read this writing even two days ago, while I would have had concerns about logistics and security I would have whole heartedly agreed on the initiative. Today, I believe that representation will inevidably be accomplished, but more importantly is that the current demands, which are well know, be met in-kind, non-negotiable, not even the opportunity to negotiate by putting forth representatives that can be bullied or played!

    There is one more demand that must be added to the list though. Before steping down Mubarak must appoint you and a possy of activits who have played an active and vocal role as the new interim govenment. He must also amend the constitution giving the interim govenment the power to shred it to pieces, fire the current VP, PM and all that is left of the regime and re-appoint them as consultants on temporary assignment. You of course, along with the appointed interime government of activists, would ignore any advice the consultants have to give that is not in the national interest and would instead seek out the advice of those you respect and trust and you would also make new temporary appointements as you see fit. In return for meeting those new demands he can stay President for a while but go to Sharm and watch Al Jazeera if he want to stay informed!

    Not sure if I’m kidding any more… that actually does not sound like a bad idea and he might go for it just to be able to stay at Sharm as Pres!

    Reply
  85. Ramachandran
    February 6, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Go for it : Clarity about the new constitution – Some basic premises on which agreement is paramount :
    1) The present dispensation should have no say in the new constitution.
    2) Religion and State should be separate identities,
    3) Human Rights to be protected, No tortures, third degree,
    4) Right to Equality, Liberty and Freedom including Net freedom.
    5) Religion is personal choice and confined to home, religious places.
    6) Strive to make Egypt the most prosperous country where there are no poor and where everyone, including outsiders would dream to come and make it their home.

    Reply
  86. Wade Allsopp
    February 6, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I think @adler1962 is along the right lines. The idea of collating some sort if list of protestors and working that into a grass roots democracy is a non starter. Even if it were practical which it most certainly isn’t, it would take months.

    As adler and others have argued what needs to emerge PDQ is a list of 3 or 4 central demands on which you can achieve a high degree of consensus within the protesters. Once you have got that someone has got to grasp leadership and run with the ball. Amongst the foreign twitter/blogosphere SM would surely be elected as President immediately but that is not the constituency that matters and SM’s religious views amongst other thing would surely alienate him from 95% of his non twitter literate countrymen, nevertheless in a situation of utter confusion and lack of leadership direction it is really possible for someone with a deep understanding of how the underground media works, intelligence and credibility to make a vital contribution towards shaping events.

    As for the list of demands:

    HM’s removal has to be the headline

    Is Parliament’s immediate dissolution necessary? I don’t know. Conducting free and fair elections is not as simple as it is to say, the rules need to be decided and ideally there needs to be some time for parties to form and the opposition groups to get organized.

    Is Sulieman acceptable as an interim leader? If he is, this will make achieving a breakthrough far easier as he clearly has the trust of Mubarak supporters plus the international community.

    How should his power be constrained?

    Control/influence over State TV and other key media outlets is crucial to give any chance of a level playing field, to provide a means of checking corruption and to give a sense to the population as a whole, especially outside Cairo that things really have changed. Are their individuals who need to be forced to resign? Is there anyone who can be credibly put in charge? Does there have to be institutional change.

    As others have said, if one can come up with a clear and reasonable (allowing Mubarak his cherished “dignified” exit for example) set of demands these can be put forward and promoted and highlighted very easily via the mainstream Western media – guided by the blogging/tweeting community, because everyone is yearning for someone to come forward with a reasonable and specific set of demands to focus upon.

    Wade

    Reply
  87. budimir
    February 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

    What has started as a “popular revolt” should stay exactly popular or people’s, not politicians cause.

    I hope Egyptians won’t stop when some self-proclaimed “leaders” will say “let’s go home, guys, we’ve arranged everything among us and the government”.

    Reply
  88. budimir
    February 6, 2011 at 8:19 am

    What has started as a “popular revolt” should stay a popular or people’s, not politicians’s cause.

    Please don’t stop even if the self-proclaimed leaders will say “go back home, guys, we’ve arranged everything among us and the government”. They’ll certainly fool you.

    Reply
  89. Anon
    February 6, 2011 at 8:19 am

    This is a great idea. But when you are organizing people into committees, ask them to sit down and discuss issues, their solutions, policy changes they want, without fear of any ‘ideological leanings’ these may have, don’t shy away from it. Just have vibrant discussions and learn from each other.

    Reply
  90. Ian
    February 6, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Short addendum; those in the square can show their support with some shared icon. Examples include the ink stains on fingers from voting, wearing orange, etc.

    I am sure there is something uniquely egyptian that plays well to the cameras to show that the hundreds of thousands in the square support not just the protest but the ideals and goals of whatever principles “the way forward” ultimately looks like. I realize it plays like PR… but when you are up against masters of manipulation, thousands of individual symbols of support will project that “you” have your shit together.

    Reply
  91. Agostino
    February 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Hi Sandmonkey! My personal opinionon on this stagnation. I really haven’t any right to suggest something to the rebels ( I follows this story from Rome, sitting on an armchair) and the risk is to be naive, but I care your revolution, and hope this movement find a new way.
    The option of a direct, violent clash with the regime (and the army that is defeding it pretending to defend you) will bring only to pour your precious blood on the street. No way.
    I think that you should create an opposition counsil that, with cold rigidity and having clear aims in his mind, can deal with the regime. Mubarak clan and the new appointed puppets are already ghosts. They are done. If every day, every step will be openly registered and shared on internet in an official movement site, not only you will check the regime’s moves but all the web community that cares you will do. I’ve seen that Al Jazeera is close to your dreams. Why don’t reach her board and ask them to leave you ten minutes a day to explain worldwide how the dealings are going?
    So, leave the street free only for immediately rush them again with renwed rage if the Mubarak gang will play some tricks or other violence during the agreements. A flexible tactic will tiren them fastlier.
    The new Egypt is already born, let it learn to walk.

    Reply
  92. Jupiter
    February 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Another thought:

    You started losing ground, really, with the public (locally in Egypt and globally) when you moved from “marching” in the streets to “demonstrating” in Tahrir.
    I think you guys might have been effectively terrorized that horrible night in Tahrir when it looked like you were going to be slaughtered like sheep, combined with the journalist cleansing which appeared to be foreshadowing something horrifying.

    Snap out of it. Demonstrating in the square now is *safe* but it’s not *effective*. It’s not a revolution. Anderson Cooper has left. The rest will be soon. You are running out of time.

    Reply
  93. Elfalakiste
    February 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

    @adler1962
    Here’s a draft of what I was thinking it’s still very raw but I’m thinking along these lines.. we need an ‘Egyptian Dream’.
    The Jan 25 Contract
    I have worked hard to bring change, and will not waste my people’s hard work by contradicting the following revolutionary principles.

    1- I respect myself and I respect my fellow citizens, and I treat others as I expect to be treated.
    2- I will not propagate corruption in the system; bribery, fraud, cheating, nepotism.
    3- I will not be be afraid to speak out against any injustice, committed against me or fellow Egyptians.
    4- I will maintain the cleanliness of Egypt, and will not ever litter the streets.
    5- I believe in the value of a difference in opinions.

    Dignity, Justice, Plurality

    But these can not be my ideas we need a democratic election by the people

    Reply
  94. katherine optimus maximae
    February 6, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Mahmoud (Sandmonkey),

    It has been so long since we talked, but know that I have been following you.

    Everyone is giving advice. My apologies if I add to the cacophony.

    Don’t put the cart before the horse. you need three things immediately. Selected representatives, a universal name (ie, Continental Congress…Egypt National congress/Parliament) and a declaration of “independence”. Constitutional parliamentary elections cannot happen until the current government is gone.

    I’ll post the rest of the advise over on my blog and send you a link. The irony is, I’ve been posting about how to defeat an insurgency, now I want to tell you how to succeed. LOL.

    Reply
  95. katherine optimus maximae
    February 6, 2011 at 9:46 am

    One more time…

    Dude, a list of party members is for a free state where organization and privacy are protected, not in a police or authoritarian state. Especially when you still have no idea of the outcome. Take a page from the American Revolution or Polish Solidaritat, the Sons of Liberty didn’t sign a register because they could be captured and hung as traitors.

    Reply
  96. zmarv
    February 6, 2011 at 9:53 am

    First off, I would like to commend you heroes for your demeanor, persistence, and respect with which you carried yourselves by.

    As for the way forward, you cannot and would not be expected, by any sane government or movement, to carry out your plan with a turnaround time that would enable you to cause a positive effect on what’s happening. From personal experience in enumeration and electoral organization, the process mentioned took us, a team of about 200 electoral officers, a minimum of 2 weeks for a proper account of eligible voters whose numbers where by no means close to the millions of people you have with you.

    This doesn’t mean that you just idly wait for events to unfold however. Start a petition using as many volunteers as possible carrying clipboards and walking around asking people to sign a petition which indicates that they agree to the following:

    1- Your list of demands
    2- Formation of a new party, the EUP
    3- Sign list of supporters with name and signature ONLY (for security reasons)

    The first 2 points are printed and placed on top of the clipboard for people to read, following papers would be the list. If possible, financially and logistically, print the 2 items en mass and leave copy with them after they sign so that they pass on to someone, with a url to an online petition base provider (can research and recommend some for you if you like).

    Meanwhile, while the list of demands are yours and yours only, allow me to recommend that the strategy be stepped up with a slight change in direction for different results. This includes demands on the army to arrest your boy and take interim control of gov’t until a transitional one is set up. During that time, you rally up financial and logistical support to carry out your plan of way forward and then use the existing gov’t framework for polling when the time comes for a free election. I also recommend that you start thinking of which gov’t could be of assistance in setting up the free elections. While Erdogan’s gov’t is not the best, but they would be a great candidate to help establish a democratic electoral system for you.

    May Allah be with you and protect you all. Your efforts not only give hope to Egypt, but the whole Arab world in hopes of creating a country where the people matter and are respected… I find it unfair that I grew up in that environment while my brothers and sisters in the region are oppressed and treated like sheep and have dedicated my work to social evolution.

    Let me reiterate that a slight change in strategy is needed so that the dynamics and excitement behind your demands don’t dwindle and melt away. Demanding of the army to arrest him instead of demanding of him to step down.

    Ya Geish Sheel el Ga7sh lol

    God bless you all!

    @zmarv

    For background, I’m Canadian born and raised but of Arab descent and am a strategic advisor who works in the areas of setting social responsibility, reform and a sustainability strategies and have consulted for many entities in the Arab region including the UNDP and would love to help in any way possible.

    Reply
  97. Anonymous
    February 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Organization is key. Without organization of yourselves, there will be no proper representation and thus other organizations (including your government and foreign governments as well as NGOs) will too easily ignore or dismiss you, simply because there is no proper representative articulating a coherent position to communicate with. You have seen this happening with the stumbling attempts made with the oppositional parties. Without organization of yourselves, other organizations (which are the big power brokers after all) will more and more deal with organizations and less and less with you, the people. The mass of protestors that embodies your cause, in turn, will fragment and dwindle.

    Organization of course carries with it the danger of exposing structures that the regime can use to hunt down representatives and intimidate others from becoming representatives, thus crushing the revolution. Encryption programs (rubber hose comes to mind) can only carry you so far, too. There is no guarantee for safety, and those who fight for freedom will for a foreseeable time still gamble their lives.

    My point is that organizing yourselves MIGHT bring about your end, but not organizing yourselves WILL bring about your end. I strongly advise to look to other popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes (e.g. Tunesia, Philippines, Iran), analyze why they failed or succeeded and apply those lessons to your own circumstances.

    Reply
  98. Anonymous
    February 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

    My above point condensed: If the protestors do not rise up to the organizational level in which they can engage potential allies against their enemies, they will end up becoming the Palestinians of Egypt: nothing but a mass of people cynically exploited by all political forces.

    Reply
  99. Anonymous
    February 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Also, please please please make sure that minority rights are firmly respected! How the status of minorities in Egypt is going to be will be a key factor how countries, in which these minorities are majorities, will judge the protest movement.

    Reply
  100. Kamlesh Pal
    February 6, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Instead of giving you my two cents, I just donated $50.00. I salute you and your fellow revolutionaries. My good energy will be with you guys all the time.

    PS- Even though I have been following you on a twitter for a while, it was good to see you on Parker Switzer show.

    Reply
  101. slappymcgroundout
    February 6, 2011 at 11:25 am

    SM: This isn’t Tiananmen Square nor do you want it to be. You need to occupy the presidential palace, the parliament and the supreme court. Let the people go about their daily lives. But make it impossible for the govt to function. So start with those three and then add whatever other govt venues that are necessary to occupy in order to shut down the govt in Cairo (or at least have them meeting in a tent under a tree). Your allies in other cities can do the same where they are. Once the movement does such a thing, easier for you to do what you propose, since it won’t be one big mass of humans but several smaller masses of humans.

    Next, Baradei, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Nour have, are, or will be meeting with the govt. If such souls do not represent you all, then you all need to make that abundantly clear. Not by holding signs or chants, but in press releases to all of the media that you can find. You should already have a press relations brigade whose sole job is to feed your propaganda to the media. That said, as others have advised, if there’s a way to hack into the state run tv system or destroy the hardware necessary to transmit, I would suggest that such be done.

    Lastly, might I seriously ask how adverse you all are to an interim military govt, i.e., Mubarak abdicates and the Parliament dissolves and the armed forces fill the void on an interim basis? You could propose an interim military govt with a free election to be held within one month of Mubarak abdicating and Parliament dissolving for purposes of selecting delegates to attend a constitutional convention. Once the election is certified, say, no later than one week following the election, at the latest, the delegates then have one month to draft a constitution. A month after that, there is another election for the populace to either ratify or reject the constitution. Assuming that the delegates and voters are sane, the populace will ratify the fitting and proper constitution. Then a month following ratification, you have an election to select the representatives called for in the constitution. Once those election results are certified, the interim armed forces govt transfers power to the new govt. You can invite the UN to handle the mechanics of the elections. In the meantime, the interim armed forces govt will rule by decree. How does that sound? That’s a concrete proposal, requires that Mubarak abdicate and Parliament dissolves, and it reassures the armed forces that anarchy will not ensue.

    Reply
  102. 29Victor
    February 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

    The fear is that the Revolution, not having any clear leaders to express their voice, will be co-opted by special interest groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. You need to have someone soon (as in yesterday) to speak for you to the Egyptian government, the U.S. government and the world.

    Leverage without leadership is a horribly, horribly dangerous thing. See: U.S.S.R., France, etc.

    People on Twitter are complaining that the U.S. isn’t “supporting democracy” or “supporting the revolution.” But who are we supposed to support? Who is in control of this revolution? What do they want to accomplish? It is impossible to “support” or have discussions with a mob.

    If you wait to long to find your voice, it’s going to be too late to do any talking.

    Reply
  103. Ian
    February 6, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Gr8 writing ! If the wise men/brothers/someone credible could, in the interim, get Mubarak/Vice Pres/Prime Monster to dissolve the security police, that would show they mean change ! [and would have to include all plain-clothed thugs & goon-squads]
    They promised to release peaceful protesters – this does not seem to have been done i.e. Wael @Ghonim AND all the others. This must be monitored.

    The Police should have to retake an oath to protect personal security of all citizens & property only.

    seems to me a real show of faith [at a minimum]

    Reply
  104. colchico
    February 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    As I am not an Egyptian and do not even live there anymore, I cannot comment on the political organisation. But whatever the form you choose, I’d do two things:

    1. I’d record the data of the protestors as soon as possible. Not only for the commitee, but also for the safety of those who have exposed themselves: I’d use it to set up a dead man’s switch. Everyone who registers himself had to get in touch daily with a designated person, by e-mail, phone call or in person, to confirm that he or she is well. If an activist does not report, let hell break loose to find out about his or her whereabouts. – Of course the receivers of the confirmation messages should be persons who cannot be silenced, either because of their status or because of their residence (abroad).

    2. I’d found a charitable trust to support those who need legal assistance, got in economic troubles or always have been poor. (Maybe some of the human rights lawyers in Egypt would be willing to be the custodians? They seem to be very trustworthy.) Once enough money is coming in, I’d make sure the charity offers jobs, too. Freedom and democracy alone are all well and good, but people need to eat and pay their bills.

    Kudos to you and the other Jan25 people. What you have achieved so far is great. My best wishes!

    Reply
  105. Nancy (@noughtsInAName on Twitter)
    February 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Someone just linked me to the plan proposed by the Wise-men’s council ( http://www.shorouknews.com/hokama/ ), and their second point seems be to in direct conflict with the second part of article 82 in the constitution (for quick access: http://bit.ly/h6KnXe ). How is that so? (I was surprised to see the council being referred to here. Also, this second point is absolutely crucial if the constitution is to allow for a newly-created party to nominate).

    (As you can tell, I’m of a different opinion. If this is considered harassment, please do indicate that to me. No hard feelings).

    Reply
  106. Mwforhy
    February 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Can much of these press releases, petitions, & for that matter… a revised constitution be composed by FB users in a group? Use that as a place to discuss it, get feedback, get agreements, with as many users as possible… Thousands if not millions…& then put forward thru a PR group? Would that be safer & democratic enough in nature? Sure, there will be flaws, but what alternative is there? Where is http://www.buildyoudemocracy.com ? Lol

    Reply
  107. Anonymous
    February 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Two more things the protest movement must achieve:

    1) Institutionalize access to any position with in the movement being accessable from bottom-up, fair and democratically, this is the only way which will be able to prevent the movement from being co-opted, in that you then simply bring new leaders to the top instead of those co-opted leaders being able to supress dissent within the movement itself.

    2) Oust anyone from the movement that does not stand fully behind the democratic principles of a constitutional republic. Any compromise here, whether it be with people from the MB or the NDP, will weaken your movement because your movement only gained strength by being firm on principle.

    Reply
  108. gupta
    February 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Disagree..Not an egyptian but your one supporter from billions you have.
    Indian!.
    your formula is longterm.but what about now??
    Lives have been lost, careers been put on line.People have spoken against the regime.You think they will forgive you??? Naaah..Don’t be naive..They shall hitback the moment world moves away from you, and its happening.
    coverage of egypt is getting slowly withered away, and soon you would find yourself in trouble.People are now getting ‘bored’ if not you, you must think about others affected by your revolution and their livelyhood.
    So end what you started.Take it to next level.
    As our freedom fighters said during our struggle–> Freedom demands sacrifice.you must not backdown now.

    March onto the presidential palace, tell him to choose between self getting out or get thrown out.

    good luck!!

    Reply
  109. Osiris
    February 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I’d love to see the people in Tahrir Square distribute ballots and hold a symbolic election in the square. Maybe elect a representative to be the head of their movement. That would require a lot less in the way of resources; some paper, ballot boxes, and ink for thumbs. Wouldn’t it be a powerful message to the world if we see the iconic democratic process unfolding in Tahrir? Wouldn’t it silence those who say the people in Tahrir are just an unorganized mob with no leader?

    Reply
  110. alivenkickn
    February 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Even that I believe that every human being is a political being whose thoughts and actions influences others, has an impact of the environmnet, it doesn´t mean that he is able too realise the political Reality. Even if this political reality sucks as it does in egypt up to now.

    I have never been a political human being, but due to my experience i am aware of the conficts mankind is bound. And moreover Politician are a special kind of human beeings.

    So no matter if you are just one of the every day people as I am or if you have a special social status, it is always about habit, attitude and fears.

    the right of living in freedom is a fundamental human right. and to see the people who are fighting for it by going on the streets, they have my fullest respect. moreover coward that i m sitting in germany i don t know what i´d do in a situation like this.

    you talk about the “5 million individuals nationwide who have joined these protests”. what about the 78 million egyptians? what about the farmers and the villagers who live alongside the nil, the population of the cities, governments and the beduins, . . . . http://www.citypopulation.de/Egypt.html

    what do they want – think?

    And furthermore – like it or not – there are fears of the governments who until jan 25 th have been involved (economical) in one way or another to the mubarak system. you can´t brush away 30 years old habits and attitudes. the “New” is always accompamied with fear.

    I really hope that freedom and democracy will find the way into egypt . . .the egypt way of freedom and democracy.

    Reply
  111. fandango52
    February 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    USE DONATE BUTTON ABOVE ON THIS PAGE PEOPLE.

    Reply
  112. Osiris
    February 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Gupta has a good point, the media coverage is starting to dwindle. I believe Mubarak is hoping the people will just wait in Tahrir. The banks and city are getting back to normal so the rest of the Egyptian people will turn their eyes away and get back to their normal lives.

    Something needs to happen to regain the world interest.

    Reply
  113. hugo
    February 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    My humble advice is this:
    1. Agree on a clear list of demands and get this list out EVERYWHERE
    2. Appoint a spokesperson for the people of the square (not a leader) that should bring this message on tv, radio, state television (if save) anywhere.
    3. Find ways to win military ranks for your demands as high as possible in peacefull way (I also dont have a clue how, but think of it).
    4. Counter tackle the propaganda of the regime by show casing the torture done, videos of violence, statements of victims, your demands, the corruption of the regime on big screens at the square that people can film by phone and take home to convince the silent majority at home.

    Only way forward is by convincing the silent majority and bring them back behind the protest and to ‘massage’ the weak spot in the line of commands in the army.

    to

    Reply
  114. captainlarab
    February 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Can you crowdsource the Egyptian constitution? There are lawyers all over the world who have helped write constitutions for emerging democracies. This was a big thing in Eastern Europe in the early 90s. Can you post an English and Arabic version of the current constitution and open it up to Wiki editing and comment? I want to see how an Emergency Law can stay in effect for 30 years, with the President being the only one who can repeal it. That’s not right. There should be some system of checks and balances that prevents this result.

    There are dozens of very prominent constitutional law professors in the United States. Obama was a constitutional law professor himself. Engage these people; it would be an interesting project for them and would help keep the spotlight on Egypt’s situation in influential American circles.

    Reply
  115. Shehab
    February 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Why there should be no compromise with this government!
    just my random thoughts… not really a reply…

    In this revolution there can be no compromise. Many people believe that the demands of this revolution are unrealistic because “the constitution won’t allow it”. They say it is important for the country to keep its structure and there has to be respect for the traditions. The constitution has to be respected. I say no. I say, the fact that they say this is exactly the problem. That is the same way of thinking that led to all those years of ineffectiveness. This inexplicable respect for these people and institutions and documents that have shown no real respect for us is what will lead to more dictatorships in Egypt. This will lead future leaders to the conclusion that they have rights and a certain minimum of respect that they deserve and are going to get no matter what they do. They don’t. They are not family. They are not friends. They are a necessary evil. We need them but they have power over us so we need to be very strict with them. Any uncontested force will expand. We the people need to always create an opposite force to keep the government in its place. Everyone or at least most people wanted the change. They were just to worried about disturbing the status quo and of the consequences of acting. We need to show Egyptians that there is nothing that can be imposed on them. They are bigger than anything. Bigger than the President, bigger than the Parliament and bigger even than the constitution. The constitution is in place to protect the people and when it is no longer doing its job it is not needed. No institution or document or person is more important for the people. All of these things were put in place for the people. And besides the current regime never respected this constitution. If they enforce its rule on us now that will mean the government can break the constitution but the people cant. That would mean that the constitution protects the government from the people. Any constitution than can be used like this is not a constitution and should not get the any respect. It should be replaced by a new constitution under a new “president” under the agreement of a new democratic parliament. This constitution has been through too much to hold in the future. We need to start fresh with a new constitution that everyone has to respect with clauses that help it protect itself. That should be nonnegotiable.

    Reply
  116. hugo
    February 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    As stated by slappymcgroundout above:
    Do not block the economy and people’s live, that will work against you and will make you loose the support of the silent majority. Find ways to peacefully block government to function (especially the once that represent the old regime most and you do not acknowledge) peaceful march to the palace/parliament (but keep women and elderly at the square), form human chains around goverment buildings so staff cannot enter, block police offices. Block the entrance of the state tv, etc. This will bring the protest on a higher level and new dynamic situation and will force slowly the army to choose sides. However you put a lot of people in danger and if violence will start from the protest movement side it could backlash.

    Reply
  117. Khaled
    February 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Your ideas are brilliant, sandmonkey, as are most of the suggestions in the comments.

    The worst fear appears to be happening – Omar Suleiman is staying in place, one of the commentators even suggests he is a good choice. What? the chief torturer and CIA point man for renditions, a good choice!

    That would not be regime or system change. That is what the exploiters want to have.

    Julia has got it right. Her experience in the Romanian revolution must be the reason. Anyway, why should anyone be afraid of MB? You may disagree with them, but they also have a right to be heard and paricipate and govern if the electorate gives them tis right.

    There is need not to let the revolution be hijacked, of which the risk by the old order is greatest, for this is what is backed by those pretending to be democrats, yet wanting to keep everyone under their control, ie – the Obamas and Clintons and Merkels of this world, who want business as usual, with cosmetic change of faces.

    Reply
  118. hugo
    February 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    As mentioned by others, when blocking the economy and peoples lives you will loose the support of the silent majority. You bring a lot of people in danger and it could backlash if violence start from the protest movement but it would bring the protest on a new and higher dynamic level. Block peacefully the functioning of government institutes (parliament, local government, police offices, ministeries, presidential palace etc), especially the ones that represent the old regime and that you do not acknowledge. Build it up slowly, don’t march to the palace directly. It is testing the army which side they want to choose, but make sure your demands are out to the public clearly before hand and a spokesperson is available for direct high level negotiations.

    Reply
  119. TDDPirate
    February 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I did not see any mention of the future of the relationships with Israel in the present posting.

    My question is: is it possible to educate the demonstrators and the general population that Israel is not the enemy?

    The reason we (the israelis) are nervous about the situation in Egypt is that the Moslem Brothers are our enemies and call for our destruction.

    I begin to suspect that the reason Mubark did nothing to promote peace and reconciliation among the populace and intellectuals of Egypt and Israel was to make himself indispensable to continuation of peace (or more correctly, lack of hostilities) among Egypt and Israel, hence ensuring that he gets strong Israeli support for continuation of his regime.

    Reply
  120. rebecca kaminski
    February 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Young man, how ashamed I am to be an American. The youth here are asleep and unplugged. Beguiled. I have four sons your age range. Even though I tried to raise them to be free thinkers they and their friends are unacceptably disengaged. It sickens me.

    You must be a voice for your generation. Prayer for your safety, a hedge for your and your comrades’ protection. Those of us aware, yet interned in poverty here in Corporatocracy, must spread your words. The very least we can do.

    My sixteen year old is reading aloud your last blog (the night you were beaten and taken) to his class for his assignment on Monday. His classmates and teacher are convinced Mubarak is just what corporate media here is feeding.
    They are being tooled to participate in faux terrorism. My son is bullied. He is accused of supporting terrorism. Monday, your profound words will be read aloud. Only God knows if they will be heard. We, who are aware, must keep your words, your message, your truth alive. Relentlessly.

    Reply
  121. Sender UpWords
    February 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Great piece of writing.

    As to people’s concerns about Israel, they are unfounded.

    The youth of the Arab world are standing up and saying enough is enough. In Egypt the cry is KEFAYA.

    History has shown us time and again, an predominantly young and educated population tired of the status quo is standing up and saying we want some of what you have. When movements such as these are grassroots they result in change.

    Remember folks, Democracy is a process not an event. The coming days, weeks and months will be very important in reshaping the democratic map of the Arab World.

    http://wp.me/pSOYe-UJ

    Love and Light,

    Sender

    Reply
  122. Ian
    February 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Why is it the US has yet to suspend aid? Seems to me the two should be tied, in other words the US should suspend all aid until the election is rerun and/or the coalition/political/constititional reform coalition is formed. In theory, it gives other governments a cleaner way to break with mubarak and support the coalition.

    That seems far better than the army installing someone or being the caretaker; having the army do that sets a bad precedent for the future.

    Reply
  123. kelly
    February 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Sam,i am so proud of you all, keep up the great work, you are right on everything you say. i pray that the people of Egypt win this battle and give Egypt a real change and then people from all the world can again get back to visitng — Egypt is a gem and is so so so important to the world’s history, i cannot wait to visit again. Take care of yourself though.

    Reply
  124. Bonojit
    February 6, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Solidarity message from Delhi University, India. Do circulate!!

    STATEMENT in SOLIDARIY with the STRUGGLE for SUBSTANTIVE POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY and DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS in EGYPT

    Teachers and students of History, RAMJAS COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY of DELHI, INDIA, while condemning in the strongest possible terms, the brutal assaults on hundreds and thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Egypt, express their unequivocal solidarity with the deep and widely-felt democratic aspirations of the Egyptian peoples.

    We sincerely hope–infact we are convinced–that the ongoing unprecedented mass uprising in Egypt will not only lead to the dismantling of Mubarak’s authoritarian regime, but also to the deepening and strengthening of the foundations for secularism, equality, social justice, democratic rights and civil liberties in Egypt, the rest of the Arab world and globally.

    Sd .: History Society Ramjas College, University of Delhi, India
    New Delhi
    4 Feb.2011

    Reply
  125. Khaled
    February 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    @TDDPirate, Let the Palestinians have a viable state, stop expansion and the vile treatment of Aarbs in your midst, and you will have no fear for your safety. As long as you behave like a colonial power, you will always be afraid.

    This revolution is about Egypt, about all the other oppressed people who are watching and learning, and those who side with Justice, should have no fear.

    Reply
  126. Bonojit
    February 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Solidarity Message from Delhi University, India. Please do circulate to other protesting and struggling masses of Egypt.

    STATEMENT in SOLIDARIY with the STRUGGLE for SUBSTANTIVE POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY and DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS in EGYPT

    Teachers and students of History, RAMJAS COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY of DELHI, INDIA, while condemning in the strongest possible terms, the brutal assaults on hundreds and thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Egypt, express their unequivocal solidarity with the deep and widely-felt democratic aspirations of the Egyptian peoples.

    We sincerely hope–infact we are convinced–that the ongoing unprecedented mass uprising in Egypt will not only lead to the dismantling of Mubarak’s authoritarian regime, but also to the deepening and strengthening of the foundations for secularism, equality, social justice, democratic rights and civil liberties in Egypt, the rest of the Arab world and globally.

    Sd .: History Society Ramjas College, University of Delhi, India
    New Delhi
    4 Feb.2011

    Reply
  127. Khaled
    February 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    The police or military have arrested some known figures like Wael Ghuneim, Ayman Mohyldin, and have not released them so far, not even disclosing where they are. They may even be tortured. Please spread the word and demand the unconditional release of all arrested.

    Reply
  128. Skin
    February 6, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I can only hope you guys would not give up. There’s a great comment in the NYT today, so allow me to quote it in its entirety:

    “As the United States and leading European nations threw their weight behind the Egyptian vice president’s attempt to defuse a popular uprising…”

    Try replacing “defuse” with “violently crack down on” maybe?

    Isn’t this the also same General Omar Suleiman who was deeply involved in the ‘secret’ CIA proxy rendition-torture program of the past decade? The person closest to Mubarak? How is that not like removing Stalin and installing Beria in his place?

    Suleiman and Mubarak should both be encouraged to leave the country immediately, and a rapid election schedule should be implemented, with the Egyptian military serving a temporary peacekeeping role.

    From PBS, 2007:

    CIA’s Confirmed Proxy Dentention Facility Prisons in Egypt:

    1. Tora Prison , South of Cairo

    “. . . Infamous for decades, the prison has held thousands of the country’s security detainees. . . . Most prisoners are transferred to Tora after their interrogations have been completed, and it is only at this point that a detainee becomes an officially recognized prisoner. Generally, after any injuries from torture have healed, detainees may receive visits from their family or lawyer. . .”

    2. State Security Investigations Stations, Lazoghly

    “. . .Located behind black-painted walls and defended by machine-gun nests on each corner, Lazoghly Square is one of the country’s most notorious addresses. Rounded up in early morning raids, political dissidents and Islamists are often taken here first for processing and, according to consistent accounts from former inmates, for torture. . . [which] involves prisoners being beaten, suspended over the edge of doors by arms tied behind their backs, subjected to cigarette burns and electric shocks, sexually harassed, deprived of sleep and food, and forced to watch relatives being tortured.”

    3. Mukhabarat al-Aama Headquarters, Cairo

    “Situated in the Abdeen area of Cairo, Mukhabarat al-Aama is the headquarters of the General Intelligence and Security Services, headed by General Omar Suleiman. The Mukhabarat usually receives rendered detainees for initial interrogation. . . ”

    4. State Security Investigations National Headquarters, Nasr City

    “. . . a torture room is also allegedly close to the [50] cells so that detainees, even when not being tortured themselves, were privy to the constant screams of others.”

    It’s now obvious that the U.S. “plan to bring democracy to Middle East” (endorsed by the G8, no less) was just window dressing to justify the war for oil in Iraq (where police just fired on protesters, another Tunisia-inspired situation being ignored by U.S. media).

    Apparently, the last thing our Washington-Wall Street nexus wants is democratic outbreak upsetting their corrupt kickback-based economic relations in countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia – and the center of that corruption appears to lie in the U.S. State Department, the ones pushing this ludicrous plan. Obama and Mubarak are looking more and more Carter and the Shah of Iran – and that’s not a very good sign.

    Of course, their larger concern is probably the spread of democratic uprisings to other countries across the region – the “domino effect.”

    Curiously, the last time the “domino effect” was mentioned in U.S. foreign policy circles was with respect to the spread of communism across Southeast Asia – so is democracy the new communism? Likewise, if this is a Prague Spring in the Middle East, are the U.S., Britain and the EU now going to play the role of the old Soviet Union?

    Reply
  129. batasi
    February 6, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I am from assam .Bangladesh. I have prayer for you my Egyptian brother and sister .remmber ,,Fear is the main reason for every falure and confidence is the reason for success.If you think that you are born to succeed then your body automaticaly releases the hormone which gives us power and happiness and of course a sound confidence. Fear is nothing but just? imagination , so why to think of that……………………… Good Luck,
    My Egyptian brother and sister ..

    Haramkur Mobarak (haramkur= unwanted child of nation) will be DOWN.

    Reply
  130. Amro
    February 6, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    This is a great idea and here is why:

    Mubarak’s regime (I.e. military, security apparatus and NDP) will not relinquish power easily. They don’t want to see the NDP dissolved or the military’s role in Egypt dimensioned or overridden.

    They have been cornered after the recent events and they only have few cards to play in order to maintain power. 1- Fend off western pressure by amplifying the Muslims brotherhood threat 2- Systematically weaken the resolve of the revolutionaries in Tahrir by turning the rest of the Egyptians on them – the economy suffering immensely, need to return to normal life, need security back 3- Restructure the NDP and prepare it for the next election against the Muslims Brotherhood which they still see as the only formidable opponent. Of course they will continue to do whatever it takes covertly to manipulate the outcome of the election. They will also intimidate and prosecute whoever they deem an obstacle to their plan, but they will be on a short leash.

    USA is buying their argument about the MBs and wants the regime to oversee the political transition including any interim reforms and more importantly allow them time to get their house in order before the next election. They want a friendly and secular regime in power. From now until September the regime will gear up its propaganda machine, regroup/reorganize its security apparatus and continue to polarize Egypt.
    In summary, they will try to brush-up their image in order to win the next election. They might also have a B plan to delay the election if they feel they can’t win or rig the election.

    The regime represents a certain culture that has been developed over the years in Egypt. This culture has firm core beliefs such as the relationship with Israel & USA, the role of the military and secularization of Egypt. But this regime is incapable of inspiring people or introducing real reforms. They are frozen in time and incapable of introducing long term solutions to any of the daily problems. They’re good at relieving the symptoms but can’t cure the disease. Therefore a new political party that can breath fresh air into Egypt’s political will be a great idea. It’s the beginning of a long term solution to fix Egypt.

    Counter Plan:
    1-Create a list of the revolution principles
    2-Demand that Jan 25th be considered a national holiday. It should be called “Martyr day”
    3-Continue the demonstrations until Mubarak leaves
    4-The youth movements should elect handful of representatives after Mubarak leaves to negotiate between the regime, wise-committee and the other opposition groups. You got to be careful with that because they will try to weaken the movements from within
    During the negotiations:
    4-Request the End of the emergency law
    5-Request the establishment of a unity government- appoint a prosecutor or a judge as an interior Minster
    6-Establish independent commissions to:
    Investigate recent events, police brutality and prosecute whoever is responsible
    7-Reform the constitution – To protect the natural rights of liberty and property including freedom of speech, a free press, free assembly, and free association. Restrict the executive power of the president. Their should be a referendum on the articles being amended.
    Oversee the preparation of the new election. Reform election laws to prevent illegal campaign finance activities. 40% of the population live on $2 a month income so it’s not hard to buy voices
    Create a vision for the new Egypt we want – For example, where we want to be 10 years from now when it comes to scientific research or what kind of economy we want in the future. Each ministry should create its strategy according to the vision. We need scientists and public figures like Magdy Ya3qub, Ahmed Zweail, Farouk Elbaz, Nagib Saweris… to lead this committee

    Establish a new political party that can offer an alternative strategy for moving Egypt forward (one that is permanent not temporary). It will be different than the regime and Muslim Brotherhood strategies. It needs to include, besides the revolutionaries, well respected public figures, seasoned politicians, retied military officers, economists and scientists/educators.

    The key to Egypt’s future is education. Democracy needs strong well educated population to protect it. You will need to start by educating the party member as well as the general public what democracy means. Additionally, you need to initiate/organize a public campaign to reach out the rest of the Egyptians who are still unclear of who’s behind the youth movements and the motive behind it. Some people are easy pry to the NDP’s propaganda and you need to make them informed/educated.

    This political party will end the unwavering support of the US to the current regime and open the door for further reforms that the regime might otherwise stifle. The US and the Egyptian people will see a well organized group that’s capable of competing with the Muslims brotherhood and the ancient regime. I mean you already proved how strong you’re. You already defeated the brutal security forces and shook the presidential palace. You just need to get organized in a political party. I think this way you can protect the revolution’s gains and change the future.

    Reply
  131. TDDPirate
    February 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    @Khaled, we (most of the Israelis) would be very happy to let the Palestinians have their own state, if we could be sure it’ll satisfy them and they’ll not continue to fight against the continued existence of a Jewish country in the area.
    After all, it was the point of the 1947 Partition Plan, which the Jews accepted and the Palestinians rejected.
    As things stand, the Palestinians want to destroy Israel and throw the Jews to the sea. Of course, it forces us to act like their (and their supporters’, like the Moslem Brothers) enemies.

    Reply
  132. tinysails
    February 6, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Let me get this straight. You’re going to build a political party from the ground up before the September elections? Good luck with that!

    What exactly does your new political party plan to do about rising food prices in Egypt? Hint: food prices are linked to fuel prices.

    Here’s a new political slogan for the Muslim Brotherhood: “Bump your head on the floor 10 times a day and all your troubles go away!”

    Reply
  133. Jim Stephens
    February 6, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    John McCain’s “virus” reply typifies American hypocricy. Right on to democratic voices and forces as long as they are innocuous. When they possibly threaten U.S. corporate interests and/or the U.S. Mighty Mouse, Israel, then those voices must be muzzled. As freedom of speech becomes aspirational here, the U.S. logically will deny it to millions of Arabs, many of whom follow the Prophet, not Bush or Obama. Keep your freedom song loud and clear. The world needs it. Follow me on twitter jimbalaya144

    Reply
  134. Anti Vigilante
    February 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve been screaming this same proposal. It’s good to see that you have similar ideas.

    It really is the only way, though I would go further and start creating the following:

    De jure grand juries

    - Do not register these wilth ANY official body or you will LOSE jurisdiction
    You can keep lists NOT registration – under registration there is a supervising organization

    You are not an organization yet therefore a superceding power will be imposed on you. This is the nature of legal words. A list is just a list. Registration implies submission from a common law standpoint. Black’s dictionary 5th edition (later editions are whitewashed – like Newspeak in 1984).

    Local governing bodies in the major localities

    - Begin making productive legislation immediately and start rescinding Mubarak policies without delay. The revolution is only a stop gap between the old Egypt and the new. It has no other purpose than to refuse the old regime. The revolution cannot create the new govt. The people must do that. You are not replacing the old regime with a new one under the same house of cards and feather constitution. Simply refuse the whole structure. The only way to refuse is to create anew. Solidarity must be productive. There is nothing to be bargained. Take the damn thing from them by declaring new government.

    Local police force to arrest snipers and provocateurs

    - Revolution over, new rule of law means no retaliation. Instead prosecution.

    Elect leaders to the new localities (feel free to change the names of places to drive the message home).

    Set a date for a national election
    - draw up documents of agreement on it and other terms you see fit.

    Set up trade and support committees to acquire needs, materials, and currency.

    -needs (food/water, shelter, energy), materials (textbooks, gardening tools, street lights) and currency (you could create a new one based on work or metals – silver is best, gold is manipulated badly). An internationally traded system of currencies can be found here: community-exchange.org. The worker gets a credit immediately after the worker and buyer agree. The buyer receives a negative in his account which can be resolved at a later date.

    EVERY STEP IS DECLARATION, ENGAGEMENT, AND ENFORCEMENT OF NEW GOVT.

    The purpose isn’t mainly to satisfy those seek new leaders, but to establish the enforcible voice of the people in concrete terms so that the new regime can submit to the new rule of the people and so the world will comprehend that you have moved forward. Let the world and new parasites understand that the old Egypt has been swept away.

    I’d be happy to discuss more.

    Reply
  135. hagay
    February 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    my prayers are with you.
    good luck.

    as for the data base I suggest you use a password scrambler such as in
    http://www.passwordscrambler.com/default.rst to generate passwords for members (you can prepare them in advance on small notes).
    each password will be generated using a “superuser password ” (known only to the person who hands out the password )
    the super user should prepare notes containing
    -his name (or nick name)
    -the user name (can be just date and time)
    -password

    this combination will later be used as a key (identity) for what ever will be thought of in the future without giving away personal information.

    Reply
  136. Pablo
    February 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Now you’re talking! Bless you, my friend. Long live Free Egypt.

    Reply
  137. A German from Berlin
    February 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    These parties talking to the regime are useless and create the impression they will break down shortly.
    You need to start discussing goals and a road map with the thinkers within the protesters.
    If you find people out of those that were on the streets, they will be backed broadly. Maybe join with ElBarradei for a new constitution. I know he is from outside, but that has the advantage that he is more idealistic and doesn’t fall for some breadcrumbs the government throws.
    Make sure you can keep on protesting. Teach the people on the street how democracy works. Get on state TV. Make them stop attacking the media.

    Reply
  138. Bob From Virginia
    February 7, 2011 at 12:19 am

    If you have not made travel arrangements yet I recommend you do so. Once the Moslem brotherhood takes over you are going to be one of the first people they are going to kill.

    I wish you good luck, but we all know who is going to rule Egypt in a year’s time if there is an election and it will not be any liberal reformers.

    I hope I am wrong but can you think of a situation like this that ended in a successful democracy?

    Reply
  139. Margaret
    February 7, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I am one of thousands (millions?) who is so proud of what you and your friends and associates are doing. I know you may not feel you need acknowledgment, but in my eyes, every one of you is a hero. Blessings to you!

    Reply
  140. asma
    February 7, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Just a note from Miami, Fl (US) to send my prayers for you and the Egyptian ppl. Best Wishes, AC

    Reply
  141. Andrea
    February 7, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Ideas for way forward:

    Now in the square:
    If you need to organise your demands/objectives – go old school with large paper and pens and write lists, and organise the people in the square into ‘strategy groups’. Don’t worry about registration, just worry about what you want for now.

    I know there are broad level objectives/demands which have been given to the government but you could take them further. Start as someone else said with the basis of new legislation, the key objectives, and changes you wish to see.

    There must be so many different experience bases (Professional and non-professional) in the square, and you could break it up into a range of issues to address – social, infrastructure, welfare, millitary, governance, communications, way forward (i.e timelines for objectives to start to happen – even if only the legislation to start with). …..

    On another level, there are ‘democracy’ experts around the world – i met one working in Afghanistan who was helping set up the new democratic system there…there may be such people available. ..in the Universities around the world – find your uni professors in the crowd and get them to get their international networks moving….

    Leadership: the above process may start to sift out the leaders in the square, there may already be some clear ones. Start with them, but allow the process to throw up different ones.

    Representative groups: Target different kinds of demographic for a representative panel -christian, muslim, young, old, women, male, employed, unemployed, educated, not educated, homeless etc.

    Time frames: try and work out a strategy for now, and then for later when the protests to dissipate. I.e set milestones, targets for objectives, whether it is legislation change, constitutional change, elections etc. Make them realistic, these things take time – but set milestones. If they don’t meet the milestones you protest again.

    If he doesn’t step down, maybe think about a referendum – get them to agree to a referendum which can be overseen by impartial international electoral montiroing, checking the process. A referendum to get him to stand down, so he can see it is larger than just the millions protesting.

    Reply
  142. Andrea
    February 7, 2011 at 1:32 am

    shehab….democracy is unfortunately all about compromise, so is freedom….you just have to work out what you compromise on, and what you dont……

    Reply
  143. NelleChan
    February 7, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Sandmonkey (Mahmoud),

    A few simple words of advice… Keep your wits about you. Consult with people you trust. Maintain your resolve.

    You are in my prayers.

    True democracy for Egypt!

    Reply
  144. kiskiokopustas
    February 7, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I want to share my experience from the times we broke out from Soviet Union.
    M.Gorbachov came to our city Vilnius to convince us to stay in Soviet Union. People chanted the name of our country “Lietuva” and he said “don’t be a noisy crowd, think, your leaders are misleading you”. Then our leader said “No, we are not just a noisy crowd and we know what we are doing. Now we will be silent for 10 minutes” And we did . We were absolutely silent for 10 minutes, you can here distant sounds of the city. After that M.Gorbachov left the stage, covered his face with his hands and sat silent in his car. He was defeated.
    Why wouldn’t you try something like that?.

    Reply
  145. Christina Vahlsing
    February 7, 2011 at 5:08 am

    The Egyptian protesters should start setting up the legal processes and writing a new Egyptian Constitution for its new government now… while they are protesting. The ideas that you presented at “Rantings of a Sandmonkey” blog of Sunday, 6 Feb 2011 titled “The Way Forward” should be reviewed by the Egyptian protesters. The new Egyptian Constitution must list all the Freedoms for Egyptians… “Free Enterprise / Market System” … “Equal Rights” … “Civil Rights” … “Freedom of Speech” … “Fair and equal Transaction Tax” for government funding … “Team Limits for Elective positions” … “Separation of Religion from State” … “Bipartisan – No Party Elective Voting” … and include in this new Egyptian Constitution … “that the government may not create any regulations that applies controls on the Egyptian population” … “that the government must only make regulations controlling the activities of the government” … “that no government employee, whether elected, appointed or hired are allowed to vote in any election” — This will impede the continued expansion of big government…etc.

    Reply
  146. Ahmed
    February 7, 2011 at 5:41 am

    The famous chant should be lengthened to “alsha3b yureed isqat ilnizam..ilgeish 3aleih isqat ilnizam”.

    Reply
  147. Ellis Goldberg
    February 7, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Welcome back! I’m relieved that you’re back from arrest and also back on line.

    Reply
  148. Gizmo
    February 7, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Mahmoud,

    Best wishes to the Egyptian people from the Hudson Valley of New York, USA. I have been glued to the live feed from Al Jazeera for the past 10 days, and will never watch another moment of American commercial TV– what a great network !

    I wonder if El Baradei could be installed as interim leader until elections are held later in 2011? There is a lot of merit in having a singular figure who commands respect, as opposed to a confusing coalition which could fracture and lose its way. A decisive, efficient leader who has the best interests of the people at heart stands a better chance of succeeding in the short term in a country that does not have a longstanding democratic tradition.

    Reply
  149. old hippie
    February 7, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Mahmoud,

    Perhaps one strategy would be for the pro-democracy forces to issue a public request to the American government to stop sending military aid and instead send food, medical supplies, aid to farmers, etc.
    If I have the math correct, the USA gives Egypt $1.5 billion in assistance, and 85% of that is in the form of military support. That ratio should change immediately in favor of more aid to the needs of the citizenry.

    Reply
  150. Matthew Gisonno
    February 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

    People of the world… time is running out… I put together this short 7 minute video to help inspire you… This revolution WILL succeed, but only if the people make it succeed. Although I cannot be there with you to help, please stay safe and know that the whole world is watching and supporting you!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_V6zMwaL04

    Reply
  151. FreeSpeech
    February 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Sandmonkey, in this article you sound as if you were swiss. ;-)

    It takes local initiatives to go forward, in everey country, and the local initiatives sum up to a will and an identity through debate and action.
    The Great Leader is a paradigm of the past.

    Reply
  152. Adam B.
    February 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Set up a UN led bureaucracy to maintain the country untill elections can be implemented.

    Greatest problem will be to set down a proper constitution, but this could be the sole responsibility of the first election; to compose a comitee charged with defining the basic laws of the land. Then, once a constituion has been agreed upon, have a second election to chose a government…

    The most important thing is for this constituion to demand that any party running for office have a democratic basis; no use in making the same mistake as the Palestinians, using democratic votes to elect a government that dismantles said democracy!

    Reply
  153. Sherine Elbanhawy
    February 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Amr Soliman Great action plan, however, just a note on securing the data, we must not input the data on web based apps to be hosted abroad outside the country! we have enough knowledge in town to secure our own data. it is our national database at the end of the day…just a comment.
    11 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 1 personYou like this.
    o
    Soraya Mohamed Islam I am impressed. But concerned at the same time, the army will never allow people to enter Tahrir square with tables,chairs & laptops. Another way to go about it ya Sherine is to get people to sign up to a site from their own homes. This way even people at home can join. Just a thought.
    3 hours ago · Like

    Reply
  154. Lisa
    February 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    And now that the revolution has started, I’m sure the Ikhwan will be content to see a centrist democratic government in Egypt.

    Reply
  155. Stefanie
    February 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    The secretary for foreign affairs Catherine Ashton has offered on behalf of the EU in a speech to give assistance to develop Egypt into a democracy. She said you should ask for help and the EU will give you support.
    Of cause you should do it in your own way and none should tell you how you have to act. Over 30 years you were told what to do. You do not need someone one who wants to dictate you how to behave.
    But the EU has experts who could consult you. Further the EU could provide you with technical equipment, which is necessary. Such a process is expensive and any financial help for organizing your process will be helpful.
    Furthermore if you ask the EU for assistance to organize the procedure and EU consultants are involved you would be better protected for the regime and others.
    It is not for getting dictated what you having to do. But the experience of the EU could be helpful for you.
    So I would think about an official request with regard to her offer to ask for persons who could consult you and for support in technical, financial etc. issues.

    All the best for you!

    Reply
  156. Hannah Wood
    February 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Hi, my name’s Hannah Wood from the World Have Your Say programme, BBC World Service in London. We were wondering whether you would like to contribute to our live discussion this evening comparing/contrasting what’s going on in Egypt now with what happened in Indonesia in 1998 with the fall of General Suharto? We have half our team in Jakarta but we want to hear some voices in Cairo too to get a discussion with all the perspectives possible. Please let me know via email asap. It would be great if you could speak to us from the studio in Cairo. Thanks so much, Hannah.

    Reply
  157. Faisal
    February 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Ya 3am batal to7ot 7agat keda betkhaleenee awafi2 3aleiha. Wana keda 7ahib fee meen?

    I support.

    Reply
  158. Pamela Smith
    February 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Your organizational vision is quite remarkable, but I echo the concerns above about secure servers, wireless, etc., but I think with all the brilliant young minds there in Fort Tahrir, you can work around those issues. I also echo the calls for your leadership, as it appears you have wonderful ideas to move the PEOPLE’s ideas forward. Please know that so many of us in the US are behind you. I know you have encouraged CODE PINK not to make donations, but at any time, if you need anything, please ask. We WILL be there for you!!! God bless you all for your commitment to TRUE democracy!!!

    Reply
  159. Charles
    February 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    the riots in egypt are essentially food riots.

    Therefor the answer to question as to what to do involves food.

    So first have a five year plan to subsidize Egyptian grain. During that five years invest in pulling up water from the ancient aquifers in the Egyptian western desert to grow grain. (Libya shares the same giant aquifer and already has huge wheat fields in the desert that can be seen from space) At the end of five years stop the subsidies and rely on the home grown wheat.

    Finally an international contest would be drawn up to collapse the cost of water desalination. The contest would to see who could drop the cost of seawater desalination by $100 on three oceans. Then a new contest would be held. Whoever could beat the new price point would win 1 billion dollars. And so on until the price of desalinized water was ~50@acre foot. At Which point it becomes cost competitive to grow crops. Another contest would be held to cut the cost of delivered water by pipeline. The idea would be to bring down the cost of installing, and maintaining the pipeline and lowering the cost of pumping water.

    Cheap water and cheap pipline pumping would make it possible to desert farm 1000 mile from any seacoast with desalinized water. Basically you’d be able to turn the deserts green around the world and double the size of the habitable planet and solve the worlds food water and population problem for 100-200 years.

    I have read that Mubarak has 40 billion in personal wealth. You might be able to get him to subsidize Egyptian grain imports for 5 years at a cost of 12 billion or so.
    You might also be able to get the Saudis to invest in Egyptian agriculture by pulling up water from the ancient aquifers. That might cost another 12 billion. It is in the Saudi interest to have a stable Egypt.
    Finally the cost of contests would also be born by international billionaires as proposed by Bill Gates. This program would run ten years for a cost of ~12 billion.

    In the end none of the parties that are non islamist will be able to govern unless they have a vision. This is it. Mubarak has actually been playing with the idea of grain independence–but he has not been able to deliver.

    Reply
  160. Apple
    February 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    The way forward requires a direction:

    1. Every single individual is born with inalienable rights to act from their rational judgments in order to live, to own property, to pursue his/her happiness.
    2. The government’s sole function is to protect these individual rights.
    3. So a government must be instituted with limited, enumerated spheres of action: police power for protection from within, military power for protection from without, court system for resolving disputes.

    Reply
  161. qunfuz
    February 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    good idea, Sandmonkey. I also think that the army should now be directly and constantly and loudly challenged to come onto the side of the people. and some direct action beyond the symbolic liberated space of Tahreer square is needed. Today I heard a union leader has beed arrested by the workers he failed to represent. that kind of thing. or a take over of the tv station. something to recapture the initiative. (these are thoughts from someone safely miles and miles away..)

    Reply
  162. Frank
    February 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Judging from the clothes women wear in Egypt’s demonstrations, and judging from their small numbers, it seems heavy-duty type Islamicism is well-ingrained; So chances are the “Brotherhood” will easily wiggle its way in and up and Egypt’s democratic hopes we can kiss goodbye.

    Reply
  163. katherine optimus maximae
    February 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    The interests of the United States and Egypt lie together. The United States relies on a prosperous and stable Egypt for security in the region. Not just for oil or natural gas. Egypt’s Suez Canal represents a major pipeline for commerce to and from countries around the region and beyond. This is true for Europe and even South America.

    Egypt cannot survive without the tariffs and fees generated from the use of the Canal, fees for portage of goods or money generated from tourism from around the globe. This is a symbiotic relationship. One is hard pressed to exist without the other. That means that it is Egypt as a nation that is the United States ally, not an individual leader or party.

    Reply
  164. Greg
    February 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    For personal security reasons you cant gather names. But you can use 1000 volunteers to pass out 100 tickets each to the 100000 people in the square. Each person who gets a ticket bites down to make a unique imprint. Then that person gives their ticket to someone they trust to represent them. Once a person collects 10 or 100 or 1000 tickets, they are eligible to be sworn in as a member of the Egyptian constitutional convention. The convention members will vote on an interim constitution and plan for elections. Each ticket counts as a vote. The Mubarak-lite government will need to approve the temporary constitution and election plan unless a 66% majority is available.

    As for the interim constitution, simply adopt the US Constitution plus bill of rights. There are well thought out checks and balances in the constitution. There is freedom of religion and protection of minorities, including the Muslim Brotherhood. People may not like the USA but we are good at looking out for our own interests and protecting the rights of our citizens and minorities.

    Just think if the Iraqis had started with the US Constitution instead of engaging in 5 years of war before their first inclusive election. Even then they couldn’t form a government for months and months. The idea of adopting an infidel Constitution is unthinkable right now. However, transplant our founding fathers 230 years through time and space to Egypt and these people would be considered very wise indeed!

    Just insert a clause like the Iraqis did “no law may contradict the established provisions of Islam”

    Reply
  165. Tara Krawczyk
    February 8, 2011 at 12:32 am

    # Tara Krawczyk Says:
    February 8th, 2011 at 12:13 am

    My heart is with all of you as you battle for the freedom you so deserve! When I heard about how the police are hunting down anti Mubarak individuals and scaring the families into secrecy my heart broke into a million pieces…I cannot believe that they would let out the prisoners and pay them to attack you! Evil doesnt even begin to describe who Mubarak is… He can try to muster all the sympathy he wants…please know that there are so many of us here in the United States who are praying for you and wishing your voice to not only be heard but that you will prevail over the evil regime forces at hand. Please know that I am doing what I can to spread the truth among my friends and family…to let them know not only what is happening currently but to spread a fervent air of kindred hope for the egyptian people. How I wish I knew what else I could do to help! God will prevail.. yes He will…. of one mind and heart..A Missouri woman

    Reply
  166. commonsense
    February 8, 2011 at 1:26 am

    The Egyptian Tea Party

    Sandmonkey’s “Egyptian Unity Party” would be to Egypt what the Tea Party has been to the U.S. political process — an agent to change other parties. His program as articulated correctly emphasizes registering members [getting addresses and contact details] and connecting them to each other over the Internet, where they can assort themselves by reputation. As a concept it isn’t bad, but it way underestimates the difficulty involved in such a task.If Sandmonkey’s program comes to fruition it will be a near miracle. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a real chance. There is nothing wrong with the core idea; it is in fact the same idea behind the primary challenge process, interstate compacts, and even the Constitutional amendment process. In all of these, the Internet plays a major part. The U.S. Tea Party, for example, lives on Facebook. Because form follows function, the Internet is going to play a major role in any subsequent Egyptian shakeup — unless we leave it to the moustache Petes.

    Reply
  167. Husam
    February 8, 2011 at 2:15 am

    BBC reporter in #Egypt – ppl in countryside buying gov’t propaganda that foreigner’s responsible, and all foreign media Israeli spies

    You have to stop the Stop the state-TV propaganda!! and its management are cracking down now:
    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/DA9B93A4-79E5-4F88-BFFE-ED20A00D4B2F.htm?GoogleStatID=9

    If it seems they cant see you!! Peacefully direct huge demonstrations to state-TV building and surround it, demand that the TV stop the propaganda and respect the #Jan25 revolution. Demand they start broadcasting patriotic songs for it, do not leave until they do! halt the life and access to it.. it’s time!

    Reply
  168. starfleet1
    February 8, 2011 at 2:28 am

    The key ingredients of any successful revolution are to capture the c3i, the command, control communications and – in this case – the institutes of state power. These would be the national tv and any radio stations as well as the imperial palace. It does not need to be violent – it should not be as violence would be counterproductive – but these should be huge marches to each site, with the marchers not stopping until every square meter of the facility is occupied. Information – communication – is the key – on the part of both parties. Whomever can control communications wins. It’s that simple. I stand with the people of Egypt and look forward to a peaceful transition to a democratic government – of the people, by the people, for the people.

    Reply
  169. Mary Paige
    February 8, 2011 at 3:35 am

    I’ve been trying to follow your blog. I have no advice – nothing to offer except my prayers for all of you. Although the United States is far from perfect – I suppose it is important to me that you know that our citizens are hoping for a democratic outcome for all of you. You have been suppressed for far too long. Our own fears of threats to our safety have put our leaders in a position where they have absolutely supported these despots. For that – I am so very sorry. Good luck and I hold your people in my prayers.

    Peace

    Reply
  170. Gerald
    February 8, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Egypt promoted very wide propoganda against Jews, in their TV, editorials, preachings at mosques, and it was seen at the recent protests where anti-regime posters were mixed with anti-Camp David Accords signs. This practically guarantees that radical Muslim will in the final “vote” take the country to new totalitarianism, only under a nominally different name, despite the voices of a few like the sandmonkey.

    Reply
  171. batasi
    February 8, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Omar Suleiman,

    On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top spy chief, was anointed vice president by tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in an attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran – and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo.

    Mubarak knew that Suleiman would command an instant lobby of supporters at Langley and among ‘Iran nexters’ in Washington – not to mention among other authoritarian mukhabarat-dependent regimes in the region. Suleiman is a favourite of Israel too; he held the Israel dossier and directed Egypt’s efforts to crush Hamas by demolishing the tunnels that have functioned as a smuggling conduit for both weapons and foodstuffs into Gaza.

    According to a WikiLeak(ed) US diplomatic cable, titled ‘Presidential Succession in Egypt’, dated May 14, 2007:

    “Egyptian intelligence chief and Mubarak consigliere, in past years Soliman was often cited as likely to be named to the long-vacant vice-presidential post. In the past two years, Soliman has stepped out of the shadows, and allowed himself to be photographed, and his meetings with foreign leaders reported. Many of our contacts believe that Soliman, because of his military background, would at least have to figure in any succession scenario.”

    From 1993 until Saturday, Suleiman was chief of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service. He remained largely in the shadows until 2001, when he started taking over powerful dossiers in the foreign ministry; he has since become a public figure, as the WikiLeak document attests. In 2009, he was touted by the London Telegraph and Foreign Policy as the most powerful spook in the region, topping even the head of Mossad.

    In the mid-1990s, Suleiman worked closely with the Clinton administration in devising and implementing its rendition program; back then, rendition involved kidnapping suspected terrorists and transferring them to a third country for trial. In The Dark Side, Jane Mayer describes how the rendition program began:

    “Each rendition was authorised at the very top levels of both governments [the US and Egypt] … The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top [CIA] officials. [Former US Ambassador to Egypt Edward] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as ‘very bright, very realistic’, adding that he was cognisant that there was a downside to ‘some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way’. (p. 113).

    “Technically, US law required the CIA to seek ‘assurances’ from Egypt that rendered suspects wouldn’t face torture. But under Suleiman’s reign at the EGIS, such assurances were considered close to worthless. As Michael Scheuer, a former CIA officer [head of the al-Qaeda desk], who helped set up the practise of rendition, later testified, even if such ‘assurances’ were written in indelible ink, ‘they weren’t worth a bucket of warm spit’.”

    Under the Bush administration, in the context of “the global war on terror”, US renditions became “extraordinary”, meaning the objective of kidnapping and extra-legal transfer was no longer to bring a suspect to trial – but rather for interrogation to seek actionable intelligence. The extraordinary rendition program landed some people in CIA black sites – and others were turned over for torture-by-proxy to other regimes. Egypt figured large as a torture destination of choice, as did Suleiman as Egypt’s torturer-in-chief. At least one person extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Egypt – Egyptian-born Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib – was reportedly tortured by Suleiman himself.

    Suleiman the torturer

    In October 2001, Habib was seized from a bus by Pakistani security forces. While detained in Pakistan, at the behest of American agents, he was suspended from a hook and electrocuted repeatedly. He was then turned over to the CIA, and in the process of transporting him to Egypt he endured the usual treatment: his clothes were cut off, a suppository was stuffed in his anus, he was put into a diaper – and ‘wrapped up like a spring roll’.

    In Egypt, as Habib recounts in his memoir, My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t, he was repeatedly subjected to electric shocks, immersed in water up to his nostrils and beaten. His fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. At one point, his interrogator slapped him so hard that his blindfold was dislodged, revealing the identity of his tormentor: Suleiman.

    Frustrated that Habib was not providing useful information or confessing to involvement in terrorism, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a shackled prisoner in front of Habib, which he did with a vicious karate kick. In April 2002, after five months in Egypt, Habib was rendered to American custody at Bagram prison in Afghanistan – and then transported to Guantanamo. On January 11, 2005, the day before he was scheduled to be charged, Dana Priest of the Washington Post published an exposé about Habib’s torture. The US government immediately announced that he would not be charged and would be repatriated to Australia.

    A far more infamous torture case, in which Suleiman also is directly implicated, is that of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. Unlike Habib, who was innocent of any ties to terror or militancy, al-Libi was allegedly a trainer at al-Khaldan camp in Afghanistan. He was captured by the Pakistanis while fleeing across the border in November 2001. He was sent to Bagram, and questioned by the FBI. But the CIA wanted to take over, which they did, and he was transported to a black site on the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea, then extraordinarily rendered to Egypt. Under torture there, al-Libi “confessed” knowledge about an al-Qaeda-Saddam connection, claiming that two al-Qaeda operatives had received training in Iraq for use in chemical and biological weapons. In early 2003, this was exactly the kind of information that the Bush administration was seeking to justify attacking Iraq and to persuade reluctant allies to go along. Indeed, al-Libi’s “confession” was one the central pieces of “evidence” presented at the United Nations by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to make the case for war.

    As it turns out, that confession was a lie tortured out of him by Egyptians. Here is how former CIA chief George Tenet describes the whole al-Libi situation in his 2007 memoir, At The Center Of The Storm:

    “We believed that al-Libi was withholding critical threat information at the time, so we transferred him to a third country for further debriefing. Allegations were made that we did so knowing that he would be tortured, but this is false. The country in question [Egypt] understood and agreed that they would hold al-Libi for a limited period. In the course of questioning while he was in US custody in Afghanistan, al-Libi made initial references to possible al-Qa’ida training in Iraq. He offered up information that a militant known as Abu Abdullah had told him that at least three times between 1997 and 2000, the now-deceased al-Qa’ida leader Mohammad Atef had sent Abu Abdullah to Iraq to seek training in poisons and mustard gas.

    “Another senior al-Qa’ida detainee told us that Mohammad Atef was interested in expanding al-Qa’ida’s ties to Iraq, which, in our eyes, added credibility to the reporting. Then, shortly after the Iraq war got under way, al-Libi recanted his story. Now, suddenly, he was saying that there was no such cooperative training. Inside the CIA, there was sharp division on his recantation. It led us to recall his reporting, and here is where the mystery begins.

    “Al-Libi’s story will no doubt be that he decided to fabricate in order to get better treatment and avoid harsh punishment. He clearly lied. We just don’t know when. Did he lie when he first said that al-Qa’ida members received training in Iraq – or did he lie when he said they did not? In my mind, either case might still be true. Perhaps, early on, he was under pressure, assumed his interrogators already knew the story, and sang away. After time passed and it became clear that he would not be harmed, he might have changed his story to cloud the minds of his captors. Al-Qa’ida operatives are trained to do just that. A recantation would restore his stature as someone who had successfully confounded the enemy. The fact is, we don’t know which story is true, and since we don’t know, we can assume nothing. (pp. 353-354)”

    Al-Libi was eventually sent off, quietly, to Libya – though he reportedly made a few other stops along the way – where he was imprisoned. The use of al-Libi’s statement in the build-up to the Iraq war made him a huge American liability once it became clear that the purported al-Qaeda-Saddam connection was a tortured lie. His whereabouts were, in fact, a secret for years, until April 2009 when Human Rights Watch researchers investigating the treatment of Libyan prisoners encountered him in the courtyard of a prison. Two weeks later, on May 10, al-Libi was dead, and the Gaddafi regime claimed it was a suicide.

    According to Evan Kohlmann, who enjoys favoured status among US officials as an ‘al-Qaeda expert’, citing a classified source: ‘Al-Libi’s death coincided with the first visit by Egypt’s spymaster Omar Suleiman to Tripoli.’

    Kohlmann surmises and opines that, after al-Libi recounted his story about about an al-Qaeda-Saddam-WMD connection, “The Egyptians were embarassed by this admission – and the Bush government found itself in hot water internationally. Then, in May 2009, Omar Suleiman saw an opportunity to get even with al-Libi and travelled to Tripoli. By the time Omar Suleiman’s plane left Tripoli, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi had committed ‘suicide’.”

    As people in Egypt and around the world speculate about the fate of the Mubarak regime, one thing should be very clear: Omar Suleiman is not the man to bring democracy to the country. His hands are too dirty, and any ‘stability’ he might be imagined to bring to the country and the region comes at way too high a price. Hopefully, the Egyptians who are thronging the streets and demanding a new era of freedom will make his removal from power part of their demands, too.

    Reply
  172. batasi
    February 8, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Suleiman the torturer

    In October 2001, Habib was seized from a bus by Pakistani security forces. While detained in Pakistan, at the behest of American agents, he was suspended from a hook and electrocuted repeatedly. He was then turned over to the CIA, and in the process of transporting him to Egypt he endured the usual treatment: his clothes were cut off, a suppository was stuffed in his anus, he was put into a diaper – and ‘wrapped up like a spring roll’.

    In Egypt, as Habib recounts in his memoir, My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn’t, he was repeatedly subjected to electric shocks, immersed in water up to his nostrils and beaten. His fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. At one point, his interrogator slapped him so hard that his blindfold was dislodged, revealing the identity of his tormentor: Suleiman.

    Frustrated that Habib was not providing useful information or confessing to involvement in terrorism, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a shackled prisoner in front of Habib, which he did with a vicious karate kick. In April 2002, after five months in Egypt, Habib was rendered to American custody at Bagram prison in Afghanistan – and then transported to Guantanamo. On January 11, 2005, the day before he was scheduled to be charged, Dana Priest of the Washington Post published an exposé about Habib’s torture. The US government immediately announced that he would not be charged and would be repatriated to Australia.

    A far more infamous torture case, in which Suleiman also is directly implicated, is that of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. Unlike Habib, who was innocent of any ties to terror or militancy, al-Libi was allegedly a trainer at al-Khaldan camp in Afghanistan. He was captured by the Pakistanis while fleeing across the border in November 2001. He was sent to Bagram, and questioned by the FBI. But the CIA wanted to take over, which they did, and he was transported to a black site on the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea, then extraordinarily rendered to Egypt. Under torture there, al-Libi “confessed” knowledge about an al-Qaeda–Saddam connection, claiming that two al-Qaeda operatives had received training in Iraq for use in chemical and biological weapons. In early 2003, this was exactly the kind of information that the Bush administration was seeking to justify attacking Iraq and to persuade reluctant allies to go along. Indeed, al-Libi’s “confession” was one the central pieces of “evidence” presented at the United Nations by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to make the case for war.

    Reply
  173. Asian American
    February 8, 2011 at 4:00 am

    The truth is there is nothing to fear but fear itself, and it is true. If you people lose and die where you stand today your children will be nothing more then slaves, you will be nothing more then slaves. A county of citizens with no hope, and no future. Ask these sonsofbitches, these fucking fat bastards, where is my IPOD, where IS my Kentucky fried Chicken where is my slice of pie? What is a life with no hope, no assurance of civility and justice. How can one live in a world where you don’t believe in Luck, Prosperity or a fucking lottery.

    If I were Egyptian and I had to live in this square for rest of my 5 minutes of my life eating rice and water i’d say it would be a hundred times better then 10 generations of slavery or hopelessness.

    Reply
  174. batasi
    February 8, 2011 at 4:09 am

    my egyptian brothers and sister … Egypt’s spymaster Omar Suleiman wants to be your next blood sucker .. so dont let him to suck your blood ..

    Reply
  175. riaz
    February 8, 2011 at 4:43 am

    Sandmonkey,
    Asking for protesters personal information might scare them away out of fear that information might end up in current regime’s lap. You have to be very careful while being creative about this.
    Please use a very decentralized approach to this information gathering process, for example do this behind the scenes in background and identify trusted community representatives from among those you and others have managed to organize online to whom you can disseminate plans very quickly using twitter and facebook. We pray that you and all egyptian people attain your freedom and lead the freedoms path to enire arab world. Please remember that milllions of ordinary people are praying for your success as freedom of millions others depends on what happens in Egypt. Stay stong my brother….

    Reply
  176. Tallulahdahling
    February 8, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Bless you, Sandmonkey.

    You are a courageous and wonderful man.

    I think your idea of gathering information on supporters could be a good one, but I agree with Paul who said: “But those lists! In the wrong hands, they would be a total disaster. And for people coming to the square, how would they know some impostor with a computer is not pretending to be in on the game, when is actually one of Mubarak’s goons?”

    It would be the easiest thing in the world, it seems to me, for government agents to pretend to be collecting names and contact information for your side.

    You would have to monitor that only people you know and trust are collecting names, and if any of you see someone who is unknown to you doing the same, you would have to be ready to get physical, take his collected list of names, and shoo him away. Of course, as soon as you made a move against him, the authorities would would swoop down, and there would be violence.

    Just something that you have to be ready for, and weigh the pros and cons. Which risks are necessary and productive and worth it, and which are not?

    I don’t know the answer to that, by the way – oh, except that the risks you already have been taking ARE definitely necessary, productive, and worth it. But this new idea… I don’t know.

    But I fervently hope that you survive this brave effort in good health and achieve all of your worthy aims.

    I have long been an admirerer.

    Reply
  177. Malcolm D B Munro
    February 8, 2011 at 5:51 am

    ????? ???

    ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ? ? ?? ???? ? ???????? ? ? ????????
    ? ? ??? ? ???? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ?????? ???????? ?????? ??? ?? ?. ? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ?. ?

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    ???? ??? ??? ????? ?. ? ??? ?? ?? ???? ???? ? ? ? ? ??? ????? ? ?????? ? ???? ? ???????????. ? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ????? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ? ? ??? ?????? ???????? ????????? ???????? ? ? ? ?????? ?????????? ? ????. ? ??? ??????? ? ??????????? ?????? ? ??? ? ? ? ????? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ? ? ? ? ??? ? ? ? ? ? + + ? ? ????. ? ??? ????? ??? ???? ?? ?? ?????? ? ??? ?????. ?

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    ?To the youth of Egypt

    When Barak Obama ran for President?,? through the Internet?,? Twitter and
    Facebook?,? he was able to mobilize many American young people to fund raise for him?.? His efforts were enormously successful and he gained a huge following amongst the young people in this country?.?

    ?When he gained office?,? that support?,? those young people, melted away?.?

    ?Many factors contributed to this?,? no doubt?.? One?,? at least?,? was?/?is that America has an entrenched two party system which young Americans appear to be disaffected by?.?

    ?Whatever the reason?,? I was sorry to see it happen?.?

    ?I say to the youth of Egypt today?,? in Tahrir Square?,? in every corner of the country?,? recognize that democracy is both participatory and representative?.?

    ?Democracy is not automatic?.? It will not run on autopilot?.? For your democracy to be representative of your views, and to offer what you want from the future?,? you must participate in it?.?

    ?When the beloved leader?,? Hosni Mobarak, finally and with dignity?,? as he will?,? hands over the reigns of power? to you,? you have to be willing to step up and form political parities?.? You have to participate in the process?.? Do not hand the reigns to others?,? for they will decide your future for you, with choices that do not suit you?.?

    ?It is more than understandable that?,? for the moment that you do not have leaders?.? You could not have achieved what you have already achieved and will achieve?,? had you had leaders, who could be identified and eliminated?.? One head would have been decapitated from the body politic that you represent?.? However?,? you are an organic whole?.? A worm cut in two forms two worms?.?

    ?The time is not far off when you will have to elect leaders?.? You will have to formulate positions and policies?; form parties.?

    ??Recognize that the time is not far off. Days or weeks hence, you will be among older, experienced, willy? men and women?,? who will?,? even in an open debate, will seek to subvert you?.?

    ??Now, and for the next two years, you must study ?democracy?.? You must become its students?.? I know that a political professor said recently that Tahrir square is the best political science university at present in the world?.?

    ?But that is not enough?.? You must each of you?,? all of you?,? become the masters of democracy?.? You must become as familiar with its ups and downs?,? it forward thrusts and sudden reversals?,? its beguiling and tragic moments?.? You must master democracy?,? the science of it?,? just as you have mastered Twitter?,? Facebook?,? C?++? and Perl?.? You must become as proficient in it as any group on Earth?.?

    ?Only in this way will you assure your future?,?

    ?Youth of Egypt?,? I salute you?.? You have unveiled something beautiful?.?

    ?Soon the hard and brutish realities of power will hang heavy from the tree of democracy ready to be plucked?.?

    ?You must be ready when that happens to pluck and bite on the often bitter fruit of democracy?.?

    ?Do not shirk this task?.? The road ahead is rocky?,? strewn with obstacles?.?

    ?Develop your political muscles now so as to be ready for the task ahead?.?

    ?May the force be with you?!?

    Reply
  178. katherine optimus maximae
    February 8, 2011 at 8:44 am

    what I meant to finish earlier, being summarily cut off by my internet, in regards to American and Egyptian relations and alliances…

    While I have been critical of Obama’s nuanced response to the protests and demands for freedom and democracy, I can understand our position. One that is not only predicated on US security, but on a favorable outcome for Egyptians as well. Egyptians want real freedom and real democracy, as seem to be stated by the majority, but there is a question of whether they can get it.

    A famous quote from the American Revolution. Ben Franklin when asked whether they had a monarchy or a republic replied: “A republic. If you can keep it.”

    What the US government has been doing in the back ground is giving the protesters time. No one can ignore the fact that the regime has most of the power of arms (as the case in most revolutions). They have police, secret police, various security apparatus and, frankly, the military. If they had wanted to, they could have crushed the demonstrations, no matter how big, from the beginning.

    They didn’t in the beginning. Because they were surprised at first. Then likely because they hoped it would simply lose steam. Finally, what made them withdraw these police and keep the military as “neutral” was pressure from the EU nations and United States. Of course, the military has its own interests to look to as an institution of Egypt manned by Egyptians.

    Don’t get me wrong, the hard work is being done on Egyptian soil by Egyptian people. The monetary and material support the US and others gives to Egypt isn’t just “evil blood money”. At this moment, it is the leverage that has been used to keep Mubarek, et al from becoming Saddam Hussein or Pol Pot, freely massacring their people to gain and maintain power.

    It isn’t the most ideal situation. At some point the regime may decide that the US is no longer an ally and decide to throw it all to the wind to maintain their own power. Fortunately for the protesters, the NDP and the military aren’t full of totally brainwashed ideologues. There are plenty of people with self-interest in surviving past Mubarek and the NDP. This keeps them susceptible to both the pressure of the protesters as well as pressure from foreign nations.

    In the end, when a new government is seated, I expect the US government to come out and recognize it immediately. They will look to re-establish any financial, security and political ties. Of course, their will be plenty of issues to renegotiate, but, aside from the Egyptian military, I would expect that we would lend our umbrella of military power to insure that the new Egypt has time to stabilize without any threats from the outside.

    The people who need the most time are all those who are not currently part of a party or other organization who truly want freedom and democracy for all citizens, not to come out of this with another oppressive or repressive government. They need time to organize, to put out their ideas, find leaders and look for potential candidates for any “next” election. Time to develop the voice that will give them their proper say in the development of a new constitution and law for Egypt.

    But time is slipping away. It’s a pendulum with many people pushing it back and forth to achieve their ends. Voices are starting to emerge. It is time to put together your agenda, your declaration, your manifesto, whatever you believe in and get everyone on message. It is time to tell Egyptians what you believe their rights are and to tell the rest of the world what you stand for.

    May a benevolent God grant you the real freedom and democracy you have longed for.

    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” – Declaration of Independence

    Reply
  179. Agostino
    February 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    The TV has shown a banner presents yesterday in Tahrir square:
    U.S., WE HATE YOU NOT BECAUSE WE HATE YOUR FREEDOM, BUT WE HATE YOU BEACAUSE YOU HATE OUR FREEDOM.
    The best congratulations for this clever summary of the geopolitical situation! It should be the LOGO of this movement.
    Bye

    Reply
  180. RocketRay
    February 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    How about this:

    1. Emergency law lifted immediately.
    2. Constitutional reform, including protesters/opposition started.
    3. NDP dissolved.
    4. Veep made ineligible for election.
    5. Mubs delegates authority to veep while undergoing medical treatment in Germany (indefinitely).
    6. Election in six months with full international/UN monitoring.

    This is just a partial list.

    Reply
  181. Khaled
    February 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    TDDPirate, I am sorry but actions of your governments, and a great deal of your citizenry do not show this. The continued expansion into the Palestinian lands, the annexations, the treatment of Arabs in Israel and the Occupied Territories — there are a thousand thinsg that amply demonstarte that the Israeli goverment does not a permanent solution. And all this is because of the blind support Israel has mustered from the US. This attitude will continue to keep Israel in perpetuasl fear, and it will continue to act irrationally until a big catastrophe takes place. You have to come out of this feat, and offer the Palestinians a real stae, not Bantustans.

    Reply
  182. vivalarevolucion
    February 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Sandmonkey, you may be a reluctant leader, but so were many of the best. If you are willing and able to exercise your gifts (along with others)… history will record them! “Voices are starting to emerge… put together your agenda, your declaration, your manifesto, whatever you believe in and get everyone on message.” blog entry #314

    A WORD TO ANYONE OUT THERE SPREADING NEGATIVE RHETORIC (and I include myself in a past blog), whether it be anti US by Americans or about Americans or anyone else for that matter… Such expressions will never be part of the solution and generally originate from feeling intensely frustrated and understandably angry. What’s needed now is plenty of affirmatives, positives, “THIS IS WHAT WE WANT”, holding the VISION in the forefront, looking ahead to the “SOLUTIONS”.

    I CALL for my government (I am an American) to SUPPORT the Egyptian people’s uprising for emancipation and freedom. Affirmative!

    I, for one, pledge to refocus my own frustrated and angry voice towards a VISION for what I want to see. I will keep my thinking as positive as possible. When my peace of mind is shattered by anger or unhappiness, I will calm myself by focusing on the opposite emotion – countering feelings of, doubt with FAITH and BELIEF, hatred with LOVE.

    Namaste and “POWER TO THE PEOPLE!”

    Reply
  183. christinaohio
    February 9, 2011 at 1:20 am

    SM I just saw yor interview on Foxnews.Looks like you are famous worldwide now! Take care of yourself.

    Reply
  184. Richard
    February 9, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Great article SM. I have just one comment, and that is on you being a leader, or not, in this movement. I have yet to see or hear an Egyptian personality better suited for a leadership role, and I would encourage you to seek one in this brave new Egypt you and your fellow countrymen are creating. Good luck, whatever you choose to do Sandmonkey. We’ll be rooting for you.

    Reply
  185. Richard
    February 9, 2011 at 3:46 am

    Great article SM. I would only comment on one thing, whether or not you should be a leader to these protesters. I have yet to see an Egyptian personality I think would be better suited for such a role than you. Good luck to you, whatever happens. We’ll be rooting for you.

    Reply
  186. Tarak
    February 9, 2011 at 4:19 am

    Brilliant….you need to step up and make this happen.

    Reply
  187. Nissl
    February 9, 2011 at 4:21 am

    Suggestion for creating additional leverage: have the protesters found channels to communicate directly with US/EU government representatives? Any meeting that could be arranged would greatly legitimize the movement.

    As for the list of conditions, I would add

    7. Release of all political prisoners
    8. Opposition control of at least a few major cabinet posts in the transition government.

    Reply
  188. Yaeli
    February 9, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Sam stay safe sweetie!

    Reply
  189. Joe
    February 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    To carry forward the struggle, it is critical to involve the entire working class. The signs of strikes spreading throughout the country are very important. It is critical that the working class begin to form new organizations of popular democracy, alternative centers of power in opposition to the Egyptian regime, controlled by the military and subordinate to the interests of the US, which is backing Suleiman. The movement in Egypt needs a new political program and perspective, one that unites the entire working class of the region and internationally against the capitalist system of inequality and repression. Visit facebook.com/SocialismInEgypt; http://www.wsws.org

    Reply
  190. Sandy
    February 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    That’s right. The working class has to lead this fight in Egypt. Only that class is going to pull behind it all the other oppressed and discontented, including the professionals, the farmers, the shopkeepers, in an uncompromising fight against the whole capitalist state machine represented by the army. It’s the working class that is the truly international class in Egypt and has the possibility of spreading this revolt. It has to organize itself independently and put forward a socialist program.

    http://www.facebook.com/SocialismInEgypt

    Reply
  191. the new Egyptian
    February 10, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I Like your second suggestion, it is the right way forward, I believe , I had a longer comment earlier but my computer crashed, data lost sorry.
    but I think you could combine both 1 and 2, having a party representative of wise men with reputation to the inside and outside world. it happened in 1919 with Saad Zaghloul negotiation with the occupiers :) here we are again!
    the wise men/women will speak your views to the media, foreign consulates and choose among themselves the ones to speak with the current regime.
    I like the model of Turkish regime, of the military guarding the new nature of the government, need to declare to the world the youth intention to honor the peace treaty going forward and maintain international relations peaceful.
    may God protect you.

    Reply
  192. Agostino
    February 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Whatever will be the end of this riot, if the winning side of next elections will not open the Rafah gate, everything would be sadly vain.

    Reply
  193. hhhh
    February 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

    are you sure egyptians all have the same concept of what this word democracy means? or is it like the islamists concept of “peace”?

    on top of a lack of clear leadership, the goal of democracy is even vague. do they mean an american democracy which is actually a republic? a social democracy? or just the democratic right to instate a theocracy?

    unity requires unifying for a common goal, but egyptians lost sight of that with inclusion of extremists, foreign political entities, and professional uprising organizers. the idea shouldn’t be to establish freedoms for purposes of dissolving peace and going to war. once again, the common man of egypt is being manipulated. people are dying in vain.

    give the outside world something we can support in good conscious, and we will.

    Reply
  194. CMAR II
    February 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Rock on, Sandmonkey!

    Reply
  195. djk
    February 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Hopefully when mubarek leaves, he will not be able to take the 70 billion that he probably obtained illegally from the citizens of Egypt. He should have to give it back.

    I hope for the people of Egypt democracy and freedom.

    Go Sandmonkey!!

    Reply
  196. Valerie
    February 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Just listened to Mubarak’s speech: I suspect this is going to be a long night.

    You won. You need to be able to recognize the win in that speech. I do not see this as a defeat. It will take some cool heads, some restraint, and a LOT of work -on all sides- over the next few months to ensure that Egypt comes out of this well.

    You can have a republic.

    Reply
  197. Valerie
    February 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Sam,

    Either the text of the speech at Al Jazeera contains some important deletions, or Mubarak made some important concessions when he deviated from the script.
    I can’t tell, since I heard it via translation, but I thought I heard about several constitutional amendments, not just two, and repeal of the emergency law.

    Reply
  198. Baboon
    February 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Dear Monkey,

    I am sorry to tell you, but you are quite naive. Successful revolutions are almost always bloody. Hear my words, If you won’t catch and hung Mubarac, you will fail. Don’t make the mistake and trust Obama. If he turned its back to Mubarc in a split second, he will sell you too if he needs to. believe me, no one will send troops to help you even if the army will start to shut. all the arab leaders are against you as they are afraid to be next. The only support you have is the one you don’t which to get (I.E Iran).

    You are on your own and the only way to win your revolution is to do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes means storming the palace, catch Mubarc and hung him after a trail.

    I hope I am wrong, but if today, or tomorrow what I wrote wont be done, your revolution will failed and he will go and get all the ones who supported the revolution. I am really sorry to tell you that, but maybe even for you it is now to kill or be killed. You choose your brave path and there is no turning back. I really hope I am mistaken and your peaceful way will prevail.

    Viva the revolution!

    Reply
  199. the new Egyptian
    February 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    comment on the speech
    Impaired Judgment is a result of dementia or “paranoid delusions”.
    a disqualifying state that demand immediate medical attention.

    Reply
  200. oliverrr
    February 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I came across the following texts by SPK (Socialist Patients Collective/Patients Front). Surely of great interest for all and extremely helpful in the current situation.

    Turn illness into a revolutionary weapon.
    Illness is protest and attack against the imperialism which is governed by the doctors’ class.
    Don’t permit that your protest becomes stolen.
    Everybody all over the world is ill and sick. All are patients. Make patients’ front against the doctors’ class.
    Create patients’ collectives everywhere.
    ILLNESSES UNITE !

    Socialist Patients Collective/Patients Front – Theory of Revolution
    http://www.spkpfh.de/Pro_illness.htm

    TURN ILLNESS INTO A WEAPON also in Morocco
    http://spkpfh.de/ILLNESS_WEAPON_Morocco.htm

    The state of the world is illness. What is to be done?
    http://www.spkpfh.de/The_state_of_the_world_is_illness.htm

    Reply
  201. Ellie Rosen
    February 11, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Sand Monkey! SO glad to see your writings again! Many were worried about you, and I am gald to see that you remain healthy and “free.”
    Your ideas are like those we call Grassroots Politics. You should be able to find websites that discuss these ideas. You can use that as your basis for persuasion at Tahrir Square.
    To divide into groups, you can just start asking people where they are from, then by word of mouth have people move to different areas of the square to discuss what the people want and elect a representative.
    This way no names are taken down, just everyone talks in the groups. You don’t need to have people prove where they are from, because anyone who is not honest will be a minor part of each discussion group.
    Thank God that you are out and can keep writing and giving us your thoughts; and giving your thoughts to the Egyptian people.
    God bless you and all of the people of Egypt!

    Reply
  202. Moron99
    February 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

    What if the evil dictator dude was allowed to keep his chair for six months on the condition of a UN administered general election to replace the president, the cabinet, the ministries, and all of parliament. Naturally terms would need to be set so that it would be a fully free and fair election including opinions & air time expressed on state media, allowing any Egyptian to run, guaranteeing no persecution of candidates, etc, etc.. I would not be surprised if UN would welcome the role of trusted custodian for civilian empowerment.

    Reply
  203. Gaby
    February 11, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Hey Sandmonkey,
    my heart goes to you and the brave pro-democracy protesters, but my mind supports Mubarak.
    In 1917 after a victory of a democratic revolution in Russia, a small but very aggressive, fanatic and confident clique of communists captured power and after that the whole world was shaking for 70 years. MB is as aggressive, as fanatic and as confident in their right to govern as Russian communists were, but while communists were a minority in Russia, MB is a majority in Egypt.
    BTW, Russia is only one example, the same happened in England under Cromwell, in France (the Jacobins) and in Iran (the islamists).
    So I have very little doubt about who is going to get to power in Egypt after Mubarak – and the results are going to be catastrophic for both Egyptian people and the whole world.
    Anyways even though I have a different opinion about the events in Egypt you have my greatest respect.
    Best Regards

    Reply
    • Shon
      December 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Gaby, thank you. The examples are very true and significant. And I support you also that the results will be catastrophic for the world.
      Best wishes, Shon

      Reply
  204. l00g33k
    February 11, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Regarding your Protestor Registry, many have commented and so I won’t. But I think there is a related registry that you can start and it could save lives. You should start a Missing Person Registry. Let me elaborate:

    1) Have every one give detailed information about himself/herself to a few people he/she knows and trusts, including full name, contact info, and clear and identifiable picture. Have these people keep the information private. Have every one do this, as many as possible.

    The purpose is to collect the information in a decentralized manner so that there isn’t a single master list to be had by the authority.

    There should not be any need for one single person to collect information for a large number of people. Remember the six degree of separation? Try to know a few people not in your group and every one will be included.

    2) Have these people check on each other frequently. Once some one is confirmed missing, post his/her information to a centralized database such as the Google Docs.

    When the person is already missing, there is less fear that the information could be exploited by the authority. The authority probably already had him/her.

    3) Should many people became missing, the centralized database could be publicized internationally to pressure the authority to not do harm to the person or to release the person.

    We have already seen the effectiveness of publicity on well known persons. When the person is missing and the international community demanded the release of the persons, the authority yielded. But this won’t work for the lesser known person because no one knows about their missing. The Missing Person Registry could do that. It could help save lives and freedoms.

    Just my two cents.

    Reply
  205. Justice4All
    February 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I think this is a very good plan, but I think some of it must now be adapted to the new situation on the grounds. The following facts have changed:
    1-The country is under military law, and although the army could dismiss the current cabinet they have already announced they will not do so. There will have to be a response from the opposition and that could be either demanding the dismissal of the cabinet or accepting the current cabinet as a transitional one. What I have not heard so far from any of the leading opposition figure is a cabinet roaster. This is all very sad, it is the result of 60 years of weeding opposition and killing any thoughts while in their infancy. The 2 major opposition parties would be Wafd and the brotherhood and perhaps baradei could nominate some other independent figures but I would personally not be satisfied and reluctant to see how those would be any better than the current one in place at any real level and not to mention the fact that seeing the brotherhood in government does not sit with me well yet.
    2-The current parliament, the current constitution and the current martial law should all be rewritten. I am in favor of a new constitution but could go with some meaningful amendments for the next6-12 months til the dust clears but the parliament must go, and we must hold parliamentary elections before voting in a president and a government. The army must provide a timeline for these steps and accepts the responsibilities and accountabilities of following this through.

    Things I see to be very important in the coming months:
    1-Setup a watchdog network, monitor and report any signs of deviation from the promises or the demands as well as a return to business as usual. We can do things with technology to make this easier
    2-Utilize the great positive and patriotic spirit sweeping through Egypt now. There are many unemployed people, there are many patriotic businessmen lets do something where the business community, the interim government could setup a workforce for those young people to do something good for the country. Could be cleaning, beautification , fighting illiteracy, visiting nursing homes and orphanage. There is so much to be done.

    the changes to the constitution will be very important. The rights of the Egyptian people must be defined in no ambiguous terms and so should the privileges and responsibilities of each of the key institutions and the lines between the executive and legislative branches of governments.

    last but not least, We must ensure that a 2nd amendment like clause is present and Egyptians will no longer be powerless in the face of tyranny

    Reply
  206. free picture editor download
    March 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Great idea, but too challenging imho…I don’t think people are ready for that. Not yet. Anyway, I’m glad you are back and write again, love your passion and your ideas. Your posts are always a revelation, two thumbs up!

    Reply
  207. Silver
    March 7, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Hi Sandmonkey……GREAT writing! maybe even suggest…you can get a database online and get people to ‘register’ online..just a thought

    Reply

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  15. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  16. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  17. [...] Rantings &#959f a Sandmonkey » T&#1211&#1077 Way Forward [...]

  18. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  19. [...] work of the leader can be done by a mean of communication? Seriously, can parliamentary action, as the Egypt Blogger Sandmonkey proposed, be thought in a different, technological [...]

  20. Bubble Yum says:

    [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  21. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  22. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  23. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  24. [...] in and chronicling the protests in Egypt, shared his thoughts on developments in the country in a new post on his blog today. Most notably, Sandmonkey explained that “even though it appears we are [...]

  25. [...] Sandmonkey lays out his vision of the way forward in Egypt. It is based on a strategy of getting the Internet-connected youth to take over existing parties and movements from their online strongholds. Whether the strategy is workable or not, it represents one of the first actual attempts to exploit the role of modern connectivity in a revolutionary process. [...]

  26. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  27. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  28. [...] am reposting here the full text as it appears on Sandmonkey’s blog as a safety measure in case his blog gets squashed by the regime. So here we go, and good luck to [...]

  29. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  30. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  31. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  32. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  33. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  34. [...] Rantings &#959f a Sandmonkey » T&#1211&#1077 Way Forward [...]

  35. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  36. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  37. [...] If you make the option to serve healthy super baby food, your baby will all ready be learning ways to make good healthy food options. This will help serve to avert any eating or weight issues later on in life. Related BlogsRantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  38. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  39. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  40. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  41. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  42. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  43. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  44. [...] überführt werden, die verhandlungsfähig sind, damit die den Wandel mit gestalten können. Sandmonkey macht dazu Vorschläge. Ich wünsche mir sehr, dass sie auf fruchtbaren Boden fallen. Aber skeptisch bin ich doch [...]

  45. [...] i giovani egiziani sotto i 30 anni sono la maggioranza degli egiziani. E in caso di elezioni, se riusciranno a fare un partito, potrebbero [...]

  46. [...] Rantings &#959f a Sandmonkey » T&#1211&#1077 Way Forward [...]

  47. [...] SandMonkey noted that the protesters need to transform themselves into a permanent voting bloc, perhaps under an umbrella Egyptian Unity [...]

  48. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  49. [...] inspectors around the police force. I think we’re now into this phase. Some people seem to agree, from very different points on the spectrum. Changing the union confederation and the university [...]

  50. [...] inspectors around the police force. I think we’re now into this phase. Some people seem to agree, from very different points on the spectrum. Changing the union confederation and the university [...]

  51. [...] like a mofo at @sandmonkey if you want to keep up with his coverage of the Egypt situation. From his first post after his detention: If we are to assess the successes of the movement so far, there have been a few key victories, but [...]

  52. [...] Spent yesterday reading a post by Sandmonkey: [...]

  53. [...] This story was posted Feb. 6 on Mahmoud Salem’s blog, Rantings of a Sandmonkey. [...]

  54. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  55. [...] The Way Forward by Blogger Sandmonkey who has an amazing sense of humor that is quite often reflected in his tweets. Follow his Blog or or Twitter @Sandmonkey . [...]

  56. [...] This story was posted Feb. 6 on Mahmoud Salem’s blog, Rantings of a Sandmonkey. [...]

  57. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

  58. [...] has put together his own suggestion for a political programme: Now, I am not a leader of this movement, and god [...]

  59. [...] has put together his own suggestion for a political programme: Now, I am not a leader of this movement, and god [...]

  60. [...] has put together his own suggestion for a political programme: Now, I am not a leader of this movement, and god [...]

  61. [...] has put together his own suggestion for a political programme: Now, I am not a leader of this movement, and god [...]

  62. [...] EGYPTIAN BLOGGER SandMonkey is back online.. his take is worth 50 hours of mainsteam Western gassing on the [...]

  63. [...] EGYPTIAN BLOGGER SandMonkey is back online.. his take is worth 50 hours of mainsteam Western gassing on the [...]

  64. [...] Rantings of a Sandmonkey » The Way Forward [...]

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