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  1. Michael mocks and misunderstands personalities and powers of the Egyptian revolution. I object to his several of his inaccurate observations. Five months after the fall of Mubarak, there he is on his bed in the cage, with his two sons, his first trial day behind him, now on the medical wing of the prison in Cairo, back to court on the 7th. <img src="" width="339px"><img src="" width="339px"> I keep close watch on Egyptian news media/new media and am heavily involved in tracking and understanding events in Syria as well (which explains most of my non-posting at OL recently). Michael is surely right to point out that generic 'leftists' 'bash' the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The wonder of present-day Egypt for me is in its burgeoning, newly freed media and public civil space. The 'leftists' in Egypt range from Mona Eltahawy to Mohamed ElBaradei. I don't think this is quite accurate. No one is losing their public voice in Egypt. This is a time of great drama and political import, as the details of the transition are negotiated and contested in a vast and energized population that takes its revolution seriously. There are several strains of Islamists in Egypt right now, as the political skirmishing continues. The Muslim Brotherhood is riven in several sections, with four breakaway parties, expulsions and extreme disagreements between youth and autocracy in its internal affairs. The youth wing members (expelled and otherwise) have an alliance with the secular youth and the several broad Jan 25th political formations. The demonstration and hysteria by Salafists was widely reported and critiqued in Egypt, Michael. The grotesqueries of the hardcore Salafis at Tahrir gave added force to secular arguments against their stances. That altercation was bad news for Islamists. One has to check against the actual alliances on the ground. The MB itself has 17 allies in its electoral coalition, including the largest left party, Tagammu. It's the MB, with their paltry 12-17% poll showings, who need the embrace of the secular, youth, 'leftists' and others to hope to dominate the new parliament. Moreover, polls show a secular like ElBaradei or Moussa will thump any Brotherhood-tainted candidate for President under the new constitution. In the Egyptian context, citizens used and still use many media to express themselves and to influence the course of momentous events. Facebook and Google were a small part of the wave of revolt that passed by word of mouth and streetside organization by activists. Among them, perhaps in a news-clearing, reporting, coordinating and disseminating information, these tools were useful -- Michael is mostly correct to downplay any magnificence claimed for social media. A vast vanguard role for these media, no, but a remarkable tool for organizing and disseminating information. We need neither excessively valourize nor vilify. The greatest event, to my mind, is the vast expansion of ordinary freedoms suppressed by the Mubarak regime: Facebook, Twitter, Google, broadband, free television and radio. Freedom of movement and assembly. Freedom to demonstrate, freedom to speak out, create, criticize, protest -- freedom from arrest by secret police or thugs. There is a panorama unfolding, freedoms that we Westerners take for granted. Others might find the most momentous event to be Mubarak, sons and killer cronies in the cage . . . This is garbled nonsense. Sanctimonious youngsters like exactly who? "Feel-good stuff" means just what? Egypt is dismantling its old regime, trying its criminals, and moving forward without tanks and bullets. I myself am proud and supportive of the Egyptian revolution gains. They brought down the old system, hold the SCAF to account, and now have their former rulers in a courtroom ready for justice. That looks good to me, and is deeply satisfying to Egyptians repressed for so long by the old regime. Wael Ghonim is one of tens of thousands of fully-engaged Egyptians who influence Egyptian events. I have no influence except in very small ways to witness and counter inaccuracies. Ghonim is not my enemy -- I respect him and his commitment to secular democracy. To my eyes, Ghonim is no one's enemy, nobody's clown, not at all an idiot. It disheartens me to read this kind of off-kilter contempt from an opinion-leader on OL. Ghonim's live interview on Egyptian television four nights before Mubarak's departure was an effective mobilization tool -- it galvanized Egyptians to pour into Tahrir for the final showdown, and captured the public heart for the revolution from that evening on. If western media latched on to Ghonim's interview, it was because the human drama of Egypt was easily personified. He wept for those killed and millions wept with him. <img src="" width="339px"> Contempt and slurs against Ghonim puzzle me. Especially when it seems the contempt for his person and his activities shows no awareness of what he has been doing the last four months. With regard to the apparent strong dislike for other unnamed elements of the Egyptian revolution, I wish I could know whose side we should rightly be on -- if not supportive of Ghonim and his ilk, what side or group or person or movement or stance from inside Egypt deserves support, in the end? What would we do if we each had an Egyptian vote? As rational, objective observers with small and large interests in Egypt, what should we know before we mark our ballots? Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . . "Lawyer repeats claims that Mubarak is dead during opening session" (!) Source: Egypt's Arab Spring