February 10, 2011
The King’s Speech [Video]
I’m glued to our web site, where the home page features a UStream.com embedded live video of the furious crowds in Tahrir Square. Their chants are my soundtrack while writing this. Moments ago President Hosni Mubarak gave a much-anticipated speech to address the protesters who have been demanding his resignation for the past two weeks. Instead of offering it, the president acted like the king he is, and refused to budge.
Mubarak said only that he would delegate more authority to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, and urged the young people to ignore the satellite images “marring Egypt’s image” in the world and go home.
Among the many things he doesn’t understand are that those images are SAVING Egypt’s image. It no longer looks like just another Mideast kleptocracy. It looks like a vibrant country struggling toward democracy.
Okay, the Jewish disclaimer: Things could go horribly wrong. In the words of attorney Jon Drucker, the sane response might still be “cautious pessimism.” But the images and interviews, and most of the experts, make clear that inside the bloated body of a backward dictatorship is a skinny country of freedom- and democracy-loving people just dying—literally, in some cases—to get out.
More and more Jews seem to be shedding their overwhelming fears of an Islamic radical takeover and embracing the movement—which, by the way, looked inevitable from the beginning. Yesterday a group spearheaded by rabbis and activists launched a statement of support to show Jewish support for the protesters. Entiotled, “Jewish Letter of Support for Egypt.”
[Added: One organizer, attorney Michael Feldman e-mailed me: “The letter, though it uses petition software, is not a petition. It does not advocate any course of action, even including the need for Mubarak to go. Specifically, neither I nor many of the rabbis joining undertook this to jump on board the “Mubarak must go bandwagon.” The overall point is that whatever happens and whatever our political beliefs, we should show that we care and we respect.]
The statement reads:
The signatories so far are:
See the protest live here:
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