Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Is “Clinically Dead”

Egypt’s state news agency MENA reports former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is “clinically dead.”

Egypt’s state-run news agency reports that doctors have declared former president Hosni Mubarak clinically dead after suffering a stroke in a prison hospital. Security sources and his lawyer say he is still alive, however.

Update at 5:53 p.m. ET: Reuters now cites security sources as saying Mubarak is not dead but is unconscious and on a respirator.

It’s possible that Mubarak could be brain dead but being kept alive mechanically.

Update at 5:43 p.m. ET: Despite the reports that resuscitation efforts had failed, Mubarak’s lawyer Farid El-Deeb told Al-Hayat television channel that he is still alive and that efforts to revive him are beginning to have some effect, Ahram Online reports.

The news outlet adds that “it is understood” that Mubarak has been suffering from cancer and heart problems.

Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison June 2 for the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators last year during the “Arab Spring” uprising.

Gaza Strip Open To Palestinians

I am exceedingly pleased with this development.

Egypt has relaxed restrictions at its border with the Gaza Strip, allowing many Palestinians to cross freely for the first time in four years.

Women, children and men over 40 are now allowed to pass freely. Men aged between 18 and 40 will still require a permit, and trade is prohibited.

The move – strongly opposed by Israel – comes some three months after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak lost power.

Egypt says the crossing will now be open from 0900 to 2100 every day except Fridays and holidays.

Although the border will still be closed for trade, the opening of the Rafah crossing is expected to provide a major economic boost to Gaza.

Up to 400 Palestinians were estimated to have gathered at the crossing as it opened on Saturday. By contrast, only about 300 Palestinians were previously allowed out of Gaza every day.

One of the first people to cross was Ward Labaa, a 27-year-old woman leaving Gaza for the first time to seek medical treatment in Cairo, the Associated Press reported.

Gaza resident Ali Nahallah, who has not left the Strip for four years, told the BBC the changes would be welcome.

“Of course this is our only entry point from Gaza to the external world,” he said.

“We feel that we live in a big jail in Gaza so now we feel a little bit more comfortable and life is easier now. My kids are willing to travel to see other places other than Gaza.”

 

President Mubarak Political Cartoons

To celebrate the downfall of a tyrant comes some great political cartoons.

As I Write The Sun Is Rising In Egypt

A lot of brave men and women who yearn for freedom are starting another day of hoping and fighting for a better Egypt. I wish more of the world would stand shoulder to shoulder with them.

The climate in Egypt is filled with more tension as this new day dawns than any that we have seen in the past few weeks.  That President Mubarak failed to meet his moment with history and step off the world stage on Thursday means the crisis has ratcheted up.  

Had Mubarak really cared about his people he would have stepped aside and let the process start that will eventually lead to elections and a new government.  That power and corruption have a stranglehold on Egypt is all too clear to see.   All can now understand much better why there is such seething hatred for Mubarak.

My view is that a certain segment of the Egyptian Army has weighed in and made a decision to stand with Mubarak as he is the one that greases their wallets.  How that translates into actions to curtail the protestors is what the coming hours may give more clarity to as the sun rises higher.

Friday prayers will give way to more protestors and tension than we have seen since this crisis started.  That blood may flow as a result of the Mubarak announcement Thursday seems more than likely.

Which would be very sad.

All along the protestors have been patient and have not resorted to violence.   Might it not then be Mubarak’s plan to incite the crowds to violence as a pretext to a violent crackdown by the army?  Might that have been the very reason for his speech Thursday?

Again, the sun is rising.

CNN is on…..the BBC is on…..the world is watching.

This is a sad world we live in when nations will not rise up and defend in the strongest terms possible those who wish to breathe freedom.

Couching behind diplomatic speak and timidity out of fear over the unknown is a horrible way to conduct foreign policy.  In this case, the wobbly knee crowd are fretting over the Muslim Brotherhood.

Might it not have occurred to these ‘thinkers’ that by not speaking truth  about Mubarak we are only strengthening the argument that the Brotherhood is making about the situation, and those in the world who are not standing with the protestors?

Watching History Being Made

I recall as a teenager the day Egyptian President Sadat, one of the true giants on the world stage when it came to leadership, traveled to Israel and stretched out his hand for peace.

That image…..that day…has never failed to renew within me the fact one person can make a  difference when determined to do so.  With a nod to history, and the peace process, Anwar El Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel officially.

However, it was a terrible day in 1981 when I awoke to the news, while enrolled in broadcasting school, that President Sadat had been assassinated.  I was shocked, and like millions around the world who believed in the peace process, angry that blind hatred could so alter the political landscape in Egypt and the Middle East.

Over the years since those events, and the dramatic ones that have played out in Egypt these past weeks, I have been captivated by the culture, history, religion, and foods of Egypt.    I have often spoken with friends about my desire to see the Nile, pyramids, and talk with those who call that place their home.  I am reminded at times how volatile this region can be, and yet I never lose the desire to touch my feet in the land of the pharaohs.

After the terrorist attacks in New York on 9/11 The New York Times ran a many-week series of snippets about each person that died in the Twin Towers.    One of them was about Wayne Alan Russo who had traveled all over the world, but had never made it to  Egypt.    In a last conversation with a traveling friend he said “Egypt next year.”

After reading the article I clipped it.  Over these years I have kept it in a special binder with all sorts of other news articles at my desk.   It was a reminder that we should always make plans for the future, but also a reminder that life is uncertain and we should strive to make dreams come true when we can.

Today I pulled that news clipping as the events unfolded with the announcement that President Mubarak was going to make a speech.  Many had hoped that it was to be an announcement that he would finally leave the nation that he has controlled for 30 years.  We were to learn that power is not easy to give up.

I suspect that Russo would have enjoyed the events playing out these past weeks.  I suspect he enjoyed history too, as that is one reason folks like to travel. To see the sites where history was made, and walk the places where the great leaders once ruled.    Russo probably had read of ancient Egypt as a kid the way I did, and wondered what the air of the Nile smelled like.

Watching history continue to unfold these past weeks in Egypt seems so close and yet so far.  With television and the internet we can be in Freedom Square with the protesters.  With the piles of books one can read about ancient Egypt, where the past can be illuminated and analyzed.   With modern transportation we can land in Cairo in about ( I think) 12 hours. 

Yet for most of us we will never get to the Nile.  Instead we will watch the events unfold, read books, and watch documentaries.  We will yearn along with those in Egypt who want freedom that they will feel it soon.

Perhaps someday along the Nile one or two of those who fight for freedom this year will tell me the story of how it happened in their country.  Like Russo did I am sticking with planning to see Egypt someday.

Until then on this side of the globe I will continue watching history unfold.

Sarah Palin Comments On…Um….Uprising In…Um…..Egypt

Vacuous.

“And nobody yet has, no body yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and um, no, not, not real um enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from D.C. in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And um, in these areas that are so volatile right now because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House.  We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with.  And um, we do not have all that information yet.”

Violence Against Journalists In Egypt Means Something Bad For Protesters

It is a chilling fact that often before a repressive regime does its dirty work…..the rolling of tanks over protesters, for instance…..they make every attempt to ensure that the media are not allowed to cover it.

That is why I am very alarmed at the increasing level of rage and violence taking place against the journalists and reporters covering the story in Egypt.

This will come to no good. 

The world needs to act with a higher level of urgency at making sure President Mubarak leaves the world stage.  While there is always the thinking that an evolutionary transition in governments such as that in Egypt makes regions more stable, and international relations more manageable, there are times such as now when old ‘rules’ must be abandoned.

I am very concerned tonight about the fate of those who yearn for more freedom in Egypt tonight.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has strongly condemned the attacks on journalists covering the ongoing situation in Egypt, terming it as a “violation of international norms“.

“This is a violation of international norms that guarantee freedom of the press and is unacceptable under any circumstances,” Ms. Clinton told reporters at joint conference with Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic.

“The Egyptian government must demonstrate its willingness to ensure journalists’ ability to report on these events to the people of Egypt and to the world,” she said.

Ms. Clinton also condemned in the strongest terms attacks on peaceful demonstrators, human rights activists, foreigners and diplomats.

“Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press are pillars of an open and inclusive society… It is especially in times of crisis that governments must demonstrate their adherence to these universal values,” she said.

BREAKING NEWS: Hosni Mubarak To Speak To Nation Tonight

UPDATED BELOW

End game?  Will he finally leave the world stage?

Lets hope.

Details to follow.

It is reported that President Mubarak will tell his nation that he will not run again when elections are held.

Will this be enough for those who are protesting?

I suspect not.