Originally published 1-25-2011 17:04est
If you missed the fall of Communism playing out live on TV back in 1989-1990….you can catch a similar series of events – this time over the internet as the contagion of protest spreads over the North African regimes. The black-swan in Tunisia of a man immolating himself in protest, geared up into a full scale leaderless revolution, called the Jasmine Revolution, leading to the ouster of that countries 30 year dictator. Now the protests have spread, to Algeria, Egypt and other areas. Here is a video of Egytpian protestors actually chasing away Egyptian riot police,(1) and others standing up to a fire-hose truck and disabling it by pointing the hose into the air. (2) Although riots are not rare, this kind of forceful resistance to the police almost NEVER happens in Egypt, which is a very repressive police state. It’s of the same importance I think as the man standing in front of the tank in Tianemen Square protests – and if these videos spread virally (which I assume they will) I think the riot sizes will increase dramatically tomorrow and subsequent days. A good description of what makes these revolutions “different” is provided here. These are not religious extremists, these are a new generation of angry youths using Facebook and Twitter (3) to organize similar (4)to the Green Revolution in Iran. (5)
There are now reports that Mubarak’s family in Egypt has fled the country, which would be stunning as it’s another sign of perceived weakness, and Egypt has a far more repressive regime than Tunsia.
UPDATE: A good update from the day with video clips embedded from a reporter who followed the protests. Tonight in Cairo the Parliament is Surrounded. (6)
UPDATE: No word on the involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood, they’ve been atypically silent, which is a good thing. The worst outcome would be an Iranian style religious revolution putting a militant theocracy in the center of Mediterranean & Middle East politics.