THURSDAY UPDATE: John and Jeffery are in Istanbul now, taking advantage of the local beer, and the layers of a city going back to Byzantium:
So we have fled the country temporarily. We are currently refugees in Istanbul (not Constantinople) which offers all of the typical trappings of a refugee environment: stunning views, great food, a local beer, Ottoman history everywhere. The usual.
For the time being we are safe and sound. Depending on how the situation in Cairo progresses this week, we will either return to Egypt next week or set up camp in an undisclosed location until further notice (not the United States). The American University in Cairo plans to reopen next week and begin a new session the week after.
More at John's blog here.
I tried reaching John Martin's blog from Egypt, and sure enough, it's blocked, but if you type/paste 22.214.171.124 in your browser's address window, it will take you to a Google page that can circumvents the Egyptian block, and from there you can reach John's blog-- You Can't Make Mistakes If You Don't Know What You're Doing-- though comments are disabled. Anyway, forwarded from the suburbs of Cairo, dated January 26:
Situation update for those concerned about our safety
.... There were widespread protest demonstrations in Cairo yesterday and in about 10 other cities as well. They have continued tonight, but on a smaller scale. There was a good deal of violence at one point late in the evening yesterday when the police finally decided to clear out the occupied areas. Tear-gas, water cannons and rubber bullets were all used. There were no live rounds fired. There have been several deaths and in Cairo about 250 people were injured and are now hospitalized. This could well be the beginning of something huge here, not unlike what happened in Tunisia. There are reports of rumors coming in that the son of the President (and his perceived successor) has left the country and is presently in London. It is rumored that the First Lady has also left. These reports have been vehemently denied by the American Embassy and should probably be considered unlikely to have actually occurred.
It will be interesting to watch how the situation progresses, but it will be unlikely to cause any problems for us. This seems so far to be a primarily secular popular revolt instead of one lead by the Muslim Brotherhood or other politico-religious groups. It is unclear where exactly the organization is coming from though. The protesters are regular, working-class people seeking governmental reform and measures to relieve the grinding poverty that Egypt is experiencing.
Social media sites and some news sites are being blocked variously throughout the country. Twitter confirmed earlier that they were in fact blocked yesterday. People are using external proxies in order to circumvent the internet blockades and communicate with each other. This will likely lead to stronger measures undertaken to control the flow of information both to news outlets and to those involved in the demonstrations. There are rumors that mobile phone service is being cut off for known activists. There were reports last evening that mobile services were cut off in Tahrir Square in central Cairo.
We are quite safe at present in Maadi (a southern suburb/district of Cairo). The part of the city we live in is far from the action, and the likelihood of anything happening in this particular suburb/district is low considering that it is inhabited primarily by wealthier folks and expatriates. Regardless, we’re keeping our eyes and ears open and making only leaving the house when absolutely necessary. Some of our more foolhardy friends are headed downtown regularly to scope out what is happening. They are brave, but perhaps a little foolish. It is understandable though. This is an exciting time here.
I am paying pretty close attention to what is happening and I will keep all of you informed in the case that the situation changes, possibly necessitating our evacuation. In that extremely unlikely scenario, our plan is to catch whatever flight is available to somewhere in Europe and then regroup and figure out what to do next. We will be extremely grateful to our friends in the EU if they will be willing to take in refugees at such a time as it becomes a necessity....
Don’t know much about physiognomy, but remembering what Lincoln said about a man earning his face, the cartoonist in me has been thinking about the noses worn by J.P. Morgan and his current avatar, Rupert Murdoch. Is there something about a bulbous nose that is not content with owning just part of the world, but has to own everything, knock any opposition to the ground?
Both men reached the enviable postion of doing whatever they damn well please and ignoring the laws of lesser men. Morgan got fat by controlling railroads and steel, dominant of their day, while Murdoch has sought hegemony over the space between the electorate’s ears. Morgan had a famously bulbous, purple nose deformed by rhinophyma, the result of untreated rosacea. Rupert Murdoch's seems to have been shaped by character, curling his upper lip and squinting his eyes at all the smells of a world he doesn’t like. He wears a frown that cannot, cannot permit any serious worldview that diverges from the worldview of Rupert Murdoch.
We have the miserly, pinched image of acquisitiveness, as captured in cartoon shorthand by the likeness of Scrooge, caricatures of Rockefeller, and Henry Ford— traits combined in the design of The Simpsons' C. Montgomery Burns, and before that, the stock figure of Pantalone. Morgan and Murdoch and their noses are of some different order altogether. Did this nose possess W.C. Fields, who could never drink his fair share, but had to drink it all?
How powerful was Morgan? It was Morgan who bought out Andrew Carnegie from U.S. Steel, the first billion dollar deal in history. How rich was he? In 1895 Morgan bailed out the federal government itself, then rescued it again in 1907. (It was the second bailout, incidentally, that prompted creation of the Federal Reserve system as an alternative to the whims of billionaires). The New York Times itself was purchased by the Ochs family with a loan from Morgan.
And Murdoch? Murdoch is "the organizer of half that is evil and nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows every quiver of each of them-- beg pardon-- that's Moriarty, not Murdoch. Of Moriarty's nose we know very little, though Alan Moore might make something of these connections, il miglior fabbro. and all that. Rupert Murdoch has shaped the world in his own image, sold his prejudices to the English-speaking world, giving the uber-rich a grip on power and resources that a medieval despot would envy. No need to instill a belief in the divine right of kings-- Rupert has empowered the ruling class to steal the common man’s shoes and then sell them back to him, taught them to deny the existence of a ruling class, hold out the pretense that the economic deck isn’t stacked, mock anti-Murdoch forces as fools and villains.
Urologists in London have debunked the penis-to-ratio myth-- so what is it about these men, that they spend their lives trying to fuck us?
Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. Representative for Arizona's 8th congressional district, was shot in the head today while attending a meet-the-representative event outside a Safeway grocery store. After shooting congresswoman Giffords, the assailant fired into the crowd at random, killing a nine year old child, a federal judge, and several others.
Sarah Palin's webmasters quickly moved to take down her PAC ad that featured crosshairs on Giffords' name. When asked about this during the campaign, Giffords told MSNBC, "We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.”
Giffords' opponent held a rally during the election with the following ad: "Get on Target for Victory in November / Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office / Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly".
"Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" Pls see my Facebook page"
It is expected that the political right will profess to be "horrified" and describe this act as "random" and "senseless". If they were capable of insight into their own culpability, they would not be who they are.