So there are several people who are either from Egypt or their families are or what not who have been organizers and activists in San Francisco and they called a rally today at 12pm. I headed down to where I thought it was being held but didn't see anyone except for a group of pro-choice demonstrators. I headed to the nearest Starbucks to hop on their wi-fi and got the correct location. As I was heading back I saw that a couple people were waving Eyptian flags. For background on why this rally was held, and the hopes of revolutionary activists to counter the Islamist trend in Egypt, see mikslvr's entry on this site "Revolution Interrupted ? ... Egypt's President Morsi grants his office new powers above and beyond everybody else". I recall at some point that protests against Morsi's assumption of special powers were partially successful but I must confess that I'm not sure what exactly has transpired and what is slated for the future in regard to the parliamentary elections and the ratification of the new constitution. Here, however, is the text from what the demonstrators handed out today:

NO to Morsi's Constitution. Egypt Deserves Better!

The proposed constitution is a step towards the creation of another Iran. Morsi's human rights record is the same as Mubarak's and his constitution is no better.

*No international or multi party oversight of elections. No guarantee against rigging the elections.

*Gives the president more powers than Mubarak ever had.

*Allows the army to try civilians in mock military courts, 10,000 are still in prison since the revolution started.

*Opens the door to clergymen applying Sharia. The 1971 constitution states that Shareya is the main souce of laws and rights. The new constitution puts it in the hands of clergy, senate, and law makers with no delineation of boundaries.

*Speaks about general citizenship but it has no explicit language against religious discrimination.

*Likewise, it has no explicit language against gender discrimination at work, education, financial, etc.

*Does not protect children from child labor or human trafficking. It does not even define the legal age of children, thus opening the door for Salafi's to allow girls' marraige at age 10.

*In a country where Mubarak's regime was built on torture the new constitution does not contain an explicit article against all forms of torture (article 36 refers to jails only and does not protect citizens in general).

*Changes parliamentary election laws in favor of political parties and against individual incumbents.

So, I talked with a couple of folks for a while, including another person who regularly shows up to various events to livestream them. One person there gave me a link to a talk and q&a posted on Youtube which I haven't watched yet but here's the link: Fair warning: this is a little over two hours long.

After leaving the Ferry Plaza I headed up Market St. and was surprised by the fact that the rally I saw earlier in the day was only a prelude. The antiabortion people had a huge number of people marching down Market St. True, as one counter-demonstrator I talked with pointed out, a lot of them were schoolkids bussed in with their parents and school groups and what not. Nevertheless, the size of the rally was astonishing. There was a small group of folks counter-demonstrating and I tried to do my part by shouting a few things at the crowd. I asked one cop why they weren't writing tickets for "lodging" (like they did with Occupy SF @ 101 Market) and his response was "We'll deal with that later."

I didn't take any pics of the Egypt rally, but here's some of the anti-abortion rally. Also, for those in SF on Monday Occupy will be holding a flash-mob action at the 101 Market site (empty since raided a month ago or so), with the focus set on demonstrating solidarity with Idle No More. Of course, there has been some debate over this and even within the indigenous communities of Canada over Idle No More itself, but at this point organizers are I believe correct in sensing that an attempt must be made to regalvanize the movement.


Egypt rally, anti-abortion rally, Occupy event Monday
Egypt rally, anti-abortion rally, Occupy event Monday
Egypt rally, anti-abortion rally, Occupy event Monday
Egypt rally, anti-abortion rally, Occupy event Monday
Egypt rally, anti-abortion rally, Occupy event Monday
Egypt rally, anti-abortion rally, Occupy event Monday


Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 6 years 33 weeks ago

It looks like you have been busy with the Occupy Movement, et cetera, Nimblecivet. I share your concern that Islamic fundamentalists might successfully turn the revolution into a springboard for putting themselves in power. However, I don't think that's the will of most Egyptians, so there is plenty of hope. The Egyptian owner of the local market, and my Coptic Christian Egyptian student both seem generally pleased with the revolution, but much remains to be seen.

Morsi's Constitution doesn't look nearly as good as what I would have expected after such a political transformation.

nimblecivet 6 years 33 weeks ago

The next piece of information I might try to look for is if there is a single entity that Egypt owes most of its debt to. Sometimes when a revolution occurs a nation defaults on its debts, but that doesn't seem to be the case with Egypt. They seem to be walking a tightrope when it comes to keeping their country together and dealing with all these outside forces that want to jockey for position as events in Egypt and in the Middle East transpire.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 33 weeks ago

Gud on ya, NimbleCivet, for your continued interest and participation in current goings on.

Very interesting your item about "Idle No More." I posted a blog on that a few days ago wondering if it might spread southwards. Apparently it has, sort of. As for Egypt, the very best I've found is here:

Within this essay there are references to others that you can click on for more in-depth, on the scene analyses. Some articles are in Arabic but others are in English.

These three Internet sites may help to clear up some of your questions concerning Egypt’s debt:

There’s also this at “Project Syndicate:”

The bulk of Egypt’s estimated $35-$37 billion in external debt is owed to official (governmental) creditors and multilateral and regional development institutions. At the same time that the World Bank publicly described Egypt as one of the region’s most corrupt countries, its own International Finance Corporation maintained Egypt as a leading customer.


The Brotherhood's Morsi has muffed it, badly. Egypt’s revolution is alive and well as noted in the jadaliyya essays and in today's news from aljazeera:

“The cabinet, meanwhile, approved a draft law which would allow Morsi to deploy the army on the streets to "participate with the police in preserving security and protecting vital establishments." The law still must be ratified by the upper house of parliament; it would last until after the next legislative elections, tentatively scheduled for April.”

“Morsi delivered a televised address on Sunday night and announced the emergency measures in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. A curfew will take effect on Monday from 9:00pm local time (19:00 GMT) to 6:00am (04:00 GMT); he warned that more action would be taken to stem the violence.”

PS: If the anti-abortionists put a damper on my whoring around can I still play pinochle?

nimblecivet 6 years 33 weeks ago

Good links. I'm still waiting to see how Qatar's influence will impact the Israel-Palestine dynamic.

Funny thing about the guy with the "no whoring" sign is that he's there every day, at the foot of the Powell St. trolley line where all the tourists congregate.

Nothing actually happened today regarding Idle No More but there was a rally yesterday that I was unable to attend for being out of town.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 33 weeks ago

NimbleCivet, only a fool would try to decipher M.E. happenings from the comfort of a faraway easy chair but, fool that I am, here's my limited and probably incorrect understanding of Qatar's role:

From what I read Qatar would like to undermine Iran’s influence and establish itself as a – or perhaps the - major actor in the Middle East. It has promised significant aid to Hamas hoping to “buy” a reconciliation of Gaza’s Hamas with the PA’s Fatah. On the other hand, Qatar gave millions to each of Israel’s rightist presidential candidates on condition that they support its plan for a united Palestine. By aiding Palestinians it hopes to diminish Iran’s influence in the region. Qatar, and apparently Israel, believes that Israel could negotiate successfully with a united Palestine. If all works out as Qatar hopes it would indeed become a major influence in the Middle East. It’s also significant that Qatar and Turkey have begun to pressure Israel (and thereby the U.S.) to engage in an aerial campaign against Syria’s Abbas. If successful, such a campaign would undermine the tacit U.S.-Russian agreement not to interfere in Syria. It’s all much too complex for me but the articles I’ve cited below might make it clearer. The final one may be the best. I think that you can ignore as specious the report that Qatar’s emir gave loaded pens to Hamas’ leaders - a story most likely planted by Iran’s “intelligence.” Some of the better articles are in Spanish but you could use Google’s translator if necessary.

Qatar financió las campañas electorales de Netanyahu y de Israel Beytenou

Red Voltaire | 26 de enero de 2013

Turquía y Qatar buscan una alianza con Israel para conseguir ataques aéreos contra Siria

by Diario Octubre / on 24 enero, 2013 at 18:15 /

Fady Marouf, Elías S. (This most likely is a false report planted by Iran)

This analysis (below), from what little I can understand, seems to have correctly assessed Qatar and its M.E. policy:

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 32 weeks ago

This essay speaks to Egypt’s ongoing troubles:

Another Year of Rage

Jan 28 2013 by Jadaliyya Egypt Editors

The last paragraph of the essay:

“Many observers note that Egypt is deeply divided between those who want an Islamic state and those who are committed to a secular vision for country’s future. Egypt is indeed a deeply divided country, but not only between Islamists and secularists. The deeper divisions lie elsewhere. There is one Egypt where people fight everyday for standing room in packed public buses, wait in line for hours to buy subsidized bread, and sell their furniture to afford the cost of medical treatment. There is another Egypt where people spend on a single dinner over half of what others earn in a year. The less Morsi and the Brotherhood bridge this deep divide, the wider the battle between Egyptian society and security organizations will become, and the more “days of rage” we will witness.”

If John Kerry shows as much interest in learning about M.E. affairs as you have, NimbleCivet, the U.S.'s policies may take a dramatic turn for the better. Let's hope.

nimblecivet 6 years 32 weeks ago

Thanks for the links Alberto, I have read most of the articles and saved the links to the websites. Yes, I too am a "fool" in that sense but we both know the limits of what we can accomplish and come to understand. As a "civilian" I can only hope that the perspective of the man on the street becomes the one which is the basis for the excercise of power. That takes a lot more people becoming concerned with these things than you and I and others who already are. There are a lot of people who are trying and I know there are efforts underway within Occupy to establish a democratic basis for governance. Look for things to start happening in May.

nimblecivet 6 years 32 weeks ago

btw for the sake of myself and others who might be reading here and on your threads maybe you could follow my example (at least sometimes, as you did in your last example) of quoting the core idea or facts of a given article you link to? Just a suggestion. I myself have put a limit on the time I am going to dedicate to this kind of thing. From now on my day is going to be divided into three categories. Morning: research and blogging. Afternoon: starting my own business, looking for a job, etc. Evening: learning and training re job skills, etc. (e.g. I need to start practicing Spanish again or I'll lose everything when I need to improve instead. Of course from time to time reading a political arrticle in Spanish won't hurt....). Any opinions on the immigration bill? I heard the gays aren't happy with it. Too bad since the gays are so progressive generally. And of course there's a much stronger progressive strain within the Spanish speaking community than the U.S.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 32 weeks ago

Good suggestion, NimbleCivet. I’ll try to paraphrase the content of at least some of the references that I post. I didn’t think it necessary in your case as I`ve noticed that you read them.

Just this morning I received a request from a group (RHR - Rabbis for Human Rights) of Israel’s Rabbis asking for me to send an email to PM Perez or Pres. Netanyahu (or both) in hopes of saving a Palestinian village. If you, or others, are interested in sending a message in support here’s the email that I sent with appropriate addresses. To be effective the email must be sent today:



Honorable Shimon Peres, President

Please use your power to prevent the injustice of wiping out the entire Palestinian village of Susya, whose only offense is building for its own survival. The villagers have been forced to build their flimsy homes on their farmland only because they have been twice expelled from their homes by the IDF.

Israel’s continued harsh and often brutal treatment of Palestinians not only harms them but may – almost certainly will – irreparably damage Israel as well.

Sincerely, (your name)

I'm sure that Rabbi Asherman won't mind my posting his entire letter. It gives emphasis to the effort:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

When I sent you the first installment of our video blog on the children of Susya I gave you fair warning that with the next installments there was going to be an ask.

It won't be easy to get President Shimon Peres' attention today. He will be busy meeting with Israel's political parties, before deciding who will get the opportunity to form the next government.

Twenty four hundred letters in twenty four hours might just get his attention, especially if enough of them are signed "Rabbi" or "Cantor." Please click her to send your letter.

You see, there isn't much of a question who is going to get the nod to form the next government. But, there is a bit more of a question whether there will be justice for Susya.

The Israeli High Court will be deciding the fate of Susya including the school featured in this week's video, at 11:30 am on Thursday morning (Israel time).

Watch: Going to School

The truth is, it is we Israelis who will be on trial. How is it that we have created a country in which we would twice expel families from their homes, reduce them to living on their farmlands in caves, destroy those caves, and then issue demolition orders on every alternative shelter they build? The prophet Nathan once accused King David of being akin to a rich man who takes the one little ewe lamb of a poor man, "You are that man." (Samuel II 12:7) On Thursday we will know if we are that country.

President Peres can not and should not be calling up the judges to tell them what to decide. However, if we get those 2,400 letters by this evening (Israel time), we might just have a much needed news story raising public awareness before the judges take their seats tomorrow morning. Maybe the President will even ask some of those party representatives angling for ministerial seats an unexpected question like, "By the way, what do you think we should do about Susya?" Perhaps he will paraphrase Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch and ask, "Just what is the chance of behaving justly when the army is planning and zoning on behalf or those who don't have any say in determining their own fate?"

It actually will be important what President Peres does the day after the Court rules. The fact of the matter is that there probably will not be an immediate decision to demolish Susya. The right wing NGO "Regavim" will argue for demolition, but the State has already told the Court that they can't demolish quite yet because they must first give due consideration to the alternative zoning plan that RHR submitted. The problem is, whether the Court sides with Regavim or with the State, the discriminatory planning mechanisms that led to this day in court remain in place. We therefore intend to be the voice in court stating, "As long as the system remains in place, we are that country."

The day after, we want the President to be saying that as well. When confronted by Nathan, King David acknowledged that he was that man. We must acknowledge that we are that country, so that we can begin to change.

Given all that is at stake, 2,400 letters in 24 hours isn’t very much to ask. It isn't much at all.

B'Vrakha (In Blessing),


Rabbi Arik Ascherman


Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 32 weeks ago

NimbleCivet and others, just in case you didn't know to click on the colored type in my comment above for the associated videos I'm pasting the URL's here as well as another URL for Video One that wasn't included in the letter. I become very emotional when I watch these videos. The U.S. could help these people, instead it does just the opposite - it helps their oppressor.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 32 weeks ago

NimbleCivet, from what little I’ve learned in the last couple of days, people in general here in Mexico, and the politicos, seem very pleased with the immigration reform proposals. It looks good to me right now but I haven’t read the proposals themselves, only the press releases. I have something of a personal stake in this as our son works in the U.S. (legally) and – against my wishes – would like U.S. citizenship. Our daughter-in-law is completing her PhD there as well but at the end of her studies she, and our granddaughter, might have trouble staying in the U.S. with our son. So…

OK, this analysis will give you another opportunity to brush up on your Spanish:

It’s unfortunate that same sex couples aren’t included. Obama, to his credit, wanted it to be part of the proposal and, if he ends up sending his own reform package to Congress, he will have an opportunity to include it. Congress, as you know very well, is mostly an old, very conservative bunch of doddering old men. It will take time and probably several new faces before Congress catches up with public opinion in this regard.


Obama Disagrees with Senate Immigration Reform Proposal's Omission of Gay Couples

Read more:

Changing the subject.

Just a day or so ago I posted (in an earlier comment here) a report that Qatar and Turkey were “encouraging” Israel to commence aerial attacks against Syria. Now it’s happened.

30 January 2013 Last updated at 21:54 GMT

Syria 'confirms' Israeli air strike near Lebanon border Israel fears Syrian arms may fall into Hezbollah's hands, and has strengthened its northern defences

The Syrian military has confirmed that Israeli jets have carried out an air strike on its territory, but denied reports that lorries carrying weapons bound for Lebanon were hit.

nimblecivet 6 years 32 weeks ago

I just sent the letter.

Probably wouldn't panic over Israel's strike, even though it was cross-border. Looks like Hezbollah got served. Not much desire to fight at this point if Hamas and Abbas are on the same page (re talks held in Egypt, getting with the Qatar program).

Maybe you can sign or give feedback on my petition?:

nimblecivet 6 years 32 weeks ago

Well, I'll have to retype this as somehow I mysteriously became logged out after the first try...

Its good that you posted these articles, Alberto, since they were not included on my most recent list of articles I get by email. You might be right about the Middle East blowing up (and everything else along with it). I think that Israel thinks things through very carefully though. So their justification for the strikes is believable. It seems apparent that the situation has changed so much since Iran first established their ties with Hezbollah that although Iran will not drop their alliances overnight no major player has an interest in escalation. Its for the Palestinian people to decide what their political alliances will be and it looks to me like they are ready to adopt a non-violent approach. But as long as the U.S. retains a realpolitik stance against Iran, Iran will have an interest in having skin in the game.

One thing I have not seen is any call for the U.S. to pressure Qatar, etc. to stop fanning the flames of what has become a civil war. So, you are probably right about Assad. The King of Jordan has also stated that anyone who thinks he's going down anytime soon is mistaken.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 32 weeks ago

Thanks for sending the letter, NimbleCivet. I like your petition and wanted to sign it but didn't because it asked for my home address as well as my email.

Russia may exercise restraint over Israel's most recent flaunting of international law and of course Syria is in no position to respond. But as a result tensions mount, alliances form and war appears much closer. In many ways Israel/U.S. relations mirror those of a spoiled child and an indulgent parent. At some point neighbors become involved and start to complain.

Some more thoughts:

I’m curious about what might happen in May with the Occupy movement. I’ve repeatedly offered my opinion that without a dynamic leader the movement will simply peter out. In addition to a vigorous leader its immediate goals need to be few, clearly and publicly stated.

I have suggested on several blogs that time spent reading Bertrand Russell would reward the reader many times over. In particular I’ve recommended his cogent, perspicuous essay “Authority and the Individual.” Here’s just one paragraph from that eloquently lucid essay:

“In politics, the association of personal initiative with a group is obvious and essential. Usually two groups are involved: the party and the electorate. If you wish to carry some reform, you must first persuade your party to adopt the reform, and then persuade the electorate to adopt your party. You may, of course, be able to operate directly upon the Government, but this is seldom possible in a matter that rouses much public interest. When it is not possible, the initiative required involves so much energy and time, and is so likely to end in failure, that most people prefer to acquiesce in the status quo, except to the extent of voting, once in five years, for some candidate who promises reform.”

On a larger international scale the present U.N. needs to be scrapped. The U.S. and Israel have emasculated and all but destroyed it. A new, more democratic body that excluded both the U.S.A. and Israel, that had no Security Council and that rejected unilateral vetoes could – should – replace it. Headquartered in a relatively small, independent and neutral country such an organization might legitimately aspire to bringing a measure of sanity to world affairs while reducing the possibility of a third – and possibly final and fatal – world war.

This summary from UK’s Guardian suggests that Syria may have the ability to retaliate and that it will. Assad may yet emerge from Syria’s civil war damaged but in control while Iran and Russia remain allies. The Mid East appears, from my perspective, ready to go up in flames at any moment. A relatively innocuous event might be the spark that ignites it.


Syria has threatened to retaliate for Wednesday's Israeli air strike near the capital, Damascus. Syria's ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul-Karim, said Damascus had "the option and the surprise to retaliate". Iran's deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said the attack would have "significant implications" for the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

The entire article:

Syria threatens retaliation for Israeli airstrike

January 31, 2013 | Modified: January 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm

“Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali threatened retribution for the Israeli airstrike, saying Damascus "has the option and the capacity to surprise in retaliation."

He told Hezbollah's al-Ahd news website that it was up to the relevant authorities to prepare the retaliation and choose the time and place.”

U.K.’s Economist has a measured and restrained commentary on Israel’s attack:

Israel v Syria

A rare Israeli attack on Syria

Jan 31st 2013, 11:15 by N.P. | JERUSALEM

“Mr Assad seems equally averse to hitting back. With half his realm in rebel hands, he hardly wants to open a new battle front. In fact, his border with Israel has been his quietest since the uprising against him began. (Even in calmer times, he held fire against his powerful Israeli neighbour after it bombed his nuclear reactor in 2008.)

Still, both Mr Assad and Hizbullah may ponder whether it may be worth having a limited confrontation with Israel. They may yet hope to find a common cause with jihadists fighting Israel, just as the Assad regime did after the American invasion of Iraq, when he helped them attack Americans there.”

Here's an article from one of Turkey's newspapers, about the same non-commital report as in others. All of them are more or less cautious, carbon copies no matter where they originate. That may change in a day or so.;jsessionid=7FCDC7BDEFD8AC7405706E67815252D1?newsId=305692

Syria and Iran threaten retaliation against Israel

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