"Yeah, we poked, prodded, shocked, beat, humiliated and sexually assaulted the protesters," says the senior Egyptian General. "What of it? They're all whores, right? That's what you do with whores. You naive Westerners say they weren't prostitutes, but you weren't there. Hell, these women were standing next to men in Tahrir Square. What else would they be?"
That's the shorter version of this report from CNN:
The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.
At that time, Maj. Amr Imam said 17 women had been arrested but denied allegations of torture or "virginity tests."
But now a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice. "The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine," the general said. "These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs)."
Egyptians toppled a dictator. But that's when things went sideways.
The people trusted the army -- Mubarak's security apparatus that had helped keep Egypt down for decades -- to somehow set the country up for democracy. This naivety is only excusable on the grounds that Mubarak's regime had crushed any sense among Egyptians about how politics works. Effectively, they've replaced one pharaoh with his face plastered everywhere with a bunch of little faceless pharaohs that may be even harder to get rid of.
Superman is giving up his American citizenship (Whatever that means for a fictional guy born on the planet Krypton. Talk about troubles in getting a birth certificate).
Don't worry; the iconic character hasn't really given up on truth, justice and the American way. The real story here is that America has given up on those old-time American values; particularly, that pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
Comic books have always been overtly political and this Superman storyline is only a more publicized example. Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch all went toe-to-toe with Hitler's goons in the war years. The Hulk smashed communist villains for most of his early run. Iron Man's origin has been retconned in recent years to include Al Queda terrorists. The medium poses larger-than-life contests between the forces of good and evil, infused with contemporary political themes that even children...More >>
The BBC's Middle East editor is not the only expert whose expertise now looks spurious. The Arab uprising is annihilating the assumptions of foreign ministries, academia and human rights groups with true revolutionary élan. In journalistic language, it is showing they had committed the greatest blunder a reporter can commit: they missed the story. They thought that the problems of the Middle East were at root the fault of democratic Israel or more broadly the democratic West. They did not see and did not want to see that while Israelis are certainly the Palestinians' problem — and vice versa — the problem of the subject millions of the Arab world was the tyranny, cruelty, corruption and inequality the Arab dictators enforced.
Put this starkly, it sounds as if the charges of double standards and anti-Semitism habitually directed at liberal Westerners are justified. But liberal prejudice — "anti-liberal prejudice" is a more accurate description — is a process as well as an ideology. Dictatorial states and movements shepherded liberal opinion into a one-way street by exploiting the
Will Syria be immune from the Arab Spring? The regime is perfectly willing to use lethal force (as usual) to stifle dissent. And it's hard to believe President Bashar Assad would cave to anything less than armed rebels beating down his bedroom door.
Update at 11:17 a.m. ET: Witnesses say Syrian troops opened fire today during a protest in Latakia, the AP reports. It is the first reported clash between security forces and demonstrators since a morning speech by President Bashar Assad, who promised job opportunities and a campaign corruption. Assad also blamed much of last week's popular protests on "conspirators."
Witnesses, who asked to remain unidentified for security reasons, say police opened fire during a protest by about 100 people — although it was not immediately clear whether they were firing in the air or at the protesters, the AP reports.
Update at 11:06 a.m. ET: Al-Jazeera TV reports that Syrian actvists are very disapponted with Assad's speech and have called for more demonstrations after Friday prayers.