Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Egyptians now are 'all Libyans'

The bloody suppression of dissidents in neighboring Libya is galvanizing Egyptians. About 300 gathered in front of the Arab League building near Tahrir square in Cairo to demand (no doubt fruitlessly) that this pan-Arab organization do something.

Egyptians now are 'all Libyans'

An Egyptian man who fled from Libya through the Salloum land port gate carries his belongings at the Egyptian-Libyan border, in Salloum, Egypt. (Hussein Malla / AP Photo)
An Egyptian man who fled from Libya through the Salloum land port gate carries his belongings at the Egyptian-Libyan border, in Salloum, Egypt. (Hussein Malla / AP Photo)

The bloody suppression of dissidents in neighboring Libya is galvanizing Egyptians. About 300 gathered in front of the Arab League building near Tahrir square in Cairo to demand (no doubt fruitlessly) that this pan-Arab organization do something. They chanted "All Arab regimes are the same" and "Lift up your heads, Oh Arabs!"

Psychologist Mohsen Mahmoud, visibly. agitated,  was carrying a sign saying "I was Egyptian, now I am Libyan, Bahraini, Yemeni. I'm an Arab."

This sign accurately captures the ripple effect that the Egyptian rebellion has has on the Arab world.

No one knows how this domino chain of explosions will end (tho I'm sure Qaddafi will fall). Many journalists here have scattered to  Bahrain or the Egyptian-Libyan border.  

But I still believe the Egyptian revolution is the most important, because of Egypt's size and renewed standing in the Arab world. Libya is a human tragedy; Egypt is a test of whether a democracy with an active civil society can develop, for the first time, in the Arab world.

More coverage
Gallery: Trudy Rubin in Cairo
 
World View: Is the bloom of the revolution already fading?
 
World View: New civic spirit still alive on Cairo's streets
Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
About this blog

Trudy Rubin’s Worldview column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. In 2009-2011 she has made four lengthy trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past seven years, she visited Iraq eleven times, and also wrote from Iran, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, China, and South Korea.

She is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004. In 2001 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary and in 2008 she was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for international reporting. In 2010 she won the Arthur Ross award for international commentary from the Academy of American Diplomacy.

Reach Trudy at trubin@phillynews.com.

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
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