Subject: An American journalist’s (urgent) request
Date: Sunday, May 1, 2011, 2:17 AM
How are you?
I am an American journalist based in California. I am writing an article that partly concerns the Egyptian revolution in February. Would you be kind enough as to offer your answers to my questions below? If so, I would be deeply appreciative! It is for a high profile newspaper with international distribution. So, I want to be sure all my facts are correct.
Also, my deadline is Monday (possibly extended to Tuesday, May 4). So, I would need your answers AS SOON as possible. Kindly place your answers after each question.
1: Do you happen to know if those who linked arms around the Cairo Museum to protect the antiquities, in the first days of the protest movement, were the anti-Mubarak loyalists. Or, were they the protesters?
2: How long did these citizens remain in this protective role?
3: Were they linking arms?
4: Were they later (or soon) replaced by police or the military protecting the Museum?
5: Who was protecting the Museum on the day or days when the riders on camels entered Tahrir Square to beat back the protesters? Were they linking arms — or possibly armed?
6: I’ve often thought about the idea that the accomplishments of modern Cairo (in all fields of endeavor, artistic and more) do not compare to those of the ancient Egyptians. Is this an accurate assumption?
7: Are the most varied and beautiful minarets in Cairo close to Tahrir Square? Can they be seen from Tahrir Square?
8: Do farmers along the Nile, and those who farm close to Cairo, still use centuries-old farming methods — such as oxen with blindfolds tramping around water wheels, etc?
9: During the Mubarak decades, how much intellectual freedom existed at Egypt’s major universities — such as the American University of Cairo, other Cairo universities, those in Alexandria and more? Because of Mubarak’s political repression, were the university professors and students prevented from engaging in free and open intellectual exchanges, even discussing the quality of life under Mubarak, historical issues, etc.? Were scholars and political scientists — who could bring in fresh ideas — brought in from Europe and America?
Was there a repressive feeling, in which challenging ideas were stifled — and not permitted to be expressed? Were ideas taught that were critical of Mubarak’s regime and foreign policy?
10: Is it accurate to say that Mubarak was paternalistic — that is, treated the youth of Egypt like children who had to be restrained and taught only what he (“the father”) wanted them to know?
11: During the Mubarak decades, were those who criticized the government consistently thrown into jail? Were they tortured throughout all those decades? How many (or what percentage) were released by 2011, to form, perhaps, the core of protesters during the Revolution?
12: Were protest groups, or anti-Mubarak groups infiltrated by undercover government agents in the years before 2011?
13: In their passionate demands to free their country from Mubarak’s rule, why didn’t the protesters ALSO demand that all his close associates, advisors, and inner circle also step down — people such as Mohamed Tantawi? Was it because they were so eager to depose Mubarak that they did not seriously consider what would happen if his associates remained in power?
Why didn’t they think one step beyond Mubarak’s ouster, and realize they would or could likely confront similar repression if they and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces remained in power — those hand-picked by Mubarak? I am VERY CURIOUS because now, with the Supreme Council leading the country, I have read that the Emergency Laws are still in place, and protesters are STILL being thrown into jail? Tortured?
It is hard to believe that the protesters, with their intelligence, insights, strong instincts and savvy, would not consider this troubling issue? Am I correct?
MANY thanks if you are able to offer your responses so I could receive them by Monday, American time. In California, I am on Pacific Standard Time which is 3 hours earlier than New York.
All best wishes, XXXX