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Monday, January 31, 2011

Nicholas Kristof from Tahrir Square

Nicholas D. Kristof facebooking from Tahrir Square:

I've arrived in Egypt! Amazing scene. Thanks for all your suggestions; I'll be FBing, tweeting, writing, if I can get on line. Borrowing a sat phone now. Tahrir Square is just unbelievable--first time I've ever strolled across it without worrying about traffic. Just tanks and thousands of protesters. Everybody's very hopeful and very nervous.


The back streets in Cairo are very tense after curfew, no traffic. Residents have set up roadblocks every 100 yards, and are armed with clubs, bats, steel rods and machetes. One had a gun. They ask for ID to make sure you're not a policeman or looter. They were all very polite to me, but it's a very tense environment ripe for accidents.


I just did a bunch more interviews at Tahrir Square, and the mood is giddy. I especially love the campfires. But it reminds me, painfully, of the equally giddy mood at Tiananmen Square before the shooting started. Some of the regime's moves -- earlier curfew, buzzing protesters with fighter planes, nasty media -- don't seem conciliatory at all.


I just snagged a satellite phone, so I'm on line again in Egypt! I spent the day at Tahrir Square until well after curfew, and even bigger crowds today. This is snowballing, and if it continues Mubarak is history. His only chance is if he orders a bloody crackdown and the army obeys; neither is certain, but both unfortunately are possible.

Zoon Politikon)



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