Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician who keynoted Sunday's Texas event attacked by two gunmen claiming allegiance to ISIS, did not always espouse the xenophobic views that have made him famous.
When I knew Wilders during my tenure as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands (1998-2001), he appeared to be a competent, knowledgeable member of Parliament, strong on defense issues, basically indistinguishable from his colleagues -- except for his signature bleached blond bouffant. Today the hairdo is the only thing I recognize in Wilders.
Following the 2002 murder of flamboyant anti-immigrant Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, Wilders emerged as the chief spokesman for the anti-immigration, anti-Muslim sentiment that had been growing steadily among the population since the late 1990s, but which mainstream politicians underestimated.… Seguir leyendo »
Artists tend to occupy the front lines against repression. So it comes as no surprise that the occupation of Egypt's Ministry of Culture protesting the "Brotherhoodization" of the ministry under the leadership of Alaa Abdel-Aziz has helped drive the planned massive demonstrations against Mohamed Morsy on Sunday.
Once again, the U.S. government appears to be on the fence in Egypt, with Ambassador Anne Patterson expressing skepticism about "street action" that could result in violent protests.
"People realize that this is about the identity of Egypt," said Hazem Azmy, a scholar active in the Culture of Ministry occupation.
With Ultras (militant soccer fans) standing by to protect the growing crowds, nightly performances are held outside the ministry, ranging from ballet to an impromptu concert by pop star Ahmed Saad that even had the police dancing.… Seguir leyendo »
Protests planned around Egypt-- particularly in Cairo's Tahrir Square -- on the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution are expected to be an explosion of dissent, revealing the deep divisions in the country between President Mohamed Morsy and the Egyptian people.
Opposition to Morsy's authoritarianism is broader than the world recognizes. In making accommodations for Morsy's government, the United States is -- once again -- out of step with the Egyptian people.
Egyptians may not know exactly what they want, but they know what they don't want. Although an effective political opposition has yet to coalesce, Egyptians from all sectors of society are united in their refusal to accept another repressive regime.… Seguir leyendo »
As Egyptians prepare for their milestone presidential election this week, thousands of activist youths who spearheaded the revolution -- the very ones who made the election possible -- will not be casting a vote. Instead, they are in prison, facing military trials.
On May 4, more than 350 protesters, including 16 women and 10 children, were arrested near Defense Ministry in the Abbaseya neighborhood of Cairo, adding to the approximately 12,000 political prisoners detained since the Revolution.
The Abbaseya protesters fortunate enough to be released from detention have revealed horrific stories of torture and abuse at the hands of military officers.… Seguir leyendo »