Jimmy Carter says he believes the Egyptian military when they say they will hand over full power to the civilian government. GlobalPost runs my photo of the event with a story by Aaron Ross.
I filmed Jimmy Carter in Cairo today, giving a press conference about the Carter Center’s preliminary findings of the recent Egyptian Parliamentary elections. In a story in the New York Times yesterday http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/world/middleeast/jimmy-carter-expects-egypt-military-to-keep-some-powers.html, he said the military had told him they will hold some official political power even after Parliament takes over. At the press conference he announced that yesterday he had talked with the military and they corrected him, saying they plan to turn over full political power to the Parliament. I imagine SCAF (the Egyptian military political arm) were uneasy with the New York Times story; whether their correction will come true remains to be seen.
I met Mona Iraqi at a protest event when she asked me about the camera I was filming with. It turns out she is an award-winning investigative filmmaker in Egypt and she invited me to come shoot in the slums of Egypt with her. She took two of my friends, Kevin Cook and Omar Ali to her house and cooked us some delicious Egyptian food and showed us her films. She has two really nice sons, pictured here.
I am staying in a hostel overlooking Tahrir Square (the view is the first shot in the video). On Friday, January 6, there were several protests against the military (SCAF) rule in Egypt. This protest marched from Tahrir Square, up Talaat Harb Street, to the Supreme Court, at which point they met another protest on the Supreme Court steps and continued the chant on the steps.
Reporters Without Borders Ranks Cairo on of the top 10 most dangerous places for journalists:
The pro-democracy demonstrations that finally forced Hosni Mubarak to stand down as president on 20 February began at the end of January in Tahrir Square, now the emblem of the Arab Spring uprisings. Foreign journalists were systematically attacked during the incredibly violent first week of February, when an all-out hate campaign was waged against the international media from 2 to 5 February. More than 200 violations were reported. Local journalists were also targeted. The scenario was similar six months later – from 19 to 28 November, in the run-up to parliamentary elections, and during the weekend of 17-18 December – during the crackdown on new demonstrations to demand the departure of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
This video has spread around the world, and caused an uproar in Egypt and abroad, particularly the shot where an Egyptian military police officer tears off a female protestor’s clothes and stomps on her open stomach.
Shot at Tahrir Square on December 17, this was also when the military police began firing into crowds of protestors with live ammunition, bringing the death toll to 16 at this point.
The Egyptian military is showing their inability to properly handle large protests; and this greatly undermines their legitimacy in Egypt and abroad. It remains to be seen whether they will make the proper efforts to apologize and reform quickly enough, or if they will continue to lose legitimacy.
It is unlikely the protestors will give up protesting; the military needs to quickly retrain the military police force to respond with the restraint required in an open democracy, until they turn power over to the civilian government. The images from the video above require them to do so.
I produced this video for the University of Pennsylvania in June 2011.