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Hosni Mubarak finally steps down (aljazeera.net)
332 points by dzlobin on Feb 11, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 127 comments



Watching Al Jazeera's live stream and they had one of their journalists on the phone from the square. She expressed excitement and delight that Mubarak was gone. The host guy back in the studio pointed out the journalist on the phone had been impartial up until now, and basically apologised for her expressing her opinion.

I thought that was pretty classy.


He actually said something along the lines of "...do forgive her for her reaction. She was 1 week old when Mubarak came into office."

Very cool.


Now it happened another time, and he was even more harsh, sth like "we are sorry that some of our Egyptian correspondents express their private emotions and opinions instead of only doing their proffession". That's what shows class and a really PRO approach. In Poland, when the pope died or the plane crashed, journalists of our local news stations started a crying/mourning contest - it was disgusting and unbearable to watch, and nobody from tv even cared to think that there was something extremely not proffessional about it.


Everyone on TV crying sure seems like it would be super annoying. But I find the notion that journalist should, or even indeed ever could, be 100% objective and impartial - silly.

Silly and most prevalent in America. Curiously also in America we have Fox news which clearly does not abide by objectivity even as it advertises itself with it.

My point is simply that pure objectivity is an impossibility.

Attempting to reach pure objectivity can lead you down a wrong path, just look at how American journalists contort themselves in order to be nautral, facts and reality be damned.

In Europe it is much more prevalent that everyone has a bias, know what it is and keep it in mind as you read, watch, or listen to them.

I'm hoping that Al Jazeera, which is accused of having copied the style of fox news if not the substance, does not follow American journalism down the path of a bias free utopia.

I hope Egyptian journalists who show any kind of emotion at this news, are only jokingly reprimanded. As long as it doesn't turn into a soap opera, bias ought to be expected of mere humans, even if they are journalists.


An objective view is one where you focus on the facts of reality, without trying to superimpose opinions on them. Trying to equally present all opinions does not necessarily have anything at all to do with the facts, and is not objective reporting. And though our models of reality are necessarily imperfect, we can still try to get them to match reality as well as we can. One of the big hazards to avoid is being emotionally entangled with the news in a way that prevents you from reporting it neutrally.

Al Jazeera derives most of its fame from being the least biased news agency in the Middle East, with satellites that let it broadcast to places that would prefer for their citizens only to have access to the official state-run news.


A tv journalist's job is to give information, not express own emotions. People are only people, and mistakes in moments of strong emotion can happen, but that's why they were reprimended. I know pure objectivity is technically impossible to achieve, but I turn on to the news hoping I will get information on the subject, not some journalists' feelings, because I really don't care - they're the medium, not the subject.

When journalists want to show some emotional aspect of an event, they can interview citizens on the streets, that's their job; expressing it themselves is not pro and surely not trustworthy.

> Al Jazeera, which is accused of having copied the style of fox news if not the substance

Huh? Who said that? AJE is BBC's school, not Fox. I've heard their local channels are more expressive in their orientation, but AJE is another league.



> The host guy back in the studio pointed out the journalist on the phone had been impartial up until now, and basically apologised for her expressing her opinion.

Really? I haven't been following the English Aljazeera, but the Arabic Al-Jazeera was not impartial at all throughout the revolution (which I don't mind).


It seems like the Arabic Al-Jazeera is more like the Fox News of the Arab world, while English Al-Jazeera is trying really hard to be more like BBC World.


It's not like Fox. It's pretty objective when it comes to different points of view. It's just not impartial when it comes to national issues.



Compare CNN to CNN international sometime :)

World news outlets (inter-regional) seem to be the best at objectivity.


or possibly a little condescending.


‎"The struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who seem invincible in their determination to hold on to it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience."

- Howard Zinn


The difficult part is always what comes after a revolution. Having the military in charge isn't necessarily a good thing, and whether Egypt does get a democratic government will now depend upon how the military behaves.


Not to mention that a democratic government, in itself, doesn't guarantee anything - large-scale corruption and incompetence are still a very real possibility.

Still, hopefully a step in the right direction - more options are now available to the Egyptian people.


Not just a real possibility, but a very likely one. I recall that in one interview, a protester was complaining about the lack of economic opportunity. "The supervisor hires all his nephews! Regular people can't get any hours!" (Or something to that effect.)

No matter how awesome the new regime is, I doubt they can fix this. Sad fact: many of Egypt's problems are inflicted by the people on themselves, not by Mubarak.


Alas, I can't find it now, but I recall reading a Foreign Policy article a few months ago which quoted one Egyptian as saying something like 'Mubarak is problem, but the much bigger problem is that this country has a million little Mubaraks, tiny totalitarians who rule their tiny fiefdoms with a tiny (iron) fist'; it seems that getting rid of Mubarak will have been much easier than displacing or reforming all the little Mubaraks.


That seems similar to the situation in Tunisia, and I'd say it's a common pattern that replicates itself whenever a country is under a dictatorship for decades.

This is a really incredible success of the Egyptian people, but it's just the first step of De-Mubarak-ification.


> large-scale corruption and incompetence are still a very real possibility

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

-- C. S. Lewis


I am so happy for the people of Egypt. This is one for the history books. Our kids will be reading about this revolution as an example of the peaceful power of the people.

I have to congratulate AlJazeera for their tremendous coverage of unfolding events. They have been very professional and fearless in their reporting. Western media should take notes.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring but for now Egypt and the entire world can smile wide and celebrate.

Mazal Tov to the people of Egypt!


When I see this kind of reaction, I can't help but think that the speaker is a "True Believer" in democracy and mob rule (in the Eric Hoffer sense). I readily concede that I know nothing about Egypt or what is going on there, but don't you think it's a little too early to congratulate and feel happy for the people? You even admit that no one knows what the country will be like in the next few years, but you want to celebrate, simply because they overthrew their president!


Guilty as charged. I am a "True Believer" in Democracy. Also, I believe truly that power and the right to govern is bestowed by the people. Clearly the people carried the day in Egypt.

Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring but it will not be under the foot of a dictator at least we know that - and how could that be bad? Am I scared that things will not go so well, sure. But I'm an optimist and I got to work for and I got to hope that things will work out for the best - for Egyptians, for Arabs, for Muslims, for Africans, for Israel, for Americans and for all people who want to be free.


> Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring but it will not be under the foot of a dictator at least we know that - and how could that be bad

In 1917 the Russian people got themselves out from under the foot of the Romanovs and into the hands of the Bolsheviks.


    Mazal Tov to the people of Egypt!
Why would you congratulate the people of Egypt in Hebrew?


I'd suspect that after enduring 30 years of struggle against a dictator that they wouldn't care what language they were cheered in. Most people just want to live in peace, it's only those who have an axe to grind that incite things by worrying what language someone is congratulated in.


Hebrew is my mother-tongue, I have no axe to grind.


Why would it matter?


It wouldn't, I assumed you spoke neither languages and have mistaken "mazal tov" for Arabic.

It's "mabruk" btw.


Mubarak handing power to the army probably means that the regime lives on, Mubarak's just not in charge of it anymore. Egypt's issues aren't settled now, this is only a step and it remains to be seen if real, true, democratic change is going to happen.


True. But there is an election coming up next. Now they have just began, Tunisia has just began too. There is an opportunity here since media will be opened (it already opened in Tunisia) and also the doors for true opponents. It's time to guard the election and ensure that the right one is elected.

We have just began, and I hope everything will be fine.


Many Egyptians were talking about having a constitutional convention to decide what sort of government they want. Perhaps it will acknowledge inalienable rights reserved to the people for example.

Hopefully that will be the next step, anything less than starting from scratch with their government is going to leave the old system and those who gained power from it in place.


That would be the smartest thing that they could possibly do, especially if they take the opportunity to define a constitution with strong protections for negative rights. With enough care they'll constrain any future government, protect fundamental freedoms and kill two birds with one stone by easing Western fears about the Muslim Brotherhood assuming power.

They would do well to learn from South Africa's example in this. I honestly believe that if it was not for the phased departure of apartheid from 1990 to 1994, combined with the constitutional convention and the preservation of the national police and the military, South Africa's transition would have ended in disaster. In the end the security forces played a massive role in creating a stable enough environment for the vital negotiations to take place and without the work of the military behind the scenes it's doubtful that the 1994 election would have happened at all.

So the biggest mistake now would be to rush this. Egyptians need to understand that the steps they take next are going to set the stage for the next 30 years and determine whether Mubarak will be followed by a true multi-party democracy or by yet another group of thuggish oppressors. They had better make it count.


True, this is only step 1. Torturer in chief also needs to step down, emergency lifted, and free elections have to be held. Look forward to steps 2, 3, 4.


Very interesting English Al Jazeera opinion article about vice-president Omar Suleiman, entitled "Suleiman: The CIA's man in Cairo":

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/2011271...


And Mubarak's Wikipedia entry is already edited:

Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak was the President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011. [1]

History unfolding live indeed.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosni_Mubarak


Next time, don't take down your country's Internet.


"If you want people to stay at home and do nothing, you should turn the internet back on." --- Conan O’Brian’s advice to Egypt

Regardless, the turnout and determination of the Egyptian people is an inspiration. Great to see the beginnings of a positive outcome.


About the only comment thread on this story that has a claim of belonging on HN.


Agreed. Sometimes people forget that this is "news for hackers" and not just news, however wide they are spread.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12433045

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo said the announcement caught everyone by surprise, and all over the city drivers honked their horns and people fired guns into the air.

But the army takeover looks very much like a military coup, our correspondent adds.

The constitution has been breached, he says, because officially it should be the speaker of parliament who takes over, not the army leadership.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. So far the Egyptian military have been on the right side of this situation but we have no guarantees what happens next. This is the end of the beginning, not the end.



I'd say it's a revolution the army joined in on. Parliament is stacked with Mubarak's party, so having them take over wouldn't have been much of a change.


I'm very happy for Egyptian people. People of Egypt deserve a better leader, a better government. The guy who said 'I am ready to die' yesterday on CNN almost made me cry. Thats the spirit, and that spirit deserved a victory which they finally achieved. I hope the same happens for other nations that have been held under dictatorship for decades.


Let's hope that is what they get.


They've set an example on how to do a peaceful revolution. They've earned the right to choose their own government. Now, they'll have to learn from their choices, good and bad ones!


Yes indeed, now the hard part comes.


Don't be very enthusiastic, especially for Egypt. They have got a very sensible position. They are Israel neighbor, they have the Suez Canal, and also the most populated Arabic country (They can become a power). That is, I don't think that the U.S will give up that easily.

Also keep in mind, that the Arab nations want to unite. If you give the people the power, you'll see tomorrow that most of the borders are removed, which let the place for the building of a very strong and influential civilization.

As I said in my other thread, we have just began and it'll be a very long road and will need a very long breath.


If you give the people the power, you'll see tomorrow that most of the borders are removed

WTF? Have you ever spoken with an actual Arab?

If you had, you'd know that nationalism is alive and well. Egyptians are quite cognizant of the differences between themselves and Syrians or Lebanese or Jordanians. They have zero interest in abolishing borders and uniting with other countries.

But what do I know, I'm only an Egyptian.


I really don't know about you. I'm not saying they want to form a one country and become one nation; but make trade easier, one currency (may be in the future). I was speaking from the financial side.

For their support for brothers countries like Palestine, may be you won't support them, but the majority does.

And you being an Egyptian doesn't represent what the majority of Egyptians think. Only the future will tell what their orientations will be.


Look at how difficult any of this similar co-operation has been for Europeans.

You seem to suggest that you can't extrapolate from one Egyptian to all Egyptians, yet at the same time you seem to be talking about Arabs as some monolithic mono-culture, which seems like a very backwards and ill-informed view.

Sure, Egyptians and, say, Jordanians are both Arabs, but guess what, Brits and, say, Austrians are both Germanic Caucasians, don't expect them to team up anytime soon.


but make trade easier, one currency (may be in the future). I was speaking from the financial side.

Do you have any evidence to support this idea? Anything at all? Or is this just some fantasy you dreamed up?

For their support for brothers countries like Palestine, may be you won't support them, but the majority does.

You need not fabricate beliefs for me regarding Palestine. It is not relevant to the discussion at hand, namely your evidence-free assertions.

And you being an Egyptian doesn't represent what the majority of Egyptians think. Only the future will what their orientations will be.

Of course not, but my direct experience is one data point. So far, you've supplied no evidence, direct experience or otherwise.


If you look at what has happened with Greece and Spain and Portugal and Ireland in the Euro... I strongly doubt any large group of nations will get on board the "one currency" train in the next 25 years.


> But what do I know, I'm only an Egyptian.

You're only one Egyptian.

Borders won't disappear, at least not over night, but Arabs have a sense of unity and brotherhood in their subconscious.

> WTF? Have you ever spoken with an actual Arab?

I am one ;) and I speak with them all the time. I believe csomar is also one (judging by his name).


Borders won't disappear, at least not over night, but Arabs have a sense of unity and brotherhood in their subconscious.

You know this is pseudo-science garbage, right? There is no reason to believe that Arabs have a particular "sense of unity and brotherhood". There is no evidence. I know that people like to make up stories about how awesome their national/religious/ethnic group is, but at HN I'd hope we could dispense with that BS.

And even if it were true, that doesn't tell us anything about whether Egyptians want to merge their country with Jordan or Libya or Sudan.


> You know this is pseudo-science garbage, right?

You're not making any sense.

> There is no reason to believe that Arabs have a particular "sense of unity and brotherhood".

There's plenty, actually. Just walk around any street in any major Arab city/capital and ask the people:

* Do you view Egyptians as your brothers

* Do you view Palestinian as your brothers

* Do you support the Palestinian cause

* Do you support the Egyptian revolution

> I know that people like to make up stories about how awesome their national/religious/ethnic group is, but at HN I'd hope we could dispense with that BS.

I didn't make any such claim.

EDIT:

Right this second, Al-Jazeera (Arabic) is reporting celebrations throughout the Arab world.


You're not making any sense.

Let me break it down for you: you made a claim about the sub-conscience of a group of hundreds of millions of people. You've supplied zero evidence. You've cited no scientific studies, nothing.

There's plenty, actually. Just walk around any street in any major Arab city/capital and ask the people

Let's assume everyone says yes...so what? What does that tell us about a sub-conscious sense of unity and brotherhood? If you went to many European countries, there'd be huge public support for the Egyptian revolution or the Palestinian cause, but surely that wouldn't be due to a sub-conscious sense of unity and brotherhood, right?


It's not a scientific claim; it's impossible to provide a scientific evidence about any sociological claim.

However, I believe my claim is not without evidence; there's plenty of evidence for it. You just have to be a part of the culture.

You do have to interpret it charitably, though. If you interpret it as "Every single Arab person has this ideology", then of course it's a false claim.

It's not too different from the claim that "Egyptians are fed up with Mubarak". I can assure you there are Egyptians who were against this revolution. For that matter, normal, educated Egyptians; not police thugs or businessmen. Maybe 10 million people marched to the street, but Egypt has way more population than just 10 million.

Going by your logic, one would dismiss the claim that "Egyptians are fed up with Mubarak" as non-scientific.

(Edit: I said you're not making sense because it doesn't make sense to use the word "scientific" when talking about this issue).

If you reject my claim about the existence of an "Arab brotherhood" spirit, then you're making a much more substantial claim than I am: you're claiming Arabs don't care about each other.

Your claim is the one that lacks evidence.


It's not a scientific claim

On that we agree. But its also not an empirical claim: it is something that exists outside the realm of evidence.

it's impossible to provide a scientific evidence about any sociological claim.

Do the sociologists know that?

If you reject my claim about the existence of an "Arab brotherhood" spirit, then you're making a much more substantial claim than I am: you're claiming Arabs don't care about each other.

No, you are very confused. You are the one making a claim. You are the one failing to provide any evidence for it. I'm not claiming that no such spirit exists: I'm pointing out that your claim is garbage because there is literally no evidence behind it. I don't have to prove anything because I'm not making a claim. All I have to do is show that your claim has zero evidence behind it.


You just have to be a part of the culture.

Did you miss MichaelSalib's post up-thread where he said, "But what do I know, I'm only an Egyptian."?


For the current stage, both Tunisia and Egypt, it's more important for these countries to regain their internal health: freedom for the people, fixing the corruption.

Getting rid of external influences (specially American) is a whole other story; to come in a later stage.


If these people spend all this energy and all this time, all over the right to initiate a war they'll lose with huge casualties with Israel, and close the hugely profitable Suez channel to US ships, then I have neither sympathy or enthusiasm for them. They'll just be Iran #2. If they don't make trouble in those two areas, the US won't care a bit.


http://blogs.aljazeera.net/sites/default/files/imagecache/Fe...

This is one of the better images I've seen showing the pure scale of the protests. In the US, we had our "million man march" which questionably had so many people. In Egypt, many millions have been involved over the course of far longer than one day. With relation to their total population, the size of the movement is pretty mind boggling.


The only time I've seen this many people gathered in one place in the US... is back when Chicago used to do a single, large fireworks display.

I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing.


Interesting (take-home?) interview question: how many people are in this picture? How confident are you of that number? What are your tightest upper and lower bounds?


Portugal had a revolution in 1974 that ended an dictatorship of more than 40 years. The Army was fed up with the colonial wars and persuaded by the left-wing illegal parties, took control of the country. Democracy exists in Portugal, but corruption and widespread cleptocracy by a small number of elite families still rule. I hope Egypt avoids that.


Reminds of 1989 here in Germany! Congratulation Egypt!


Which began in 1980 in Poland


Checz had it even earlier.


Hungary '56. Let's not get into a contest here.


We could probably go back to the 50s and all the events all around the eastern block during those times but that was not the point. Just that the events around 1980 (Gdansk .pl, Velvet .cz.sk) started the domino effect which led to dropping the Berlin Wall and eventually failure of the USSR. No contest here.


To be pedantic, it was the economic inefficiencies of the communist bloc that started everything. Events were just inevitablities.


If you can, I urge you to get a look of the live stream at aljazeera: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/ The Tahir square is absolutely euphoric.


This is a side question and I'd like to get any/all opinions since I have yet to find a suitable answer to this.

How do I, as an American citizen, minimize cognitive dissonance when the following disparate events occur?

America's stance: democracy and 'freedom' are fundamental rights of all people.

-and-

America's actions: refusing to recognize a democratically elected body because the resulting will of the people is openly hostile towards America and Israel (Hamas winning seats in Palestinian elections).


The positions are not fundamentally opposed. You can believe that people have the right to choose their own leaders while also believing both that they should be accountable for that choice and that those leaders can be ignored or shunned if they do not follow the rules of the international community.

In other words, the only legitimacy that being elected democratically confers on leaders is that of being the authentic representatives of their people. The greater legitimacy of a government as a member of the international community of states might be influenced by whether it's democratic or not but is determined mostly by that governments actions and stated intentions. Hamas has refused to agree to steps, such as renouncing terrorism, that the US, EU and Israel believe are fundamental to a government being a member of the international community.

So they have accepted the results of the election, but they're under no obligation to be friendly with the result.

With that said, like all great powers the US's foreign policy is at times hypocritical to some extent. It will extol the virtues of rapid democratic change in some countries while discouraging it in others. This seeming mismatch in standards is the problem with a foreign policy with an idealistic rhetoric but a realpolitik reality. The truth is that encouraging rapid democratic change in all cases would be foolish and irresponsible, because it could lead to far worse outcomes than the status quo. Some countries can handle that kind of explosive change, others can't and need to be shepherded towards it at a slower rate. I think Egypt falls into the latter category.


Is it really that difficult to imagine that the US would turn a cold shoulder to organizations that recruit suicide bombers to blow up buses and pizzerias? Even if they win an election?


There's great live coverage on the BBC at the moment: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

It looks like a carnival erupted at Tahrir Square when word got out. It was pretty vibrant before, but euphoria is clearly evident.


The carnival has actually been there for days now...


Not like this, there's a reporter from the BBC tweeting how the streets going to the square are all packed, and palpable joy is everywhere.

Watch the video stream if you can, it's uplifting to see. It's more than just the anticipation of celebration, it's the pure and unadulterated celebration and the carnival atmosphere associated with that.

Just put it into perspective, a dictator that most have lived under all their lives, the fear that goes with it... it's all being released in one go.

It's really hard to watch these pictures and not feel that rub off, but down on the ground this is probably the highest concentration of pure happiness and elation on this planet.

Look, awesome is an over-used word and we're an extremely cynical bunch... but this really is awesome.


Oh I've been watching it. I'm mainly referring to the tent city in the middle of the square being there, but yes it's quite amazing overall. As happy as I am, I'm still feeling a little unsettled. It's a victory yes, but what comes next?


>highest concentration of pure happiness and elation on this planet

Very well said. This is just fantastic. I hope the Egyptian people get everything they're hoping for. How exciting!


Whatever outcome may result over time, I'm happy for the people of Egypt. Once again, the desire to be free eventually overwhelms the arbitrary tyranny of a dictator.

It will certainly be interesting to see if this leads to a domino effect in the Middle East and how it affects US foreign policy.


The swiss have frozen his assets:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/11/us-swiss-mubarak-i...

I'm glad to see this, its the first step to sending him to the Hague.


The live stream is just incredible to watch. Just inspiring to hear these cheers http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/


When do we get to see who is really in power now? It's hilarious to me that all the pictures of the 1-10 powers in Egypt are grainy screengrabs from old TV programs.


It's indeed been a roller-coaster.

2/10 morning - He's going to step down.

2/10 evening - He's not stepping down.

2/11 morning - He's really stepping down.

Hopefully the rest of the ride will be less bumpy and more pleasant.


puppet out, puppet in


Another example of nonviolent action leading to real political change.

Now if the U.S. government gets on the ball, they will redirect some substantial portion of the Egyptian ~$2 billion military aid and announce we will help build science and technical schools, universities, and hospitals.

Thanks to those of you who have been hosting and continue to host Tor bridges in support of emerging democracies:

https://www.torproject.org/docs/tor-doc-relay.html.en


Halting or redirecting the military aid would be the worst thing the US could do, because it would force the military (the guys who are actually in charge now) into a corner, remove any hope of being able to co-operate with it and undermine the most important source of stability the country has.

In any case, Egypt's security requirements are not going anywhere and the country will still have to maintain a sizable military in future, so cutting the funding will just mean that the state will have to obtain replacement funds from the national budget. Right now the $2 billion that the US gives to the Egyptian military is $2 billion that's freed up for the state to spend on other things like schools, universities and hospitals. That they don't do a good enough job of that already is due more to corruption than to any actual lack of funds.


redirect some substantial portion of the Egyptian ~$2 billion military aid and announce we will help build science and technical schools, universities, and hospitals

Finding a way to ameliorate the corruption stifling the economy would have bigger bang for the buck.


the bad thing is that HM stole $50 billion from the citizens of Egypt..and the USA does nothing and UN does nothing


Perhaps a post-HM government can do something about it - now that there will be one.


That $50 billion number seems to have been fished out of thin air. IIRC, the US government estimates his fortune at closer to $2 billion. Large, yes, but not at the same level.


Seriously? To me, the difference between $2B and $50B seems like diminishing returns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diminishing_returns). If you disagree, then I'd like to be you for a few days... ;-)


For a person, yes - there's little you can't do with $2B that you can do with $50B. For a country, though, it's the difference between a single shuttle launch and three years of NASA's budget.


That makes me wonder though - he and many other rulers (I'm guessing) have amassed billions but are hush about it, so there's no telling who is funneling money and how much of it. It would be nice if Forbes added these rulers to their wealthiest people in the world lists.


Meanwhile, Israel is probably polishing its tanks and nukes.


Flagged per the guidelines: if it's on TV, it doesn't belong here :-)


This is what the guidelines actually say:

"Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic."


This event is covered on TV, moreover it is covered on other sites which are more mainstream such as reddit, digg etc. I come here to read tech and startup news, this is not something I want to read about on HN.

It is also a shame that users who try to question the relevancy of HN submissions get downvoted. Even though it has more than 100 upvotes it is still not relevant to what this site is about. Unless the goal is to become reddit 2.0 with lots of mainstream articles simply because a large amounts of users think it is interesting, I think this kind of articles are best enjoyed elsewhere on the web. I flagged this story, even though I find it interesting.


I think answering the "What system have you hacked?" question on the next Y Combinator application with "Taking down my country's dictatorship" would be a pretty kick ass answer.

I think we can live with 1 spot on the front page for a few hours of one day being used up by the story of a 30 year old dictatorship being overthrown by its people. Especially considering there were about 8 stories this morning about the Nokia/Microsoft partnership of which 3 were basically dups of a press release.


Political activity != hacking. Nokia and Microsoft are tech companies.


I would point out technology and the Internet played an important if not vital role in the events of Egypt and Tunisia.


Technology and the Internet play a vital role in pretty much everything these days. What will HN cover next - a Tea Party rally, if it was announced on Twitter?


http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/02/11/exp.gho... this might be more down your alley. A Google marketing exec doing some great marketing... for Facebook.


Come on now. Don't be so facetious. What chance do you honestly think a Tea Party rally has of maintaining a top spot on the HN front page? We are talking about historic events here.

(and, no, me checking my email this morning is not also a "historic event" ;)


Agreed, the question on the y combinator app (though I've never seen it so I may be misquoting) is something akin to "name a non-computer system that you have hacked".


It's not an easy question. I just wanted to clarify that the HN guidelines do not categorically rule out submissions such as these.

I think that those who question the relevancy of submissions such as these deserve an answer that is more than "Actually, this is all about hacking!" I did not upvote this submission but here are my reasons for not flagging it:

1. This is likely not a controversial issue among HN readers, major ideological disagreements that might result into insults and people screaming at each other are unlikely. A constructive discussion is likely.

2. The developments in Egypt had no overwhelming presence on HN during the last weeks. I think that frequency and not only the topic matters. This submission would definitely be inappropriate if Egypt had been on the top of HN all the time over the last few weeks but that hasn't been the case. Occasional interesting off-topic diversions have been a part of HN for as long as I can remember. We have to be vigilant so that they don't overwhelm HN but they are occasionally ok.

3. The developments in Egypt are serious and not superficial or phony, worthy of a constructive discussion.


The general story has nothing to do with hacking or startups, it's not intellectually interesting, and is currently being covered in the smallest detail and speculation on countless TV channels, not to mention Reddit and Digg. If you have some intellectually interesting technical details/speculation about what this might mean for e.g. Internet and the business environment in Egypt, go ahead and post that. But the general story was off-topic yesterday, and still is today.


Enough users upvoted it to get it in spot #1 on the front page. The userbase thus finds it relevant to them.


Not to mention that I come here specifically to hear HN's views on the situation.


> Enough users upvoted it to get it in spot #1 on the front page.

Well, now I'm curious to see if pg manually shoves it off again, like he did with the earlier Very Popular Egypt Submission.


That could have been a result of flagging. Flagging will push a submission down.


No, it probably means the userbase has grown too much and HN needs a bit more policing in order to stay on topic.


From HN guidlines

If your account is less than a year old, please don't submit comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit. (It's a common semi-noob illusion.)

Your account is 178days old.


That's not what I said.


The OP is Al Jazeera. That means it's not on American TV, at least.


They also broadcast a very useful live stream. It's on the Tubes, and it is relevant.


>>The OP is Al Jazeera. That means it's not on American TV, at least.

Really? Because it's on Al Jazeera it means it's not on top of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News right now? A prime example of how logic flies out (even in the smallest details) when discussing politics.


Ok. We'll see what happens.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MB02Ak01.html

In the most fundamental matters, President and Mrs Mubarak are incomparably more enlightened than the Egyptian public.


This is my favorite description of enlightenment ever, taken from http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002883.html

Here's a section from The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, describing what Mubarak's security services did after Ayman al-Zawahiri attempted to assassinate Mubarak in 1995:

To deal with Zawahiri, Egyptian intelligence agents devised a fiendish plan. They lured a thirteen year-old boy named Ahmed into an apartment with the promise of juice and videos. Ahmed was the son of Mohammed Sharraf, a well-known Egyptian fundamentalist and a senior member of [Zawahiri's organization] al-Jihad. The boy was drugged and sodomized; when he awakened, he was confronted with photographs of the homosexual activity and threatened with the prospect of having them shown to his father. For the child, the consequences of such a disclosure were overwhelming. "It could even be that the father would kill him," a source close to Zawahiri admitted.

After this the Egyptian agents got the first boy to lure in a second, whom they also drugged and raped. Then they got the two to spy on Zawahiri in an attempt to kill him. Then Zawahiri caught the two boys spying. And then he had them both shot.

I guess enlightenment means raping children now. Are you enlightened too?


So, does kidnapping innocent people off the streets, imprisoning them in dungeons and torturing them by wiring car batteries to their genitals count as "fundamental"? Or is that just one of those insignificant matters?

What about stealing billions of dollars from your people? Is that a sign of enlightenment?


"We'll see what happens."

The discussions I've seen about Egypt seem to assume that it can be governed like the countries we're familiar with. Most of the things that seem evil are in fact cock-ups or unfortunate necessities. We learned about this after ousting Saddam Hussein, and were forced into all sorts of brutalities that indeed would not work well in the US or Britain.


Actually, I'm pretty sure that when you wire up a car battery to someone's genitals, that IS evil. That's not an unfortunate necessity. And its not a screwup.

We learned about this after ousting Saddam Hussein, and were forced into all sorts of brutalities that indeed would not work well in the US or Britain.

What did History ever do to you that compelled you to slander and malign it so?


What did History ever do to you that compelled you to slander and malign it so?

Are you just completely irrational or does this mean something? I honestly can't tell.

My point is simply that regime change doesn't automatically generate the political equivilent of rainbow-shitting unicorns, which is what people seem to be assuming. Governments tend to be molded by circumstances more than we realize, and not the personality of such-and-such a strongman. "We'll see what happens," is my final analysis but the best guess is always repetition.


Are you just completely irrational or does this mean something? I honestly can't tell.

I think your explanation of US behavior in post-Hussein Iraq is ahistorical...to say the least.

Governments tend to be molded by circumstances more than we realize, and not the personality of such-and-such a strongman.

Absolutely, I very much agree.

I'm still curious though: is child-rape enlightenment?


is child-rape enlightenment?

Okay, you're asking an imbecilic question, but I'll answer it because you're basically setting yourself up: No, it isn't.

Now, is the mutilation of children, practiced by the Egyptian population in general, enlightenment? Is it? Huh? I answered your bullshit question; do me the favor of answering my real question.

Maybe you should read the original article I posted and think twice.




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