Al Jazeera English: Live Stream – Watch The Egyptian Uprising Now
As you probably know, Al Jazeera has been named Public Enemy Number One by the beleaguered Hosni Mubarak government in Egypt. Officials want them shut down and out of the country for basically broadcasting to the Arab Street and to the world exactly what is going on in Cairo and other Egyptian cities.
What you probably don’t know is that media outlets in the United States are also putting the squeeze on Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is also no longer available through the broadband services Jalipo and VDC. In short, you will have to access it from its website. From HuffPo:
Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can’t do is watch the network directly.
Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. – including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. – cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country and as Egypt attempts to block Al Jazeera from broadcasting. Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. – including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. – cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country and as Egypt attempts to block Al Jazeera from broadcasting.
The result of the Al Jazeera English blackout in the United States has been a surge in traffic to the media outlet’s website, where footage can be seen streaming live. The last 24 hours have seen a two-and-a-half thousand percent increase in web traffic, Tony Burman, head of North American strategies for Al Jazeera English, told HuffPost. Sixty percent of that traffic, he said, has come from the United States.
Al Jazeera English launched in the fall of 2006, opening a large bureau on K Street in downtown Washington, but has made little progress in persuading cable companies to offer the channel to its customers.
The objections from the cable companies have come for both political and commercial reasons, said Burman, the former editor-in-chief of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “In 2006, pre-Obama, the experience was a challenging one. Essentially this was a period when a lot of negative stereotypes were associated with Al Jazeera. The effort was a difficult one,” he said, citing the Bush administration’s public hostility to the network.
“There was reluctance from these companies to embark in a direction that would perhaps be opposed by the Bush administration. I think that’s changed. I think if anything the Obama administration has indicated to Al Jazeera that it sees us as part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Burman said.
Then why the stonewall?
Some people here in the U.S. are quick to criticize the looting and destruction of property, particularly at the famed Egyptian antiquities museum where Dr. Zahi Hawass holds sway. Understand that this is being fomented more or less by the dreaded police force and Interior Ministry thugs as agents provocateurs to undermine any support the demonstrators may have, particularly among the middle class. These lawless forces are also responsible for lynching young Egyptian men at a whim.
What is more threatening is that the jails and prisons have been “liberated.” Among the murderers, rapists and thieves who have escaped have been Muslim Brotherhood militants and other political prisoners serving long sentences for terrorism within their own country. I saw one young man who had escaped who was all for rejoining his brethren putting their bodies on the line, and I don’t think that he meant it in a nonviolent way. I was not encouraged by this, but in the pressure cooker that is Egypt, this was the immediate response–or steam whistle–that could be expected. I would hope that the reconstituted Brotherhood would enforce some kind of restraint among its membership until they know exactly what can gained in the next few days or weeks, and to seriously work with others. But I am not holding my breath. Egypt is one of the 12 worst countries known for religious intolerance and violence towards its religious minorities, particularly against the Christian Copts.
Sometimes people have to face The Truth, no matter how onerous, and Americans are no different. I don’t think it’s just Egyptian Americans and nationals and other Arab Americans or English-speaking Arabs demanding Al Jazeera’s services at this time. I think conscious and well-informed Americans want to know everything unvarnished about what is occurring now. We cannot continue to help keep these people down. Unfortunately, that is what many in the Mideast think of the United States and American foreign policy, which is based on oil and Israel.
Understand that Egypt has not yet been proclaimed an Islamic Republic, but if America or our jittery client, “the 51st State” next door to Egypt, does something incredibly stupid, the people on the streets will throw all their support to the religious reactionaries. Their idea of government is close to the “pharaonic succession” that the demonstrators currently loathe, except that religion and politics will combine. (The meaning of “pharaonic succession”: Mubarak, 82, has been grooming his son, Gamal, who is said to be safely in London with his wife, to eventually take his place.)
President Obama cannot afford another Islamic Republic in the Mideast, but he cannot afford to prop up Hosni Mubarak any longer, and possibly other
dinosaurs strongmen allies in the region. Why? Suppression of basic rights, of the rule of law, of opposing views and parties, of economic stagnation and increasing poverty, corruption among higher-ups, and a restless, frustrated youthful population for which the system does not work. When and where the tear gas canisters are flung, they clearly show “Made in the USA” on the side. All of this is connected to the power dynamic where right-wing and expansionist Israel rules supreme to the detriment of its Arab neighbors.
In the new age of WikiLeaks, we already know through Al Jazeera’s release of The Palestine Papers how much land and water rights and autonomy the Palestinians (and even the Egyptians, the Lebanese, the Syrians and the Jordanians…) have had to give up and give over and over to the Israelis, to the point where there may not be any independent, autonomous Palestinian state under the circumstances. Surrounded by U.S. allies like Jordan and Egypt, they have had nowhere and no one else to hear their appeals. And people wonder why Hezbollah and its extremists appear to be the easy answer to the Palestinians’ despair? Because it seems that’s the only language Israel and the United States understand.
No doubt, the Muslim Brotherhood has the sympathies of many Egyptians, but not all Egyptians are in favor of an Iranian-style government, including Nobel Laureate and opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei, who is talking to their representatives as well as those of other opposition parties. Many politicians, many of whom are secularists and Western-leaning, are beginning to return in a steady stream from exile to Egypt. Moreover, Egyptians are Sunnis, not Shi’ites. There is a different tradition, although there is a long list of Sunni Muslim clerical families whose blood ties reach even to the Prophet as with the Shi’a.
I don’t believe Egyptians don’t want to trade one despotism for yet another. They barely know what it is to be free; they only want to experience it in their way. There is no visible leader to the uprising except for El Baradei, and even the Muslim Brotherhood wishes him to speak for the many disaffected parties–at least for now.
What remains is where the Egyptian military will throw their weight. Already, many have intervened even against police forces, and have publicly thrown off their uniforms and joined the milling thousands. The military may be divided, but eventually something will happen that will galvanize their resolve about what side they are on. As far as I am concerned, there ain’t no hurry to working all this out. I would not be surprised if elections will be called for in the summer, and El Baradei named as head of an interim government, but first Mubarak has got to go, ally of the U.S., or not.