History: January 2011 Archives

flares of anti-government protesters in Tahir (Liberation) Square January 25

ADDENDUM [the first five paragraphs below]:

The patronizing West, and the U.S. in particular, has always backed dictators in Arab countries because it sees such regimes as the only alternative to fundamentalism, and yet over and over again that policy has produced the fundamentalist regimes it fears most.

We're now seeing that there is a third possibility, and we all better start supporting it before its too late everywhere.

By the way, I've just learned (from the Egyptian paper, Al-Masry Al-Youm) that The Pentagon is hosting senior Egyptian military leaders for annual bilateral defense talks this week, and that Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, commenting on the talks, said: "That's just one example of how engaged we are with the Egyptians, even as these developments have taken place on the streets of Cairo and elsewhere."

No, I'm not making this up.

The same article describes the financial history of our relationship with the Mubarek regime:

Since its 1979 peace deal with Israel, Egypt has become the biggest recipient of US military aid after Tel Aviv, receiving nearly $36 billion in military assistance in annual installments of $1.3 billion.

I was up much of the night (January 26-27) scrambling about the internet, looking for more information (in English) on what is happening in Egypt. I was amazed at how much is out there, including video and audio recordings.

I want to share with others interested in the remarkable events of this week just some of the news sources I have found. These are just a few of the most accessible, most useful, and least hysterical sites for the unfolding events (note that some of the links may change location or even disappear):


The English-language online site of a progressive Egyptian paper, Al-Masry Al-Youm

The English-language site of Al Jazeera

Mona Eltahawy (Egypt-born, New York-based columnist), anywhere you find her (heard on NPR)

The Guardian's "Egypt" coverage

The Guardian live updates

Jack Shenker's site (reporter for the Guardian)

the NYTimes' blog, "The Lede" (edited by Robert Mackey)

Huffington/AP has live updates

The Times has a good perspective/analysis piece in this morning's edition

And, finally, may the press gods bless the New York Review of Books for this

Juan Cole, oddly silent until the last few days

Democracy Now! has some good phone interviews


the demonstrations, while dominated by young men, are clearly diverse

[first image by REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih, the second by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images, the third REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh; all three from National Post]

this is not a reenactment

It looks a bit like a hobo encampment, but the group huddled around the fire in the picture above is actually a part of the very jolly crowd attracted to the opening of "Battle of the Brush" in Bryant Park Thursday night. The occasion was one of the oddest openings of the year, to one of the most creative art shows of the year.

Great idea: Bring the art to the street (or at least the park); adapt an existing venue; and still end up with a clean, white space.

The work is on view in closed, retrofitted and climate-controlled vitrines (actually, two of the booths which had recently housed The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park). Visitors will be able to see the art, en plein-air, until February 2.

I suppose it could have been even colder on the "opening night," but normally I don't find myself standing still outside on a wintery night in January. I thought it was pretty frigid, especially after I had to remove my gloves to operate the camera.

The burning wood was a boon (boonfire?) however, as were the bottomless cups of hot chocolate proffered by the freezing 'wichcraft folks. Incredibly, overhead heating lamps actually made it possible for some of the crowd to lounge about in the Adirondack chairs we normally associate with summer - or ski resorts.

The crowd was great. I had a ball.

I think the full title of this small painting show, organized by Alex Glauber's Corporate Art Solutions, is "Battle of the Brush: A Civil Reenactment of Two Painterly States." The reference to "battle" is perhaps less than half-serious, but it pretends to describe a clash between current abstract and realist styles of painting. Located where it is, the exhibition draws upon Bryant Park's history as an encampment for soldiers during the Civil War. Ironically, the eight paintings in the show, by eight painters, are installed in two enclosed kiosks , or "camps", and are arranged across from each other on a terrace dominated by a fountain dedicated to the Progressive reform leader and adopted New Yorker, Josephine Shaw Lowell, who spent much of the Civil War nursing the wounded.

The participating artists include:

REALISM REGIMENT: Alison Blickle, Tom Sanford, Nicola Verlato, Eric White

ABSTRACT REGIMENT: Justin Adian, Anoka Faruqee, Patricia Treib, Roger White

Because of the unusual ambient light, the plexiglas reflections, and the cold, the two images below are less than ideal, even by my own modest standards. I argued with myself about whether I should include any picture at all, other than the one showing the huddled fanatics, but I decided to go for some art as well, since that's what it's all about.

Patricia Treib Armless Sleeve 2010 oil on canvas 56" x 50"

Tom Sanford Perkus Tooth 2010-2011 oil on wood panel

This page is an archive of entries in the History category from January 2011.

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