Earthrise from the moon (taken by Apollo 8)

I am not sure where to start with this blog post, though I know what I want to say. We’re in trouble: big trouble.

See that little blue and white thing surrounded by black? Good, because that’s where I live. And so do you. We all live on it, and we have nowhere else to go if we fuck it up. And, without a shadow of a doubt we are doing just that. Big time.

There’s a large gap in this blog and the reason for it is that I’ve been shellshocked by everything that’s going on. First there was the Egyptian freedom campaign – that worked! They did it! Then everyone else leapt on the bandwagon, thinking, I’m sure, that if the Egyptians could do it so could they. With some countries it worked. With others, not so much.

Then came the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Like everyone else I was (and still am) glued to the news on television. It’s horrifying … yet, because it’s on TV we’re slowly becoming inured to it. It’s awful and we know it, but somehow it seems unreal … filmic … almost, dare I say it, viceral entertainment. Certainly the news reporters don’t treat it that way. They report with long faces and suitable gravitas. But their producers are fighting each other for the best stories: to be the first crew to report from ‘X’ about the ghastly loss of life. To be the first to walk through some poors dead families destroyed house … to pick watersoaked photos up off partially demolished study floors and tell us ‘they are still missing.’ The long soul destroying panning shots; the overturned cars; the phonecam footage, all meshes together to turn our brains to mush and make us truly thankful we’re not there. But with all it comes a distinct sense of the surreal – and I haven’t started on the nuclear problem.

Yet it’s all happening on that little blue and white thing floating in the cold and dark of space….

We’re bankrupt in the United Kingdom: the government tells us so and yet we’re embarking on yet another war. True: this time it’s legal. This time it’s Libya.

Don’t get me wrong. I depsise Gaddafi. He’s a despot and needs to go. But if they were going to get into shit-kicking mode they should have done it a week ago when they were asked by the Arab nations. Now it’s very close to too late.

What’s my point? So sorry if you think I’m rambling. In actuality I should finish writing this, edit it and then post the result. It would probably be more cogent. But the fact of the matter is I’m a lazy git. C’est la vie. Now you know me a little bit better.

My point, and it is valid, is that we all live on the same planet and it’s too late to continue with the way we’ve all been trundling on. If we are to survive, in my humble opinon, we have to do the following:

  1. Become one people living together on our one world.
  2. Bring together the 1st, 2nd and 3rd worlds
  3. Stop reproducing. Yes, sex is nice, but not the millions of unwanted children (or children created to garner social security payments in the 1st world), especially until we have a stable planet.
  4. Take care of our planet. Earth, Gaia or call her what you will. She’s the only place we can call home.

The thing is … we need a visionary to do it. One person who we can all believe in. I suppose that’s what Religion is for, but all the different flavours aren’t working at present.

We need a visionary leading a planet wide push to sort humanity out before it is too late – if it’s not already too late.

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 18 pt II

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

18:43 :-
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon salutes a “historic moment” in Egypt. “I respect what must have been a difficult decision taken in the wider interests of the Egyptian people,” he says. “I reiterate my call, made as recently as last night, for a transparent, orderly and peaceful transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, and includes free, fair, and credible elections leading to the early establishment of civilian rule.”

18:46 :-
More from Ban Ki-moon: “The voice of the Egyptian people – particularly the youth – has been heard and it is for them to determine the future of their country. I commend the people of Egypt for the peaceful, courageous and orderly manner, in which they have exercised their legitimate rights. I call on all parties to continue in the same sprit.”

Day 18 – As it happened (from the BBC)

  • Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned after more than two weeks of growing protests against him across the country. The news was greeted with a massive outburst of joy and riotous celebration by hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
  • Mr Mubarak’s powers will be taken over by the Higher Council of the Armed Forces. It said it understood the people’s demand for radical change.
  • The opposition figure, Mohammed ElBaradei, described the resignation of Mr Mubarak as the greatest day of his life, while a Muslim Brotherhood leader said Egyptians had made history.
  • US President Barack Obama said Mr Mubarak’s resignation was just the start of Egypt’s transformation. He called on the military to lift the state of emergency and prepare for free and fair elections.

And so it happened and all is well … or is it? Hopefully, provided the military keeps its promise, doen’t try to turn itself into the new regime, and it isn’t a manoeuver … which it can’t be.

The problem I see, from my couch in Sussex, is an inevitable, if transient, power vacuum in the Middle East. A dictator Mubarak undoubtably was, but for all that he was a prop against all sorts of unpleasantness.

But what do I know? Good on them, I say!

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 18!!!

16:12 - Vice-President Suleiman announces Mubarak has stepped down.

Finally Mubarak has gone! Yet again the world changes, which is fantastic for all those in Tahrir Square, all over Egypt and the world, who have peacefully demonstrated and finally got what they wanted. Sadly many died for their beliefs.

This is a global change, but how profound the change is going to be has yet to be realised.

16:12 :-
Full statement from Vice-President Suleiman: “In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody.”

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 17 -2

Omar Suleiman backs Mubarak

The next 24 hours will be crucial.

Some are saying the crowd is marching on the State Television building and some say they are marching on the palace which is some 20 Km away from Tahrir Square.

The sound from Tahrir Square sounds like an angry wasp nest.

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 17

Mubarak to go? No.

Either Mubarak has been badly advised, is blissfully unaware, or he is a complete despot.

Everyone was waiting for his speech and everyone was expecting him to resign, but he hasn’t. He has agreed to go in September – as he’s said before – but that was not what those in Tahrir Square were demanding or expecting.

There is disappointment and a lot of anger.

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 16

Jeremy Paxman - Newsnight, UK

If there is one presenter I trust; one news reporter I follow, it would be Jeremy Paxman. Paxman is not only insightful and hard hitting, but he has an air of truthfulness about him that I believe. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I like to think not.

There have been a lot of ‘disappearances’ in Cairo. Mubarak’s secret police at work. Two people interviewed said they were badly beaten and held blindfolded for 27 hours before being released.

I also came across this interview that makes interesting reading. It’s from the website

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 15

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt - Prayers

Secular vs Religion? Obviously dictatorships are off any rational menu (except the dictators), but perhaps the reason that so many secular countries are in trouble is why so many turn to religion.

As a wibbly agnostic – or maybe even an atheist – I can’t say. Personally I’ve never seen the light or had a conversation with the almighty – though I have been hassled by the Watchtower mob.

Why is it we need to believe in something or someone else?