Today during our moving madness, we share some slices of history.
The first time I called a global hotspot hotel to talk to a regular person was Feb 2, 2011, as protests engulfed Cairo's Tahrir Square at the start of the Arab Spring.
One of the benefits of having been doing this show for so many years is the historical record left behind. Today we experience history unfolding…
Remember the Arab Spring? We had such hope that Democracy would finally sweep through the middle east. It began with a singular act of defiance!
On Dec 17, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a young Tunisian street vendor who had his produce confiscated by police, set himself on fire to protest against police harassment and the authorities’ lack of concern,
His actions triggered nationwide protests and calls for an end of the authoritarian rule of Pres Zine El Abidine Ben Ali…
And then all hell broke loose… protests continued in Tunisia… the president fled to Saudi Arabia….
But the flame had been lit and the fire was spreading throughout the middle east, many converging on Egypt
Egyptian activists called for a mass rally in a “Day of Anger” on Jan 25, 2011, set to coincide with the annual celebration of the Egyptian police, and the people took to the streets for unprecedented protests in Cairo as the city came to standstill….
Violent clashes between anti Mubarak protesters and police took over
On Jan 28, Egyptian president Hasni Mubarek announces “I have ordered the government to step down and I will name a new government tomorrow”….
On Feb 2, protesters declared Feb 4 the “Friday of Departure” for Mubarak, as the clashes between pro Mubarak and anti government began in Tahrir Square….
That day, I decided to call hotels around Tahrir Square to get a first hand account of what was happening there from just an average working Egyptian….
You just have to get through to the correct person… Sadly, the Arab Spring fizzled and democracy didn’t come to the Middle East where things are just as bad as they were before that brave and fed up Tunisian man set himself on fire….
For our next segment, we jump ahead about a decade, to Jan 3, 2020. Unbelievably, Donald Trump was now in the WH and many of us worried about the reality that a mad man had the authority to push a button and launch another World War….terrifying!
The US and Iran have had a fraught relationship for decades now with a very tenuous co-existence in place when Trump bragged about the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, He was the head of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and the architect of its military and political power.…. A US air raid at Baghdad int’l airport hit during the early morning hours killing Soleimani and others with him.
Many worried that this would escalate the already high tensions between our nations, so I thought it might be a good time to pick up the phone again, this time to speak with an Iranian citizen human to human…. It was Jan 3, 2020