Soviet news was the same. Some Party secretary inaugurating a new collective farm. I imagine it's still limited to that in China, especially in the countryside.
Actually, I'm surprised at how in many countries there is a picture of the current ruler in places like post offices and public buildings. Morocco comes to mind. At least they don't have to change the pictures very often.
For those who don't recognize him, the guy on the right is the president of Syria -- Assad-- who took over from his father.
First, Mark, I have really appreciated your posts. Both your personal experiences in returning and leaving Cairo, and your observations about the culture of Egypt. I am among those who really were ignorant of the cultural differences. More than that though, I am so relieved that you and your family are out.
I have been following this thread with a great deal of interest. Everyone's input has been illuminating to me since I really don't feel like I have understood the politics of the Middle East in the same way as some in other parts of the world.
However today came the meeting of thoughts (for me, anyway). I have been following the story of Wael Ghonim, as I know many have.
Having worked for globally prominent firms for most of my life (although not at the A-list level, prominent enough in my own community to warrant attention), I have been extremely aware of how my comments or affiliations may or may not agree with my employer.
I struggle with this because it obviously interferes with free speech. In my view, because I am employed by XYZ Company, my right to free speech is almost immediately curtailed. At least if I want to remain employed. This is obviously contrary to my country's beliefs (most of the time, any way), but may not be so contrary to my State's beliefs (Arizona, which I won't say any more about).
So, I will be interested to see how Google progresses with marrying the hero that Ghonim has become for the people of Egypt, with their corporate identity.
So creepy you should say that. I'm listening to the Al Jazeera commentary & one of the questions is why were there indications that "something historical would happen today".
The thought that passed through my mind is that Mubarak might go back inside and commit suicide.
Or, surely he long since must have organized some plan wherein he could clandestinely leave the country if the tide turned against him. However in his hubris, his vision of himself as the father of his people, perhaps not.
Now the army is saying that it will step in to safeguard order in the country. Was this whole thing orchestrated? Get the crowds out to hear a speech that was sure to infuriate them, then make it obvious that the military is needed to control "the mob"?
I've been watching the goings on on BBC News. After listening to first Mubarak's then Suleiman's speeches it seems that the plan was to make Mubarak's the more conciliatory and for Suleiman to play the role of bad cop with his dark xenophobic intimations that the whole crisis was the work of unspecified foreigners wanting to destroy Egypt from without. The disconnect from reality is frightening. I fear a military coup unseating mubarak is the only way to avoid massive violence.
There was an emergency session of the Egyptian military: The Egyptian military convened a special session on Thursday. Hosni Mubarak, who usually chairs the session, was not present. In his place, Mohamed Tantawi, Egypt's defense minister and head of the military was leading the meeting. (from NPR)
What we kept hearing on the news today was that the army had indicated that Mubarak's speech would be about his renunciation of the presidency.
I was watching the Al Jazeera feed during and after the speech. Afterward, the commentator asked one of the journalists on the scene in Egypt WHY were signs so misread, in particular, why would the army have indicated that Mubarak was to step down.
As I listened to that, the ticker tape portion of the screen announced that the army was going to step in to maintain order, prompting my comment in #197.
Modified to add this in answer to Fumobici's query: Army Gen. Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, told the crowd at Tahrir Square during the afternoon that "all your demands" would be met.