Editor's note: this post was originally intended to contain only one sentence about the situation in Cairo, but it got away from me. If you're looking for content that better fits the title of this post, skip down to the bottom.
I've been almost completely unable to divert my attention from coverage of the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo. I just got through watching a group of anti-government protesters rip a man who seems to have been a pro-Mubarak provocateur from his truck and beat him. They attempted to dismantle it for the scrap metal, which was all too important earlier in the day when whatever chunks of metal were available were used as improvized tower sheilds, linked together like the Roman legion, in order to drive back the thugs hired by the ruling party to transmute what was originally a non-violent protest into a violent one.
over 750 people were injured in a battle that has been described by witnesses as "medieval" At least four were killed. The morning call to prayer has been drowned out by gunfire.
Journalists and Westerners have been especially targeted by the pro-Mubarak thugs, with Anderson Cooper and his crew-- to give only one example-- having been attacked when they tried to get a better vantage point.
The work of the People has become this: hold the square at all costs, even unto death. They have been going home in shifts for food and supplies, and have taken responsibility for securing the perimeter, which had previously been the Army's task. Tanks have laid down smokescreens hoping to interfere with the ability of both sides to hit each other with stones and petrol bombs, and giving cover so that anyone wishing to leave unharmed was given the opportunity to do so.
This isn't the post I set out to write, so I'm going to leave it at this: Our brothers and sisters in Egypt started this movement out of a yearning for democracy, but now they are in this fight for their lives. The ruling party is out for their blood, and if they remain in power when all is said and done, there is no reason to believe that they'll put this shit behind them, if past is prologue. Those of us watching this revolution from the comfort in our homes have an obligation to not be idiots about it when we talk about Egypt. The reporting of Al Jazeera as well as this brilliant post at Sarthanpalos--which I urge everyone to read-- have been invaluable resources toward this aim.
Now for something a bit closer to home, and indeed closer to having anything to do with the title of this post. This is Zach Wahls, a college student and fellow Eagle Scout, speaking at the Iowa State House-- where a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is being considered-- in defense of his two moms.
Preach it, Zach