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Truthdiggers of the Week: The Egyptian Protesters

Every week (from now on), Truthdig recognizes an individual or group of people who spoke truth to power, blew the whistle or stood up in the face of injustice. You can see past winners here, and make your own nomination for our next awardee here.

This week we acknowledge the thousands who have been marching against tyranny since Tuesday. At least seven people are dead and as many as 1,000 have been arrested since Egyptians began to rise up in the 30th year of President Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorial rule.

SeemaZ, who nominated the protesters for Truthdiggers of the Week, wrote, “These young people absolutely deserve to be recognized for standing up to a ruthless dictator and for literally putting their lives on the line for basic freedoms that all people deserve.” Hear hear.

Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer adds this thought: “Egyptian totalitarianism has been supported by U.S. foreign policy ever since the dictator of that country broke with the old Soviet Union. For young people in Egypt to rise up against one of the world’s most entrenched authoritarian regimes, vicious in its repressive techniques, not only shows great courage, but is the most promising sign for profound change in the Middle East in decades.”

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Honorable Mentions:

We asked our readers to help us find this week’s Truthdiggers and we were deeply impressed and excited by the response. There were so many great nominees, and it is uplifting to be reminded of the many good people doing good work in this world. We can’t acknowledge them all, but we would like to include a few here.

Keith Olbermann
The MSNBC anchor has taken a lot of heat, and we’re still not sure why he was dismissed, but one thing’s for sure: We’ll miss him. Olbermann made cable news safe — and commercially viable — for the left, and his fellow progressive broadcasters, from Rachel Maddow to Cenk Uygur, owe him a debt. Even if he sometimes came in for parody, Olbermann’s show was tough, smart and informative. We’ll miss his Edward R. Murrow style, and we hope to see it back on TV sometime soon. Reader Country Lisa, who nominated Olbermann this week, wrote: “Because he got muzzled half-way through the week and because they’ve been trying to do so for months. Because he all but single-handedly pulled MSNBC from the brink of collapse with ‘Countdown.’ And because he had no problem — consistently — being the one to say, ‘But he doesn’t have anything on. …’ “

Frances Fox Piven
Piven is an academic legend. Her work, together with that of her deceased husband, Richard Cloward, has earned her the enmity of Glenn Beck and his followers. How a woman who has devoted her life to the poor, jobless and downtrodden can inspire the most despicable of threats is beyond our understanding. As reader Tim Fast, who nominated her, put it, Piven deserves recognition “for keeping [her] cool under the barrage” of these vicious attacks.

Vermont State Sen. Virginia Lyons
This award is about speaking truth to power, and nothing is more powerful in America than corporations. But corporations also have the same legal protections as us citizens because, for reasons that defy logic, they are legally considered to be people. Virginia Lyons introduced legislation in Vermont calling for a constitutional amendment to strip corporations of their alleged humanity — “bold action,” as reader Ruth Brown put it. We could certainly use more bold action from our legislators.

The Democrats of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
They would not go along, they would not play nice, and so Phil Angelides and his cohort failed to get their four Republican colleagues to back their report on the financial crisis. That’s OK, because in exchange we got an honest reckoning that names names, including our current treasury secretary. Even if we already knew Goldman Sachs was up to no good, it’s nice to not have it brushed under the rug by their friends in government. These commissioners deserve credit for telling it like it is, even if the results weren’t “bipartisan.”

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A Note on Bradley Manning:

The staff of Truthdig is inspired by the alleged whistle-blowing of young Pfc. Bradley Manning and we are appalled by the treatment to which our government is subjecting him — we have routinely described it on this site as torture. We consider Bradley Manning a true patriot and a hero to the world. And we agree with those of you who wrote in that he is most deserving of this honor. However, we hesitate to bestow an award on Manning for actions that he is accused of undertaking. He may very well protest his innocence and we certainly don’t want to convict him — albeit with praise — before we have an opportunity to hear from him. Rest assured, in our hearts, Bradley Manning isn’t just a Truthdigger of the Week, he’s an all-star.

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