Home > Uncategorized > SO, He’s not leaving…

SO, He’s not leaving…

February 11th: For the sake of keeping myself honest, I’m keeping this post up, even though it was written based on a misunderstanding (read poor translation) of Mubarak’s speech last night.

– Tom

 

Can’t say I’m entirely surprised.  Imagine the personality that it takes to run a country like Egypt for 30 years off of the strength of your individual person.  80 million people at home, thousands of relationships across the world, dealing with Americans, dealing with Israelis, balancing the Arab world’s leaders and the Western world’s fears; this man has done it all for nearly 30 years.  A man like Hosni Mubarak doesn’t live a life like that without believing in himself, and he doesn’t step away from his long-term position because protesters refuse to leave the city square after a few weeks of protests.

So, where does Egypt go now?  To be honest,through conversations I’ve had with Egyptians and my own experiences, I’m relating to Mubarak’s speeches.  I honestly believe that he plans to step aside in the fall, and I also honestly believe that he thinks (probably wrongly so) that he has always done what is best for Egypt; holding it together throughout the years.  He’s a military man first and foremost, and a product of a people’s/army’s revolution against a monarchy.  These two aspects together lead me to believe that he really does care about the Egyptian people, but that he’s drastically out of touch with what they want and need.

What is being missed throughout all of this is the voice of the Egyptians who aren’t in Tahrir.  Many of them actually agree that if Mubarak steps down too quickly there will be serious issues.  I think the military could play a great role there, but I’ve talked to a number of those people over the past two weeks – not Mubarak supporters – who believe that if Mubarak were to step down today Egypt would enter an utter state of chaos.  The zeal of the protesters in Tahrir is undeniable, as is the indecision of the military and the uncertainty of an Egypt after Hosni Mubarak.  In all at the moment, I can’t help think that the biography of Hosni Mubarak is one I’d seriously like to read.

As disappointing as this speech was for many Egyptians, we need to keep in mind that even this statement today represents a serious success for the Egyptian people. Protesters, largely peaceful, have forced an out of touch and formerly unquestionable leader to justify himself to them and the world in prime time.  The Egyptian revolution of 2011 has inevitably been a success; it’s just a measure of when the symbolic and practical change that is the stepping down of President Mubarak will actually occur.

For now, based off of this speech, I would say that the protesters in Tahrir won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and I would argue that the military won’t be making any drastic changes either.  If the military was making changes, as I talked about earlier when we all thought that this was a speech of resignation, it would have done so before Mubarak spoke.  The military knew what Mubarak was going to say, and their lack of action is a complicit acceptance of his words.  For now, Mubarak still has the loyalty of the military and that, coupled with the military’s relationship with the people of Egypt, means more of what we’ve seen over the past week unless the anger of the people pushes them to move from Tahrir and puts them in a conflicting situation with the police and military near Mubarak’s palace.  In that case, the entire situation will really be balancing on the head of a pin.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Elizabeth Hofstedt
    February 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I agree.

  2. February 11, 2011 at 12:50 am

    so what do you think, do you agree with the potential for chaos if Mubarak immediately steps down? I have heard the same from friends (primarily, however, upper class friends from places like Heliopolis), but I haven’t really heard a justification for why that might be the case.

    You are right that the protests got an out of touch autocrat to listen, but what did he hear? Number one on the agenda seemed, at least to me, to be for him to get out of town, not fiddle with a few amendments…

    • February 11, 2011 at 1:11 am

      IF the military doesn’t step up and fill the power vacuum, I would worry about chaos if Mubarak steps down. HOWEVER, I don’t see how they couldn’t step in if he stepped down. It only makes sense that they would.

      Also, right now it appears that there may be movement going on within the ranks of the military (check out Masry al-Youm). I think you’re right about the protesters in Tahrir; they definitely want him out now. A number of other Egyptians who I’ve spoken with, however – highly educated, middle-class Egyptians – have said that such a movement, after 30 years, is insane.

      It’s not my fight, so I don’t have a claim in it, but I do think that the argument about immediate transitions holds some weight as, of course, does the people’s demands to be listened to by their government when they speak.

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