Friday, 11 February 2011

Dead Presidents!

For a moment it looked as though the military had taken their cue from the people of Egypt and stepped in to take control of a country in chaos. As if grandstanding to some degree, the army released a statement that gave the people, and the international community,the impression that it was about to step down. But it soon became clear that Hosni Mubarak and Omar Suleiman are taking the same line that Saddam and his cronies did even as enemy troops were advancing upon their capital. They had become so used to creating reality through their utterances that they actually believed that if they talked as though they were winning they would eventually inspire people to rise up and fight alongside them to expunge the US forces that were advancing upon them ... and all the while the US army advanced closer and closer to Baghdad and the noose tightened and tightened.

What is even more ridiculous about Mubarak and his vice presidents speeches is that they spoke as though they themselves are in favour of the revolution - something they have been dead against from the outset. Mubarak even had the temerity to describe himself as the 'father' to the people in the square. And if Hosni Mubarak is the father of this nation, then the army is its mother ... and both parents were giving conflicting and confusing messages to millions of people who have already been demonstrating for three weeks ... as if to deliberately confuse them and the all attentive press and to rob them of their sense of certainty.  

It is certain, however, that the anger has amplified considerably on the street. Already, people are seething with humiliation, at going unheard and unacknowledged, brushed aside as though they were a bunch of kindergarten children fighting over a soccer game. And there is no doubt that Mubarak enjoyed humiliating them. Suleiman looked less sure of himself as he weighed in after Mubaraks speech to affirm Mubarak's position, revealing, yet again, his utter lack of understanding of what kind of changes were occurring around him. 

At this stage, what viable options do the Egyptian people have? If the military do not step in and remove Mubarak from his pulpit, it will be left to the people on the street to end the struggle they are currently engaged in. The blood that has been, and will be shed in this revolution will lie in the hands of the military and the Mubarak regime. If the military turn on the people, it will be the end of Egypt and the Egyptian army.  The Egyptian people will have nowhere to turn except to pick up arms ... what is the future if this is the trajectory that is forced upon a desperate populace now? Well for one thing, Hamas will be the only force that can readily supply the arms ... and since they themselves have been squeezed into a barely liveable inhuman existence by the Mubarak government why wouldn't they comply?

The people of the country have clearly and resolutely spoken with one voice for the first time since they surrounded Nasser's palace in 1952. Should they find no support internally, or externally, then they will live with their necks trapped under the foot of an illegitimate regime for another fifty nine years, and it is clear that the people are loathe to return to the status quo and are willing to put up a long fight.

So will we have demonstrations every day until September? Is that 'stabilising' the country? The reality is that Mubarak's own party (the NDP) has called for him to step down. Is he really going to run the country in a two-man band partnership between him and Suleiman? Something was really off kilter about Mubarak's recent speech - it is a calculated attempt to create yet more instability. The only problem with the situation now, is that he has put the people, the army and himself in a situation where they have to take a next step in order to advance, or fall into mutually assured destruction.

If there is a peaceful transition now, facilitated by the military, thousands of lives can be saved. But if they're getting out their popcorn again, and settling in to watch their people die in the thousands, then they will be judged. And revolutions judge harshly indeed. People demand heads in revolutions! It is only in peace and reconciliation that chaos is avoided, and everybody walks away. Mubarak's refusal to step down from the throne can surely mean only one thing - he is a dead man walking if the people get to him before the army do. If the only option left is to fight him out of the palace then that may be exactly what he gets. And tomorrow, a sandstorm of people will descend upon the capital, all with one purpose in mind; to depose Mubarak and his illegitimate rule.

I watched the online recordings of Saddam's hanging ... it was a pathetic end; nothing dignified in it at all, despite all the theatrics and dramatics that came before, the end was benign, his death more of a relief than a celebration. Only with his death could everyone breathe again. His unbending resilience, in the end, undid him.  Hosni Mubarak is now living a completely different reality from the people who he prevails over as president of the country, and when these two realities meet there will only be one survivor. Someone who cannot give up his grip on power, even in the face of such overwhelming odds, can only be removed in the most ultimate of ways, lest he creep back in and infect the country with his influence and take it back into a state of fear and oppression. Now I know why people lynch their hated leaders during revolutions ... the problem with dictators is that they just don't know when to quit. What feeds them eventually consumes them ... the people!


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