Thursday, February 10, 2011

Testing the Flood Waters of the Nile: Mubarak’s Latest Attempt

Today, after arriving home, I did not turn the television right away. After days of watching daily coverage of the protest in Egypt, I decided to give it a break after a week of relative silence in Egypt. Further, after spending the last week in the archives reading documents related to the 1908 Young Turk revolution, I thought I might come home and spend a few more hours in that revolution. However, I could not resist turning the television on, and when I did, was I surprised! Reports coming from Egypt and the US, reported that Mubarak was about ready to hold a press conference where he was going to submit his resignation.

As we waited, twitter and facebook picked up pace. Millions poured into Tahrir Square and its surroundings. After three hard weeks of protests, it seemed that at last Mubarak was going to resign. Further, the army confirmed that it was going to lead Egypt through the process of transformation, almost as if it was on the brink of a coup d’état. All of this movement happening just before the Friday Prayers which could bring a new wave of protests despite the Egyptian government’s campaign to get back to work and that “worst was over.”

Well, we were wrong. Less than hour ago, Mubarak came out and in a long drawn out speech finally mentioned that he was transferring the power to his Vice President Omar Suleiman. Then the bombshell came, when he stated that he would not resign and would retain the presidency, at least in name, during this transition period. No, Mubarak would not step down, adding that he would never leave the homeland he had served for over 60 years of army service and as president. One has to ask, what is Mubarak’ strategy since it makes no sense whatsoever, and really shows to what extent he is out of touch with reality.

Sadly, Mubarak is now testing the waters of the Nile, the patience of his people. Mubarak clearly has placed Egypt on the brink of disaster and it is unclear now if he will be able to control the flood waters once the dam, the anger, of the protestors explodes. The countdown to the possible violent reaction has started; how much more can a peaceful movement stand up to the ultimate hutzpah of a leader that has put the two sides on a collision mode.

Once again we are now waiting, with the protestors energized more than ever. If the army does not step in soon and declare the overthrowing of Mubarak, they too might be caught in the tsunami of rage. Not to mention, the uncertainty which will ensue if they chose to take the reins of the state. Let us hope for all events to play out as peaceful as possible. For now, Egypt's future looks more unclear than ever.

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