Thursday, 27 January 2011

Will Egypt's Mubarak go the way of Tunisia's Ben Ali?

The Egyptians streets are boiling, and the Government is running scared, will the 30 years Mubarak regime go the same way as Tunisia's Ben Ali's 23 years regime?
Opinions from the UK's Independent:

Thursday, 27 January 2011

From the day that President Ben Ali bowed to the inevitable and fled his homeland for exile in Saudi Arabia, the question was never just what would happen next in Tunisia, but whether the popular uprising there would become a catalyst for discontent elsewhere. It is less than two weeks since the Tunisian President was toppled, but already there are the beginnings of an answer – from neighbouring Algeria, from Jordan, but most eloquently and defiantly from Egypt.

The protests in central Cairo, that continued as Tuesday evening became Wednesday morning and were rejoined more sporadically yesterday, were without recent precedent in their scale and overtly political demands. Nor were they limited to the Egyptian capital; there were demonstrations, too, in other cities, including the fast-growing Delta towns and Asyut in the south. 

One of the four fatalities was in Suez. Like the demonstrations in Tunisia, those in Egypt brought together many interests and many strands of anger; as in Tunisia, the protesters were prominently male and young, and to the extent that their action was co-ordinated, it was by the internet and mobile phone. 

They did not hang around apologetically; they marched and demanded an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year long rule, citing the Tunisian precedent.e response of the authorities was no different from that of any other repressive regime under threat. They deployed riot police and special forces. 

A ban was announced on further protests. Emergency powers were invoked. It remains to be seen how effective these measures will be. What cannot be changed, however, is that a taboo – challenging Mr Mubarak's rule – has been broken and the message from Tunisia has been heard loud and clear from the top to the bottom of Egyptian society.

The acknowledged regional leader, Egypt has a population of 80 million, and suffers from the same demographic and economic problems that afflict the region as a whole. If this proud, but troubled, country is on the move, even tentatively, it is not just North Africa that is on the threshold of profound change, but the whole of the Middle East and beyond.

Also read acclaimed Mid East journalist Robert Fisk take on the latest wikileak on the Palestinians, Egypt and Lebanon and the Arab world in general:

The Palestine Papers are as damning as the Balfour Declaration. The Palestinian "Authority" – one has to put this word in quotation marks – was prepared, and is prepared to give up the "right of return" of perhaps seven million refugees to what is now Israel for a "state" that may be only 10 per cent (at most) of British mandate Palestine.

And as these dreadful papers are revealed, the Egyptian people are calling for the downfall of President Mubarak, and the Lebanese are appointing a prime minister who will supply the Hezbollah. Rarely has the Arab world seen anything like this.

To start with the Palestine Papers, it is clear that the representatives of the Palestinian people were ready to destroy any hope of the refugees going home.

It will be – and is – an outrage for the Palestinians to learn how their representatives have turned their backs on them. There is no way in which, in the light of the Palestine Papers, these people can believe in their own rights.

They have seen on film and on paper that they will not go back. But across the Arab world – and this does not mean the Muslim world – there is now an understanding of truth that there has not been before.

It is not possible any more, for the people of the Arab world to lie to each other. The lies are finished. The words of their leaders – which are, unfortunately, our own words – have finished. It is we who have led them into this demise. It is we who have told them these lies. And we cannot recreate them any more.

In Egypt, we British loved democracy. We encouraged democracy in Egypt – until the Egyptians decided that they wanted an end to the monarchy. Then we put them in prison. Then we wanted more democracy. It was the same old story. Just as we wanted Palestinians to enjoy democracy, providing they voted for the right people, we wanted the Egyptians to love our democratic life. Now, in Lebanon, it appears that Lebanese "democracy" must take its place. And we don't like it.

read the entharalling article in full here.

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