Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egypt’s Day of Wrath

HosniThe chants are one, the people are one, their gatherings are one and their target is one. Down with Hosni Mubarak, down with his regime. Thousands of angry protesters took to the streets on Friday January 28th in the largest and most violent protests in the modern history of Egypt.

I was glued to the television almost the entire day watching events unfold, changes rapidly flashing in the ‘Breaking News’ strip on the bottom of a dozen news channels from all over the world. I wasn’t the only one following, almost the entire conscious Arab World was watching in anticipation and anxiety, the rest were watching Arabs Got Talent. Will he step down? Will the chaos continue and escalate? Will there be bloodshed? Will someone intervene? Where is Hosni?

In the Arab World, we all understand what the Egyptian people have been going through under this regime. We all share a variance of the same experience. There are plenty of common characteristics in most of the Arab World including under-development of manpower and infrastructures, unemployment, low wages, high cost of living, lack of proper representation, democracy and freedom. These are common needs that we all ask for, and we never thought Egypt would be one of the first to go out and actively claim it.

The scenes that unfolded last night in Cairo and other major cities in Egypt had profound impact on the entire Middle East. Look at the brave Egyptians going out there and asking for their rights. Look at their steadfastness against oppression and corruption. Look at their bravery in confronting a violent and merciless anti-riot and undercover police. I saw scenes and pictures that made my eyes shed tears of an inexplicable feeling, a mixture of joy and deliverance. It was truly like a dream coming true.

I wrote a post about the events unfolding in the Middle East before Egypt protests started, predicting a systematic set of dramatic changes in the region that started with Tunisia and will be carried forward to other countries. No one could predict that Egypt was next, but we always knew that the 80 million strong will one day stand and speak up, and when 80 million speak up, the world listens.

I still insist that what’s happening is systematic and partially programmed. Tunis was a test that worked out quite well. Tunis is a relatively small country with very little Islamist influence and an army that decisively and unanimously decided to stand against their president. The Tunisian experience doesn’t have to be replicated as is. Maybe changes will come to Egypt but Mubarak will stay, maybe the same will apply in Yemen. One can’t help but ask, why would France and the US (for example) drop their support to Tunisia’s Ben Ali all of a sudden, yet not drop their support to Mubarak even though he’s just as much of a dictator as Ben Ali was? How did Tunisia’s army suddenly decide not to intervene and save the president? How long before the revolution did the army decide to take this stance? What of Egypt and other Arab countries’ armies? What would their stance be?

Perhaps it’s too early to tell. The plan is still unfolding as we speak. As far as I’m concerned there is two things I’m sure of, 1. What’s happening is not random, ‘synchronized chaos’ as I labeled it. 2. The people need to be wise as to how to deal with the events unfolding. We should not let our eagerness to see the dictators step down to accept whatever comes in their place. Now is the time when anything that ever mattered to us is addressed, now is our time as youths and men to make the changes we always asked for. Programmed or otherwise, let’s have our say in it…let’s do it right.

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