Showing posts with label Egypt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Egypt. Show all posts

Friday, 11 February 2011

WHAM goes Mubarak - FREEDOM for Egypt!

A week or so ago I dedicated a musical tribute here in my blog to the Egyptian people's cause in their attempt to get the change that they were demanding.

They wanted their autocratic President Hosni Mubarak to resign after 30 years in power. No small request then but after 18 days of protesting, as Sam Cooke sang, a change has come to Egypt.

So, whilst we can't foretell what will happen next, for today at least, it's a day to celebrate a day of national re-awakening for Egypt.

So, it feels quite apt to move from Sam Cooke's melancholic words to the loud and voracious response given by Wham in 1984 (including the 1m 45s intro)

For today then, that precious commodity desired by peoples all the world.

FREEDOM!

A Historic Day for Egypt - Mubarak Resigns

Hosni Mubarak has gone!

I'm now thankful that a trapped nerve in my back has laid me low today because I've happened to have been watching BBC News 24 as Vice President Suleiman announced that President Hosni Mubarak has resigned.

Deposed Egyptian President - Mr Hosni Mubarak
Incredible scenes of jubilation from Tahir Square have followed on what is day 18 of the uprising. It seemed that Mubarak would stubbornly keep going after his announcement last night that he would not stand down. Indeed as the days turned into weeks, Mubarak continued to shield himself by sacking his cabinet and then by appointing a new Vice President. He wouldn't remove himself from office after 30 years in charge.

But now, he's gone. It's a historic day for Egypt. People power and public pressure has won through and now they have achieved their main goal. They wanted an end to authoritarian rule and they have made a great stride forward.

What next?
Mohamed ElBaradei -
Egypt's next President?
I wrote here last week about the situation and asked what happens next if Mubarak were in fact to go. Well, the High Council of the Armed Forces are now in charge - a military coup almost. But this army has been conscripted and has kept its close ties with the population over the last few weeks. They have the general support of the populace who will see their intervention now as a positive step forward.

Will this lead to wholly free and fair elections and a democratic Egypt? Prominent opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said today on hearing the news:

'This is the greatest day of my life. The country has been liberated'.

Will he seek to stand for President? Time will tell. How will the Muslim Brotherhood fare in democratic elections? Will they or a more secular alternative benefit?

These are pertinent questions, but questions for tomorrow.

For today, we must sit back and truly take in what is a remarkable day in the history of a nation and indeed for the the Arab world.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Sam Cooke Hymn for Egyptians Today - A Change is Gonna Come

It's a haunting song, sang by the maestro Sam Cooke. It spoke of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA in the early 1960s.

But for those in Egypt today who feel that President Hosni Mubarak's words in his recent address didn't go far enough and to those who are fighting inequality and injustice around the world, these words sang by Cooke feel particularly apt right now.

'A Change is Gonna Come'.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Mubarak is Resigning

Well, that at least has been the rumour sweeping through the protests in Egypt's second city Alexandria this afternoon.
The End of Mubarak?


Live on the BBC earlier, a reporter from Alexandria in the crowd was reporting on rejoicing in the crowd at the news that the aim of the insurgency had been achieved.

It is the way of such protests that rumours can spread quickly. Confusion can mount and that is clearly happening as the biggest protests have swept the country today.

The Domino Effect?
It began with Ben Ali in Tunisia and there have been protests also in the Yemen. Today, the King of Jordan has dismissed his government in response to protests there.

It all adds up to a potent concoction of discontent which the western leaders in the USA must treat with great care.

If Mubarak is forced to flee and it is of course possible, then who will fill the vacuum? If there are elections, will the popular but non-party political Mohamed ElBaradei be able to lead a secular, broadly-based opposition to sweep to power? What about the Muslim Brotherhood? They are apparently the most organised of the opposition groups.

According to Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East Editor: "Unlike the jihadis, it (Muslim Brotherhood) does not believe it is at war with the West. It is conservative and non-violent". However, Mubarak's Nationalist Secularist NDP Egyptian government question this.

If the army (which is conscripted and which therefore feels a greater allegiance to the Egyptian population than many fully professional armies have towards their peoples around the world) turn against Mubarak and there are elections in which a government is formed by a new form of dictatorship that opposes true democracy in a extremist islamiscist mould, what will the west do then? Hamas remember won the elections in Gaza but do the west deal with them as a democratic party? No, because they are seen as being a terrorist organisation.

Diplomacy
The west can't always have its cake and eat it. Words expressed at this very delicate time by western leaders therefore are quite rightly being said with care.
The Muslim Brotherhood

Former US Presidential candidate and current Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, John Kerry has today stated that Hosni Mubarak should announce his intention to not run in the November elections at the end of the year and that his son likewise will not run.

It's a wise tone is that Mr Kerry, but it probably isn't enough. The crowds in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez want nothing less than the removal of Mubarak as President.

But it does demonstrate that in the world of diplomatic relations, words being expressed from the west are toughening up.

Mubarak may well still resign. But even if that happens, no-one can guarantee what comes next.