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Mubarak gone

Written By: - Date published: 10:12 am, February 12th, 2011 - 58 comments
Categories: International - Tags: , ,

Great news from Egypt: Hosni Mubarak has resigned. As I said a couple of week ago, Mubarak’s days were numbered when the army didn’t crush the protests against him. If you don’t control a monopoly on violence that you can exercise to eliminate threats, you’re not in charge any more.

Could we be witnessing a wave of democratisation, sparked by the oil/food crisis, like the one that swept Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall? Lets hope so.

But, remember, the army is now in charge and it was the army that overthrew the monarchy and created the dictatorship in the first place. Democracy may not be their goal.

This interview on RNZ with a Human Rights Watch activist, Daniel Williams, who was arrested by the army and interrogated by them for 36 hours is worth listening to. As Williams says “It’s not that the army is discovering this oppressive system. They created the system in this country”

Hopefully, it will be different this time, but it depends on the military men in charge and what different countries offer them. I predict that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is already on the blower offering financial assistance to ensure ‘stability’.

58 comments on “Mubarak gone ”

  1. Cnr Joe 1

    well – Mubarak goodbye.

    • Yep and congratulations to the people of Egypt. May your democracy be robust and inclusive.

      • luva 1.1.1

        I would hold back the congratulations for now. Great to see Mubarak gone, but who is in charge right now….the military? When are the free democratic elections going to take place?

        A few more hurdles to cross yet on the road to freedom

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Tanks and barbed wire still in place. And Maj. Gen. Safwat El-Zayat, a former senior official of Egypt’s General Intelligence and member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs has adivced that people should listen carefully to the anticipated communique #3.

          http://english.ahram.org.eg/~/NewsContent/1/64/5417/Egypt/Politics-/Army-and-presidency-at-odds–says-former-intellige.aspx

          See. That sounds like a lead in to a threat to me…I’m guessing communique #3 will amount to something like ‘Go home. Go back to your daily lives’ The army will take care of things from here on in. So, as you were.Or else!

          • Bored 1.1.1.1.1

            Bill , see you posted this early today, I got the news recently. I was wondering where the army would sit, now they are in charge its all still rather uncertain as to whether the peoples demands will be met. Step one achieved with Mubarak gone, step two….who knows?

  2. ianmac 2

    There was a cartoon recently which showed a statue of Mubarak being topple but it was joined to another statue of another dictator being raised in its place. Pessimistic?

    • Anne 2.1

      It was an Emmerson cartoon in the NZ Herald. As a cynic (born of years of observation and experience) I suspect he will ultimately be proven correct. If so, let’s hope it is a benevolent dictator.

  3. Jenny 3

    “Ripples from peoples power will spread across the Middle East”

    Kia Ora Gaza

  4. Jenny 4

    .
    Information is power. Here are two sources of the information needed by supporters of Egypt’s democracy movement all round the world:

    Watch Egypt’s fast moving events on your computer via Aljazeera TV’s live stream. Just click here.

    Get the latest news and analysis about Egypt at kiaoragaza.net, the website of New Zealand’s Gaza aid convoy network Kia Ora Gaza.

    captcha – ‘associations’

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    A very very sensitive time. There needs to be a group of military Generals and Colonels who have a greater vision of Egypt. And civilian leadership willing to drive that vision. Very very difficult time, although Mubarak hanging on and enforcing a bloody military crack down would have been bad, this juncture with him gone is where it could now all go really wrong for another 50 years.

  6. Jenny 6

    .
    Walk like an Egyptian

    “This is the first time in my life I feel free”

    Fireworks in Tahrir Square

    In Tahrir, protesters hugged, kissed and wept. Whole families took pictures of each other posing with Egyptian flags with their mobile phones as bridges over the Nile jammed with throngs more flowing into the square.

    Abdul-Rahman Ayyash, an online activist born eight years after Mubarak came to office, said he would be celebrating all night, then remain in the square to ensure the military “won’t steal the revolution.”

    “I’m 21 years old,” he said. “This is the first time in my life I feel free.”

    (AP report stuff.co.nz)

  7. the sprout 7

    John Key loses another mate.

    I wonder how Egypt’s new administration will view Key’s endorsement of the billionaire dictator last week?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      The US must be happy that the wave of democracy they instigated with the Iraq war is finally happening.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        Heh. Funnily enough when it first broke half the US right was running exactly this line. “Bush was right!”

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-z2D9lo9-8

        (yes, they sure do suck at music, them righties)

        The other half were shittin themselves about teh terrible mooslims. The folks with the smelly pants eventually won the argument and, last night at least, Fox was wall to wall ‘Oh Noes!!’ and
        ‘aaaargh’s.

    • Jenny 7.2

      “I wonder how Egypt’s new administration will view Key’s endorsement of the billionaire dictator last week?”

      Sprout

      Sprout, in response to the brutal insensitivity and vapid ignorance of our Prime Minister, the Egyptians would be well within their rights, if they downgraded New Zealand’s ‘Favoured Trading Nation’ status.

      Maybe this marks the time for the voters of New Zealand to follow the Egyptian people’s example and use our ballot to get rid of this affable clown, and the nasty right wing administration he fronts for?

      Maybe it is about time Key stopped meddling in politics, (a subject he, obviously, knows little about), and went back to his old job of money trading and speculation?

      As an Egyptian expatriate told the 500 strong, pro-democracy protest, called in Auckland last weekend:

      “I won’t tell you who to vote for, but no one should vote for someone who supports tyranny and corruption.”

      • Anne 7.2.1

        Don’t worry. Murray McCully has galloped in on his pure white steed and expressed his delight at the overthrow of Mubarak. That should do it 😀

        Took his cue from Barack?

    • Deadly_NZ 7.3

      And i see the Swiss have frozen his accounts problem is he probably got more around. the other problem he was just the head of the ‘machine’ all the others are still in power probably scared shitless they going to fall too. So look for a few people buying suitcases and plane tickets to one of the ever shrinking dictatorships left..

  8. The Revolution has Begun: let’s make it International and Permanent!
    http://amplify.com/u/apwzl

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    Interesting article here on how this might affect Israel/Palestine:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/10/why_the_egypt_revolution_is_good_for_israel?page=full

    Skinny:

    No settlement has been possible while the region is undemocratic. Having an undemocratic regime in Egypt has allowed Israel to avoid genuine negotiation. Game could be up. If so, then this is, ultimately, a Good Thing.

    I concur.

  10. Angus 10

    “The Revolution has Begun: let’s make it International and Permanent!”

    What utter Pollyanna-ish nonsense.

    When the caliphate gets restored, all you commies will be first up against the wall (after all the Jews & queers of course)

  11. Chris73 11

    So the militarys in control and no doubt Islam (not the religion of course but the hard-liners) will have a say in how things are run, not wanting to be cynical but I’d bet things are going to get worse for Egypt

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Yeah its a strong possibility Chris73.

      I hope that the Egyptians can get some good advice from the likes of Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia. None of these Muslim influenced states have outstanding track records at democratic rule – but far better than what Egypt has been surviving under the last few years.

    • joe90 11.2

      Worse than this?.

      He simply was sitting in a Cyber Cafe, when two policemen walked inside and demanded the ID’s of everyone who was sitting there. When he refused to give it to them, they grabbed him, tied him up, dragged him out of the Cafe, took him to a nearby building where for 20 minutes they beat him to death, smashing his head on the handrail of the staircase, while he screamed and begged for his life, and as people around watched helplessly, knowing that if they did something, they would be accused of assaulting a police officer, which would pretty much guarantee them a similar fate. This went on for 20 minutes. Think about that. You are beaten to death, by those who swore to protect you, while the people in your neighborhood watched silently, and as your pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears. 28. Not yet married. Still having the rest of your life ahead of you. No More.

      • Blondie 11.2.1

        @ joe90

        Oh god….. that story is awful, the pics are even worse. I’m speechless. God. I can’t imagine how the people of Egypt must feel….. and even now, while they celebrate Mubarak’s downfall, they must wonder what more is to come. Terrifying.

    • Marty G 11.3

      The egyptian military is secularist – as is the norm in the middle east. They’re not going to get in bed with militant islam. And the muslim brotherhood aren’t as extreme as al qaeda et al

  12. DJames 12

    It wont be a easy change. The good thing is that Egyptians and their military are more educated now about democracies and why they’re the gold standard. Going for gold is not always easy but it’s worth it.

  13. Olwyn 13

    Is the fall of the Berlin wall the best image of a transition to democracy Eddie? I know the outcome was a mixed one, but the rapid advance of corporatism did leave economies largely made up of mafia millionaires, hookers and mail order brides. And if a recent radio game is anything to go by, the last trend at least continues. The people in Egypt I think have taken a major step but have a long way to go yet. Anti-spam word: markets (eerie)

  14. Anthony C 14

    The focus on toppling Mubarak probably means the mechanism behind will sweep into power.

    It’s probably the great thing about dictators – they’re an easy target, and a great scapegoat for a regime.

    I’ll hold judgement until free and fair elections are held.

    • Bored 14.1

      Well spotted, but importantly the people know they can prevail against anybody if its more of the same. See Joe below, its spreading, Yemen is in uproar, Saudi Arabia next week.

    • Jenny 14.2

      Viva l’ Audace

      Nothing succeeds like success.

      New horizons have been opened for the people of Egypt and the whole Middle East, and anything is possible.

      I agree that, it is not a foregone conclusion. But I am optimistic that the final outcome will be a vast improvement on the brutal regime that has oppressed the Egyptian people for so long.

      After suffering so much, I have faith that the Egyptians will not allow one oppressive dictatorship to be replaced with another.

      So Anthony C I think this is a time to celebrate the Egyptian people, and their new found freedom and wider horizons.

      After all if the Egyptian people can topple such a deeply entrenched dictator, all his henchmen are just as surely, answerable to the will of the people as well, if not more so.

      Viva viva

      captcha – “staying” as in, free from tyranny.

      • Jenny 14.2.1

        .
        “Euphoria in Arab states”

        Radio New Zealand transcript

        Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei says Mr Mubarak’s resignation is the greatest day in his life.
        Asked if he was going to run for the presidency, Mr ElBaradei said he was just happy to see Egypt liberated.
        “My message to the Egyptian people is that you have gained your liberty,” he said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television. “Let’s make the best use of it and God bless you.”

  15. joe90 15

    #Yemen

    In #Yemen, police are firing on civilians…please retweet #Jan25 #Feb17 #SidiBouzid http://tiny.cc/1ksgl

  16. ianmac 16

    Wonder how much Mubarak actually knew about the day to day running of his country? Always thought that GW Bush was a figure-head and the real power, like Cheney, was a lot less visible.
    Is it possible that even now the real power in Egypt is out of sight and therefore will remain?

  17. Jenny 17

    “The day of Departure”

    Exactly a week ago an estimated 1 million Egyptians joined protests dubbed the “Day of Departure”.

    They were only out by one week

    “Farewell Friday”

    Pro-democracy activists dubbed yesterday’s protests “Farewell Friday”. Only two days earlier Mubarak looked unshakeable and immovable. But with massive industrial strike actions, and millions protesting in the Streets of every city and town, Egypt’s people finally forced Mubarak to resign amongst scenes of jubilation.

    Following Mubarak’s announcement, our correspondent in Tahrir Square, said: “Tonight, after all of these weeks of frustration, of violence, of intimidation … today the people of Egypt undoubtedly [feel they] have been heard, not only by the president, but by people all around the world.”
    “The sense of euphoria is simply indescribable,” said our correspondent at Mubarak’s Heliopolis presidential palace, where at least ten thousand pro-democracy activists had gathered.

    “I have waited, I have worked all my adult life to see the power of the people come to the fore and show itself. I am speechless,” Dina Magdi, a pro-democracy campaigner in Tahrir Square told Al Jazeera.

    “The moment is not only about Mubarak stepping down, it is also about people’s power to bring about the change that no-one … thought possible.”

    In Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, our correspondent described an “explosion of emotion”. He said that hundreds of thousands were celebrating in the streets.

    Protests were also reported from the cities of Mansoura, Mahalla, Suez, Tanta and Ismailia with thousands in attendance.

    Now that’s something.

    18 days that shook the world

  18. kriswgtn 18

    2 words sum it up for me

    People Power

    • Chris73 18.1

      Shame that in Egypt it’ll be:

      Military Power

      • T 18.1.1

        Conscript Army. Lots of overlap between ‘People’ and ‘Military’. The Generals may want power, but it’ll be difficult if they can’t get their footsoldiers to intimidate the civilians. The civilians of Egypt will be emboldened after their victory against Mubarak. It’ll take a lot to intimidate them now. It’ll also take a massive pay rise for the footsoldiers to reliably intimidate their friends and families. The military gets their money from the US and various business interests in Egypt.

        • Carol 18.1.1.1

          There were some skirmishes between protesters and the army who tried to dismantle barricades yesterday. Protesters resisted and the barricades remained.
          http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121217639448807.html

          Also a core of protesters are staying in Cairo’s square until their main demands are met.

          They are also setting up a “Coincil of Trustees” (of the revolution). They want an on-going dialogue with the military rulers, to ensure their demands are met. They have about 3 main demands they are prioritising to be met first. As I recall they are:

          1) all political prisoners to be freed.
          2) lift emergency laws
          3) dismantle security aparatus

          The CoT say they will bring the people out on the streets again if their demands aren’t met.

          As someone said on AlJazeera this morning, the protesters have been very well organised from the beginning.

          I saw a programme on AJ Live online this morning about the Egyptian bloggers. They are pretty fearless. Some have already done stints in prison. And they have managed to develop an engaged network of activists through social networking and street protests.

          They say it is difficult for the authorities to stop them because they don’t have a single leader, are networked, and very IT savvy.

          • Colonial Viper 18.1.1.1.1

            I thought those protesters in the square were well organised too. Mubarak’s resignation was announced, and the protestors had fireworks ready to celebrate!

        • Chris73 18.1.1.2

          True but there’ll be the hard-core professional army as well, hard to see the army giving up 50-60 years of power

          • Rosy 18.1.1.2.1

            There was some talk of a little bit of a disconnect between the generals and the soldiers. It’s possible the generals won’t really be sure if the foot soldiers will support them if they do anything too hardline.

            • Carol 18.1.1.2.1.1

              This is the impression I have gained from watching Al Jazeera in the last few days:

              I don’t think the problem is a military dictorship for the foreseeable future in Egypt. The problem is the strong connection with, and influence from, the US military & its government: the Egyptian army relies on funds, training and resources from the US for its power. That is at least part of the reason the army has treated the protesters softly. The US doesn’t want to be supporting violent repression in the face of such a strong demonstration of people power and desire for democracy.

              The US government has been caught off-guard by the rise in people power, and have been struggling to develop a consistent line. Obama’s first efforts was to support the plan put in place by the Republican presidents a while back, to have a transition to Suileman. This was clearly out of touch with the mood of the Egyptian people. I think the Egyptian top brass & the US had agreed a couple of days ago that Mubarak would go and Suileman would take charge.

              Obama in his statement just prior to Mubarak’s TV speech, seemed to be expecting him to stand down. Mubarak defied them by refusing to stand down fully in that speech, saying that he would not give in to “outside pressure”. After another day of behind-the-scenes struggle and negotiations, he stood down, leaving the US-supported entities still in charge: the army generals and Suileman.

              Obama then made a kind of victory speech, aligning the protesters’ call for democracy with the sentiments/beliefs of US citizens. Now, behind the scenes, the US will be maneuvering to get their people into electable positions in a new look Egyptian democracy – as in Iraq. The US government will then mobilise all its propaganda (and black-ops) machinery to promote its people into positions of power in the new Egyptian government.

  19. Locus 19

    This was not just a one shot uprising. This revolution has been building for years. The Egyptian people, who so completely demonstrated that they have nothing to lose, will not let army generals or a dictator run the country. The military will only be tolerated while it allows the people to build the democratic framework they want. Their transition to democracy is going to be a huge challenge, but I am very optimistic. Just look at the passion! For every Egyption under the age of 50 this was a life changing moment. For the first time in their lives they discovered they have the power to make things change. They won’t waste this chance.

  20. Tiger Mountain 20

    The best indicator of future behaviour is often past behaviour, particularly regarding military regimes. How many times has Bainimarama now reneged on elections for Fiji?

    Strikes and continued mass action will be required for the Egyptian people to ensure further progress.
    Any alliances they may have with sections of the military surely cannot be relied on. Many have lost their lives already and one shudders to think about revenge action from the security forces. Safety in numbers and seeking international solidarity, including opening the borders with Gaza need to be pursued.

    The yanks will ultimately not countenance their local enforcer Israel being compromised, which is what will happen as freedom for Egyptian people increases.

  21. HC 22

    “EDDIE” I totally share your hope but am realistic and at the same time fairly sceptical that there will be the changes happening that the protestors actually went on the streets for in their millions. Mubarak came from the military as basically all previous presidents since King Faruq was overthrown. The military is around 400000 strong and also has a sizeable reserve. It owns land, companies and has a fair share in the whole Egyptian economy that it controls. The present government will apparently stay in power for time being, and it remains to be seen what kind of constitution will be drawn up, who will form parties running for an election and when such a vote will indeed take place. The Defence Minister is not known for being a reformer, and he will make sure that his military forces – especially the large number of officers – will be looked after well. The army has been breaching human rights also, and who will address those crimes in future? I doubt that the military leadership even want to go that far and have any established body look at past human rights breaches. So I feel the fools are dancing and not realising that nothing substantial at all has changed. State media remains untouched, state institutions and businesses will more or less return to what they did before. Marches of millions are impressive, but that may not be enough to change fundamentally the social and economic realities in a country like Egyt. Corruption is yet another problem, that is widespread. It will not be defeated easily.

    • Carol 22.1

      There was a guy on AlJazeera this morning who had recently written a book saying that Egypt was on the brink of revolution. He was asked why the Egyptian people had such a favourable attitude to the military. He said that the army censored any opinions criticising it. The author said that, in the past he had been interviewed my Egyptian media. His statements criticising Mubarak were published in full. However, his criticisms of the Egyptian military weren’t published.

    • Colonial Viper 22.2

      At this stage I feel that taking all privileges from the military is out of the question.

      Backing the most powerful and wealthy in the society to feel into a corner, particularly if many of them have control of big guns is not wise. Further, a well led secular military can act as a buffer against religious extremism, and as a grounding influence for political stability. From that respect they are quite handy to have around.

      Governmental rule which is fair, democratic, and observes due process and human rights would be an excellent start. The excesses of extreme wealth and nepotism curbed while new, real opportunities for every day Egyptians to participate in are created. Closing down of secret jails and clandestine security units.

      Yes, corruption etc will continue to be a serious problem, but in a way, that really is a known quantity.

      I hope a principled civilian administration with strong leadership can emerge to work productively with the military Generals over this transition period.

  22. HC 23

    Who will hold accountable those thousands of secret police officers, the Presidential Guard, the general police force for the torture, beatings and numerous human rights breaches that happened? I hear and see nothing of the sorts like a “Truth and Reconciliation” body that was established in South Africa after Apartheid was abolished and free elections followed. With the military in Egypt holding the strings there is going to be only very little “progress”.

    Due to the Egyptian economy and particularly the military being very dependent on foreign “aid” the US will also ensure that no kind of “democracy” will get established that may bring in a government led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Here we will eventually see again the quiet cooperation between the US, the Egyptian military and the elite in Egypt that has upheld the system that was until two days ago for over 30 years.

    It remains to be seen whether the new opposition and supposed mass movement will realise this in time and take the necessary action. Also bear in mind that this uprising was initially started by the rather middle class professionals and students, of whom many do not find the jobs and opportunities they feel they deserve. They have laptops, internet access, mobile phones and can access Facebook, Twitter and other online communication forums. It is not so much the average factory worker, the street cleaners, the peasants and low paid service providers who enjoy an income to afford such means.

    Hence it is hardly a true groundswell “revolution”.

    Let us see where their loyalties will lie!

  23. joe90 24

    Hence it is hardly a true groundswell “revolution”

    A wee snippet that could well have come from Maddows how the right explains Egypt.

  24. HC 25

    Ha – just read on Al Jazeera’s English website and the BBC News website that the military is now trying “to clear” Tahrir Square of the last staunch protesters!? Any questions and any further ideas or comments, dear folk???

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      A little bit dodgy, nevertheless the disturbances seem minor. What would inspire some confidence is if the authorities suspended the state of emergency which has been in place for 30 years.

      Its not surprising that at the moment, many of the protestors remain dubious of the military’s longer term intentions. Mubarak is gone, but his oppressive state machinery is unchanged.
      And in the background the Americans are negotiating with the Egyptian military, whom they have long standing assistance ties with.

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