Friday, February 11, 2011

Fin du Régime

In the end, they leave, with hollow eyes and a few plain words. Stripped of their ill-gotten power, they are miserable, ashen, and base. All of the rhetoric they spewed lingers like a bad smell, soon to evaporate in the fresh air of freedom. "The Egyptian people still need to develop a culture of democracy. Their grievances are economic, not political. The ruling party won a sweeping victory. The extremists are going to take over. The government supports limited income groups. Police torture is just a few individual cases. The constitutional amendments strengthen democracy." Today, all of that is over.

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.

(AP Photo)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Popular Sovereignty

A citizen outside the gates of parliament, 9 February 2011.
(AP Photo)

Friday, February 04, 2011

To Egypt, with love

Tahrir Square, February 1, 2011; "We've come from Aswan; neither Mubarak nor Soliman." Photo: Tamer El-Ghobashy

Before we enter the phase of intense politicking to game a post-Mubarak order, the deals being made to contain the public’s unequivocal demand to choose their leaders, I want to express love and awe of all those average people who said enough. Enough repression. Enough thievery. Enough rotten ideas about the apathy and inaction of the people. I have no doubt that the grim realities of elite politics will soon overtake events, as they always do. But I’ll never forget how ordinary citizens completely upended the best laid plans of the rulers in Cairo, Washington, and Tel Aviv. They forced Hosni Mubarak to ditch his dynastic project, posthaste, and to openly express his hatred of the Egyptian people. They forced the Americans to yet again confront the folly of building alliances with loathed dictators. And they reminded Israelis that Arabs want to rule themselves, whether Israel likes it or not. No amount of muddled theories or elite compromises will ever mask the extraordinary clarity of what happened in Egypt this winter. I'm happy to be alive to see it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Clinging to power at any cost, with criminal disregard for human life, Hosni Mubarak dispatched armed gangs into the amassed peaceful pro-democracy crowds in Tahrir Square. Plainclothes police and hired baltagiyya armed with whips and batons tore into the crowds on horseback, beating the demonstrators like savage marauders. NDP members and public sector clerks marched in processions, including uniformed police officers, holding aloft Egyptian flags and photos of Mubarak to perform support for him.

This is what Mubarak meant in his speech yesterday, that "everyone must choose between chaos and order," between his rule and his violence.

(AP Photos, February 1, 2011)