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.