Egypt’s new history lesson

Yesterday, Egypt’s “President” Hosni Mubarak gave some rambling speech, ending with “I’m not stepping down.” (I paraphrased a little bit.) This in spite of the fact that highly placed sources stated that the President was going to vacate the office. To say that this was a let down would be the understatement of the decade. This led to more protests today. Finally, after 18 days of demonstrations, the president got out of Dodge. He abdicated. He left the building (with billions of dollars, not millions, but billions!!!).

I know that many progressives are doing the “happy dance” for the Egyptian people. I would like to wait. I would like to see what comes next. Currently, Egypt is under military rule. What kind of interim government will the military set up? What kind changes will be made to the Egyptian Constitution? Will the people be involved in any of these decisions? When will real elections be held? In my mind, there’s too much uncertainty for me to give a big thumbs up for a dictator who just left the office. I am happy for the Egyptian people but there is much work to do.

History tells us that democracy is hard. If democracy was easy, everyone would have one. Can the Egyptians make the difficult decisions and continue their progress towards freedom and liberty for all? This young Google executive, Wael Ghonim… can he step up to the plate and be the leader they Egypt needs him to be? What role did the US play in Mubarak leaving? Any or nothing? What role will the Obama administration play to support democracy?

From Aol’s HuffPost:

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday, bowing down after a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. “The people ousted the president,” chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo.

Several hundred thousand protesters massed in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square exploded into joy, waving Egyptian flags, and car horns and celebratory shots in the air were heard around the city of 18 million in joy after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.

Mubarak had sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title. But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soldiers stood by, besieging his palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building. (more…)