Mubarak Won’t Leave

I’m going to try and write a consistent and coherent blog post. I can’t promise anything because I am furious. I am so angry that I just want to scream and kick and have a good old tantrum like when I was a kid. I am not an Egyptian and I am in the UK. I can’t imagine how the people of Egypt must be feeling right now. If I feel this way, they must be insane with rage. I am actually shaking with rage. But anyway, many of you might not now what’s actually happening so let me try to summarise.

Alright, today was not supposed to be a major day of protests. The labour actions were escalating, but we weren’t expecting giant crowds at Tahrir Square tonight. In fact, I was even planning to just check the news from time to time and mainly work. However, at some point an army officer spoke to the people in Tahrir Square and told them that all their demands will be met. This led to a lot of speculation. Later the supreme military council met for the third time in the history of Egypt and issued a communiqué, very intelligently titled communiqué 1. The actual content of the communiqué was next to nothing. Basically they said that they will stay in session and protect the people, blah blah blah.

However, This led to speculation that the army might have operated a coup. This was met with a lot of anger and fear by the people in Tahrir, because they want a civilian democratic Egypt, not more military rule. However, this was all speculation and no one knew what was going on. Later the state tv announced that Mubarak was going to speak later in the evening. Then hundreds of cables and reports started coming in from every possible news agency. They were contradictory and some said that he was going to stand down, some said that he ws going to give his power to the military, others to Suleiman, others that he was staying in power.

Anyway, this meant that people started getting really excited. Something was afoot, and the people could feel it. Hundreds of thousands, in Cairo and Alexandria, took to the streets. Tahrir square was filled to the brim. People were very excited. It looked like a giant farewell party for Mubarak. People were dancing, laughing, and just having fun. We heard that the speech was to be broadcast at 22:00 Egypt time. There was much excitement, but also much suspicion and trepidation. This led to probably the funniest hashtag on twitter I’ve ever followed, which was #reasonsmubarakislate. I urge you to search for it and read some of the brilliant tweets. The reason for this is that Mubarak’s speech was clearly late. Another important development was that state tv was showing live images of Tahrir Square for the first time. This led to much excitement. The regime seemed to have lost its grasp on its media.

About 40 or 50 minutes after it was supposed to start, it finally did. From the first few sentences, it was clear that he wasn’t stepping down. He started patronising, literally, the protesters and said that he was speaking to them as a father. He went on to say that he was ad for all the people that were killed, forgetting that they were killed by his people through his actions and orders. He said he was going to operate reform, blah blah blah. And then he referred to himself in the third person, as per usual. He said that he delegated some powers to Suleiman. However, by that time people were livid in Tahrir Square and Alexandria. They were screaming Leave, leave, leave! It was both a wonderful and a terrible sight. People were disappointed and angry and felt betrayed.

Then Suleiman had a speech. Every word coming out of his mouth was like a dagger. He said that he wanted the young people to go home and to stop listening to satellite televisions. Which reminds me, Mubarak kept saying that he wasn’t going to be ordered by foreign and outside forces. These two types of statements are clearly showing that the official line of blaming the events on Al Jazeera and foreign elements was still there. They still continue to refuse to accept that this is a full on revolution by the Egyptian people against tyranny. This speech only poured oil on the fire.

Quickly the protesters in Alexandria made their way to the northern military base in order to ask the army to make its mind. It wasn’t clear what they were going to do next. The people are still there now. At the same time, some people left Tahrir and are now encircling the state tv building. There were reports that some people are making their way to the presidential palace, although we haven’t heard from them in a while now. We don’t know if they abandoned the idea or not. Tens of thousands are still on Tahrir Square venting some anger. We are expecting a second communiqué by the supreme military council. This will be key to know what the army is going to do. The problem is that the rank and file is clearly on the side of the people. Many conscripts and low ranking officers have put their weapons down and joined the protesters.

Anyway, that’s where we are now. Tomorrow was built as another march of millions. It is clear now that it will be gigantic now. People are going to escalate tomorrow. There is talk that official buildings and presidential palaces are to be targeted. We don’t really know what will happen tomorrow. It is unclear where the army stands. It seems that there are deep rifts within the regime, maybe even within the army. It might turn bloody and it might turn out okay. The point is that the revolution marches on. And if some figures of the regime could have survived, politically, before today, now the people will not settle for less than the downfall of the whole regime. It is not clear what Mubarak and Suleiman were trying to achieve with those speeches. Maybe they wanted to push the protesters towards violence, maybe they just don’t get it and thought that this would calm them down. The point is that people are now even more galvanised and even more ready to achieve freedom.

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