Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Fall of the Pharaohs Yet Mubarak Remains For Now

Former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman said it "is not just the potential fall of the pyramids, but the fall of the Pharaohs." The crisis in Egypt was thought to bring about the resignation of Mubarak today but that didn't happen.

Throughout the crisis, there was no rhyme nor reason to the response to the Egypt protests from American leadership. From the U.S., the people of Egypt heard one message after another, often not in sync at all.

In the beginning, Biden said he didn't consider Mubarak a dictator. Clinton said that Egypt was "stable". Biden was dispatched. A former State Dept employee was dispatched. Obama said there should not be a rush for Mubarak to leave. Then he said the people must be heard. Then he said Mubarak should prepare for an orderly transition. We were going to cut foreign aid. Then we weren't going to cut foreign aid.

As President Obama held a campaign style speech in Marquette, Michigan, touting Internet access to rural areas in an important 2012 re-election bid state, Egyptian President Mubarak made history. In an address aimed for the protesters, Mubarak said he was listening to "the youth" but not to the "foreign source". He declared he would not run for re-election, as he promised before, and that he would continue to carry out his responsibilities to the constitution. He spoke of the "free and transparent" elections upcoming in September.

Mubarak said the blood of the martyrs and the injured would not be for nothing. He pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice. "For 60 years, I have given this country service." He spoke of a national dialogue to move into the transition between now and September. He called for a panel of legal experts and "respected personalities" to work on a new constitution. He has asked for six articles of the constitution to be amended. These are needed, he said, to enter into the presidential election. They would guarantee the "freedom and transparency" of the election.

The priority is to regain confidence in the economy and in the international community, he said. He said the chaos cannot continue day after day. He said the youth who called for changes would suffer the most from the consequences of continued chaos.

"We must continue the national dialogue we started." "I work for the people of Egypt and the children of Egypt." "I'm aware of the danger of this intersection."
He passed on the power of the President to the new Vice-President. He said they will stay in office until the September election. He said the army will ensure the transition of power.

"This is the beginning of a lifetime".

Tahrir Square was awash in a sea of protesters demanding Mubarak leave office. This speech was very clearly not what they wanted to hear. The crowd went from the excited anticipation of a pending resignation to angry chants after the speech was delivered. "Down with Mubarak" was the chant after the speech from the crowd.

Staying tuned.

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