The Egyptian government is not getting it. The world is not getting it.
After 17 days of protests in Egypt, the momentum is actually gaining, with demonstrations morphing into strikes, throughout the entire country. The Egyptian vice president has said that this defiance will not be tolerated for much longer. What? The government thought that these protests would run their course in two weeks? Did they consider such a show of independence to be merely an act of adolescent rebellion, a course that would simmer down after the people got their two weeks of ventilation? How utterly tolerant —- and condescending, insulting and dictatorial —- of the government.
The people want Mubarak gone. Complications, nuances civil upheaval be damned; until Mubarak is out of power no serious attempts of reconciliation and reform will be meaningful. Even the threat or actual engagement of the Egyptian army’s retaliation against these demonstrations will not stop the demand for the ouster of Mubarak. The writing is on the wall.
My daughter’s school had the motto “Find a way or make one.” The first step in Egypt “finding a way” is to get rid of Mubarak. The ensuing, necessary processes and procedures will be the same whether he is in power or kicked out. The Egyptians have a lot of ideological rebuilding to do, starting at a much more basic level than their head of state. Meanwhile, their President is like the pea in the mattress that constantly irritated the princess. This inflammation must be removed before any substantive reform can be forged.
The people are dead serious. Whether or not the Egyptian government and international leaders choose to recognize this is not relevant. If they continue to minimize the depth of the fight in Egypt, it will not make this situation go away. Thirty years of injustice and anger cannot be quelled with biding one’s time, waiting out the revolt or even using military violence. When such dissatisfaction erupts, there is just cause. Egypt and the world have not yet addressed this anger and are hoping that the fervor will simply die out.
It will not. Mubarak has to leave now. Perhaps then meaningful talks can begin. All of these other prescriptive measures are futile until the object, the facilitator and the criminal who caused and fostered this revolt, namely Hosni Mubarak, is removed from power.
Will the forces that be in Egypt finally get it? Will the world get it and help Egypt find their way or make one?