The Moment of Possibility

Today Egypt experienced their moment of possibility.  Their fight for all that is just and fair, a government for the people and by the people, culminated in the first step in attaining that victory: President Mubarak resigned.  Today was indeed “Farewell Friday”.

It is a joy to watch that nation’s exhilaration and euphoria.  Upon the heels of the announcement of Mubarak’s departure, when the gun turrets of the army’s tanks reversed and turned from facing the crowd to facing the Presidential Palace, the symbolism as well as the reality was overwhelming and historic.  Today’s events do Egypt’s 6000-year-old history justice, and reinforce the teachings of such great men as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King.   However, once the initial celebration calms, the real work must follow.

Mubarak was a lying dictator and thus, a coward of the highest order.  Yesterday in his non-resignation speech, he tried to pin the blame  for the Egyptian uprising on foreign forces, thus building a sham of common ground between himself and the people.  That statement was his downfall.  To admit the truth, that the revolt was initiated and carried out by millions of his own countrymen, would have been total defeat for Mubarak, so he chose to lie about the nature of his 30-year reign and run away from the reality.   Mubarak is indeed a coward who would twist the truth for his own desperate ends, whether they be his continued reign of power, his ongoing economic rape of the country for personal gain or simply a ploy to save face.  However, he is also, now, history!

And let’s talk about saving face for a minute.  The United States had a highly workable relationship with Mubarak over the last three decades.  Many issues were at stake: the survival of Israel, the flow of oil, and the balance of power in the Middle East, where extremist factions and threats of nuclear capability thrive.  President Obama has only held office for two years, yet his words and support of the people’s plight in Egypt could have been more expeditious and forceful, less wavering.  If the real issue was the worry of how our support of the Egyptians over Mubarak would appear to the world (hypocritical?), following our 30-year pact with Egypt, in terms of our long-term political analysis of global risks and rewards, it pleases me that President Obama was able to rise above the empty value of saving face, to put behind him what our mistakes might have been and what others think of us.  Let the tyrants of the world try to uphold their kingdoms by saving face.  President Obama, if tentative and slow to react, ultimately took the side of truth and disregarded any attempt to save face.

Congratulations to the people of Egypt, for their peaceful yet committed freedom fight, for their efforts to take care of each other during the demonstrations, for their willingness to forego personal comfort in favor of making their point, for their bravery and composure.  They have indeed set an example for the world to follow.  I hope they take a celebratory breather and then get on with the tough rebuilding that will test them even further.  I do believe they will pass that test with flying colors.

Egypt’s moment of possibility will hopefully be followed by a forever of liberation and justice.

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