Is the New Egypt a Reality?
I will try to avoid the rhetoric that President Hosni Mubarak’s much awaited speech was laced with. After four days of street protests, the President appeared on the national television; acknowledged some of his ‘remarkable’ stances such as allowing the public to protest (completely overlooking the fact of Internet/cellular service blackout), made certain promises for future and in the end announced the sacking of the government. ‘Tomorrow, there will be a new government’, he said and added, ‘I am not going anywhere.’
One can’t marvel enough on the audacity of the President who knows very well that the protesters meant his ousting and the return of democratic government in Egypt. President Mubarak’s speech could well be a show of delusive confidence.
Egypt has a semi-presidential system of government with all the powers accumulated in the president. Hosni Mubarak is ruling for almost 30 years now and his unopposed re-election over the years has been nothing but a sham.
The notable thing about Egyptian protest is that apparently it is not spearheaded by any leader. The youth is the prominent participant of the protest. According to Aljazeera English (live coverage of the protest), after the Friday prayers the protesters including considerable number of women and even children poured into streets chanting the regime change. This indicates that people truly are sick of the Hosni Mubarak and his dictatorial government and they want a real change.
Many experts are predicting that the days of Mubarak regime will be deemed numbered if the protests gained momentum. It is the anger and frustration spilling on the streets that’s been brewing for three decades.
Amid speculation The Telegraph came up with the report that shows America’s secret backing behind the uprising.
The US government has previously been a supporter of Mr Mubarak’s regime. But the leaked documents show the extent to which America was offering support to pro-democracy activists in Egypt while publicly praising Mr Mubarak as an important ally in the Middle East.
The report further claimed:
In a secret diplomatic dispatch, sent on December 30 2008, Margaret Scobey, the US Ambassador to Cairo, recorded that opposition groups had allegedly drawn up secret plans for “regime change” to take place before elections, scheduled for September this year.
The memo, which Ambassador Scobey sent to the US Secretary of State in Washington DC, was marked “confidential” and headed: “April 6 activist on his US visit and regime change in Egypt.”
It said the activist claimed “several opposition forces” had “agreed to support an unwritten plan for a transition to a parliamentary democracy, involving a weakened presidency and an empowered prime minister and parliament, before the scheduled 2011 presidential elections”. The embassy’s source said the plan was “so sensitive it cannot be written down”.
Ambassador Scobey questioned whether such an “unrealistic” plot could work, or ever even existed. However, the documents showed that the activist had been approached by US diplomats and received extensive support for his pro-democracy campaign from officials in Washington. The embassy helped the campaigner attend a “summit” for youth activists in New York, which was organised by the US State Department
Attempts to overthrow a government isn’t new in the Egypt’s history. In 1980, the organization called Egyptian Islamic Jihad was striving to bring Islamic revolution in Egypt. Aiman-al-Zawahiri was one of the important member of this group. That group was behind the assassination of President Anwar Sadat.
The current civil unrest seem to be directed towards bringing the social reforms such as democracy, education, jobs and health care etc.
The time will tell whether the new Egypt is a reality or a half-fulfilled or perhaps a broken dream but the way the Egyptians exhibited the power of masses on the streets is unprecedented.