I am watching wonderful and optimistic scenes on television of brave and cheering Egyptians in Tahrir Square. Eighteen days that shook the world where ordinary Egyptians faced down oppression and now Mubarak has GONE….. scuttled off to Sharm el-Sheikh. The Egyptian people have come so far and are an example for us all! Never give up!!
What particularly chuffed lefties over here was the apparent anti-Mubarak unity between Muslim and Christian, as well as the women protesters on the streets of Cairo.
It marks the arrival onto the stage of history of the Arab masses as an actor rather than the passive and infantilised observers they had been for generations. The stranglehold of dictatorship has been broken from below. The Arab world shall never be the same.
I am writing this Sunday morning, February 6. For 12 days and nights now, millions of Egyptian women and men, Muslims and Christians, people of all ideologies and beliefs–the Egyptian people—have continued to unite under the banner of spontaneous popular revolution.
The first little unpleasantness - the attack on CBS reporter Lara Logan in Tahrir Square on the evening of Mubarak's resignation. Then last Friday a Coptic Christian church was burned down after rioting over "a romantic relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman" - and local Muslims held prayers on the burned-out site.
Christians protested at the attack in Cairo yesterday - and fighting broke out with Muslims in which 11 have died.
The mob allegedly prevented the local fire brigade from entering the village. The priest of the small parish, and three deacons have been reported missing.
“Some of the Muslim mobs in the area took the land … and put a sign that it’s now a mosque,” Michael Meunier, President of the U.S. Copts Association, told Vatican Radio on March 8.
Meanwhile, in the centre of Cairo, at Tahrir Square they were celebrating International Women's Day.
More than 200 men charged on the women – forcing some to the ground, dragging others out of the crowd, groping and sexually harassing them as police and military figures stood by and failed to act.
Now one mustn't get too downhearted, early days yet and all that. But although Mubarak is gone and Cairo is off the front (and inside) pages, I don't get the impression that the power structures in Egypt have changed dramatically. The Army and police, secret and not so secret, haven't gone away AFAIK. And most importantly, I don't see anything telling me that the discontents so bravely voiced on the Cairo streets are likely to be satisfied soon. Young Egyptians remain over-educated and under-employed, a situation we're likely to see in the UK soon. I'm not sure that Mubarak's solution - "tight control, and tell them Israel is to blame for everything" will necessarily fly here, although it did well over 30 years for Mubarak.
It all feels a bit April 1917-ish from here. What rough beast or beasts (one is already resident) are yet to slouch their way to the Land of the Pharaohs ?