As I write, Egypt is, hopefully, in transition from oppression to some kind of democracy.
Mubarak is not broadcasting, and is rumoured to be in Sharm el Shaikh. Big business cats are jetting out. The NDP party HQ is on fire. Police are joining with protestors in the praiseworthy task of protecting the Museum (coincidentally, on R4 we have Alain de Botton making some good points about the value of museums).
Interesting that they were chanting in the rhythm of
Will never be Defeated".
Apparently they were saying something like it.
The people clearly want Mubarak to go.
This is what democracy looks like.
Democracy means that the will of the people is the ultimate authority in a country. Government exists to serve the people. When, like Ben Ali and Mubarak, they exist to serve themselves and their friends, they must go. The US is signalling frantically to this effect.
We must all hoe that Mubarak leaves Egypt, his cronies leave power, a stable, democratic interim Government is set up, that free and fair elections are held in a few months.
The strength of these uprisings is that they are popular, of the people. Their strength is that they are not particulary political, nor Islamicist. The weakness is that they are not particuarly political. The message is simply Mubarak Go!
Everything hinges now on the reaction of the Army. The sole valid raison d'etre for an army is to protect the people from invaders. Their role, irrational though it is, is to try to kill armed invaders who are trying to kill them. They are not there to kill unarmed civilians of their own nationality. This is why the Green Party has this policy (PD306): All serving personnel will be required to sign a pledge that they will not obey any order which would entail any breach of international law. In particular they will be able to disobey any order that required them to fire on unarmed civilians of their own or any other country.
When Murarak goes, the political problems begin.
What is The Plan for the next Government of Egypt? And of Tunisia? And of the domino row of other authoritarian regimes in the region.
What are the problems to be solved?
The causes of the Jasmine Revolution, and the revolution that is now taking place are many and various, but the chief causes are high unemployment, poverty, rising food prices, corruption, and authoritarianism.
This is no place to start being a policy wonk. I will just mention that unemployment is unneccessary in a Green Economy. And that there are jobs available in growing food. That's all.
Except to say thanks to texarkanagazette.com and whoever took the picture above.
No, there's more.
Guardian liveblogging from Egypt.