By Bernard Jenkins
The Egyptian Revolution WAS televised! And Twittered, Facebooked, YouTubed , cell phoned and texted. Most of the world was thrilled and inspired by the courage and nerve of the Egyptian people - young and old, men, women and children, students, workers and out-of-workers - who rose up by the hundreds of thousands (perhaps even millions-there are after all about 80 million people in Egypt, mostly poor), finally and miraculously broke their Sphinx-like silence and passivity in the face of decades of exploitation and victimization by police state thuggery, political corruption, economic castration and massive financial criminality to roar: ENOUGH!!
The pharaoh Mubarak and his gang of goons and thieves tried every trickeration they could think of to hold back Freedom's whirlwind. They snatched up protestors to torture in uncounted numbers. They beat up journalists. They shut down the 21st century electronic carrier pigeons. They cried "The Jihadis are coming!! The Jihadis are coming!!" The pharaoh Mubarak himself, with boot-blacked hair and puffy visage, came down from the planet Duh! where he seemed to be living for nearly 3 weeks while the Revolution surged, to scold and threaten and make nonsensical declarations of defiance on State TV.
The Arab world's sheiks, kings and presidents-for-life, twitched and shuddered nervously. Some, like the Saudis, repeated the Mubarak regime's hysterical yelps about outside agitators. Others, like Syria's iron-fisted rulers, basically clammed up in the hope that nobody would notice they were there, in case the whirlwind changed directions and headed for their mansions and palaces and bank accounts.
The Obama administration, like a cellist in a marching band, sat in its chair and continually fiddled out of tune as the band played on and the parade passed by. Dragging along its chair of stability and the status quo, it never quite kept pace with events.
And then there was the Egyptian Military.
The Egyptian Military, which had not fought a war in 30 years and had not actually won one in perhaps 100 or more, has always been a power player in the Mubarak crime family (Mubarak was Air Force chief before succeeding the assassinated Anwar Sadat and eventually becoming pharaoh). Heavily armed and armored by billions of Uncle Sam's tax dollars, intimately enmeshed in Egypt's tangled web of financial corruption, it has, nevertheless, been a relatively well-respected institution in the public's estimation. Ubiquitous in its presence once the Revolution began to roll along, the Army did not publicly take sides and basically stood and watched the massive crowds in Tahrir Square as they fought off Mubarak's renta-goons.
But finally, on Friday, the 11th of February, the Egyptian Army High Command gave Mubarak the bum's rush out the door. The Revolution of Tahrir Square had its victory. And it might be said, the Egyptian Army has won a war it didn't fight.
What now? The know-it-alls know little or nothing. The swift demise of the pharaoh Mubarak's 30-year-long reign of terror and thievery is not the end of history. Right now, the Egyptian people (not counting the oligarchy class of corporate cannibals and baksheesh bagmen) are ecstatic and flushed with success. The Egyptian Military is sitting in the catbird seat. The top brass has promised the masses that they will abide by the People's Revolution, disband the corrupt and toxic political system set up by the pharaoh and his cronies, dissolve the ineffectual (except for stealing) parliament, suspend the constitution (and hopefully, the 30-year-old emergency laws that violated every conceivable human right) and enable the first democratic and civilized national elections to take place (sooner rather than later).
Will the Egyptian Military honor their word and the country's treaties and international obligations? Will the Egyptian people be as patient as they were determined? Freedom's whirlwind is still blowing across the Middle East. Will the other Arab villains as quickly fold their tents and scurry away over the dunes and off the radar to live happily ever after with their stolen boodle? Will the international cannibal capitalists, who ruthlessly looted Egypt, resist the temptation and their vultures' nature to swoop in again to steal and pillage? Will the US Government finally realize that America's interests are better served by supporting democracy over dictatorship? And that "democracy" is not just a bumper sticker to paste over the front of a tank rumbling through Iraq or Afghanistan.
The dogs have barked. Where is the caravan of freedom heading next?
History has shown it is much harder to keep a democratic revolution than to make one. If you doubt it, ask the French.