End Game For Mubarak And Other African Despots?

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Mubarak has had over 35 years to implement positive change in Egypt. He has utterly failed to do so, while erecting a façade of democracy where his party always won a majority of the seats in Egypt’s government. Some opposition groups
and their leaders have been barred from politics—while others have been targeted, tortured and imprisoned.
Mubarak, Egyptand African Dictators

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Is the ongoing Egyptian revolt, against President Hosni Mubarak, the beginning of the end game for his brutal dictatorship—and other similar regimes in Africa?

Days after the protests started, on Jan. 25, the Egyptian people continue to demand for Mubarak to resign after 30 years of rule—many can be seen holding signs calling for the president to “get out” of Egypt. Two million or more defied a curfew today and thronged Cairo's main square.

Mubarak has now announced he won't run for re-election in September. Still, the Egyptian people want him to depart now: "Leave now, leave, leave," was the way many greeted his televised remarks tonight.

Egyptian journalist and Democracy Now producer Sharif Abdel Kaouddous, reported from Egypt, heared chants of "Wake up Mubarak, today is your last day,” and "Mubarak, the plane is waiting for you at the airport." Fresh in their memory are the protests that drove Ben Ali from Tunisia--he boarded a jet for Saudi Arabia.

In a transparent and desperate gesture at reform, President Mubarak had appointed several new members to his cabinet, including powerful Egyptian intelligence head Omar Suleiman as Egypt’s new vice president. Mubarak was the last vice
president, serving under former Egyptian President Anwar el Sadat 30 years ago. Ahmed Shafik was named prime minister, replacing outgoing Ahmed Nazif.

Although hundred of thousands of people have marched on the streets for political and economic change, the protests have, largely, been peaceful. However, there’s been some violence and looting.  Approximately, 2,000 people have been injured, including over 700 police personnel and over 100 have been killed. Police had used water cannons, tear gas, batons—and in certain cases live bullets to stop marchers. When the massive protests drove police into flight, the military were deployed. They were hailed as liberators by the Egyptians.

The Army has since announced that they would not direct any violence at the "great" Egyptian people. If Mubarak wanted a clear sign about what to do--in doesn't get any more plain than that.

The Egyptian people have been facing serious economic problems for decades. Forty percent of Egyptians live at, or, below the poverty line with widespread unemployment. There is growing evidence that some of the violence was carried out by Egyptian police in an attempt to discredit protesters in the eyes of the world.

After the Army took control of the streets,  the military allowed protesters to march after curfew. Demonstrators have, apparently, found allies among members of the military. The Egyptian military's statement also proclaimed: "The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people."

"By saying that there cannot be a confrontation between the military and the demonstrators, they are basically telling Mubarak the game is over for him," noted Middle  East analyst, Stephen Cohen.

The Egyptian protests was, primarily, spearheaded by the April 6th Youth Movement—who’ve used social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter, to organize the marches. Mubarak’s government shut down the Internet in an attempt to
disrupt the protestors’ momentum. In the 21st century that's like trying to plug a hole in a dam with a pinky.

The Egyptian revolt was inspired by the Tunisian uprisings, which started last December, when 26-year-old Mohamed
Bouazizi burned himself to death in protest against the Tunisian government. Bouazizi’s act of martyrdom was sparked when police seized goods he sold on the street to make money--even with college education he had failed to secure a job.

The Tunisian demonstrations forced President Ben Ali from power after 23 years. The Egyptian people are demanding
the same fate for Mubarak. The Egyptian people have spoken loud and clear demanding the immediate exit of Mubarak. 

It’s high time these do-harm autocratic African leaders were all kicked out. Would Mubarak’s fall—coming on the heels of Ben Ali’s toppling—signal the beginning of a domino effect demise of dictators throughout Africa and the Middle East?

Washington and Western leaders always lecture the world on the virtues of democracy, while, breaking bread with brutally bloody tyrants. Mubarak, like most African and Arab despots, has functioned as a puppet, safeguarding Western interests, while ignoring his people’s needs.

Egypt is the second largest recipient of American aid, behind Israel. Most of this aid is allocated for bombs and bullets, when the masses of the people lack bread and butter. For years, the Egyptian government has pushed privatization, deregulation, structural adjustment programs and subsidy cuts in compliance with dictates from the IMF and World Bank, to the detriment of their people.

Mubarak has had over 35 years to implement positive change in Egypt. He has utterly failed to do so, while erecting a façade of democracy where his party always won a majority of the seats in Egypt’s government. Some opposition groups
and their leaders have been barred from politics—while others have been targeted, tortured and imprisoned.

With the impending fall of Mr. Mubarak, who’ll lead Egypt after this regime collapses?

Will it be Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei—former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who called for Mubarak to step down? What role will groups like the Muslim Brotherhood play in the new
Egypt? What will a changing of the guard portend for the Israel and Palestine situation?

Mubarak has aided Israel by blocking international aid coming through Gaza for the Palestinians. This historic revolution, in Egypt, may well be the beginning of the end for repressive regimes elsewhere in Africa—and all over the world. The handwriting is on the wall.

Poor people rising up means tyrants, like Mubarak, will all, eventually, fall.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."


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