Friday, February 11, 2011

End of the Tyrant; Now to end tyranny

Millions, if not billions, of people across the world will have raised a smile to hear that Egypt's dictator Mubarak has at last stepped down. You would have to be made of stone to not welcome the news.

Of course the end of a tyrant does not mean the end to tyranny and the revolutionary wave across the Arab world has barely begun. What comes next will no doubt be a mix of both good and bad, new solutions and old. The risk of an even more reactionary regime is both real and, I think, no reason to mourn the dying of the old.

I was impressed last week by a reporter on Radio Four being interviewed by John Humphreys. "How will Mubarak react next?" he was asked "I don't know." He replied. "But Mubarak wont do a Tianamen Square will he?" "I've got no idea what he'll do!" Queue an outraged snort from Humphreys - but the reporter was right.

Speculation is pointless at this time, the only thing that really matters is how the people of Egypt and the rest of the Arab world react. What kind of world they choose to make is in the balance and how those disagreements and compromises that lie ahead play out are all to play for.

There are many different visions for Egypt's future, and I'm sure that even what people want at this point is fluid and changing. Maybe those with modest aspirations will find themselves radicalised. Perhaps the religious will start looking to secular solutions and others will find themselves fusing faith and politics.

I'm reading it all with interest, but I've decided that, not only do I not know enough about the region to comment properly, but also that even the self appointed experts will have to throw their deeply entrenched ideas in the days and years to come. Who can say what these means for Egypt's women or how Israel will take the news, or the US or the people of Saudi Arabia?

This domino is falling. Today we should celebrate that, even if we cannot know what seemingly permanent structures will evaporate next.


Mike Shaughnessy said...

When I saw Cameron on TV making his short speech on the Mubarak going, I was shouting 'you're next mate.'

I see that the Americans have said that the new Egyptian govt MUST honour its peace treaty with Israel. So much for democracy, will of the Egyptian people etc etc.

The View From Steeltown said...

Sorry to hear that Tony Blair has lost one of his friends in the Middle East... ;-)

Strategist said...

It's a minor cherry on the cake of a great day that Blair is now so over as "Middle east peace envoy".

Washed up finished shithouse that he is.