Feb 2, 2011

#Jan25 and tonights (soon to be ex-)President's Announcement!

When I think of the last 8 days, and the 100s of thousands (unfortunately I am not included in that count) that have taken to Egypts streets, I can not stop thinking what would I have been cheering for on the streets if I had been there, what would the Egypt that I envisioned look like. 

I envision a secular country built on strong and vibrant institutions, a country where the police serves the people and not the regime, a country with a vibrant economy that not only provides employment but also opportunities for social mobility. A country that doesn't discriminate. A county that leads and shapes agenda, for the betterment of its people and its neighbours.

Now over the last few days, this country has gone through some transformational moments, with millions of Egyptians, home and abroad, protesting and uprising against a corrupt regime. These moments included a collective sense of patriotism, voluntarism, grass root movements rising, spontaneous community watch groups, maturity by the army,  and more importantly significant selfness embodied by the sacrifices of the 1000s of brave Egyptians that got mercilessly killed and injured by a fascist police force. 

Talking to friends and more importantly to my parents who were there during this turbulent times, I feel Egypt has taken many steps in that direction. The people of Egypt rose and made it clear that they reject over 60 years of corruption, mismanagement, discrimination, hate and wars. They rose to say, not only to we deserve better, we demand it. Eight days latter, a weakened leader, who is full of flaws and caused many grievances to this hurting nation announced that:
  1. He will not re-run for office later this year
  2. Directed the parliament to open elections in all the ridings that have disputed election results
  3. Directed parliament and his government to work with the opposition leaders in modifying constitution to ensure Presidential terms and to relax the criteria for running for the countries most senior office
  4. Reminded, actually directed, the police force to focus on serving the regime and not the people
In my humble opinion, the Egyptian people should call this a victory. I know that some of you want to go the extra mile and kick Mubarak out of the country. Put a transitionary government in place, that would exactly do what Mubarak said he will do. All of this can actually happen, with Omar Suleiman (or Baradei  or Moussa, or your average Mo in power) in power rather than Mubarak. Yes there is major validity in your argument, but I can't accept it only because the Egypt I envision, would have a living ex-president residing in Egypt. Am I the only one envisioning this?

Now there is also the trust factor, do we trust Mubarak to deliver the goods? Well personally, I trust Mubarak as little as I trust any of the other alternatives. The difference between Mubarak and the others is incentives. If Mubarak tries to screw us over again he knows we will be back on the street and nothing will stop us. He knows, as much as we do, that the army wont take his side, nor would foreign leaders. So there is no motive to fuck us over. I would argue, that he even knows that more than his alternatives. His only hope, especially now as a weakened hated president, who "led" us through 30 turbulent years, is to leave a legacy. A legacy of transofrming the country, he knows if he doesn't deliver now his legacy will be #Jan25. But if he delivers what he is promising, he will be the leader that "allowed" (against his will) the transformation of Egypt to the 21st century. 

Ideally the meer months he still has in power (9 I believe) would give us a chance to re-write our destiny. Our potential presidential candidates will have the chance to prepare electoral programs and election campaigns that would meet the unquestionable demands of the Egyptian people. A few month will ensure that we are not emotional as we stand for the first time in too many years infront of a ballot box making critical decisions. It will ensure we vote with our minds not our hearts.