White revolution: Deliverance.

Published: February 12, 2011
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Egypt erupts in jubilation as Hosni Mubarak steps down; military council, led by defence minister, takes over power

Egypt erupts in jubilation as Hosni Mubarak steps down; military council, led by defence minister, takes over power

Former presidents of Egypt and Tunisia Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali speak at a summit in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte. PHOTO: AFP/FILE Egypt erupts in jubilation as Hosni Mubarak steps down; military council, led by defence minister, takes over power

CAIRO: Millions of Egyptians broke out into a cacophony of joy upon Friday’s fateful exit of Hosni Mubarak, which was one of the biggest gains of the largely peaceful White Revolution that erupted 18 days before.

Fireworks exploded in Tahrir Square, the nerve centre of the protest movement, as men danced on the street, women ululated and old men and children embraced each other in delight.

Crowds of people waved flags and youths beat drums to celebrate a new chapter in their country’s history. Streams of congratulatory messages were sent over mobile phone networks, hailing the victory for people power.

The scenes adequately compensated for the previous night’s bitter disappointment when, contrary to popular indications, Mubarak announced that though he would transfer some of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman he would continue to serve out the rest of his presidential term.

The next evening, however, the vice president made a dour-sounding announcement: “…During these very difficult circumstances …Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country.” His statement, for all its sobriety, made hundreds of thousands of Egyptians leap for joy.

From the euphoric scenes it seemed few in Tahrir Square gave a second thought to the implications of the vice president’s statement which suggested that the military had pulled a coup led by Defence Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. To those who understood that, the Nile Revolution is far from over – even though a free and fair presidential election has been promised for September.

Analysts say it is not clear whether VP Suleiman will remain as the civilian head of the army-led government. However, one thing is clear though: Egypt is returning to the 1952 model of ruling the state via a council of army officers.

In the 18 days that shook Egypt – and the Arab world by extension – a dictator was unseated, the ruling National Democratic Party’s leaders were blacklisted and sent packing, constitutional amendments were taken up and a drive against political corruption was embarked – all in response to the mass demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities and towns. The protesters took their inspiration from the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia that ended President Zine Abdin Ali’s rule a week before.

Mubarak, the second Arab leader to be overthrown by a popular uprising in a month, has since flown with his family from Cairo to the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, a ruling party official said.

Questions remain over the extent that the military under Tantawi is ready to permit a democracy – especially since the hitherto outlawed Muslim Brotherhood is one of the best organised forces.

“This is just the end of the beginning,” said Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Egypt isn’t moving toward democracy, it’s moved into martial law and where it goes is now subject to debate.”

The Muslim Brotherhood said Egyptians had achieved the main goal of their popular uprising. “I salute the Egyptian people and the martyrs. This is the day of victory for the Egyptian people. The main goal of the revolution has been achieved,” said Mohamed el-Katatni, a former leader of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc.

Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei counted Day 18 as the greatest day of his life, welcoming a period of sharing of power between the army and the people. Running for president is clearly not on his mind. “This nation has been born again, these people have been born again, and this is a new Egypt,” said Ayman Nour, who dared to challenge Mubarak in Egypt’s only multi-candidate presidential election. He came a distant second. With input from the news wires

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • srk
    Feb 12, 2011 - 11:14AM

    wake up sid!!!!Recommend

  • Pashtun
    Feb 12, 2011 - 11:28AM

    Next is Iran.Recommend

  • Paras Vikmani
    Feb 12, 2011 - 11:45AM

    its Nile Revolution not White RevolutionRecommend

  • Feb 12, 2011 - 3:19PM

    we salute egyptian courageRecommend

  • maitre
    Feb 12, 2011 - 3:57PM

    Well done egyptian youth and martyres. You deserved it and we support you wholeheartedly. Now change the course of future and tune it as you desire! Allaho ma’aak.Recommend

  • Ali Turk
    Feb 12, 2011 - 3:58PM

    Shah, Marcos, Musharaf, now Mubarak.

    some one evidently wrongly reads the feelings of populationRecommend

  • ammar
    Feb 12, 2011 - 4:55PM

    no loss to their country in complete change. Flabberghasting !Recommend

  • sharjeel khan
    Feb 12, 2011 - 6:02PM

    @Pashtun:
    it happened on a much larger scale and much more in depth revolution, there 32 years ago,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, just for you informationRecommend

  • Nowsherwan
    Feb 12, 2011 - 11:28PM

    Congrats to all Egyptian brethren!!Recommend

  • Shahzaib Syed
    Feb 14, 2011 - 4:27AM

    well Its neither Islamic Revolution Nor a Nile Revolution its totally a western Revolution, who is next that i don’t know but the last of this all is Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.Recommend

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