Our people have been saying no to him for years


Robyn Creswell reflects on the Cairo
protests @ n+1.
No one knows how long the protests that began in Egypt on Tuesday will last, or how they will end. It isn’t clear how organized the protesters are, or how much violence the regime is willing to use against them now that the cameras are rolling and the posts are flying. What role the Muslim Brotherhood will play in the coming days is anyone’s guess. What is clear is that the crowds in downtown Cairo’s Midan Tahrir have been massive and fearless.“Mubarak, Mubarak, Saudi Arabia is waiting for you!” was one slogan chanted by protesters on Tuesday—an allusion to the recent fate of deposed Tunisian President Ben Ali. The Egyptian demonstrators also called President Hosni Mubarak a moron, a traitor, a rhinoceros, a pest, a patsy for Israel, and warned that his death was imminent. They told him to get out of the country and to take his son, Gamal—who has been groomed as a possible successor—with him. Pictures of the president have been stomped on and burned. As of Friday, he had not yet made a public statement.The Clash of ImagesThe size and strength of the protests caught everyone by surprise, but a few proximate causes can be suggested, if only to provide some context amidst the onslaught of tweets and updates. The uprising in Tunisia is obviously a significant part of that context. It is true that Tunisia is a small country that plays a minor role on the international stage, while Egypt is a linchpin of regional governance and one of the US’s closest allies. But both regimes are reviled by much of their citizenry as corrupt and brutal gerontocracies. While it still seems unlikely that Mubarak will be toppled, Egyptian protestors can take heart from the fact that six weeks ago no one was predicting a rout of Ben Ali, either.read more