Friday, January 28, 2011

The Pharaoh Totters


The History of Egypt over the last century has seen two major revolutions: one in 1919, which dispatched the British as direct overlords, and one in 1952 which dispatched the monarchy.

When I heard that the flag of 1919 was being waved in Egypt again, I began to realise that the prospects for the Mubarak government are not looking good.

They are being very foolish to arrest Mohamed El-Barradei- he may be the only way that the regime can escape with its life. Once the bazaars are pulsating with this much anger, it could be that the regime does not merely pass away, but totally disintegrates, and the breakdown of order in a country as important as Egypt is no small thing.

The regime may think that be switching off the Internet and e-mail that it can prevent a revolution - this is surely folly: few revolutions in the past had such tools, but they were still successful. Egypt's revolution could still be determinedly non hi-tech and it might yet be completely successful, with today's leaders just as fled or just as dead.

The regime in Cairo is clearly more entrenched and more ruthless than that of Tunisia. The next few days will tell if ruthlessness is any more durable. The deaths that are so far reported are only seeming to inflame the mob- it would be far better from a practical as well as a moral view for the government to attempt some process of conciliation. Indeed without such conciliation, even if the government survives in the short run, it will be destroyed in the long run.

The consequences of that would be far reaching indeed.

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