by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
An event of world significance is playing out right this minute in Cairo and throughout the country. A great nation with a legendary, larger-than-life past is fighting to be born, fighting for the rights of oppressed millions, no longer content merely to yearn to be free. They want the real thing… and they want it now.
Feckless adolescents, young men and women without even a prayer for the future, businessmen tired of being shaken down by a voracious regime, women enraged at permanent second-class status, the children of ignorance and irredeemable poverty and political servitude. These are the people who are carrying the revolution on their backs. They have been patient, gullible, long suffering. And now they want revenge… and a better life.
It is dangerous! It is perilous! It is magnificent… and the heart of every freedom loving being on this planet goes out to them. We are watching and applauding, transfixed, as the little people, the common people, so wanting liberty that they risk even the little they have, are carried away by a thrill those accustomed to freedom can only imagine.
Luckily we have William Wordsworth’s celebrated sentiments on the French Revolution to guide us. (The Prelude, published 1798).
Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!… Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!
And so these young must feel, for it is primarily the young leading the day, exultantly so, in days of animal courage, boldness, high sentiments and — so far — every possibility of hitherto unimaginable success.
These are the heroes of the day… for they have, after some 30 years of ascending tyranny, screamed “basta!” and poured into the streets to demand long delayed personhood and the respect and well-being every person everywhere is entitled to.
These are the days of their lives… and we are proud, so deeply proud, of such a people and of their valiant struggle that rivets our attention and compels our respect.
Egypt, a name that conjures the greatness of an ancient imperium, is in fact one of the newest nations of our planet. It acquired full sovereignty from the British in only 1952 when the republic was proclaimed.
The current regime of Hosni Mubarak dates from 1981 and the assassination of his Nobel Peace Prize winning predecessor, Anwar Sadat. His is a garden variety tyranny, redeemed from the pedestrian by geography and a long-standing deal with the United States. Mubarak and his regime, for certain gain (and for lack of the resources to wage war again), gave up their losing fight against Israel. Relieved, gratified the United States backed Mubarak for its Mideast strategy. Egypt was the golden lynch pin.
Unfortunately, Mubarak had severe built-in liabilities. Despite being egregious, such liabilities (for the highest reasons of state) had to be winked at. Mubakak knew his worth and exacted far more than his pound of flesh. We might have held our nose… but we remunerated this necessary excrescence, constantly, lavishly.
Instead of getting the reforms Washington wanted, successive presidents merely slapped him on the wrist now and again. This was laughably inadequate and totally ineffectual. His blatant human rights violations knew no end; neither did his abiding contempt for his own people, an affliction to which dictators are prone. Sadly, these violations could, in time, not be argued away.
So long as his complacent American partner and our unceasing bribes were in place Mubarak was fearless and unconcerned. In such a way did he become a standing insult to an aggrieved people from whom he demanded all… while giving them, the heart of the nation… as little as he could. He became a master of bloated exhortation, high-blown rhetoric. Controlling complainers (often in barbarous ways) became the policy of his regime. What did he care? He was Mubarak… and that was gift enough to the people.
But an important thing, a thing that could not be denied was occurring in the homes of Egyptians: more and more of them were being born, faster and faster. All with nothing to lose… and so perfect candidates for a revolution. The revolution truly began in the bedrooms of Egypt and spilled over into the streets, an army of the dispossessed, patient no longer, their future in their own hands. And so they came to challenge the ramshackle regime and to bring it down with their own bare hands and a spirit that Mubarak had neglected to remember of his people. It was there… and it was no longer at his beck and call.
The police, of course, and above all, the army could have, at the start of these insurrectionary days, crushed even the most ardent and dedicated of these young nation makers, but so far — and it is the crucial factor — so far these pets of the regime have failed to fire on the people. For privileged though these supports of the regime are, they, too, can see the writing on the wall and the clear direction of events and History.
So far, the police and army have not fired… rather, they have begun the process that proved key in the signature revolutions of France and Russia: they have begun to fraternize with the revolutionaries. This means everything… and Mubarak is nothing if not a (lazy) student of history. His options? He can now call his army to kill legions of his countrymen, thereby bringing down the universal execration of the world and even of regimes less tolerated than his. Anyway, it may be too late for this.
Or, he can accept the fact that he must go… at which time a shout of joy will punctuate the day. Luckily for Mubarak the days of guillotines and assassination squads for governors as despised and hated as he is are gone. He will fly out of Egypt in style, his ill-got millions stashed away and intact, instead of exiting in a lonely tumbrel ride into eternity through the unbridled hatred of the people he treated so. In short, even in his inevitable end, Mubarak will be a lucky man. The United States will see to that., for he is and has long been our creature, and we will no doubt cherish this expensive souvenir as fitting reminder of our days on the Nile.
As for our brand-new revolutionaries? Today, the y command our full and unqualified admiration. However they need to know that toppling a regime, no matter how entrenched, is the easiest activity of a revolution. Day I after the fall of the Mubarak regime, History will begin evaluating them on what they do next and how they do it and at what costs. It is good to remember this, even as the goal of your life is achieved by your inexperienced hands. Sadly, with the ultimate prize about to be yours, some hubris may enter with the glitter and bliss and the worldwide enthusiasm your deeds engender. Remember Mubarak had his days like this, too.
About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.