The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Way to Dusty Death

    I had intended to post a new column on the events in Egypt days ago. Each day as I would begin it would seem that new events would unfold that rendered what I was about to write obsolete.

     And so here we are.

     President Mubarak, made a public announcement today on State sponsored television. Rumors had been circulating that it would be his resignation. Several signs seemed to support this conclusion. For the first time the state controlled TV was showing the protesting throngs in the street. Public officials had referred to the grievances of the protesters as "lawful and legitimate". Over the space of several hours anticipation built. An excited crowd filled the streets.

      Then the let down.

      "I cannot and will not accept to be dictated orders from the outside no matter what the source is.", Mubarak stated. This after he spent much of the opening minutes of the speech reciting a litany of his accomplishments as President. He condescendingly referred to the listeners as, "my children." 

     "I am totally determined and adamant to fulfill all the promises," he said. "I'm keen on implementing all these promises on all these things with no going back."

    The following is from "Foreign Policy" link follows:

     It's hard to exaggerate how bad Hosni Mubarak's speech today was for Egypt. In the extended runup to his remarks, every sign indicated that he planned to announce his resignation: the military's announcement that it had taken control, the shift in state television coverage, a steady stream of leaks about the speech. With the whole world watching, Mubarak instead offered a meandering, confused speech promising vague Constitutional changes and defiance of foreign pressure. He offered a vaguely worded delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, long after everyone in Egypt had stopped listening. It is virtually impossible to conceive of a more poorly conceived or executed speech. 

Omar Suleiman's televised address which followed made things even worse, if that's possible, telling the people to go home and blaming al-Jazeera for the problems. It solidified the already deep distrust of his role among most of the opposition and of the protestors, and tied his fate to that of Mubarak. Even potentially positive ideas in their speeches, such as Constitutional amendments, were completely drowned out by their contemptuous treatment of popular demands. Things could get ugly tonight --- and if things don't explode now, then the crowds tomorrow will be absolutely massive. Whatever happens, for better or for worse, the prospects of an orderly, negotiated transition led by Omar Suleiman have just plummeted sharply. 

    The one pattern that has held constant throughout the protests in Egypt is that the big events on the protester's side are planned for Fridays. The mood looks ugly from what I have seen and heard on Al Jazeera. Throughout history the most violent revolutions begin when people are given hope and then have it snatched away when it is too late to stop them. President Mubarak once more announced that he will die on his native soil. The crowd sounds more than willing now to assist him in attaining that goal. 

     The speech seems so ill-timed, so poorly done and so provocative that I am tempted to say that it may have been designed to inflame the crowd into a violent mob so that he could call upon the military and the police to crush them without the condemnation of the community of Western nations. It is not certain what the military would actually do in such a case. The rank and file officers and soldiers seem to sympathize with the people in the street.

     Tomorrow will tell but I fear there will be blood now. A lot of it.

      To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

  Macbeth. Act 5 Scene 5.


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