Bennett's Blog

Egypt is free. Here's hoping...

Bennett R. Coles | February 11, 2011

The most extraordinary thing has happened over the past two weeks in Egypt. After thirty years of tyrannic rule, President Hosni Mubarak has been removed from power. What is even more extraordinary is that there was no armed rebellion, no civil war, and no foreign troops. Even in Western democracies presidents don't get removed that quickly - to say nothing of Middle Eastern dictators-for-life.

Having lived in Egypt's neighbour, Syria, I've seen first-hand what life can be like under an all-powerful family dynasty with its own secret police. I've also visited Egypt and, in 2004 at least, Syria seemed like a modern, freedom-loving paradise compared to its larger neighbour. To see such a spontaneous, far-reaching and sustained outpouring of resistance against Mubarak (who might as well have been called Pharaoh up until two weeks ago) almost defies belief.

Credit must also be given to the Egyptian Army, which has so far been very restrained and seems to be one of the key players in resolving this crisis without widespread violence. Handing temporary political power to the military has a sad history around the world of becoming permanent, but most observers remain optimistic that Egypt's generals are sincerely working to promote a democratic revolution.

Stranger things have happened, but not many. Let's pray this crisis ends well for the courageous people of Egypt.

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