Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Dangerous when cornered

Watching the desperate manoeuvres of Hosni Mubarak as he tries to avoid the demand for his immediate resignation, I was reminded of the saying that an animal is most dangerous when cornered.

Mubarak’s announcement that he will step down in September is designed to buy time. Until now the diverse opposition movement has been united in its view that no negotiations are possible until Mubarak resigns. He no doubt hopes that as the protests subside, divisions will open up among the movement seeking his removal.

The longer he stays in power, the greater the likelihood his dreaded secret police will harass, arrest and torture his political opponents as so often in the past. The longer he stays in power, the greater the risk of bloodshed.

This is exactly the time for maximum pressure to be applied on the regime to go. The sooner Mubarak leaves, the sooner we can see a peaceful resolution to this crisis and a transition to a new era of freedom and equality,

President Obama spoke last night of the protestors as an ‘inspiration’ to the world. But the USA has backed Mubarak for 30 years, and they have tried everything to avoid the loss of their friend and enforcer. Obama might claim to be ‘inspired’ by the demonstrations, but even at this moment he cannot bring himself to openly call for Mubarak to go now.

Egypt is on the cusp of freeing itself from 30 years of dictatorship. They are nearly there because of the heroism and determinism of the Egyptian masses. This Friday there are plans for another mass mobilisation. I hope it brings yet more millions onto the streets. Lives depend on it.