When over 2 million people milled in a procession en-route to Tehrir Squire of Cairo only a fool could cast wrong prediction about the end-game. Thirty years’ long rule with strong arms Hosni Mubarak learnt nothing but made repeated mistakes.
Giving concessions to his people drop by drop. He had forgotten history of his own country.
Latest reports say President Hosni Mubarak and family have left Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh as protesters deluged squares and marched on presidential palaces and the State TV building, a local government official said on Friday. The official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that Mubarak arrived at the airport in Sharm El-Sheikh, 250 miles from the capital Cairo, and was greeted by the local governor.
Mubarak passed most of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman Thursday night, rebuffing the demands of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that he step down immediately. Mubarak spends a good deal of time in Sharm, where he has a palace.
His sudden rather abrupt departure from CAIRO only reminds one of Humpty Dumpty. Here Humpty Mubarak was not saved by All the King’s Horses. He had to face a fall. But a disgraceful fall. Hosni Mubarak ruled one of the oldest civilizations of Egypt with crude, traditional and autocratic methods.
His third speech could not block angry protesters demanding merely for democracy and basic human rights. What he said, Instead, the 82-year-old Egyptian president repeated his intention to remain in power until the presidential elections in September. Here is the full transcript of the speech:
“In the name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate …dear fellow Citizens, I am addressing you tonight the youth of Egypt at Tahrir Square and people across Egypt. “I am addressing all of you from the heart, a speech from the father to his sons and daughters … I am telling you I am proud of you as a symbol of a new Egyptian generation that is calling for change to the better, sticking to it, dreaming for a better future and is making it.
“I am telling to you all that the blood of the martyrs and wounded people will not be lost in vain, and I confirm that I will resolutely and firmly hold perpetrators who acted fiercely against our young people with the maximum penalties stated in the law.
“I am telling to the families of innocent victims: I have suffered all the pain for them as you have suffered, and hurt my heart as it hurt yours. “I am telling tell you that my response to your voice, your demands and your commitment is not irreversible, and I have every intention to fulfill my commitments in all seriousness and honesty, and keen to implement it without hesitation and without going back to the past.
“This commitment stems from a certain belief, sincerity and purity of your intentions and movements which are just and legitimate demands… regimes could commit mistakes in any any country, but the important thing is to recognise and correct them as soon as possible and to hold accountable the perpetrators.
“I am telling tell you, in my capacity as am president of the republic, that I never find it embarrassing to listen and respond to my country’s youths, but it is shameful and I will never accept is to listen to foreign dictations , whatever their sources, pretexts or justifications were.
“My sons, the youth of Egypt, fellow citizens…I have made it clearly that I would not run for the next presidential elections, as I am satisfied with more than 60 years serving the homeland during wartimes and peacetimes… “I announced my adherence to this, and announced at the same time and at the same degree my commitment to shoulder my responsibility to protect the constitution and safeguard the interests of the people until handing over power and responsibility to those chosen by voters next September, in a free and fair elections that will provide them guarantees of freedom and integrity.”
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, provoked rage on the country’s streets when, in an anticlimactic speech, he said he would hand some powers to his deputy, but disappointed protesters who had been expecting him to announce his resignation altogether after more than two weeks of unrest.
“Leave! Leave!” chanted thousands who had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Thursday in anticipation that a televised speech would be the moment their demands for an end to Mubarak’s 30 years of authoritarian, one-man rule were met.
Instead, the 82-year-old former general portrayed himself as a patriot overseeing an orderly transition until elections in September, when his current term ends.
The hush that had swept over the crowd in Tahrir Square at the start of Mubarak’s speech turned into an angry roar halfway through Mubarak’s speech, as it became clear that the defiant president would not be stepping down. BBC’z Lyse Doucet reporting from Cairo, said that the speech was received as “patronizing” as he referred to Egyptians as his children, and he only re-enforced the idea that he is “entrenched in the notion that he will hold on to power”. Mubarak praised the young people who have stunned the Arab world with unprecedented demonstrations, offering constitutional change and a bigger role for vice-president Omar Suleiman.
Rabab Al Mahdi, a professor at the American University in Cairo, told Al Jazeera that the “level of anger and frustration at the square is unprecedented”. “This is putting us into a messy situation that can turn bloody at any moment,” she said, adding that the fact that Mubarak “started a speech for more than 10 minutes, he was talking about himself – very narcissistic, again, giving the message that he’s still in control, and this, in and by itself, offended people.”I have felt all the pain you felt,” said Mubarak, who last week had already pledged not to run again in September. “I will not go back on my response to your voice and your call.”
Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh, reporting from Cairo said that halfway through Mubarak’s speech, when the president spoke of his years in public service, people began taking off their shoes and waving them in the air in a dramatic Arab show of contempt. “You could also see tears in some of the people’s eyes … a lot of screams of anger, people just breaking down in tears, people just breaking down in pain,” said Rageh. She said that some people began to immediately mobilise for fresh protests on Friday in response to the speech.
Egyptian state television was not broadcasting the scenes of anger after Mubarak’s speech. The people’s anger was not restricted to Cairo. In Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, crowds began roaring and shouting, heading toward the military base of the northern command to protest. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Alexandria said that the pro-democracy protesters were “more offended than ever” at hearing that Mubarak intended to remain in power until September.
“They really do not understand how president Mubarak cannot comprehend the strong sentiments which they have been expressing over the past two weeks,” said Elshayyal. The anger on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, hours ahead of a planned “Day of Martyrs” protest on Friday to commemorate the 300 or more killed by security forces since January 25 appeared ominous in an environment where the army has been on the streets for two weeks, and on Thursday said it was in charge.
“He doesn’t seem to understand the magnitude of what is happening in Egypt. At this point I don’t think it will suffice,” said Alanoud al-Sharek at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “He has performed quite a sleight of hand.
He has transferred authority to Omar Suleiman while somehow retaining his position as ruler.” Suleiman, a 74-year-old former intelligence chief, is not widely popular with protesters who are seeking a complete break with the military-dominated system which has governed Egypt for the past six decades.
Hosni Mubarak never left any legacy but problems with all together newer dynamics. His Egypt will suffer from instability for many years to come. Egypt being the biggest and strongest Arab country will have far-reaching impact on the Middle East’s treacherous politics. Both Israel and the United States will badly need review of their policies.