It is not unreasonable to think that these are the last days of an Egyptian regime that came to power in the early 1950s. Hosni Mubarak’s days as leader of Egypt are certainly numbered. And if a certain Nobel peace prize winning former international civil servant is to emerge as the leader of a new Egypt, well, that would certainly be a step up.
Everyone needs to be watching al Jazeera today. They are live broadcasting some incredible footage of the civil unrest in Egypt. Also be sure to check in with Issandr el Amrani’s regular posts at The Arabist. He provides some excellent on-the-spot contextual analysis of what is going on.
Here’s a striking image from al Jazeera, of protestors pausing for afternoon prayers.
UPDATE: In a press conference moments ago, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was unable to say whether or not Obama stands by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Obama has have not spoken directly with Mubarak. He says the White House will “review its assistance posture” (remember: Egypt gets a great deal of U.S. foreign Aid.) Gibbs says this is an important moment for the Egyptian government to address the grievances of its people.
Here’s a Statement from John Kerry. I like the line: “In the final analysis, it is not with rubber bullets and water cannons that order will be restored.”
“The events unfolding across Egypt are cause for grave concern. Egypt is an important American ally which took brave and bold steps to make peace with Israel, and we will never forget that President Sadat paid for that act of courage with his life. It was in that time of turmoil and challenge that Hosni Mubarak became President.
“Now, President Mubarak faces a different kind of challenge. I call on the Egyptian government and security forces to exercise restraint in dealing with protesters and to respect the human rights of its citizens to seek greater participation in their own government. The Egyptian government also should immediately restore communications and access to social networking sites. I hope the people of Egypt will continue to remember the lessons and legacy of peaceful protesters from Gandhi to Dr. King and to exercise their right to be heard in that tradition, which will rally peaceful people everywhere in solidarity.
“We know that repression will not remedy the problems that leave people in Egypt and across the Middle East feeling hopeless and frustrated. In the final analysis, it is not with rubber bullets and water cannons that order will be restored.
“The time has come for governments in the region to urgently improve governance and transparency, open the field to
true opposition and new political identities, create real avenues for listening to and considering the wants and needs of their citizens, and demonstrate to younger generations that they will have better opportunities tomorrow than they do today. In the case of Egypt, President Mubarak has the opportunity to quell the unrest by guaranteeing that a free and open democratic process will be in place when the time comes to choose the country’s next leader later this year.”