Mubarak is done; his words evoke more fury and anger Does the US truly see through that public rage in Egypt? By Genet Mersha

January 29th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

At least, Mubarak proved wrong many who on Friday thought that he had joined his wife and son in London. It was a reasonable assumption though, given that the president was not seen in public or heard until half past midnight Saturday morning. Since last Tuesday, (more…)

At least, Mubarak proved wrong many who on Friday thought that he had joined his wife and son in London. It was a reasonable assumption though, given that the president was not seen in public or heard until half past midnight Saturday morning. Since last Tuesday, Cairo has been engulfed in protests and in flames. Saturday morning, the demonstrators have shown both restraint and increased defiance. The test of Egyptian and US resolve is how the Egyptian army would respond Saturday evening, when curfew time begins at five o’clock—two hours earlier.

As a shrewd politician, Mr. Mubarak realizes his end is here. The army he ordered Friday afternoon complied with his order to be out in the street, but has done nothing to enforce the curfew Friday night. In spite the curfew, therefore, protestors were in the streets Friday night, after the president’s speech furiously demanding his resignation. He also has seen since Thursday, the United States keenness to emphasize what he should do more to respond to the protestors, a signal that he has outlived his usefulness. Interestingly, the protestors are also insistent that Egyptians must be allowed to solve their problems, without interference by the United States.

Under the circumstances, what Mr. Mubarak is fiddling with may not any longer be about his stay in power, or responding to the popular clamour. As a typical Egyptian, who is convinced about their uniqueness in the Arab world, he too may be seeking an honorable way out, unlike Tunisia’s Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali. As the protests gathered momentum in Tunisia, Ben Ali began to panic and confessed on television about his wrongs and readiness to mend his ways to ensure democracy and respect for human rights. How could he give what he did not have in his 23 years in power? His choice is now to face the Interpol, sought for stealing Tunisia’s wealth.

Even Ben Ali’s brother, the tycoon Belhassen Trabelsi, is in hiding now in Canada, after that country cancelled his residence permit, having found out that he had arrived on a private plane last week loaded with cash. Although almost in the same league with Ben Ali, in terms of his repression of Egyptian society and corruption in power, Mubarak did not want his personal history to be linked to Ben Ali’s.

One significant blunder by Mubarak Saturday morning was his claim in his statement, “I assure you that I’m working for the people and giving freedom… as long as you’re respecting the law.” That has lumped him with Ben Ali. A man who has kept three decades of state of emergency in force in Egypt, all of a sudden has turned into a friend of rule of law, a man of the constitution, democratic rights and freedom…

Finally, his promise was, “There will be new steps toward democracy and freedoms and new steps to face unemployment and increase the standard of living and services, and there will be new steps to help the poor and those with limited income.” Where has he been in the last thirty years, or even two years ago, when Obama came to Egypt as a new president to speak to the Arab world from Cairo and urged him to do exactly that? Obama’s response was to the point:

When President Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people tonight, he pledged a better democracy and greater economic opportunity. I just spoke to him after his speech, and I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words; to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise…Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people, and suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away…The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights and the United States will stand up for them everywhere…I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet, to cellphone service and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century.

Surely, mobile phone service and Internet are back, even as the new cabinet is being formed Saturday. Nonetheless, the thinking of the military and its response to change in Egypt is yet to be seen. The army is a respected institution having distanced itself from politics under Hosni Mubarak. That was not because he believed in professional army. For that matter, he has no vice-president to succeed him. All his ministers are technocrats, without political party base. He has no patience to aspirants to his power.

I am very much struck by the actions and response of the United States. I have lived long enough to say that this is the first time I have seen the United States listening seriously to the street and giving counsel to its important ally that he would do better if he responded to the people’s demands. President Barack Obama emphasized in his response to Mubarak’s speech: “What’s needed right now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people.” That is complete departure from hitherto United States permanent partisanship with murderous dictators, such as Pinochet in Chile, Sesse Seko in Zaire, Suharto in Indonesia and the apartheid leaders in South Africa, Savimbi in Angola (George Bush I), … and now Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia.

Therefore, it is time to give credit to the Obama administration for the posture it has assumed on the evolving situation in Egypt. Whatever the outcome, the United States has saved face, for now. Besides what the Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama said on Thursday and Friday, White House Spokesperson person Robert Gibbs Friday afternoon gave more than he could under these abnormal circumstances, even before Mubarak spoke at that ungodly hour, as he faced the hungry press. Clearly, the United States has tightened all lose ends, as it communicated with Mubarak and his officials.

Robert Gibbs Friday said, “It has been communicated [US demands to Mubarak] not just from this podium, not just in the remarks of the Secretary of State, but at levels within the Pentagon to the Egyptian military from the Egyptian military, from the State Department, from the words and conversations that have been had by Ambassador Scobey — all levels — and also the words, most importantly, of the President yesterday.”

With every passing hour, the United States is seen distancing itself from Mubarak. As a country that supplies Cairo with $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid yearly, already on Friday it implicitly indicated that, nearly like the Egyptian people without being vociferous, it would have little of Mubarak’s regime. It has also been made clear to the security forces and the army, in the words of Mr. Gibbs “I think that if –[sentence not completed] I think we are watching very closely the actions of the government, of the police, of all the security forces, and all of those in the military. That their actions may affect our assistance would be the subject of that review.” Unheard of before!

Journalists pressed and quizzed Robert Gibbs during the briefing for more information; later rightly analysts called the administration’s position “walking a tight line”, euphemism in diplomacy, when a diplomat or a country equivocates not to take clear position. At this stage, there is no doubt that the US could have done still much better, were not for its limited options. Any further obtrusion could have endangered its strategic interests in the greater Middle East, especially the Palestinian question and Egypt-Israeli relations and serving as cordon against Iranian intentions in the Persian Gulf and with respect to nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, not any differently from the Bush administration, the Obama administration has also been sucked into the anti-terrorism alliance, thereby giving blank checks to worst human rights violators such as Mubarak, Meles, Ali Salah… In recent years, fighting terrorism has become the bonanza Meles and Mubarak are exploiting, because of which they have enabled to entrench themselves in power this long, while becoming intolerably dictatorial and stealing election results in broad daylight. In the case of Egypt, this has also emboldened Mubarak to try to engage in attempts to create a dynasty wishing to install his son as his successor—a man who is among the many causes boiling the blood of Egyptians, especially the middle class.

The door has now been opened for the demands of the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, dazed by power’s aphrodisiac, he might in his folly hope to stay in power for a while. The truth is that, as far as Egyptian people are concerned, he is finished. The US no longer sees in him a leader as useful for their interests of controlling Iran, the Palestinians, and as a go between those Arab countries to whom the US often sends signals indirectly.

Finally, the question is whether this welcome and changed approach by the Obama administration i.e., to show the door to a dictator is based in American fundamental principles, as the president claims. If that is the case, principles are applicable to all peoples thirsting for freedom and human dignity. Principles cannot discriminate between select allies and others. If that is the case, there is no reason for the United States to tolerate a duplicitous Stalinist regime in Ethiopia, whom Washington and London, along with China cuddle, even as he continues to kill aspirations of the Ethiopian people for freedom and dignified life. How could torture be tolerated?

For a clear demonstration of Stalinism in Ethiopia, just go through this comparative table of what Ethiopia is today, compared to Egypt and what would have happened, if there is mass protest today, which is totally shut of by law.

Egypt Ethiopia
• Since Tuesday, about 35 people have been killed, hundreds injured, over 2,000 imprisoned
• In a few hours, nearly 200 were mowed down in Addis Ababa only and about 40,000 were imprisoned in 2005; Meles would have massacred tens of thousands today, possibly in one day
• Radio and television continued to operate normally, focusing on the demonstrations, although tweets, internet mobile services were pulled off. Restored on Saturday
• No demonstrations were shown on TV; after the massacre of the students, Meles said they were robbers and hooligans; the media began to echo that ad infinitum; sms blocked for nearly three years after that
• Airlines suspended flights, airport still open
• No flights in and out; airport was shut down
• There is relatively better leeway for the press to operate in Egypt
• Since 2005 media has been reduced to government mouthpiece, cadres operate as journalists, while members of independent press are imprisoned, flee the country and their establishments closed
• Security forces imprison and torture; no independent judiciary;
• Security forces imprison and torture. More Stalinist than Stalin’s time: no rule of law; no independent judiciary,
• Education is not normally ideologically indoctrinated
• Educational system tainted with false history and ideology for purposes of maintain Meles’s power
• Army is kept outside politics
• Army and security are political instruments of Meles, recruited and promoted on the basis of belonging to his ethnic group
• Worst violator of human rights; at least Egyptians are not imprisoned for criticizing the regime openly
• Worst violator of human rights; even suspected opposition to the TPLF entails being sent to the ‘gulag’ in Kaliti and Maekelawi for tortures
• One person rule, fights the opposition, although civil society organizations operate in Egypt with some limitations
• One person rule, encircled by ethnic coteries, no room for political participation or for independent civil society organizations
• Widespread corruption in the upper echelons mostly
• Corrupt leadership, linked to the prime minister himself and his family and down to party cadres and the ethnically constituted army
• Since 2004, Egypt has found the success to its economic development because of professionals handling policy
• Ethiopia’s economy is Meles’s guinea pig into his fluid thinking picking up one thing and dropping the other every time
• Public frustration grew over time, but Egyptian society remains still united
• Anger and frustration has reached boiling point; fear has kept the lid on it, in a country that is polarized through and through

  1. Yhelsinkew
    | #1

    Wed Genet, you are as usual to the point here as well, I can’t say thank you enough for your contribution. One of your longest reader and admirer, keep up the good work.

  2. Lucy in America
    | #2

    kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk America has lost two loyal dictatorial slaves from arabic countries. America has been dancing with dictators all over the world against the wish of the majorities. shame on you. your best slave like meles will lock in qality soon and you will not welcome by ethiopians.

  3. Assta B. Gettu
    | #3

    The fate of the Egyptian Coptic Christians

    Mubarak of Egypt is hardening his heart not to hand over his power to any Egyptian the people of Egypt will nominate in the future.

    One thing is worrisome for me, as a very concerned Christian, i.e., if the 70 million Egyptians give power to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, what will happen to the other 10 million Egyptian Coptic Christians? We know, for sure, once Egypt is under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt will have no more Christians in its entire territories. Will there be any Christian country that would save the Egyptian Coptic Christians from being slaughtered by these ruthless Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods?

    Moses and his brother Aaron are not any more in Egypt to perform amazing miracles in front of Hussein Mubarak to let the Egyptian Coptic Christians go before they are swept away and thrown into the Mediterranean Sea by the Egyptian radical Muslims who believe two religions could not live side by side in one country. Will Pope Synoda III, Patriarch of the Egyptian Coptic Church, personate Moses and lead his people to the Promised Land – Ethiopia?

    I am hundred present sure the Ethiopian Christians will not ignore the sufferings of the Egyptian Coptic Christians by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. If the oppression of the Egyptian Coptic Christians continues under the Egyptian Muslim government, we have no other choice except to mobilize our Christian soldiers, order them to march, cross the Suez Canal, and liberate our Egyptian Christian brothers and sisters. We will forget the old grievances we may have with the Egyptian Coptic Christians, but we will not be silent when we see the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods beat, persecute, imprison, and kill our Egyptian Coptic Christians: we will act and bring all of them to our Christian land, Ethiopia, and we will let them live together with us. We will allow our daughters to marry their sons and their daughters our sons. And this is the true meaning of good hospitality, brotherhood, and sisterhood in the Christian world.

    As these Egyptian Coptic Christians suffer almost on a daily basis, Christian America did not help them; Christian Canada did not help them; Christian Poland did not help them; Christian Germany did not help them; Christian Italy did not help them; Christian France did not help them, Christian Serbia did not help them; Christian Latin America did not help them; therefore, their help must come from Christian Ethiopia, and Ethiopia, who helped the persecuted Muslim family of Muhammad the Prophet during the 7th century, has a Christian obligation to help the most persecuted Christians in the world, the Egyptian Coptic Christians as St. Paul wrote to the Galatians: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). The Ethiopian Christians are the family of believers, and to this family of believers belong the Egyptian Coptic Christians.

    Muhamed Hosni Mubarak hates the Egyptian Coptic Christians more than the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods detest these minority Christians. In fact, the Jerusalem Report (October, 28, 2010) asserts: “Recent events indicate that the Mubarak regime is intentionally inciting Egypt’s Muslims against the Copts,” Ibrahim wrote for the Hudson Institute. “Not only has it not prevented or dispersed the increasingly rabid demonstrations against the Copts…but Egyptian security…actually facilitates, and sometimes participates in, these mass demonstrations.”

    The worst thing that will happen to the Egyptian Coptic Christians is when Hosni Mubarak is replaced by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, before the Egyptian Coptic Christians genocide takes place, we Ethiopian Christians must be ready to avoid that genocide that may happen on our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters. The Israeli government may be a good help to evacuate these Egyptian minority Coptic Christians to a safer place. To my understanding, the safest place for these oppressed and severely persecuted Coptic Christians is either Ethiopia or the United States of America.

    However, time is running out, and we must do something before the Mubarak regime collapses and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood assumes power and starts killing the entire Coptic Christian communities.

  4. More African dictators to go
    | #4

    Thank God, Almighty, two despicable African dictators gone in just less than a month. Now, it is time, for the Eritrean dictator Meles and his cronies to get the hell out of our country. I cannot wait, to see that day.

  5. Idiot Dictator
    | #5

    The idiot dictator in Addis is shitting in his pants this week. His sailout followers are realizing this week that their end is near as well.

  6. What?
    | #6

    Asta B. Gettu, how can you be one hundred percent sure that the Ethiopian Christians will not ignore the sufferings of the Egyptian Coptic Christians? What have the Ethiopian Christians have done to the sufferings of their own brothers and sisters that have been thrown in jail, tortured and killed by the hands of woyanes? Aren’t the Ethiopian Christians themselves in crisis under Aba Diablos and Meles? How can they help somebody else, when they cannot even help themselves? Don’t you know the property and the treasures of Ethiopian Orthodox Churches have been looted by Aba Diablos and his TPLF gangs? Give me a break!

  7. Gash Polisu
    | #7

    Assta B.Gettu,

    in an other post i had argued that it was an imposter…but reading your comment in here I revisited my assumptions and was forced to ask,” what is he smoking lately?”

    if you have the gut go to Ethiopia and save your Christian brothers and sisters who have been ferociously being slain by Muslim fundamentalists and terrorists. Abay Maderia Yelew….

  8. Sirg
    | #8

    Thank you gash polisu

  9. Assta B. Gettu
    | #9

    Gash Polish #7,

    I have been smoking lately the Tunisian revolution, the Egyptian revolution, the Yemenite revolution, and the Jordanian revolution; after I’m done with these four-mind-refreshing revolutions, I may smoke the best one that has yet to come – the Ethiopian revolution. Then I will be done with all kinds of smoking!

  10. Assta B. Gettu
    | #10

    What? #6,

    I clearly understand your view points about the present conditions of the Ethiopian Christians who have been tormented by two secular and spiritual leaders, Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi) and Aba Diablos, respectively.

    These two selfish and evil leaders are waiting to face justice for the endless crimes they have been committing on the Ethiopian Christians and others for a number of years. Sooner or later, the Ethiopian Christians will liberate themselves either in a peaceful or revolutionary war, and when that happens, they should not forget their Egyptian Coptic Christians.

    What you are telling me is just like the Jews who were saying to Jesus Christ on the Cross: “First, save yourself, physician.” The Ethiopian Christians may or may not save themselves from the oppressive regime of the Woyanne government, but it doesn’t mean that they should not help their Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt in their prayers if not in their presence physically in Egypt, carrying sophisticated weapons and battling the Egyptian Muslim army. It is absolutely true the Ethiopian Christians could not help the Egyptian Coptic Christians economically and physically, but they can help them politically and spiritually: politically, the Ethiopian Christians can raise their voices in support of the Egyptian Coptic Christians and write letters of protest against the oppressive government of Egypt. Spiritually, the Ethiopian Christians can designate a certain time of prayer for the persecuted Egyptian Coptic Christians that God may help them in their struggles to save their Christian communities from being bombed by the Egyptian radical Muslims.

    Therefore, let us pray to God to save the Ethiopian Christians from being swallowed up by the greedy Aba Diablos and by the ruthless leader Meles Seitanawi, and let us remember in our prayer the Egyptian minority Coptic Christians, who are being persecuted by the Egyptian government simply because they are Christians.

  11. Dani
    | #11

    I can not wait to see this here in Addis.Guys what are we waiting for. we are the most proud and free black people in Africa.Look even the arabs fought for their dignity.what about us.we have to say enough to the dictator and racist Meles and his follower .we Ethiopians should unite and fight for our dinighty.”Saw malat saw ya mihon naw saw ya tafa lat.”Belaye Zelaka.Please let us unite and distroy them.I am willing to give my life for my beloved country Ethiopia.

  12. Tell it to the mountain!
    | #12

    Today, I was invited to attend an evangelical Church service, and at the end of the service, one older man got up and asked the people to pray for Egypt and Tunisia. So, I asked for the microphone and asked the church members to pray for Ethiopians who have been suffering in silence by a dictator Meles for the last twenty years. I told them about the two hundred people that were massacred in the streets of Addis Ababa for protesting just like in Egypt. I told them bullets were used to disperse the crowd and innocent people were shot right on the head. The church members asked why they didn’t hear about Ethiopia.

    My fellow Ethiopians, specially, members of Evangelical Christians—Please inform your Church members about what is going on in Ethiopia and ask them to pray for Ethiopia/ns. Let the world know what Meles is all about and how wealthy he has gotten by looting a country, where millions of people expected to die of food shortages and lack of basic medical care. Tell the true story of Meles to all your friends at work and at school at your churches. Use your power!

  13. kentu
    | #13

    People of Ethiopia we need to learn from this week north Africa country’s they didn’t Waite in USA or WESTERN embassy doors ,after many years they got the answer .if you need help do it your self other wise we are always beside of powerful it doesnt Mather ally or enemy.USA and Europa

  14. Truth
    | #14

    Since the world knows that Agazi army is made of only one ethnic group, any attack on civil disobedience participators in Ethiopia, should one happens to start now, would be considered genocide. In case some peoiple do not know that, Ethiopian news websiutes must publish this information and give it wide coverage so the ruling junta knows that they will be held responsible as criminals against huimanity. The moment anyone uses its ethnically based army to clamp down on others, it is apartied and it is nazism and it is genocidal. Tigreans should really think about this one and better stand at the right side of hisytory.

  15. Meyssaw
    | #15

    I dont know why you didn’t post my comment earlyer!!These people dispersed us and help the ruling”government” dismantilling the unity Ethiopians used to have!! I wrote the truth :-A few months a go she was a spokes women for the amhara tribe ie.she was expanding Meles agenda knowingly or un_knowingly Which I thik is the later!!I don’t want to mention her ex husbands radio station they were working hand and gloves together in fighting the “opposition” giving their back to Meles regime!!!I am telling you Buirtukans voice still rings in my ear when they tried to embarass her but they showed their true color!!!These are the peopel who make alliance with people like Merchaw!!

  16. visitor
    | #16


  17. Anonymous
    | #17

    “it is time to give credit to the Obama administration for the posture it has assumed on the evolving situation in Egypt. Whatever the outcome, the United States has saved face, for now. Besides what the Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama said on Thursday and Friday, White House Spokesperson person Robert Gibbs Friday afternoon gave more than he could under these abnormal circumstances, even before Mubarak spoke at that ungodly hour, as he faced the hungry press.”

    Is Genet Mersha a US gov. agent whose job is to promote Obama and the US administration ? Because as Ethiopians we have no reason to thank or promote Obama the lier, what did he do for us lately ?

  18. What?
    | #18

    #15, who is the “SHE” you are talking about?

  19. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #19

    It looks déjà vu 1952. Gamal toppled Farouk and shouted to his Arab kin and kits to rise up. And that was followed by similar coup d’état’s and uprisings from Morocco to Aden. I am not sure how many of you had the opportunity of growing up in the 50′s and 60′s listening to Al-Qahira. It used to tell stories of the genie of progress had escaped out of the bottle of imperialism. Egypt was advancing at a blinding speed that USA, France and Britain became alarmed and jealous. When Gamal and his cohorts found out that they were no smarter than a 3rd grade student they started flipping the coin of blaming everything on USA and above all Israel. They even waged numerous futile wars and battles that cost the lives of millions of their young citizens leading to more hardships and degradations. That led to excruciating predicament that end up suffocating even Gamal himself to death.
    This time it may lead to a very different ending. It seems that consecutive despotic regimes have created a power vacuum in almost every such country in the Arab League. This has created a dangerous predicament be it Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Algeria and the worst of all Yemen. In each of these countries the only two well organized groups are the military and extreme religious elements. In all these countries the military has a history of violent clashes with extreme religious groups including The Muslim Brotherhood and other violently religious extremists. I hope and pray that there will be peaceful ‘transitions’ that will lead to societies wherein democratic institutions will sprout and flourish. I hope well-read intellectuals have learned lessons from what happened to Iran. There, the Imam was given unhindered leeway to do whatever he wanted and he did just that. I remember how cities like Abadan and Tehran looked like when I was there in very early 70′s and what happened to them after Sharia became the rule of the land. Infrastructures neglected to rubbles and you can smell the stench 3 days before you arrive. The caliphs were busy crying and moaning about America and kept themselves preoccupied with making their 16 and 18 year-olds brides happy. The unemployment there is more than 15% until Fridays. That is when they give every young person a job of coming out to their speakeasies to blame all of their ills on the USA. I hope today’s developments in Egypt will not lead to a similar outcome.

  20. Only for the love of money
    | #20

    Comparing the Egyptian army to the TPLF control army is like apples and oranges. The proof is clear to see that Meles, Azeb and the rest of TPLF came to rob Ethiopia and Ethiopians. The entire Ethiopian government, including the army, the street police, the prosecutors, the judges and the treasury department are under the control of TPLF that supports everything what the cold blooded tyrant Meles wants. If the Ethiopian army were not controlled by TPLF, they would have protected Ethiopians from being tortured, killed, robbed and stop the dictator from selling the Ethiopian precious land to foreign countries one acre at a time. Let’s face it, Ethiopia is under home grown enemies that don’t care what happens to Ethiopia and the entire population wiped out, as long as Azeb, Meles and the members of TPLF get what they want and live in luxury by looting the entire eighty million Ethiopians.

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