Yes he’s leaving! No, wait…he’s just transferring power to the Vice-President and staying until September. What a ride today has been. At this writing it is about 7.30 a.m. in Cairo at the beginning of what is going to be a sunny warmish Friday. Watching the news today we got stronger and stronger messages from the White House beginning with euphoria that Mubarak would probably leave but then as the day wore on, pessimism as Mubarak took to the air waves to say he was staying using unclear language as to how “change” would happen. The folks in Tahrir square were not convinced, nor listening nor moved to go home (except to sleep for Friday’s protests). Concerned, a message came down from Obama to wit urging “the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek”. He went on to talk about the self-determination process of the Egyptian people. As he said “Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world.”
Channel 4’s (England) Jonathan Rugman tweets: “Mubarak: ‘peaceful transition till September’. Still sounds as if he did not get memo from Tahrir Sq.”
What today will bring as the air temperature rises to a high of 70 will also bring the temperature of the crowd to a few degrees above that to be sure. Violence is always a possibility. What started as a ripple in Tunisia is now felt in Cairo, Amman, Jordan and even in Gaza. Some times these things have a way of becoming bloody. As a story quoted in the L.A. Times evinces:
“He kissed me goodbye and said, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ Then he looked me in the eye and said, ‘You are not my real mother. Egypt is my real mother. I must go save her.’ He gave his life for his country.”
— Sabrine, recounting her son Mohammed Badr’s goodbye as he left for the protests in Tahrir Square, Cairo, where he was shot and killed. (Source: Los Angeles Times)
Egyptians want their bread, their freedom, their right to work and to have choices in voting. Oh yeah, and they want Mubarak to resign. We will see what Friday brings. Pray for non-violence.
and so it goes…