Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hosni aims to please

Wow. Congratulations to the relentless people of Kefaya for achieving their first goal. I hope they were prepared for this. Hopefully, I can congratulate the rest of the Egyptians soon as well.

One more thing to add.. but later tonight..
Here's more.

Regardless of all the skepticism floating about this move, which is certainly well deserved, I still think its a great step (and I'm not an optimist when it comes to this stuff). One, we can't expect to get everything in one day, and two, there's still alot of room to maneuver. I'm sorry to sing along with all the state media on this one, but this is a historic event. Throughout history, when where Egyptians ever able to directly vote for their president/king/khedive/waly/pharaoh? Never, as far as I know.

I think Mubarak is basically trying to shut everyone who's "barking", by throwing a piece of bone to them, but I guess this could lead to more than just a snack (sorry for the analogy, but I'm sure that's how he thinks of it). Seems to me that smart politicians and sincere constitutional law makers can create a big gain out of this new hole that just opened up. Just stay the course, keep the pressure, and keep the sincerity.

No one agrees with me on this, but I think that Mubarak was very smart to take this step. He acted preemptively before things heat up too much against him and he fended off any pressure about reforms for some time to come. He will use this step for his propaganda for a long time, and he'll now be Bush's best friend (even Bush/Republicans will use this for his own propaganda). And at the end of the day, he is sure to have enough gaurantees for himself to secure a safe re-election, resulting in protecting his firm grip on the presidential seat, and by the time Bush is out office, Gamal will be well groomed for his dad's seat. To some extent I'm indifferent if he's re-elected or not for a 5th term. I'd like a change, but I strongly question any alternative president --without enough solid gaurantees to limit his powers and authority-- who would come to screw us up for the fourth time.

I'm not sure if the local demonstrations had much to do with Mubarak's decision, but I'm sure he started to sense the overwhelming pressure heading his way from across the Atlantic. As I said earlier, Hosni aims to please, and no Egyptian authority figure ever aims to please Egyptians. However, my salute still goes to the select Egyptians and the credit I will give is only to those Egyptians who fought for this, not to America. Sorry Bush, you'll have to do much more than just that to get my blessings.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit I'm pretty surprised by this move. I hope it's the real deal, or at least a start. Maybe the protests worked after all!

BTW, Mohamed, I thought you would be interested in this post about how they did it in the Ukraine.


Mohamed said...

Everyone is surprised at this, even Hosni himself! I wish I am proven wrong, and the demonstrations did work. That would be a double wow. You ought to have seen the real demonstrations that occured during the last years to have my doubts about the effectiveness of those recent ones.

Thanks for the link. Just read the title of it for now. "Revolution" is not in the Egyptian blood. Again, would love to be wrong again about this.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but here is what I am thinking about the Ukraine, Mohamed. The Kifaya people and the other reformers can start educating the public about what it means to have a proper election, so that even if Mubarak wins in Sept., as everyone thinks he will, there will be a lot of Egptians who, next time around, are going to want to make sure that the election is reasonably fair, and publicize evidence to the contrary. Obviously they can't get the money from the U.S., but maybe there are other ways. It will also give them something concrete to do. Last time it was just Saad Ibrahim, and he didn't have very much support and is alleged to have taken foreign money, which discredited him, right? But the Kifaya people have an opportunity to reach out and broaden their appeal. It would be practice for Gamal.


Mohamed said...

Agree, definetely agree. Really have to read that article you sent, Praktike (just read the snippet from your blog).

Not sure what umbrella Kefaya can do that work under, but its definetely a worthwhile exercise. Even someone like Saad Ibrahim can keep doing what he was doing in terms of election eduction (if he was genuine enough and still have the energy). He's already lost credibility, so he can still make use of the U.S. money.

Alot of potential hopefully.

Hellme said...

It's definitely a step in the right direction, even if it came with a 'matzo2esh' attitude along the way. I couldn't agree more with you interpretation of why Mubarak did this now: it's obvious that this is designed to a) silence his critics, at least until the Sept. elections are over and b) pave the way for a 'free' election in Sept. when he will win and Gamal's victory in 6 years time.

To the man on the street, there are several distinct advantages with this in the reform move:
1) Hopefully, opposition parties will now get their shit together and start coming up with proper programs, publicised and without the heavy rebellious undertones that make them sound childish
2) Increased awarness of what it means to have the right to vote, the responsibility that comes with it
3) Foreign investment should see this as a welcome step, boosting confidence and helping improve the economy.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Mohamed said...

Yes, exactly. Hopefully everyone will pull their shit together now.

jedati said...

Bush hasn't even had an attitude of expecting graditude for US cCHARITY work! You may have to deal with a few regular people giving him credit, but I've not seen him wanting what you don't want to give him.

Mohamed said...

Jedati, I'd say he'd like me to thank him, and welcome him with flowers. And he'd like to use my thanks for his own propaganda. So, no thanks. I don't know if its charity! but like you guys say, "there's no such thing as free lunch".

Hellme said...


Thank him for what? Do you expect me to believe that he genuinely wanted freedom for the people of the Arab world? Call me a refusnik if you will, but I wouldn't buy that if it came free, iced in sugar and wrapped in chocolate paper.

Listen - just as much as Arabs, liberals and sceptics need to wake up and acknowledge the fact that Bush's crusade in the ME has indeed stirred something, the right-wing neo-cons need to wake up and realise that they can't fool everyone all of the time.

Bush is in Iraq because it is economically and politically beneficial for him to be there. If, along the way, he happens to trigger the Arab world's defence mechanism, driving people to motivate their own change before some gung-ho red neck in a green jump suit does it for them, then that is a consequence, not a cause. I'll say thank you when the cause is altruistic.