Crowds in Tahrir Square in Cairo reacted to the announcement on Friday.
I hope everyone clearly understands what the incredible triumph of the Egyptian Revolution really means: This is a turning point in World History. Repeat: A turning point in world history. No matter what happens in the near "future" please REMEMBER THIS DAY. Remember this moment. Remember WHO did it. Remember HOW they did it. Remember WHY they did it. And please, please, please remember what it all MEANS.
In the past century only three other world shattering events even APPROACH the tremendous magnitude and importance of what the Egyptian People have done. It is no mere coincidence that those three events were also epoch making revolutions: The Soviet Union in 1917, China in 1949 and Cuba in 1959. What is truly significant about the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 is that NO ONE BUT THE MASSES OF THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE have determined the course of these amazing events.
Imagine: In the mere span of 18 days Egypt has overturned and renounced all vestiges of political, economic, and cultural domination and control by the (so-called) "West"--especially the massive support of Mubarak's oppressive regime by the United States government over the past 30 years!--have openly repudiated the contemporary legacy of backward and reactionary feudal regimes like those of other major U.S. allies in the region like the Islamic monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and have rebuked the terrorist overtures of extreme Islamists like Al Queda and pro--terrorism states in the Middle East like Iran by asserting and advocating a decidely secular and independent revolution rooted in mass democratic principles and values. It's absolutely paramount to remember too that the Egyptian People have categorically refused to pay any attention to the twisted, opportunist, and ludicrous machinations of President Obama's clueless administration who all too predictably have constantly flipflopped between gingerly backing Mubarak and weakly "asking" and then begging Mubarak to (sort of) step down...maybe...if he felt like it...soon...
The bottomline of all this of course is that the valiant, heroic masses and leadership of this revolution were never fooled, distracted, or intimidated in the slightest by the rank phoniness, posturing, bad faith "bargaining", dishonesty, patronizing manipulations, tone deaf condescension, or bullying of either Hosni Mubarak, Omar Sulieman, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, the U.S. State Department, the CIA, the pro-Mubarak street thugs, or the pro Mubarak wing of the Egyptian Army. Along those same lines it's important to remember that the overwhelming majority of all the so-called "pundits" from the U.S. media, academia, the military, and political elites HAD NO IDEA WHATSOEVER OF WHAT THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION WAS OR MEANT. They--like everybody else-- had no idea that it was going to happen of course, and neither did their "analyses" (hah!) come even remotely close to what the Revolution was doing or represented at any given time--even now. I personally derived a great deal of pure pleasure watching their typically arrogant, smug, dismissive, and RACIST attitudes, stances, and judgments constantly fall far short of reality from one day to the next. To watch and listen to them today after the triumph of the Egyptian people and to witness their completely DAZED AND CONFUSED faces, drooping jaws of astonishment and strangely flat, even desultory "assessments" of the "future" of Egypt made me incessantly laugh out loud to the verge of tears and random bathroom breaks! For once, all the so-called American and other "Western" "experts" (double hah!!) were FORCED into stunned humility in the face of a REAL REVOLUTION that was not dependent for one nanosecond on what they thought, felt, or desired (and this goes double for all the clueless, idiotic promotors of Facebook, Twitter, and other "social media" who, as many other sane commentators like Malcolm Gladwell have pointed out, are NOT responsible for the revolution's emergence, growth, and expansion in the end any more than telephones, radios, or television were responsible for what happened in Cuba and China in the '40s and '50s, or the telegraph in 1917 Russia!)
Finally, what distinguishes the Egyptian Revolution is that often unjustly ignored or dismissed notion of the fundamental guiding principles of UNITY AND STRUGGLE. Make no mistake: It took tremendous ORGANIZED intelligence, discipline, united front consensus, determination, cooperation, patience, and strength to pull this off (and don't let anyone tell you that there is anything mutually exclusive about the values animating both acts of spontaneity AND self organization; in any mature, disciplined struggle these ideas, values, and principles are joined at the hip and always were).
So while the real work of making this revolution grow and sustain itself for years to come is obviously going to take a great of effort, commitment, organization, struggle, clarity, faith, and determination I have no doubt whatsoever that the masses of the Egyptian People are more than up to the task. So long as they don't allow either the reactionary wing of the Egyptian military, the United States (and Europe), Israel, or the reactionary terrorists and extreme Islamists in the Middle East to deter and misdirect the course of their revolution they will continue to win and prevail. This is truly a joyous day and I am in complete AWE of what the Egyptian People have already achieved. To say that what they have accomplished is the greatest and most profound political inspiration of the past half century (at least!) is a huge understatement. LONG LIVE THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION OF THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE! LONG MAY THEY REIGN AND PROSPER!!
Unity & Struggle,
Mubarak Steps Down, Ceding Power to Military
Egypt Erupts in Jubilation as Mubarak Steps Down
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, ANTHONY SHADID and ALAN COWELL
February 11, 2011
New York Times
CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned his post and turned over all power to the military on Friday, ending his nearly 30 years of autocratic rule and bowing to a historic popular uprising that has transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world.
The streets of Cairo exploded in shouts of “God is Great” moments after Mr. Mubarak’s vice president and longtime intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, announced during evening prayers that Mr. Mubarak had passed all authority to a council of military leaders.
“Taking into consideration the difficult circumstances the country is going through, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the post of president of the republic and has tasked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to manage the state’s affairs,” Mr. Suleiman, grave and ashen, said in a brief televised statement.
Even before he had finished speaking, protesters began hugging and cheering, shouting “Egypt is free!” and “You’re an Egyptian, lift your head”
“He’s finally off our throats,” said one protester, Muhammad Insheemy. “Soon, we will bring someone good.”
The departure of the 82-year-old Mr. Mubarak, at least initially to his coastal resort home in Sharm el-Sheik, was a pivotal turn in a three-week revolt that has upended one of the Arab’s world’s most enduring dictatorships. The popular protest, peaceful and resilient despite numerous effort by Mr. Mubarak’s legendary security apparatus to suppress it, ultimately deposed an ally of the United States who has been instrumental in implementing American policy in the region for decades.
His departure leaves the military in charge of this nation of 80 million, facing insistent calls for fundamental democratic change and open elections. The military, which has repeatedly promised to respond to the demands of protesters, has little recent experience in directly governing the country. It will have to defuse demonstrations and strikes that have paralyzed the economy and left many of the country’s institutions, including state news media and the security forces, in shambles.
Shortly before the announcement of Mr. Mubarak’s departure, the military issued a communiqué pledging to carry out a variety of constitutional reforms in a statement remarkable for its commanding tone. The military’s statement alluded to the delegation of power to Mr. Suleiman and it suggested that the military would supervise implementation of the reforms.
The military did not indicate whether it intended to take the kinds of fundamental steps toward democracy that protesters have been demanding. This was the second direct statement from the military in two days, and it largely stuck to the main constitutional and electoral reforms that Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Suleiman had promised to implement. It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Suleiman would retain a role, under the military council, in running the country.
State radio reported that Naguib Sawiris, a wealthy and widely respected businessman, has agreed to act as a mediator between the opposition and the authorities in carrying through the political reforms, a development that was cheered by protesters.
In Tahrir Square, the focal point of the uprising, many protesters were overcome with the emotion of achieving their unlikely but determined quest to overthrow Mr. Mubarak. More than an hour after Mr. Suleiman spoke, the din was undiminished, as the celebrants, some in tears, shouted, sang, embraced and chanted. The slogan of the revolution, “The people want to bring down the regime,” adopted from Tunisia, became, “The people, at last, have brought down the regime.”
Parents were seen putting their children on the tanks to have their photos snapped with the soldiers, while the soldiers reached down to shake hands with the protesters and people chanted, “The people and the army are one hand.” In a show of solidarity in at least lower levels of the army, three Egyptian officers shed their weapons and uniforms and joined the protesters.
“Now, we can breathe fresh air, we can feel our freedom,” said Dr. Gamal Heshamt, a former member of Parliament and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. “Now we can start to build our country. After 30 years of absence from the world, Egypt is back.”
Some people waved Tunisian flags, while young women danced on the hulking remains of burned-out armored personnel carriers.
The Qasr al-Nil bridge, the sight of ugly fighting between the protesters and Mubarak supporters, was crammed from one end to the next with people cheering and chanting, “Egypt! Egypt! Egypt!”
“The Egyptian people are heroes,” said Samia Mahmoud, 41, who said he works in the tourist industry in Sharm el-Sheik. “I’m hoping for a new Egypt.”
Amr Sayed, 20, who had been in the square for the last 15 days, said simply, “The people wanted to take back their rights, and now they have.”
David D. Kirkpatrick and Anthony Shadid reported from Cairo, and Alan Cowell from Paris. Reporting was contributed by Kareem Fahim, Liam Stack, Mona El-Naggar and Thanassis Cambanis from Cairo, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Marquette, Mich.
Obama’s Remarks on the Resignation of Mubarak
This is what is known as becoming a footnote to History folks. Talk about a man who blew his opportunity to really affect the course of history and actually inspire people! And to think all he had to say from the very beginning of the Egyptian Revolution was: "The United States supports the Egyptian People in their struggle for Democracy and we absolutely repudiate the rule of our former ally Hosni Mubarak." But of course he didn't. That's HOW you wind up a mere footnote. In that light some of the remarks from the President's hollow speech below are strangely and rather ironically poignant (especially the great quote about freedom and the human soul from the immortal Dr. King!). Too bad the President wasn't up to the task before him and wound up once again stuck in the so-called "middle" of an important issue (which is to say NOWHERE)...Oh well...This is what always happens when a person is more concerned with their "public image" in the eyes of their enemies than with asserting their independent LEADERSHIP and allowing the chips to fall where they may because--trust me!--they're gonna fall anyway...
Obama’s Remarks on the Resignation of Mubarak
February 11, 2011
Good afternoon, everybody. There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.
By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change. But this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It's a beginning. I'm sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered. But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers, and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks. For Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.
The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state, and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people. That means protecting the rights of Egypt's citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free. Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt's voices to the table. For the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change.
The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary -- and asked for -- to pursue a credible transition to a democracy. I'm also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity -- jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight. And I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region but around the world.
Egypt has played a pivotal role in human history for over 6,000 years. But over the last few weeks, the wheel of history turned at a blinding pace as the Egyptian people demanded their universal rights.
We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like.
We saw a young Egyptian say, "For the first time in my life, I really count. My voice is heard. Even though I'm only one person, this is the way real democracy works."
We saw protesters chant "Selmiyya, selmiyya" -- "We are peaceful" -- again and again.
We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect.
And we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for those who were wounded, volunteers checking protesters to ensure that they were unarmed.
We saw people of faith praying together and chanting – "Muslims, Christians, We are one." And though we know that the strains between faiths still divide too many in this world and no single event will close that chasm immediately, these scenes remind us that we need not be defined by our differences. We can be defined by the common humanity that we share.
And above all, we saw a new generation emerge -- a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears; a government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations. One Egyptian put it simply: Most people have discovered in the last few days…that they are worth something, and this cannot be taken away from them anymore, ever.
This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they've done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence -- not terrorism, not mindless killing -- but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.
And while the sights and sounds that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can't help but hear the echoes of history -- echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path of justice.
As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, "There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom." Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note.
Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in.
The word Tahrir means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people -- of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world.