Mubarak is no more. The people of Egypt are free.
Thirty years after assuming power in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak has officially transferred power to the military and waived the office of the president. This is definitely not the end of the Egyptian revolution; Mubarak’s ousting is only the first of many steps. But the best part about this is that the people did it all by themselves. Hey Hillary Clinton, how’s that for democracy in the Middle East?
Tahrir Square, translated to Liberation Square in English, has erupted in jubilant chants. Millions of Egyptians throughout the entire country are celebrating this historic moment — a moment that seemed so distant and so unlikely just last night when Mubarak declared that he intended to remain in power until elections in September. But the protests only grew in strength and, peacefully, the Egyptian population undermined Mubarak’s corrupt regime and realized the beginning stages of liberation.
The most appreciable aspect of this Egyptian revolution is that it was entirely people-led. There was no foreign government intervention. Although the U.S. made explicit its hesitancy in outwardly supporting the Egyptian move towards a democratic future, the people continued to push further — alone and unhindered. It is safe to say the U.S. can’t claim it helped bring democracy to Egypt, nor can it claim to have helped taken down a corrupt dictator and his associated regime.
Power is tentatively in the hands of the military and although this might sound menacing to those who are just now learning about the revolution, let it be known that the Egyptian military played a noble role in the uprisings. Not a single bullet escaped the rifles of the army men. They played a neutral role, ensuring that the protests remained peaceful and eliminating any potential threat for violent confrontations between pro-democracy protesters and Mubarak-supporters. While Mubarak’s internal security and police forces intimidated the protesters with bullets and batons, the military received international criticism for its seemingly indecisive position in the revolution but there is no doubt that as an entity, the army served and protected the people. The protesters peacefully braved the police intimidation and the military did its role in apprehending any of those who incited violence.
The transition process has just begun and there is great potential in the effect this will have outside of Egypt as well. In a matter of time, when the situation settles down and the military, together with the people of course, decide on the best government to represent the country of Egypt, Israel will no longer be able to call itself the only democracy in the Middle East. The real beacon of democracy lies in the hearts, minds, and voices of 85 million Egyptian citizens. The people of Syria, Libya, Algeria, and Jordan must now be prepared to maintain the momentum and bring true change to the region.
The people raised their concerns, then raised their voices, but never raised their arms. The world listened and finally, after 18 days of camping out in Liberation Square, Mubarak did to0.
Watch the 30-second announcement by Omar Suleiman declaring Mubarak’s resignation, courtesy of Al Jazeera English: