There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood,leads to fortune,
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows
and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures. (Brutus, in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar Act 4, sc 3).
Power is a force that ebbs and flows, so go with the flow.
Resentment, anger, repression, unemployment, rising food prices and poverty are at the heart of the dissent/discontent. Thousands ( estimated at 20,000) protested in Cairo and other cities, which took observers by surprise, because usually only a few hundred turn out. You can expect the governments to respond in the only way they know, with violence ( there are no identifiable leaders to arrest) and curfew, but it will not work, because the protesters have seen what has happened in Tunisia and they are encouraged by this and also because they suspect that the 82 year-0ld Mubarak is grooming his son Gamal to take over, and they see an opening. So far three have been killed...martyrs for the people. Web activists (Twitter and Facebook) led the calls yesterday and this shows that their call can reach a broad audience, who can react quickly and in large numbers.
The same resentment, poverty, repression, unemployment and anger exist in Algeria. It is just a matter of time before it takes to the streets. Yemen is already in turmoil and in Lebanon the new Hizbollah-backed Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, has greatly angered his Sunni brethren (the constitution power-sharing system calls for the prime minister to be Sunni), who accuse him of being a tool of Hizbollah and Syria.
With the possible exception of Jordan and Morocco, the Arab world is ruled by like-minded autocrats, whose hold on power and wealth are dependent on a machinery of coercion, repression and greed. " Violence is the mid-wife of every old society pregnant with a new one"( Marx). Force is the only means of change, for those in power will not relinquish that power by any other means. Social media...Twitter, Facebook, cell phones etc., these are the 21st century weapons for change.
There is no going back. The seeds of dissent have been sown and the people have sensed a powerful feeling. It is intoxicating and this new feeling is an aphrodisiac and power is the ultimate aphrodisiac and they have tasted of it and they want to hang on to it. Egypt is a very literate society....77% literacy. There are many capable of leadership and all that is needed is for the opportunity
Mubarak is finished but like a dying beast, he will writhe and lash out but he will quickly find that the military upon which his power rest, has taken its marching orders from the USA (the Egyptian military Chief of Staff was in the USA, meeting with his US counterpart, when the uprising started and has now returned home). The military. which is held in high esteem, since it overthrew King Farouk in 1952, under the leadership of Nasser, will not use its firepower against the Egyptian people. However if the Muslim Brotherhood and other elements try to foment widespread violence, the military will be used against them. Already trouble-makers are trying to hijack the movement....prisons have been emptied and neighborhood watches have been set up by residents to protect their homes.
The next few days will be crucial and will determine what direction is taken and by whom.