Never mind that the dead and injured (estimated to exceed 100 and 1300 respectively) came out of the ranks of the peaceful and unarmed protesters, who demanded an end of the era of emergency law, rigged elections, and rampant corruption; and never mind that the security forces who were evidently authorized to use live ammunition are implicated in much of the killing and thuggery; Mubarak could still accuse, with a straight face, the victims of his regime with the crimes committed by his security forces in a statement that was intended to frighten and intimidate.
It was evident that the aging dictator has learned nothing from the popular uprising in which millions of Egyptians rallied to demand his resignation, the end for his unscrupulous rule, and the beginning of democratic governance based on the rule of law. “The events of the last few days forced us all, as people and as a leadership,” he proclaimed, “to choose between chaos and stability.”
From Mubarak’s vantage point the drive to freedom by millions of Egyptian is simply a drive to chaos, and the repression of the regime he represents, which has for decades demanded a complete quiet, is the face of stability. Clearly, what the Egyptian people see as a choice between freedom and dictatorship, appears to Mubarak as a choice between “chaos and stability.”
It should not, therefore, surprise anyone if the picture of what has been going on in Egypt is distorted in the mind of Mubarak beyond recognition. A person who has the audacity to claim that he has never cared about power or the office of presidency, even after working for 30 years to ensure that he would continue to run unopposed, and even after resisting all demands to appoint a vice president to succeed him, is a person with no shame. He either is in a state of denial or he is hoping to be able to deceive the people who suffered under his corrupt rule. Either way he should never be given more time in office to undermine a powerful and effective revolution and to reverse the great gains achieved by the Egyptian people.
One thing is quite clear. Mubarak has decided to take a last stand at the expense of prolonging the suffering of his people, and potentially throwing the country and the whole region into a great chaos. “I am also a man of the army,” he reminded those who perhaps forgot, “and it is not in my nature to give up responsibility.”
President Obama should follow the lead of Senator John Kerry who demanded, in an op-ed published by the New York Times yesterday, that Mubarak should step down. Calling on the dictator of Egypt to leave his office peacefully would not only save more lives, but would also help distance the US from the final sins of a withering autocrat.
This article appeared in the following publications:
Middle East OnlineMedia Monitor NetworkOnline Journal