Egypt rips off the shackles of dictatorship

I’m sure there are as many blogs being written about the revolution in Egypt as there were people in Tahrir Square last night, but that does not make the events of the past two weeks any less special.  Some punters were saying that last night, when the long serving dictator Hosni Mubarak stepped down, could be as significant as the fall of the Berlin Wall.  With so many dictatorships still in place across the Middle East, only time will tell.

We have been reminded yet again of the power of social media in mobilising the masses.  When all the main news broadcasters were stuck showing the same elevated blurry image of Central Cairo for hours on end, it was Facebook and Twitter that gave us an insight into the cauldron.  When waiting on Mubarak to make a live speech on Egyptian television, his delayed arrival prompted the Twitter trending topic #ReasonsWhyMubarakIsLate, leading to thousands of hilarious responses.  Even revolutions have senses of humour.

Despite this, we have also been reminded that it was not Facebook or Twitter that caused this revolution.  It was people, in their masses, flooding into Cairo and demanding a better life.  The sight of the descendants (however distant) of one of the most ancient and advanced civilisations the planet has ever seen sent shivers down my spine.  There was something truly organic and wholesome about the entire event.

Egyptians, and Arabs across the world, celebrated last night.  But today and for many more days they must pick up the pieces.  They have to restore their government and try and return to normal life, and very importantly get the tourists back in again.  Now the worlds attention turns to Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to see reactions there.

So what does this mean for the rest of Africa?  South of the Sahara, very little.  Dictators there will be assessing Mubarak’s mistakes, like continually giving ground to the protestors that eventually led to his removal.  But Colonel Gadaffi of Libya should not be so comfortable, if there is anywhere in Africa that is ripe for a repeat of events in Tunisia and Egypt it is there.

Published in: on February 12, 2011 at 9:23 am  Comments (1)  
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