There is a word in Arabic -- makhlou' -- which means "the fallen" or "the kicked out." It is a word Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is trying desperately to avoid being associated with.
Mubarak will not be the next president of Egypt -- he made that clear in his second speech to the people when he announced that "I tell you in absolute veracity that I do not intend to run for the coming presidency." What he's trying to do is make sure that he is the ex-president of Egypt, not the fallen one.
Hosni Mubarak will not leave Egypt, he said. "I defended this soil and I will die on the soil of Egypt," he said. No fleeing from the homeland a la Tunisia's Ben Ali. For Mubarak, it's once a dictator, always a dictator.
He still has an ego to account for and he will not go quietly or quickly, as long as he can help it. He will remain in power to "ensure the peaceful transition of power to pave the way for who is to be elected by the people in the coming election," he said. However, that election is set for September -- seven long months from now.
But more troubling than Mubarak's refusal to accept the people's primary demand that he resign immediately were his repeated threats -- moreso than in the first speech -- against the troublemakers who are in the streets. His words seemed to single out only the bad seeds -- "the looters, arsonists, and pillagers" but it is now public knowledge that many of these guys are paid thugs who work on behalf of the Mubarak regime to denigrate the image of the protesting masses.
Mubarak made it very clear in this second speech to the people that things are going to get bloody now and he's the one who made that decision.
"The incidents of the past few days require us all -- people and leadership -- to choose between chaos or stability and lay ahead of us the new circumstances and different Egyptian reality which should be addressed by both our people and armed forces with the absolute prudence and caution for the interests of the people and the nation."
"Chaos" meaning the demonstrations, "stability" meaning an end to them through the use of force.
He was furious at those who have "manipulated and taken advantage of the people's peaceful demonstrations." He called these manipulators "regretful" but never clearly indicated who they were. But the people of Egypt know exactly what he was saying and they are even angrier than before.
For Mubarak, it is now a waiting game wherein he will stretch the limits of the public's patience as thin as he can, and take "security" measures into his own hands if things don't proceed as he'd like. Each day in office will mean one more triumph for his ego but also one more triumph for the American, British and other backers who have sustained his throne of tyranny for so many decades.
They too, have been cornered into distancing themselves from a regime they were planning never to lose -- it was to be one Mubarak taking the place of another until yet another person who cares less for his people's welfare than his own interests can be positioned in power.
But the self-confidence and dignity that has been rejuvenated within the Egyptian people -- the knowledge that they can pour into the streets and make their voices heard -- is a powerful safeguard for them from now on.
Whoever takes power next -- Solaiman? El Baradei? Amr Moussa? -- will know he is answerable to the people's demands, at least in the short term. Later, as is the cycle of history, more and more decisions will be taken that disregard the people, and discontent will once again erupt into the fervor of protest.
In short, once Mubarak leaves, the people must continue their vigilance to sustain their rights and needs because no leader will do so for them -- not in the long term, anyway. But now, they know that they can come together and demand a better Egypt and be heard.
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