Friday, 11 February 2011


What a wonderful moment in Egypt and what a strange situation, with people celebrating a military takeover. Its a supremely optimistic moment which ranks alongside Europe in 1989. Let's hope the promise of the last 18 days can be sustained. This is a famous victory for people power in the most important country in the Middle East. There are a few moments when all the cards are thrown up in the air and this is one of them. As a student of international relations, I'm utterly enthralled.

For dictators in Libya, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and across the region this is a wake up call. The lesson is that you can't keep people down forever, even with the most vile repression. Let's hope there's more to come and let's cross everything that any further popular movements are as dignified and controlled as the Egyptian uprising was.

The big risk now comes from outside interference. Egyptians have shown themselves to be organised, peaceable, intelligent and perfectly able to change their country. Let's hope their 'friends' in powerful countries don't decide to 'help' them too much. Let's hope those friends do what the best friends do: leave them alone to sort themselves out with as much guidance and support as they ask for and no more.

And as for the inevitable blathering about an Islamic takeover, let's hope the bigots grow up and look at the individual country and the protesters, not just wikipedia. Egyptians aren't the bearded cave-dwelling maniacs who give Islam a bad name, they're people with jobs and families and bills to pay who want to get on with their lives, not conquer Europe in the name of a religion.

Finally, we must all hope that the innumerable commentators take home one simple fact: this has nothing to do with Israel. Nothing. It is a popular uprising in Egypt.

If I had a hat I'd take it off to the millions of Egyptians who have achieved an immense victory today.

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