Egypt’s Friday of Wrath

As apprehended that the Tunisian model of uprising might be copied in some other Arab countries long overdue for a political shake-up, the world is today witnessing a people’s revolt against the existing order in Egypt. The street demonstrations, defying curfew, have grown more popular by the day, as the security forces have become more desperate, showing the tendency to use brutal means against the public to save the 30-year old unbroken rule of President Mubarak. On the one hand, the protestors suffered the deaths of 24 of them and injuries to another more than 1000 at the hands of the police and the army in the country’s main cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez within 24 hours on Egypt’s “Friday of Wrath”. On the other, in retaliation, they ransacked shops and businesses and set fire to private and public buildings. An army APC stood gutted amid rubble and burnt tires in a street of Cairo. Reportedly, the building of the ruling party’s headquarters that was put to the torch on Friday night was still seen burning on Saturday morning. Mubarak’s palace was surrounded by mob and up to 1000, including opposition leader ElBaradei, were arrested.President Hosni Mubarak’s call, “It is not by setting fire and by attacking private and public property that we achieve the aspirations of Egypt and its sons, but they will be achieved through dialogue, awareness and effort,” was pooh-poohed, as in common assessment, time for dialogue was over. It was time, the demonstrators believed, he stepped down. Similarly, the sop of disbanding the cabinet, rather than himself quitting, was criticised by a protestor at Cairo’s central Tahrir Square in the following terms: “It was never about the government, by God, it is you (Mubarak) who has to go! What you have done to the people is enough.” However, clinging to power, the President tasked the troops and tanks to enter into major cities and put down the revolt. Mubarak’s long-time ally and aid-giver, the US, not only was unhappy at the communication blockade, as cell phones and internet services stood immobilised, but also firmly called upon the Egyptian authorities “to refrain from any violence against peaceful protestors”. These words of President Obama betrayed a streak of refusal to protect Mubarak’s regime in case the demonstrations became serious enough to force Mubarak out of the seat of power. On a smaller scale, the protestors in Jordan also expressed dissatisfaction over the government measures to provide jobs to the unemployed and reduce prices of essential goods and raise salaries – Nation