Thursday, February 10, 2011

Phase 6? The Egyptian Revolution Will Escalate Tomorrow

Hosni Mubarak made a speech in Egypt tonight, but he refused to step down. While he made some concessions to the opposition forces (amending the constitution), and even gestured toward the young people of Egypt, he did not got far enough to quell the protests.

While Mubarak played good cop, his vice president, Omar Suleiman, played bad cop. Suleiman gave a speech on Egyptian television not long after Mubarak, calling on the demonstrators to go home.

They will not go home. Tomorrow they will hold large-scale protests for the third Friday in a row. Eyewitness accounts from Tahrir Square this week--including this Thomas Friedman column and this Baltimore Sun story--describe a euphoric, peaceful, freedom-loving crowd. These protestors will be happy with nothing less than the ouster of Mubarak,his cronies, and his regime.

Before Mubarak had even finished speaking, the protesters camped out in Tahrir Square were jeering him. Totally unsatisfied, they and their friends will turn out in force tomorrow afternoon, following midday prayers.

It's clear that Mubarak and his regime just don't get what is happening in the Square. They think they can dribble out small concessions to meet tangible demands, which of course they are only granting under duress in the first place. They will only embolden the opposition, which has discovered that it can bring serious political change that was unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

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