As the wave of protests spreads across the Middle East and North Africa, a remarkable similarity in the way that governments respond to these demands for democracy has arisen. The world’s dictators seem to be reading the same script. Here is my attempt to re-create this script based on the responses of dictators I have seen.
The Egyptian president appeared on national TV yesterday and made a couple of concessions. Here is my attempt to summarize these concessions and provide an amateur analysis of the speech.
OK. I just watched the Iraqi minister of transport say that his country is providing an airlift for its citizens who want to leave Egypt because the situation over here is “unstable”. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. There are reports of terrorist attacks each day in Iraq, people die there on a regular basis and ethnic and religious conflict is the norm rather than the exception, yet they want to leave Egypt because it is unstable? This is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Egypt.
I have been watching the National Egyptian TV for a different perspective on what is going on. What I have seen is a ridiculous and extremely weak attempt to silence the voice of the people. As thousands gather in Tahrir Square (with the opposition hoping to gather at least a million protesters), the national TV has gone into full propaganda mode.
The situation in Egypt is very fluid. The protests that have been going on for days appear at the point at which they may very well topple the regime. At the beginning of the demonstrations, I wholeheartedly supported the call for greater freedoms and democracy. I eagerly watched as the Egyptian people finally found their voice and decided to end a tyranny that they have suffered under for many decades.