Tahrir square presents a confusing picture

Sunday, 06 February 2011 19:14 Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant Jihad - War-Violence

"I love Mubarak", said a young man in his thirtees who had just walked into the place of action in Cairo, Tahrir Square or Liberation Square where the battle for Freedom from Oppression is being fought.

"I hate Mubarak", so shouted another young man in his late twenties who had left his home and hearth in a nearby town to be a part of the scene of a lifetime at the Tahrir Square. He and his family had suffered a lot as they could not exercise the right to freedom of speech in their weekly paper. As the freedom fighter spoke, came a hurling rock from the pro-Mubarak group and hit the freedom fighter in the head. With blood streaming down his face, he raised his voice many decibels and shouted: Down with Hosni Mubarak". His friends gathered around him and applied the first-aid bandage. An elderly man came in between to separate the two men and said that Egyptians must not engage in a bloody battle.

There was an Army tank parked nearby with a couple of soldiers standing on it and watching the pro-Mubarak and anti-Mubarak small groups of men coming to blows. The soldiers just watched the scene as if a cock-fight was being staged with money at stake. The soldiers took no action to separate the fighting sides and stop the political feud from developing into a homicide. Someone from the crowd shouted and exhorted the soldiers to do something to stop the family feud but soldiers stood motionless as if they were gripped with total inertia. At the end of Day Eight of the anti-Mubarak public demonstration as many as eight men were dead and over 800 lay injured. The prime Minister apologised to the people for this bloodshed that the government had failed to stop.

"Are you soldiers of the Egyptian Army or the Israeli Army?" that was the question hurled at the soldiers by a motely crowd of Egyptian demonstrators jeering at them. The soldiers were cool as cucumber and knew that by not reacting to jeering words or motions of combative citizens, they were just carrying out the orders of their superior officers. When the tank corps men had driven out of their mechanical transport garage, it was drummed into their ears that they had to make their presence felt but were strictly forbidden to fire. They just did that. Even on being asked repeatedly by men in groups who hurled stones and other small missiles at each other as to why the soldiers did not fire to separate the fighting groups, the soldiers just shrugged their shoulders and said : No orders”.


When President Hosni Mubarak went on the air and addressed his people he made it clear that he would not contest another election for Presidentship, come September. In other words he is on his way out and the corridors of power will not see the 82-year old giant among men, again as President of Egypt. The Egyptians recalled his role as Chief of the Air Force when the then President Anwar Sadat made him his Vice-President. The destiny willed him to be catapulted to the Presidency on the assassination of Anwar Sadat at a grand military parade. Thereafter, for the last three decades or so Hosni Mubarak has been ruling Egypt with a firm hand. No wonder, in 2011 the Egyptian citizens, taking a cue from the Tunisians, have launched a movement to oust Hosni Mubarak from Presidency and bring in a humane man. That is what the demonstration in the Tahrir Square, Cairo are all about.

President Hosni Mobarak is equally determined not to quit as per the time table laid down by the protesters. However, on being pressed by Barack Obama, President of the United States, a major ally and benefactor of Egypt, to accommodate the protesting Egyptians, Hosni Mubarak showed an inclination not to con test an election for Presidentship in September 2011.

Who will run the show thereafter? As of now, the senior most Army Officer, Lieutenant General Sami Enan, Army Chief is tipped to become the top executive. Mohd El Baradei, Nobel Laureate may be in the run but is considered an outsider. The incumbent Vice-President cannot be denied a promotion. The Muslim Brotherhood, a banned body that encourages its stalwarts to contest elections to the legislature as Independent candidates, is also a political force to reckon with. So, the political position is rather confusing. It is rather difficult to say something categorically at this point of time. Nevertheless, a political analyst may not rule out the army as the future destiny maker of Egypt. Should that happen, Egypt may go the way Pakistan went with General Ayub Khan and the chain remains unbroken till today when General Pervez Kayani calls the shots from the Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Be that as it may, Generals in other Arab states may not sit idle in future but may make attempts to grab power.

However, what is certain is that President Hosni Mubarak's days in the presidential palace are rather numbered. Never mind his denial about demitting office but his best friends like the King of Saudi Arabia know how fast events are changing and Hosni Mubarak is no more the arbiter of his own fate. Even America and European Union see him as the ex-executive and look forward to befriending the incoming top executive whosoever he may be.

Human beings worship the Rising Sun all over the universe.