Egypt Is an Inspiration for Us All
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 11th February, 2011
For the past fortnight I have been glued to my iplayer, watching Al Jazeera hour after hour, as events in Egypt have unfolded. Like the crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, I have experienced a roller-coaster of emotions, from euphoria to despair. Last night was a low point, to put it mildly, as the widely anticpated resignation by President Mubarak didn’t happen. But the crowds went out onto the streets again after Friday prayers today, defiant. So there was justifiable ecstasy this evening when Hosni Mubarak did eventually stand down. Ecstasy mixed with relief, as this could have turned really nasty had the regime dug its heels in more firmly. As it is, around 300 pro-democracy demonstrators are understood to have lost their lives since the protests began. In recent hours, Western leaders have been reacting — most European heads of government, including Britain’s David Cameron, in rather muted terms, expressing hopes that Egypt can move safely from what is now a sort of military fostering to genuine multi-party democracy. The United States stood longer by President Mubarak than most states did, yet tonight Barack Obama trumped his European counterparts by giving a moving short speech, praising the Egyptian people. They have indeed been an inspiration for us all.