Hosni Mubarak's insulting speech showed why he ought to go, but the struggle on the streets is no longer the only game in town
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 February 2011
"......And what a speech. By the standards of any modern politician, it was truly dreadful: in turns vain, arrogant, patronising, condescending and defiant. Above all, it showed Mubarak totally out of touch with the mood of the country and the will of the people that he governs. The only thing to be said in its favour is that it illustrated, in just a few hundred words, all the reasons why he ought to go (even if he's still refusing to do so).
He began by addressing the people as his "sons and daughters" – a phrase that might slip past unnoticed, though in fact it encapsulates the fundamental problem with Arab leaders and how they perceive themselves and their citizens. They behave like the traditional head of an Arab household, the paterfamilias – a remote, supposedly wise and almost God-like figure who rarely speaks but, when he does, must always be obeyed because he knows what's best for his children......
According to reports, the supreme council has met only three times in its history: in 1967 and 1973 (when the country was at war) – and on Thursday. Thursday's meeting was held without its chairman, Mubarak, and apparently the meeting was adjourned without formally concluding. A second communique has failed to clarify the army's position.
Possibly, as one Egyptian commentator suggested on the BBC, the army was attempting a coup which Mubarak had fended off by threatening to unleash his Republican Guard upon them.
Whatever the truth in that, when the head of the ruling party says it's time for the president to step aside, when the government media seem increasingly uncertain about the message they are supposed to be conveying and three former ministers have been forbidden to leave the country pending possibly corruption charges, the inescapable conclusion is that the struggle on the streets is no longer the only game in town – and that key members of the regime are now fighting amongst themselves."