18 Days That Shook the World


egypt4By Dan Farber

It took just 18 days to topple a government, a dictatorship with close ties to the U.S. that had ruled Egypt for three decades. Like all emerging democracies, the coming months will be messy and changes will evolve in fits and starts on the road to forming a new government, holding free elections and reviving the Egyptian economy.

What’s clear is that “people power,” inspired by reform protests in Tunisia, had been simmering in Egypt for far longer than 18 days, and it will have a lasting effect on the country and the region. Despite some uncertainty on the way forward with the Egyptian Army (which until February 11, 2011 answered to President Mubarak) in charge, there will be no going back to the old days when the paternalistic pharaoh ruled the land from his palaces and millions of his people lived on less than $2 per day.

For the rest of the world, Egypt has ignited a flame, one that wasn’t clearly visible until 18 days ago, that can now be seen by billions. In the New York Times, Tom Friedman wrote:

My guess right now is that there are a lot of worried kings and autocrats tonight – from North Africa to Myanmar to Beijing. And it is not simply because a dictator has been brought down by his people. That has happened before. It is because the way it was done is so easy to emulate. What made this Egyptian democracy movement so powerful is its legitimacy.

In Algeria, for example, police are gearing up to quash a demonstration slated for Saturday that takes its cues from the uprising in Egypt. As in Egypt, protesters want democratic reforms, a new government and jobs. Protesters in Yemen have been stirred up again by the recent event in Egypt, even after President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to some reforms and not to run for office in 2013.

With history as a guide, autocratic leaders aren’t typically inclined to bend to the will of the people, even if they take to the streets in large numbers. But in the 21st century, they are facing a new kind of power, one that cannot be easily contained and serves as a real-time witness to history, a youthful generation spreading words and images across the planet at lightspeed.

“They lied at us. Told us Egypt died 30 years ago, but millions of Egyptians decided to search and they found their country in 18 days,” tweeted Wael Ghonim, the reluctant face of Egypt’s protest, and now rebuilding, movement.

{CBS News/Matzav.com}


  1. There are many scenarios that can play out in the near future. The next ninety days are crucial to the region. The anti-Jewish/Israeli posters on display in Tahrir Square were concerning but I believe the vast majority of Egyptians do not want war with Israel or any other nation. This younger generation is not as easy to manipulate as those of the Nasser era. The Egyptian Actor of “The Kite Runner” fame, 31 y.o. Khalid Abdalla spoke eloquently from the square today on the BBC World Service. (Who by the way are doing the best job at the moment of providing balance, insightful coverage and fairness on the goings on in the region.)

    A common chant of the children in Tahrir Square fourteen hours ago was “Hold your head up high. We are Egyptians”. An upcoming democratic election will be the first time in 5,000 years the Land of the Pharaohs will witness a free election of a government. So yes these are momentous times. The Israelis must be careful. A conditioned knee-jerk response with bluster mixed with an almost obligatory need to control all relationships around them will prove counterproductive. Even normally bold and blunt Ehud Barak was very muted and almost gentle in his brief interview with the media whilst meeting in New York with UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    He said…

    ‘Israel and the Palestinians should take advantage of turmoil in the Middle East to complete a peace accord. It is up to the Egyptian people to find a way and to do it according to their own constitution, norms and practices. Despite of all the turbulence around us we should look for opportunities within those difficulties, rather than to spiral into a sense of too heavy uncertainty that paralyses us from acting towards a better and more stable region.”

    The centre of gravity is moving to the Holy Land. Jerusalem will be the centre of a divinely mandated command structure as prophesied. The UN Security Council should visit the following places on their Middle East jaunt : Israel; Gaza; The West Bank/Judea and Samaria; Syria; Jordan; Egypt; Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. This trip should happen as soon as possible. It will help prepare the way for another important visit to the region in the near future.

    As I stated twelve days ago…

    Politics is the art of the possible. Surveying the landscape what is before us ? Great chaos, flux, fear and change all throughout the Middle East. The threat of a downward spiralling vortex, almost like a land subsidence or spiritual sinkhole. No real leader present in Egypt. The other national leaders nervous but hanging on, treading water and managing to mitigate the anger by holding snap elections etc. Temporarily distracting the masses. Plugging the dyke. (Please note the previous eight sentences were written on Feb. 2nd. The events of the last few days have been very positive for the region. The geometers of consciousness, hope, fear and joy can shift very quickly at the moment.) How about a meeting in Jerusalem with various representatives from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt with other nations present ? A peace treaty could be negotiated. Various GDP’s in the region…Israel US$292.7 billion; Jordan $31.01 B; Syria $96.53 B; Lebanon $53.81 B; Gaza $4 B; Saudi Arabia $600.4 B; Egypt $452.5 Billion. The total GDP of these eight areas is approx. $1.5 Trillion. This can increase by at least 4% per annum over the coming years if trust and co-operation increases. The vacuum needs to be filled. Ganeden needs an HQ. A good CEO is required.

    Who is writing the future ?